The Great Mouse Detective (also known as The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective for its 1992 theatrical re-release and Basil the Great Mouse Detective in some countries) is the twenty-sixth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon. It was produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation, and originally released to movie theaters on July 2, 1986 by Walt Disney Pictures and Buena Vista Distribution. The film was directed by Burny Mattinson, David Michener, and the team of John Musker and Ron Clements, who later directed Disney's hit films The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.


Based on the children's story Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus, it draws heavily on the tradition of Sherlock Holmes with a heroic mouse who consciously emulates the detective; Titus named the main character after actor Basil Rathbone, who is best remembered for playing Holmes in film (and whose voice, sampled from the Red-Headed League, was the voice of Holmes in this film, 19 years after his death). The main characters are all mice and rats living in London.The layouts were done on computers, and video cameras made a digital version of pencil testing possible, which helped speeding up the production. The movie is also notable for its early use of computer generated imagery (CGI): for a chase scene that takes place in the interior of Big Ben. The movements of the clock's gears were produced as wire-frame graphics on a computer, printed out and traced onto animation cels where colors were added, and the characters were then animated by hand over these cels and the characters' completed cels placed on top of them. The Great Mouse Detective is sometimes cited as the first animated film from Disney to use CGI, but 1985's The Black Cauldron has this distinction.This film succeeded at the box office and got many positive reviews from critics (especially a "two thumbs up" from popular critics Siskel and Ebert), a welcome change after the previous Disney flop The Black Cauldron. Its success after its predecessor's failure gave the new management of Disney confidence in the viability of their animation department. This led to the creation of The Little Mermaid, released three years later, which signaled a renaissance for Walt Disney Productions. However, this film is usually "underrated" and "dark¨ by Walt Disney, which focuses more on its original and newer films. Despite all this, The Great Mouse Detective has a large fanbase.


Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.
The year is 1897, and young Olivia Flaversham is celebrating her birthday with her toymaker father, Hiram. Suddenly, a bat with a broken wing and pegged leg bursts into the Flaversham's house, kidnapping Hiram. Olivia searches to find the famed detective Basil Of Baker Street, but gets lost. A surgeon, named Dr. Dawson stumbles upon Olivia and helps her find the Great Mouse Detective. Upon their arrival at his residence, Basil dismisses Olivia at first, saying he has more important matters to worry about. However, once Olivia mentions the crippled bat, Basil's attitude quickly changes. He explains that Olivia saw Fidget the bat, a henchman of Professor Ratigan, a villain Basil had been trying to arrest for years. Basil agrees to take the case when Fidget appears attempting to kidnap Olivia. He is chased away by Basil and Dawson who then use the dog Toby to track his scent to a nearby toy store.

Ratigan himself, an egocentric, power-hungry renegade scholar, has brought Flaversham to his Center of Operation for a purpose; that purpose being the creation of a robot which mimicks the Mouse Queen. With the real Queen dead in secret, Ratigan could rule the Mice of England, while the robot verbally supported everything he did. Flaversham refuses, whereapon Ratigan orders Fidget to capture Olivia and hold her a prisoner. If Mr. Flaversham refuses to complete the dupe, Olivia will be fed to Felicia, Ratigan's spoiled tame Cat.

Fidget is surprised by Basil, Dawson, and Olivia in the toyshop where he is stealing clockwork mechanisms, toy soldiers' uniforms, and tinker's tools for Ratigan's plan. He hides and later traps Olivia by ambushing her from inside a toy cradle. Basil pursues Fidget, but becomes entangled in some toys and falls behind.

While searching the shop, Dawson discovers Fidget's checklist, which entails everything Fidget has taken with him. In his hurry, the bat has let it fall. Basil and Dawson return to Baker Street, where Basil discovers by means of close examination and some chemical tests that the list was written in the Thames waterfront.

Meanwhile, Ratigan receives what Fidget has brought. Olivia and her father are briefly and tearfully re-united, only to be taken apart again when Ratigan orders Olivia held hostage. Ratigan discovers that Fidget has lost the list; knowing that any detective of Basil's calibre might track its writer, he sentences Fidget to death.

While Fidget is struggling to escape Felicia, Ratigan has an idea of what he will do to outwit Basil. He pardons Fidget and sets about preparing.

Basil and Dawson are in a tavern near the Thames, disguised as ne'er-do-well sailors inquiring for Ratigan. When Fidget stumbles through the pub, Basil decides to follow him, but is momentarily distracted by a fight that has broken out between the staff of the tavern and its customers. Dawson is a little drunk on the local brew, as well as all too pleased by the indiscrete dancers on stage; it takes Basil some effort to remind him of their mission.

