An American Tail Movie Poster Image

An American Tail

Adorable, heartwarming tale of an immigrant mouse.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 81 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

A great introduction to the United States immigration experience of the late 1800s.

Positive messages

An adventure with meaning, this story about the immigration experience from a mouse's point of view sheds a light on some of the dire circumstances that emigres experienced in the late 19th century.

Positive role models

Fievel meets many characters from different ethnic backgrounds who help him find his parents.

Violence & scariness

A village is burned and cats attack mice. Peril on a ship's deck results in a mouse being lost at sea and separated from his parents. Fievel is caught in a fire.

Sexy stuff

Young mice share a kiss. Buxom pigeons represent the French bird female population.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Honest John, a mouse political leader, drinks to excess at a wake. Characters smoke cigars.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character in this feel-good animated movie spends much of the film trying to find his parents, who he was separated from during a storm at sea. He faces many perils, including a near-drowning and attacks from monstrous cats, during his journey, which may prove too scary for the youngest viewers.

What's the story?

Feivel Mousekewitz is a little Russian mouse who emigrates to the United States with his family, after they're told that "there are no cats in America and the streets are paved with cheese." He gets separated from his parents and sister and is forced to work in a sweatshop by the evil Warren T. Rat (a cat in disguise). Feivel is resilient and courageous, and finds friends (including a kind cat) who help him until he finds his family. The score features the hit song "Somewhere Out There."

Is it any good?


This is a heartwarming animated tale about the experience of immigrants coming to America. Told from the perspective of a mouse, the film should engage kids in a very important part of U.S. history. The voice performances are charming, and the songs are catchy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their own families experiences with immigration. Is there anything in the movie that families can relate to?

  • Talk about scariness in movies. What exactly makes a movie scary -- music, images, your own imagination? What makes some movies thrilling and others too frightening?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:November 21, 1986
DVD/Streaming release date:January 20, 2004
Cast:Christopher Plummer, Dom DeLuise, John Finnegan, Phillip Glasser
Director:Don Bluth
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:History, Music and sing-along
Run time:81 minutes
MPAA rating:G

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Adult Written byAllishinca August 28, 2011

Enjoyable Movie with many Cultural Influences

An American Tail provides an educational and interesting view on immigration in the late 1800s. However, many parts in the movie and even the first song in the movie deal directly with different nations and cultures which younger children might struggle to understand. Many of the action scenes are dark and frightening, such as scenes including cats (which are represented as ruthless, wolf-like creatures), and the scene where the boat is attacked by the sea, which is personified as an old man. In terms of sexuality, a group of buxom pigeons show up during the second song. Later, an older mouse's hat loses a feather, which lands on her breast. When a male mouse reaches for the feather, his hand is slapped away. Finally, the character Honest John is shown drinking and noticeably drunk, and the movie's main villain smokes a cigar (which his cockroach side kick complains about). I rate this movie for older children, as younger kids wont understand most of the cultural context and the violent scenes might be to frightening for younger viewers.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Adult Written bytdickensheets July 12, 2009

Good movie

I like this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Adult Written byNormalMom April 28, 2009
Was trying to decide whether or not to let my 6-yr. old see it, was on the fence, and then decided not to after the ominous scene of the bug shadows closing in after him when he went through (?) a storm drain. Also, where was his mom's baby at the end of the movie?