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Western Animation / The Great Mouse Detective

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The game's apaw!

Dawson: Oh, how very thrilling, eh, Basil?
Basil: All in a day's work, Doctor.

Basil, The Great Mouse Detective in the UK. Rereleased in 1992 as The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective.

A 1986 Disney Animated Canon film (Number 26) with no Medieval European Fantasy setting, no True Love's Kiss, and no princesses (although there is a mouse version of Queen Victoria...) More importantly, the reasonable success of this film after The Black Cauldron debacle was able to convince the new senior management of Walt Disney Pictures that their animation department had a future after all.

This Animated Adaptation of Basil of Baker Street, a series of children's books by Eve Titus, tells a story of Sherlock Holmes in a Mouse World. When toymaker and mechanical genius Hiram Flaversham is kidnapped, his daughter Olivia hires the greatest detective in all mousedom, Basil of Baker Street, to find him. On her way, she is found by the Narrator and Dr. Watson's Captain Ersatz, Dr. Dawson, just back in London after serving overseas in the military. Basil is reluctant to take the case until he realizes the bat who kidnapped Olivia's father works for his Arch-Enemy, the Diabolical Mastermind Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price).


With the help of his trained hound, Toby, Basil tracks the bat to a human toy shop, but he escapes and kidnaps Olivia. Ratigan uses her to force her father to complete a robot duplicate of the mouse queen as part of his Evil Plan to take over the kingdom. After learning Basil is on the case, the Evil Genius decides to use this as an opportunity to humiliate and defeat his rival once and for all. Basil falls for his trap hook, line, and sinker and, with some encouragement from Dawson, narrowly escapes the Death Trap in enough time to save the queen and engage Ratigan in a Chase Scene by air that culminates in a gruesome Monumental Battle at Big Ben.

This movie was the directoral debut of Disney power duo John Musker and Ron Clements (this one had Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener as two additional directors). Ron & John on their own then directed the film that formally started the Disney Renaissance, The Little Mermaid. From there, they've directed Aladdin, Hercules, The Princess and the Frog, and Moana (the last of which came out the same year as The Great Mouse Detective's 30th anniversary, 2016).


This film provides examples of:

