An American Tail Wiki
An American Tail Wiki

An American Tail: The Mystery of the Night Monster was the second direct-to-video sequel to An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island and the final chapter of the An American Tail tetralogy, starring Thomas Dekker as the main character, the young Fievel Mousekewitz. This film was released on July 25, 2000 in the US. Because of the staff’s negative attention with the previous DTV sequel, Universal Studios wanted to end the film series as soon as possible by making the final chapter. Stricter changes were made, as characters and elements from the previous film are omitted for political purpose. Changes were also made for some of the original characters as well.

Note: This marks the last role for Nehemiah Persoff for voicing Papa Mousekewitz in a film before retiring from acting to become a full-time painter.

It is also the final time Dom DeLuise voiced Tiger before his death in 2009.


Set in between the third film (Late 1880s) and second film (1892), Fievel Mousekewitz, his friend Tony, and his sister Tanya Mousekewitz, all get jobs at the local newspaper, where the audience is introduced to Nellie Brie, who wants to be an important reporter, but only gets small assignments, as if she were a secretary to Reed Daley, the newspaper's editor. Throughout the film, Tanya Mousekewitz tries to win Reed's heart, while Tony tries to get noticed by Reed and promoted to a reporter. Like in the previous movies, where a mouse installation is directly below its human installation counterpart, the newspaper offices the mice work in is directly underneath the newspaper offices the humans work in.

Nellie gets a chance when she is assigned to report mice who disappear overnight into holes that open up on their floor all over New York. Reed makes up a, as Nellie calls it, "so-called monster" that lives under the city and takes mice away during the night to add more excitement to the otherwise unimportant story, intending to sell more papers. The Night Monster instills fear in the readers, as could be expected. Fievel begins having nightmares that cause him to lose sleep because of his fear of the monster; the film opens up with Fievel having a dream about being chased by what he thinks the monster looks like. When, through Tanya, he is assigned the job of following Nellie and drawing up interpretations of what the monster looks like based on witness testimony, this makes his insomnia all the worse. A particularly suspicious miniature French poodle named Madame Mousey, who has started living among the mice about this time, appears at every crime scene, claiming to be a fortune teller. The heroes finally decide to investigate her by means of the "dog council" that meets at Central Park. They also search down one of the holes, which leads directly to a group of cats hiding in the sewers. Also, all the mice that had disappeared are being held in wood cages there, to be sold off to other cats and eaten.

The Night Monster itself, a mechanical device with ghastly flashing pictures and a buzz saw, is revealed in full when it attacks the mice newspaper office and printing press to prevent them from printing the truth, which they had just discovered. A great chase scene takes place throughout both the mouse and the human newspaper offices. Reed reveals that he was in love with Nellie all along, much to Tanya's intense dismay. When all the cats seem to be under control, the "dog council" appears just as they're regaining consciousness and chase them all away, taking Madame Mousey with them. As the film ends, the last scene takes place at the beach, where the audience is told that the "dog council" had chosen for the French poodle (who was the mastermind behind the night monster all along) a punishment worse than prison: returning her to her owner. Mrs. Mousekewitz, Fievel's mother, surmises saying that now that the mystery has been cleared up, Fievel may finally go to sleep, only to turn around and find him already asleep on the beach towel, to which Papa smiles and says, "You were saying?" The Mousekewitz family, including Tony and Tiger, share a group hug as Mama says, "Sweet dreams, my little Fievel. Sweet dreams.", ending the film, and the series.

Animation style

The comparison with the characters shown from the distance in films 3 and 4.

In comparison with the two theatrical features in the American Tail series, both direct-to-video releases falter in animation quality, as typical for direct-to-video cartoons. On top of that, Fievel's fur color was desaturated even though the rest of the Mousekewitz family have kept their original fur color. Which direct-to-video film has the better animation seems to be a matter of opinion, but this film did do a better job of the shots where the characters are tiny, along with keeping the humans seen from the neck down, with the exception of Madame Mousey's owner at the end of the film.

