An American Tail

  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1986
  • Running Time: 81 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Adorable, heartwarming tale of an immigrant mouse.
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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 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

This review of An American Tail was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Uh....Little Kids Only!

This movie will bore anyone over the age of 7 to death! It's annoying and completely pointless...even the awful sequel was better!
Adult Written byOlivePadfoot April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Pretty cool satire

Some characters as I remember it smoke. There is child labor enforced in's supposed to emphasize the struggles of immigrants during the time Ellis Island operated.
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?


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