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  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: One of the first uses of CGI (after The Black Cauldron) in an animated feature, traced from wire-frame graphics onto animation cels and certainly a far more conspicuous user than its predecessor—where The Black Cauldron mostly limited CGI to special effects and stuff (i.e. glittering stars, chroma-keying smoke into the scenes, etc.), The Great Mouse Detective made extensive and notable use of it in the interior of Big Ben. Very impressive stuff for its time.
  • Accidental Misnaming: Basil constantly gets Olivia's surname wrong. Funnily enough, the one time he does get it right is when he's addressing her father.
  • Adorkable: Basil gets adorably awkward or goofy several times when he's not being unfriendly. Notable moments include after how awkward and tongue-tied he gets after Olivia's My Parents Are Dead moment, his interactions with Toby, and the scene where he's awkwardly trying to cheer up Dawson. "I say... Dawson, old chap?" with a nervous smile.
  • Adult Fear:
    • The whole scene of a stranger kidnapping Mr. Flaversham from his home as his daughter watches from a closet. It plays out like a home invasion.
    • Ratigan arranges to have Olivia kidnapped, and threatens to have her fed to his Right-Hand Cat unless her father cooperates with his demands.
  • Affectionate Parody: Subverted. The scene with Felicia seems almost designed to address any such expectations about this movie, with Felicia's appearance first heralded by the shadow of her bow, followed by the appearance of this comparatively giant fluffy cat... and then Felicia eats Bartholomew. No jokes, no take-backs, just straight-up murder by the villain.
  • Agony of the Feet: Olivia stomps on Fidget's foot while he's restraining her. Made worse by the fact that he only has one foot.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: in a Freeze-Frame Bonus, Olivia is horrified when Ratigan tosses Fidget off the dirigible to fall and drown in the Thames.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy:
    • Professor Ratigan congratulates himself on his outstanding villainy and celebrates with his minions. One of them, Bartholomew, gets so drunk that he unwittingly calls his master a rat (which he is), Ratigan's Berserk Button. He takes Bartholomew with him and serves him up to his pet cat for lunch all while Bart is completely oblivious to this and still singing Ratigan's praises.
    • Justified at the Bad-Guy Bar with Dawson. The drinks given to him and Basil have been drugged, but by the time Basil figures this out, Dawson's already downed an entire pint of the stuff. When Basil's attention is drawn away by a clue, Dawson ends up onstage with the dancers, prompting a Face Palm from Basil.
  • All There in the Script:
    • The original book series reveals that Ratigan's first name is Padraic. This is still considered canon for the movie, but it's never mentioned anywhere.
    • The name of the Queen of Mice is "Queen Moustoria" is never mentioned in the film but is in the novelization and some spin-off children books.
    • Miss Kitty's name isn't brought up anywhere in the film, but it can be seen on her character model sheet. Although it isn't likely to be her actual name, but a descriptor.
  • Alone with the Psycho: Basil manages to save Olivia and toss her into her father's arms, but Ratigan catches up and starts beating him down. All the other mice can do is watch, since they can't jump from the balloon to mount a rescue.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end of the film, Basil gets a visit from a dame who has another case for him to solve. Basil introduces Dawson as his partner on all of his cases.
  • Aside Glance: Fidget gives one when Ratigan frees him from the cat and begins cuddling him.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: This is established right at the beginning where Basil is able to figure out Dawson's profession and where he came from in less then 3 lines of shared dialogue. Also, Near the end, Basil escapes Ratigan's killer Rube Goldberg Device by setting it off at a very precise moment.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ratigan towards the climax, when he's enraged and no longer pretending to be a classy villain.
  • Bad Boss: Though his minions generally respect him, it's best not to upset Professor Ratigan, or he'll feed you to his Right-Hand Cat ...or simply toss you overboard when you're weighing him down.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Ratigan's hideout is located below a bar that services scoundrels, thus necessitating Basil and Dawson to disguise themselves as such. It comes with the inevitable Bar Brawl.
  • Battle in the Rain: The climactic No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Big Ben is accentuated by a storm.
  • Batman Gambit: Knowing that Basil's on the case, Ratigan has a Eureka Moment, concocting a plan relying on Basil's detective skills being sharp enough to locate Ratigan. Sure enough, Basil finds Ratigan's hideout, but Ratigan's got an ambush waiting for Basil when he gets there.
  • Beautiful Singing Voice: While Basil and Doctor Dawson visit the seedy seamen's pub, the rowdy patrons fall silent when the chanteuse Kitty Mouse takes the stage and begins "Let Me Be Good To You." They regain their raucous fervor after Kitty's tone-shift turns her act into a striptease.
  • Berserk Button: Calling Ratigan a rat will "upset him", which means he will kill you. It's subverted when Basil tries to press his button by calling him a rat, Ratigan freezes, spawns Technically a Smile, informs him that he would have stuck around to watch his death, but Basil was fifteen minutes late and closes his pocket watch with the most controlled anger he manages to show throughout the film.
  • Beware the Silly Ones:
    • Toby is a Big Friendly Dog, but he does belong to Sherlock Holmes. In the climax, he chases down Felicia after she tries to eat the queen and corners her to the king's royal dogs.
    • Ratigan's silly, Faux Affably Evil persona breaks during his Villainous Breakdown. He stops being so composed, drops all pretenses of civility, and turns into a feral rat by slashing and cutting at Basil.
  • Big Bad: Professor Ratigan is the king of London's underworld and the mastermind behind the film's Evil Plan.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Toby. The emphasis here is on big, since the main characters are mice. Also Played With since he is friends with Basil, growls at Dawson, and chases down criminals. He is, after all, a dog that belongs to the great Sherlock Holmes.
