Movie Review

An American Tail

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
CONTRIBUTOR

Good
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids Family
Genre:
Animation Adventure Comedy Music Family Drama
Length:
1 hr. 20 min.
Year of Release:
1986
USA Release:
November 21, 1986
Cover Graphic from An American Tail
Featuring: voices of Cathianne Blore, Dom DeLuise, John Finnegan, Philip Glasser, Amy Green, Madeline Kahn, Pat Musick, Nehemaih Persoff, Christopher Plummer, Neil Ross, Will Ryan, Hal Smith, Erica Yohn
Director: Don Bluth
Producer: Gary L. Goldman, Kathleen Kennedy, David Kirschner, Frank Marshall, Steven Spielberg
Distributor: Universal

Steven Spielberg (co-producer) is always coming up with something new and different; no exception here. “An American Tail” opens with a view of the Moskowitz family home in Russia, 1885. In the outer wall, near the human door, is another tiny door with the sign “Mousekewitz.” The film centers on the adventures of this family of Russian-Jewish mice, and specifically on little Fievel Mousekewitz, who is always getting into trouble. When anti-Semitic humans firebomb the Moskowitz home, the mice are also made homeless and are chased by cats (who correspond to the anti-Semites). They decide to set out for America where there are supposedly no cats.

The parallel between human and mouse activity is continued throughout the film, including at the immigration center near the statue of liberty where the mice “Westernize” their names. No mice die in the film, although we see a wake for one who is already dead; and the cat “Tiger” (voice of Dom DeLuise), who is modeled on the cowardly lion in “The Wizard of Oz” and is friendly to mice, provides some comic relief from the serious theme. Even so, some younger children may not be able to tolerate the constant threat of violence from the cats and the long period during which Fievel is separated from his family and can’t find them. The most memorable song in the film, “Somewhere Out There,” is sung in parallel by Fievel and his sister while they’re searching for each other.

Followed by: “An American Tail: Fievel Goes West” (1991) and “An American Tail III: The Treasure of Manhattan Island” (2000).


Viewer Comments
If you like this animated film, don’t forget it has part 2—“An American Tail: Fievel Goes West”! My Ratings: [4/4]
—Todd Adams, age 32
Tired of the repetitive Disney movies that all have the exact same plot? Then watch “An American Tail”… From a Christian perspective, this movie is alright. There’s more violence in this movie than a lot of other children’s movies. Although this movie tries to be historically accurate, the characters don’t talk about God, even though people were very religious in the 19th century. All in all, this is an okay children’s movie, although it’s too intense for young children. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Josh Johnson, age 19