The two follow Fidget through some pipes to Ratigan's headquarters, only to discover that Ratigan has prepared for their coming. The sadistic rat ties them to a spring-loaded mousetrap, which when activated will break both of their necks. Around them are arranged a pistol, a crossbow, an axe, and an anvil. Nearby is a gramophone. When the record set on it finishes playing, a metal ball will slide down a chute and activate the mousetrap spring. This will set off the gun and the crossbow, which will themselves set off the axe and anvil. A camera will then make a picture of the ending scene.

Ratigan, hinting that he has an engagement at Buckingham Palace, sets off in a dirigible. Basil is altogether crushed by his own failure to see through the trap; he lies bound, feeling sorry for himself, while Ratigan's teasing song plays about his ears.

Dawson is most shocked and annoyed at his friend's indifference to their plight and that of the Queen. He indignantly exclaims to the effect that if Basil has given up, why not set the killing machine off before the music is over, rather than wait?

This gives Basil an idea; because the trap is set on a delicate balance, setting it off seconds before it is meant to begin will cause it to malfunction. To that end, the two mice release the bone-breaking spring at the moment when the metal ball is between their heads. The ball stops the spring in mid-fall, which causes the hinges to break. The hinge tips the gun off balance, wherapon it shoots, sending the crossbow's shot awry. The arrow cuts the axehead off; the axehead falls between the prisoners, cutting them free. They evade the anvil, free Olivia, and pose for the camera.

Ratigan is putting his plan into action. Hidden behind a curtain, Flaversham operates the toy Queen, while its model is being taken by Fidget to Felicia. At the appropriate moment, Ratigan advances into plain sight, clad in the robes of a King. He at once thanks his Queen-figure, then proceeds to recite a long list of proposed insanely tyrannical legal reforms.

Not far away, Basil's friend the dog Toby (based on a tracker from the novel "The Sign of Four") chases Felicia to her ruin. Basil, Dawson, and Olivia seize control of the mechanical mouse, forcing it to denounce Ratigan as an impostor and also to shake itself to pieces before the assembled crowd's very eyes. Seeing this, the crowd fall on Ratigan, who in spite of them snatches Olivia and flees with Basil, Dawson, and Flaversham in pursuit.

On the way, Fidget, who is driving Ratigan's airship, becomes tired and suggests that they throw Olivia overboard in order to lighten the load. However, Ratigan, not about to throw away his hostage, throws Fidget overboard instead. The bat falls into the water and is never seen again.

Ratigan assumes the driving, but without a helmsman he cannot steer, and winds up crashing into Big Ben. Basil, who has attempted to board his foe's craft, is sent in with them.

Inside the clock, the two adversaries vie for possession of Olivia. Basil wins, and delivers the child to her father. Ratigan has lost his temper, and is now losing all pretence or semblance of civilization; he becomes ragged and savage as he pursues Basil, finally transforming from a pompous pseudo-gentleman into a huge, terrifying monster. With his tattered cape, startling agility, and overwhelming girth, he now resembles a maddened demon from a story-teller's nightmare.

Ratigan's only interest is killing Basil; he almost succeeds, but is thwarted when Basil distracts the rat just long enough to keep him from bracing himself when Big Ben rings behind them. The echoes shake Ratigan from his perch on the clock's hands, and he falls, catching hold of Basil and dragging him down (reminiscent of "The Final Problem", a story in which Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty fight to the death on Reichenbach Falls). Basil keeps hold of the dirigible's severed propeller, however, and uses it to escape.

Later, Olivia and her father depart, promising ever to remember their friends. Dawson is also willing to leave, but Basil tricks him into remaining by introducing the surgeon to a distraught newcomer as "my trusty associate, Doctor Dawson, with whom I do all my cases".

According to Dawson himself, this is true, by all means. They remain partners thereafter.

