An American Tail (1986)

An American Tail DVD

Universal Pictures
 Dom DeLuise, Nehemiah Persoff, Christopher Plummer
Directed by: Don Bluth

Cat Out of the Bag Alert!  This review contains some spoilers for this film!

Synopsis: Fievel Mousekewitz (voiced by Phillip Glasser) is a young Russian mouse who is separated from his family while immigrating to America.  Fievel searches the streets of New York where he learns quickly that his Papa’s promise of there being no cats in America isn’t quite accurate.

Bad Kitties: The cats in this film are mostly cast in a bad light, similar to the casting of the cats as the Nazi oppressors in Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus.  Here the Jewish Russian mice are set upon by cat Cossacks who descend upon the mice as their human counterparts take part in a pogrom.

An American Tail - Cossack cats attack

The Mousekewitz family immigrates to America where Papa Mousekewitz (voiced by Nehemiah Persoff) has assured them there are no cats.  Of course this turns out not to be the case (nor are the streets paved with cheese.)  Fievel finds this out the hard way when he is almost devoured by a cat.

An American Tail - cat devours Fievel

One shot of a cat attacking almost perfectly mirrors the attack of Dragon in Bluth’s earlier film, The Secret of NIMH.

An American Tail - cat pouncing

Later Fievel happens upon the Mott Street Mauraders, a gang of cats which seem to be led by a ruthless character named Warren T. Rat (voiced by John Finnegan) whom Fievel has met earlier.  Much to Fievel’s surprise, Warren isn’t a rat at all, but a cat in disguise!

An American Tail - Fievel discovers Warren T. Rat is a cat

Cartoon Cat: Having discovered their secret, Fievel is kept prisoner by the gang and a big orange cat named Tiger (voiced by Dom DeLuise) is assigned to guard him.  But it turns out that Tiger is a big pussycat who loves mice and is a vegetarian.  Tiger and Fievel become fast friends.

An American Tail - Fievel scratches Tiger's back

Tiger is kicked out of the gang when he lets Fievel escape.  The cats chase Fievel to the docks where the mice have set a trap for the cats.  Warren T. Rat (or rather cat) demands that they give him Fievel in exchange for safety.

An American Tail - Warren T. Cat insists mice turn over Fievel

The mice release their secret weapon on the cats, forcing them off the end of the dock.

An American Tail - Cats scared by secret weapon built by mice

The cats end up on the anchor of the Star of Hong Kong and will bother the mice no longer.

An American Tail - cats end up on anchor

Fievel becomes lost again and Tiger helps his family and friends search for him.

An American Tail - Tiger cat helps mice look for Fievel

They find Fievel and everyone is happy.

An American Tail - Tiger cat celebrates the finding of Fievel

Final Mewsings: Cats should not be villianized for being natural pest controllers.

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