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

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • 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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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byMattiscool March 24, 2012
age 6+

Never seen it before.

I heard this was a GREAT movie!
Kid, 10 years old June 29, 2009
age 7+
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byyankee01 April 9, 2008
age 0+

funny movie

allright movie


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