Main charactersEdit

  • Basil of Baker Street - The great detective himself, based on the beloved imaginary sleuth Sherlock Holmes. His main goal is to get Professor Ratigan behind bars and rescue Olivia Flaversham's father while simultaneously preventing a royal assassination. There are a few differences between Basil in the book series and in the film version, such as mercurial moods in the latter. He also plays the violin rather well in the movie, whereas the book series stated Basil's violin playing was atrocious—instead, Basil played the flute.
  • Professor Ratigan - Basil's archenemy. Based on Professor James Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes stories, this character plots to seize control of the British monarchy. He and Basil have a long-established adversarial relationship. In the book series, it is revealed his given name is Padraic and that Ratigan is in fact, a mouse. This could be the reason why Ratigan in the movie (who is a rat; hence he has five fingers while the other mice have four fingers) takes offense from being referred to as a rat.
  • Dr. David Q. Dawson - Previously of the Queen's 66th Regiment in Afghanistan. His character is based upon Dr. John H. Watson from the Sherlock Holmes stories. The interaction between him and Basil mimics that of Watson and Holmes, as Dawson is constantly is amazed by Basil's deductions. He eventually becomes Basil's associate, friend, and personal biographer. In the film, the animators modeled the character after Nigel Bruce in both appearance and character. As a result, Dawson is essentially a fat bumbler who is redeemed by his good heart.
  • Olivia Flaversham - A small girl mouse of Scottish descent who seeks Basil's help in finding her toymaker father. Basil carelessly mangles her surname several times when speaking to her, and gets the surname correct only once when speaking to Olivia's father, Hiram. Her surname is most likely based on Flora and Fauna Flaversham from the Basil of Baker Street book series.
  • Fidget the Bat - Ratigan's evil henchman. He tends to do the dirty work for his boss. He has a crippled wing and a peg leg, and as a result he cannot fly properly. Ratigan throws him off the side of his flying machine near the end of the film, and he lands in the Thames.
  • Hiram Flaversham - Olivia's loving Scottish father. He works as a toymaker and is kidnapped by Ratigan to make the Queen Mousetoria robot.

The Great Mouse Detective theatrical release historyEdit

  • July 2, 1986 (original release)
  • February 14, 1992 (re-release)

English voice castEdit

Supervising animatorsEdit


Opening CreditsEdit

  • Walt Disney Pictures Presents
  • "The Adventures of The Great Mouse Detective"
  • With the Voice Talents of
    • Vincent Price as Professor Ratigan
    • Barrie Ingham as Basil
    • Val Bettin as Dawson
    • Susanne Pollatschek as Olivia
    • Candy Candido as Fidget
    • Diana Chesney as Mrs. Judson
    • Eve Brenner as The Mouse Queen
    • and Alan Young as Flaversham
  • Produced in association with: Silver Screen Partners II
  • Music: Henry Mancini
  • Produced by: Burny Mattinson
  • Directed by: John Musker, Dave Michener, Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson

Ending CreditsEdit

  • Story Adapted by: Pete Young, Vance Gerry, Steve Hulett, Ron Clements, John Musker, Bruce M. Morris, Matthew O'Callaghan, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, Melvin Shaw
  • Based on the "Basil Of Baker Street" book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone
  • Supervising Animators: Mark Henn, Glen Keane, Robert Minkoff, Hendel Butoy
  • Animation Consultant: Eric Larson
  • Character Animators: Matthew O'Callaghan, Mike Gabriel, Ruben A. Aquino, Jay Jackson, Kathy Zielinski, Doug Krohn, Phil Nibbelink, Andreas Deja, Phil Young, Shawn Keller, Ron Husband, Joseph Lanzisero, Rick Farmiloe, Sandra Borgemeyer, Cyndee Whitney, Barry Temple, David Block, Ed Gombert, Steven E. Gordon
  • Art Direction: Guy Vasilovich
  • Layout: Dan Hansen, David A. Dunnet, Karen A. Keller, Gil DiCicco, Michael A. Peraza, Jr., Edward L. Ghertner
  • Color Styling: Jim Coleman
  • Background: Donald A. Towns, Lisa L. Keene, John Emerson, Brian Sebern, Michael Humphries, Tia Kratter, Andrew Phillipson, Philip Phillipson
  • Effects Animators: Ted C. Kierscey, Kelvin Yasuda, Dave Bossert, Patricia Peraza, Mark Dindal
  • Coordinating Animators: Tom Ferriter, Dave Suding, Chuck Williams, Walt Stanchfield, Bill Berg

