An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster



A mystery with spunk, courage, and heart.
  • Review Date: April 13, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 75 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids relate to Fievel's fears and learn valuable lessons about cowardice and courage.

Positive role models

Fieval is brave despite his fears and helps to save the day.

Violence & scariness

The rendering of Fievel's nightmares features a scary-looking devil bat with a long mousetrap tongue. Mousey steals Fievel's family and burns their home.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that grade school kids may be too frightened by the nightmare scenes of the monster, though they will love spunky and loveable Fievel. But older kids will enjoy the action and the historical setting.

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What's the story?

A mysterious rodent-grabbing culprit is terrorizing New York City, but intrepid mouse reporter Nellie Brie is on the case. While young mouse Fievel is haunted by nightmares of the monster, his sister Tanya and his streetwise pal Tony take jobs with Nellie's newspaper to help her investigate. Eventually, Tony convinces Fievel to tag along, and Nellie takes him under her wing. They discover that a phony psychic poodle named Madame Mousey and her gang of cats are behind the mouse-nappings, utilizing a giant mechanical contraption with a cat's head as their \"monster.\" Mousey steals Fievel's family and burns their home, but Fievel and his friends round up a pack of dogs, rescue his family, and capture Madame Mousey.

Is it any good?


While the original An American Tail contained a strong emphasis on religious, historical, and cultural values in its tale of late 19-century immigrant Jewish mice, the later series entries have concentrated more on action and comedy. AN AMERICAN TAIL: THE MYSTERY OF THE NIGHT MONSTER is no exception, but it also includes a fair share of period flavor and a warm portrait of Fievel's elderly parents. Old New York is colorfully drawn, replete with trolleys and a detailed depiction of the intricate sewer system where Madame Mousey and her gang hide out. The workings of an old newspaper office are also interesting, showing how a printing press and a pneumatic tube messenger system operate. Older viewers get a chuckle out of feisty reporter Nellie Brie -- who employs a tart, Katharine Hepburn-ish accent -- and her wisecracking romantic comedy-like relationship with her irritable editor. And movie buffs are amused by a nod to the classic Odessa Steps sequence from The Battleship Potemkin.

For kids, there's plenty of humor and adventure, as Fievel and company trek through New York's underground society, meeting Scottish and Chinese mice during their perilous mission, which culminates in an exciting climactic battle and flood sequence. Kids relate to Fievel's fears and learn valuable lessons about cowardice and courage. The story cleverly points out that it's okay to be afraid, because this instinct can protect you from danger, but that our imaginations can sometimes be scarier than reality. This video offers a gentle alternative to most contemporary cartoons, featuring sweet characters, lots of action, some easy-to-take songs, and a worthy moral.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the role fear has played in their lives. When has fear been a good warning for you, and when has it been your imagination?

  • How did Fievel's feelings change when he saw the cause of the disappearing mice?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 25, 2000
DVD release date:July 25, 2000
Cast:Jane Singer, Lacey Chabert, Thomas Dekker
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:History, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires, Music and sing-along
Run time:75 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster was written by

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Learning ratings

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  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK 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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Teen, 14 years old Written byKmfan97 August 12, 2015

this movie definitely didn't suck but it wasn't near as enjoyable as the first two american tail's.

I decided to give this movie a watch because I loved the first two american tail movies especially fivel goes west and I heard that this was supposed to be better than the previous direct to video sequel the treasure of manhattan island which I have not seen so I sat on down and watched this and it definitely wasn't bad but it definitely wasn't great also. I'm not really going to explain the story but I'm going to talk about the positives and negatives of this movie instead. First of all I liked how most of the characters you saw in the first and second movie reprised their roles except for fivel and tanya and I also liked how fivel's friend tony who was in the first and third movie but only made cameos in the second one is in this movie and the actress who voiced him also reprises her role like I said about most of the characters from the first and second one before. Some of the things I didn't like about this movie was first of all fivel's sister tanya acts like a brat in this movie unlike in the first movie where she believed that fivel was alive and then in the second one where she wanted to follow her dream of becoming a singer which really spoke to me but in this one she just acted like a total brat and I didn't like that at all. Also while dom deluise does reprise his role as tiger despite him being 67 at the time he's not as good/funny as he was in the first two in my opinion. The animation is also a giant step backwards from the first two but it's understandable for a direct to video film and I didn't like any of the songs except for the final song called who will because the other two were trying too hard to be kid friendly musical numbers, then again I wouldn't say that who will is one of my favorite songs from an animated movie. I think this movie is a lot more suitable for little ones because the only thing I would say you should watch out for are the recurring nightmares that fivel has about the monster because they can be scary to real young children especially the one that fivel has at the very beginning. Other than that little ones will find this movie very fun and it even has a positive message about facing your fears and being brave and nelly bree is also a good role model for little kids because she encourages fivel to be brave and not be scared of the monster. I overall thought this movie was alright, it was fun at parts but it's just not a movie that makes you want to watch it again after viewing it unlike the first two. I would recommend watching it at least once if your an american tail fan like I am but just don't expect anything great, I'm pretty sure young kiddos will love this movie though.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byMattiscool March 24, 2012

Never seen it before.

I heard this was a GREAT movie!
Kid, 10 years old June 29, 2009
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models


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