  • Fievel Mousekewitz (voiced by Thomas Dekker): Fievel is the main character of the film. He constantly has nightmares of the night monster trying to get him.
  • Tiger (voiced by Dom DeLuise): The only cat friend of the Jewish-Russian mouse family.
Other Voices:
  • John Mariano - Twitch, leader of the Outlaw Cats / Madame Mousey's manservant) The second antagonist of the film.
  • Jeff Glen Bennett - Slug
  • This is the second American Tail media not to feature Erica Yohn as the voice of Mama Mousekewitz. The first was Fievel's American Tails.
  • This is the only An American Tail film in which the mice don't sing in a large group.
    • This is also the only film in the franchise that doesn't include the large Italian mouse.
  • In the original trailer of this finale, it was titled An American Tail IV: The Mystery of the Night Monster. In the actual film, its Roman numerals were dropped from the title in the beginning of the film.
    • To date, this is the only film in the series that stayed the way it was originally released.
  • The AAT4 trailer is the only original trailer that has ever surfaced on the digital stores, while the theatrical trailers of the first two films can only be found on the Blu-ray release of the first two films and the ill-fated original trailer of AAT3 is only sourced on the titled VHS copies by Universal that were marketed prior to the third film’s release.
  • This is the first and only time Tony is seen without his usual outfit. He wears a bathing suit at the end of the film.
  • There are several possible references to the third movie in Night Monster, such as Papa reading about a group of rat business owners being arrested (possibly Mr. Grasping and his colleagues) and a newspaper clipping hanging on Daily Nibbler's wall is headlined "Mice Finds Treasure" (which may reference the expedition carried out by Dr. Dithering, Fievel, Tony, and Tiger).
  • Several possible fragments from Fievel Goes West are assumed regained, despite the film still takes place in New York as writers already confirmed the first sequel’s canon false:
    • The obese mother with twins that were shown with the crowd in the sewer in FGW are seen in the crowd during Madame Mousey’s meeting. Notably the twins are infants in this film.
    • Tanya appears taller and wears a straw hat few minutes earlier in the film (replacing her babushka), despite she’s still hairless and not having the ability to sing.
    • Yasha is seen sitting up a couple times, although she’s still speechless and unable to walk.
    • A headline reads John Cheese, which can be seen as a pun for John Cleese, whom played Cat R. Waul.
    • Tiger strangely overcame his fear with dogs near the end.
  • While the film itself is rated G, it received a TV-PG rating when it aired on Freeform apparently for some scary images, even though this isn't as intense as film 3.
  • Despite Universal owning The Mystery of the Night Monster and is classified as a children’s film, Universal Kids abruptly skipped it from their schedule.
Release dates
  • Germany: December 9 1999
  • UK: March 6, 2000
  • USA: July 25, 2000
  • Canada: July 25, 2000
  • Japan: March 30, 2002 (TV premiere)
  • Hungary: November 1, 2004 (TV premiere)
  • Australia: November 2, 2004
  • Spain: January 5, 2005
  • Japan: June 23, 2005
  • Italy: October 5, 2005
  • Russia: October 31, 2005
  • France: February 3, 2006
TV Airings

Toon Disney (2001-2007)

Cartoon Network

Starz Encore

Starz Kids and Family

Freeform (2019)

This film is no longer available for television schedulings as of 2020. It is only available for purchasing under streaming or DVD marketings.


Netflix (2017-2020)

iTunes/Apple TV

Amazon Prime

  • When Tanya wakes up saying "Oh, not again!" after Fievel's nightmare at the very beginning, the captions say "Oh, my God!".
  • When Haggis explains about the monster to Nellie, the character froze in one shot, but his voice can still be heard without his mouth moving.

The film has an audience score of 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, beating The Treasure of Manhattan Island's score by 11% but falling behind Fievel Goes West's critic score by 10% (which has an audience score of 62%) . Common Sense Media gave it a positive review compared to its predecessor, describing it as "A mystery with spunk, courage, and heart" which encourages children to overcome their fears.

Within the fandom, it is not nearly as divisive as The Treasure of Manhattan Island , perhaps because it makes no attempt to neglect the continuities of the first two films, as well as improving some of the original characters’ appearances here. Madame Mousey was considered an enjoyable antagonist by fans and has gathered many fan art. This villain was also considered superior to the villains of the third film. The character of Nellie Brie was also well-received by fans. However, the film has been criticized for its animation, as was the previous film, and some fans took issue with Fievel's characterization in this film. Even if not finely made like An American Tail and Fievel Goes West, Thomas Dekker received a Young Artist Award for best voice-over performance for Fievel, which is the only direct-to-video sequel in the series that received an accomplishment.

External links