Editors: Roy M. Brewer, Jr., James Melton

  • Music Editors: Jack Wadsworth
  • Assistant Directors: Timothy J. O'Donnell, Mark A. Hester
  • Key Assistant Animators: Tony Anselmo, Reed Cardwell, Wesley Chun, Brian Clift, Jesus Cortes, Retta Davidson, Anthony DeRosa, Barbara W. DeRosa, Stephen Hickner, Richard Hoppe, Martin Korth, Jeffrey Lynch, Michael G. McKinney, David Pacheco, Tina Price, Ruben Procopio, Natasha A. Selfridge, David Stephan, Jane Tucker, Lureline Weatherly, Stephan Zupkas
  • Assistant Animators: Denise Ford, Gail Frank, June M. Fujimoto, Terry Hamada, Ray Harris, Johan Klingler, Gilda Palinginis, Maria Rosetti, Toby Shelton, Kaaren Spooner, Rusty Stoll, Peggy Tonkonogy, Kirk Wise, Ellen Woodbury
  • Effects Assistant Animators: Rolando B. Mercado, Steve Starr, John Tucker
  • Assistant Layouts: Rasoul Azadani, Mark G. Kalesniko, Dan McHugh, Elyse Pastel, Jennifer Yuan
  • Breakdown and Inbetween Artists: Scott Anderson, Judith Barnes, Edward B. Goral, Peter A. Gullerud, Christine Harding, Michael Horowitz, Marcia Y. Kimura, Mona Koth, Christine Liffers, Stephen L. Lubin, David P. Martin, Brian McKim, Edward Murrieta, Terry Naughton, Lori M. Noda, Dan Tanaka, Alex Topete, Cathy Zar
  • Animation Camera: Ed Austin
  • Ink and Paint Supervisors: Gretchen L. Albrecht, Bill Branzer, Janet Bruce, Hortensia M. Casagran, Carmen Sanderson, Betty Stark
  • Painting Assistants: Penny Campsie, Ginni Mack
  • Color Models: Cindy Finn, Debbie Jorgensberg, Sylvia Roemer, Brigitte Strother
  • Scene Planning: Glenn Higa, Richard T. Sullivan
  • Computer Generated Graphics: Tad A. Gielow

  • Adaptions Based on Story by: George Selden
  • Inspired by the works of: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Graphics: Iraj Paran, Tom Wogatzke
  • Creative Design: Iwao Takamoto
  • Storyboards: Matthew O'Callaghan, Scott Shaw!, Don Jurwich, Scott Jeralds, Robert Taylor
  • Unit Head: Lew Ott
  • Design Supervisor: Jack White
  • Character Design: Lee Evans, William H. Frake, III, Kirk Hanson, Brian Hogan, Di Rudder, Jim Stenstrum, Donna Zeller
  • Layout Supervisor: Margaret Parkes
  • Key Layout: Bill Proctor, Andrew Phillipson

  • Key Background Supervisor: Al Gmuer
  • Background Supervisor: Richard Zaloudek
  • Key Background: Martin Forte, Patricia Palmer-Phillipson, Bill Proctor, Marzette Quilty
  • Special Effects: George Clark
  • Supervising Film Editor: Larry C. Cowan
  • Film , Robert T. Gillis, Charles McCann, Robert Ciaglia
  • Sound Effects: Dick Maitland
  • Audio: Blake Norton
  • Sound Direction: Alvy Dorman, Stan Wetzel
  • Supervising Sound Editors: Richard L. Anderson, Charles L. Campbell
  • Sound Editors: Randle Akerson, Wayne Allwine, Paul Timothy Carden, George Fredrick, David M. Horton, Donald J. Malouf, Colin C. Monat, Chuck Neely, Mark Pappas, George Probert, Roger Sword, Sherman Waze
  • Sound Effects Editors: Catherine MacKenzie, Michele Iverson, Carol Lewis, Tim Iverson
  • Assistant Sound Editors: Maggie Ostroff, Stephanie D. Singer
  • Sound Supervisor: Robert Hathaway
  • Sound Re-Recording Mixers: Nick Alphin, Chris Carpenter, Rick Kline, Donald O. Mitchell, Kevin O'Connell, Richard Portman, Frank C. Regula
  • Sound Recorded and Mixed at: Producers' Sound Service · Don Minkler, Bill Mumford
  • Dubbing Supervisor: Pat Foley
  • Supervising ADR Editors: Larry Singer, Becky Sullivan
  • ADR Editors: Beth Bergeron, Al Maguire, Alan L. Nineberg
  • ADR Editor (Swedish Version): Tomas Krantz
  • Foley Mixer: Greg Orloff
  • Foley Artist: John Roesch
  • Foley Recordist: Carolyn Tapp
  • Music Supervision by: Jay Lawton
  • Musical Director: Bob Singleton
  • Orchestrations by: Henry Mancini, Jack Hayes, Dick Lieb, Jorge Calandrelli, John Scott Trotter
  • Additional Music by: Rod McKuen
  • Music Performed by: VInce Guaraldi
  • Music Consultant: Robin Garb
  • Music Engineer: John Richards
  • Music Coordinator: Danny Epstein
  • Associate Music Director: Dave Conner
  • Score Engineer: Christo Curtis
  • Score Producer: Henry Mancini
  • Additional Score Producer: Carl Fortina
  • Musicians: Tom Boyd: Oboe Soloist, George Doering: Instrumental, Carl Fortina: Accordion Soloist, Richard Nash: Trombone Soloist, Ethmer Roten: Flute, James Thatcher: French Horn
  • Music Recording Studio: CBS Radford Studios
  • Music Recording (Hollywood, CA): United Recorders · Artie Becker
  • Assistant Film Editors: Scot Scalise, Steve Melendez
  • Additional Voice Talents of
    • Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes
    • Laurie Mann as Watson
    • Shani Wallis as Lady Mouse
    • Ellen Hitzhugh as Bar Maid
    • Walker Edmiston as Citizen
    • Barrie Ingham as Bartholomew
    • Melissa Manchester as Miss Kitty Mouse (uncredited)
    • Charles Fleischer as Various Voices (uncredited)
    • Frank Welker as Toby the Dog/Felicia the Cat
  • Thug Guards: Wayne Allwine, Tony Anselmo, Val Bettin, Walker Edmiston
  • "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind"
    Music: Henry Mancini
    Lyrics: Larry Grossman and Ellen Hitzhugh
  • "Goodbye, So Soon"
    Music: Henry Mancini
    Lyrics: Larry Grossman and Ellen Hitzhugh
  • "Let Me Be Good To You"
    Written and Performed by: Melissa Manchester
    Produced by: Robbie Buchanan
    Courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
  • Prints by Technicolor®
  • Re-Recorded at: Todd-AO/Glen Glenn Studios
  • No. 28113 Motion Picture Association of America
  • Dolby Stereo in Selected Theaters
  • This picture has made the jurdisction of I.A.T.S.E., affiliated with AFL-CLO
  • © MCMLXXXVI by The Walt Disney Company  All Rights Reserved
  • Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution, Inc.
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Opening previewsEdit

