A cute little mousey tale that’s very popular with young viewers. It’s the story of a group of immigrants to America – a family of Russian mice (the Mousekewitzes, of course) who set sail for America in 1885, a land where they believe the streets are paved with cheese. However, young Fievel (Glasser) is separated from the rest of the family during a storm on the boat, and when he washes up in New York he is rescued by French pigeon Henri (Plummer), who is overseeing the construction of the Statue of Liberty in the harbour, and who decides to help Fievel find his family.
A story of one little mouse’s courage, this has quite a depressing middle as Fievel (named after producer Steven Spielberg’s grandfather) searches for his family and encounters lots of nasty characters (including a cat masquerading as a rat), while his family believe he perished in the storm. Kids don’t seem to mind, though, as this spawned a sequel – 1991’s An American Tail 2: Fievel Goes West, in which the family head to western America (featuring James Stewart’s final movie performance, providing the voice of sheriff Wylie Burp) – and two further video/DVD movies plus a spin-off series, Fievel’s American Tails.
Is An American Tail suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Under-fives may be scared by a few scenes in which cats threaten mice (including the masquerading cat mentioned in the review), and the scenes involving the storm that separates Fievel from his family.