1992 VHS (Walt Disney Classics)Edit

  • 1991 Green FBI Warnings
  • Aladdin Sneak Preview
  • "Feature Presentation" Bumper
  • 1992 Walt Disney Pictures Logo (clean version)
  • 1990 Walt Disney Pictures Logo
  • Start of Movie/Opening Credits

Closing previewsEdit

1992 VHS (Walt Disney Classics)Edit

  • End of Movie/Closing Credits
  • 1990 Walt Disney Pictures Logo (Silent)
  • The Rescuers Home Video Trailer
  • "......And coming this fall to home video!"
  • Beauty & The Beast Home Video Trailer

Home mediaEdit

  • Despite its financial success at the box office, The Great Mouse Detective does not come out on home video until after its re-release in 1992, when it was part of their Walt Disney Classics line; the film was re-issued on VHS in 1999, and on VHS and DVD in 2002. These home media releases all contain the 1992 re-issue title print (The Adventures of The Great Mouse Detective).
  • In April 13, 2010, the restored special edition of the film was released on DVD, but unlike all previous home media releases (which contain the 1992 re-issue title print, The Adventures of The Great Mouse Detective), this edition contains the digitally-restored original 1986 release. This edition was also released on Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital Download in October 9, 2012.
  • In anticipation of an upcoming spin-off series of 8 approx. entirely-animated theatrical short films, an upcoming entirely-animated TV series adaptation based on the movie itself, and the movie's upcoming entirely-animated theatrical motion picture spin-off (Ratigan's Crazy Cheese Chase), "Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment" has plans to re-issue the movie itself directly to DVD & Blu-ray Disc and Movie Download, when being part of the Walt Disney Special Editions line of DVDs, Blu-ray Discs, and "Digital Download" releases around August 15, 2017.

See alsoEdit


  • The Walt Disney Company announced that, as of 2013/2014, there are plans for The Great Mouse Detective to spawn a series of 8 animated theatrical shorts and a TV series adaptation in animation, with work on these projects, as well as the film's entirely-animated spin-off, Ratigan's Crazy Cheese Chase, being planned and in-progress.
  • Third Disney animated film to be set in London after 101 Dalmatians.
  • The Great Mouse Detective and 101 Dalmatians were the only two Disney films with different titles that were confusing to some audience, and have only three songs, unlike all Disney films.
  • Released in the same year as An American Tail, which is also a film about mice Although An American Tail had more money than the Great Mouse Detective to be number 1, Great Mouse Detective ended being more successful than An American Tail for many reasons; more positive reviews than An American Tail, being the 4th Disney film to save animation studios from being shut down and going bankrupt after the underperformance of The Black Cauldron, and hardworking productions than An American Tail.

External linksEdit