  • Big "NO!": Basil, when discovering that the two bullets don't match.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Ratigan, after Olivia starts to bad mouth him when he's escaping.
    Ratigan: Would you kindly sit down and shut UP?!
  • Bizarre and Improbable Ballistics: The idea behind the ballistics test is presented fairly well, but the experiment conducted to determine a match has a fatal flaw. Basil holds the ends of the bullets together, and most of the grooves etched into the bullets by the rifling match, except for few. The problem is, if you turn the bullets around in your head so they're side-by-side as opposed to end-to-end, one would be a mirror image of the other! Thus, a cursory glance at them would be all you need to see that they don't match. If Ratigan knew Basil would make such a stupid mistake when comparing the bullets, this could be a case of Fridge Brilliance, as it implies almost impossibly good foresight.
  • Blowing a Raspberry:
    • Ratigan's appearance in the Royal Palace elicits Dramatic Gasps from the crowd, except one little kid who just razzes him.
    • Fidget does this to Olivia when he imprisons her in a bottle.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Ratigan appears to despise rats despite being one himself, and calling him a rat is a surefire way to get yourself killed. This is technically averted; it's revealed in the books he really is just a big mouse (which, incidentally, one of his minions says in an attempt to pacify him).
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Justified. Ratigan builds a giant death trap that he leaves the heroes in. Ratigan wanted to stay and watch it, but as the heroes arrived fifteen minutes later than he planned, Ratigan doesn't have the time to stay, as he has to carry out his Evil Plan. So Ratigan rigs a camera to capture Basil's dying moment instead.
  • Bowled Over: During the bar riot, one strong mouse's punch sends the bar piano flying into the other band members, complete with the sound of bowling pins as the piano knocks the band members away and breaks apart.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Fidget has to get "tools, gears, girl, and uniforms".
  • Brick Joke: Right before leaving for Buckingham Palace, Ratigan tells a soon-to-be-dead Basil "Now, you will remember to smile for the camera, won't you?" as he activates his deadly Rube Goldberg contraption which is set to take a picture at the exact moment Basil and Dawson are to die. A few scenes later, after Basil's last-minute ingenuity very narrowly lets them escape the trap, he grabs hold of Dawson, catches Olivia and says "Smile, everyone!" as the picture of the three is successfully taken.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Basil is an undeniable genius who, when he's first shown on-screen, comes off as quite possibly insane. He completely ignores anyone else if it means catching Ratigan, even barely acknowledging the presence of strangers in his home when he's introduced.
  • Burp of Finality: Felicia burps after eating Bartholomew. Ratigan had fed him to her for disrespecting him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ratigan has a tendency to treat Fidget as such, treating him as a disposable moron. When Fidget fails him one too many times, Ratigan sicks his pet cat on Fidget, only letting him live thanks to a Eureka Moment. The disposable part kicks in in the climax, however, when Ratigan is trying to escape from Basil and decides to lighten his load.
  • Call-Back: Ratigan tells Basil to be sure to smile for the camera which will take a pic of him being offed by the Death Trap. After Basil manages to foil the trap:
    Basil: Smile, everyone!
  • The Cameo:
    • Sherlock Holmes himself appears three times in silhouette. In the books, Basil actually lives under Holmes' floor. From his and Watson's dialogue, Holmes is apparently solving the case of the Red-Headed League. And the dialogue is performed by? Basil Rathbone.
    • Dumbo appears as a bubble-blowing toy in the toy shop that Basil and Dr. Dawson go to.
    • Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland also appears in the film.
    • Toby the dog is from the Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You:
    • After Hiram Flaversham refuses Ratigan's command to complete a clockwork robot to impersonate the Queen and expresses that he isn't afraid to die, Ratigan instead threatens the life of his daughter, Olivia.
    • Ratigan is initially disappointed in Fidget for getting Basil on his trail in the toy shop, and punishes Fidget by trying to have Felicia eat him. He changes his mind when he realizes Fidget can be used to bait Basil later in the film.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Averted. Basil lives under the real Sherlock Holmes.
  • Cape Snag: Basil invokes this on Ratigan towards the climax as part of his battle plan.
  • Captain Ersatz: Basil for Sherlock Holmes, Dawson for Dr. Watson, Ratigan for Moriarty.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Ratigan likes to talk about how his latest scheme is supposed to be "even grimmer" than his previous ones.
  • Cats Are Mean: While this Trope appears often in works where the heroes are mice, Felicia is an odd case because her master is a rodent, who uses her as an executioner.
  • The Chanteuse: Miss Kitty Mouse during the bar scene performs this role by singing a melancholy song in a bar during Basil's investigation. Her appearance is homey, until she discards it to reveal something much more stripperific and shifts into a more high energy fanservice song.
  • Chorus Girls: Miss Kitty musical number has also two backup dancers that dance alongside Kitty. They are her twin-sisters with a Beauty Mark.
  • Circle of Shame: Ratigan and his henchman mock Basil after he falls into the trap.
  • Climbing Climax: The film's climax takes place on the Westminster Clock Tower, where Basil and Ratigan fight between the clock's gears.
  • Clock Punk: The robot double of Queen Mousetoria that Flaversham makes for Ratigan.
  • Clock Tower: The Westminster Clock Tower, home of Big Ben, is the location for the final showdown.
  • Company Cross References: One of the toys in the toy shop resembles Dumbo.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Basil traps Ratigan's cape in clock gears before going to rescue Olivia since there's no time for a drawn out battle. Besides which, Ratigan beats him to a pulp when he catches up.
  • Complexity Addiction:
    • Basil, was that ludicrous series of chemical reactions really necessary simply to prove that a piece of paper was soaked in salt water? note 
    • Ratigan's infamous death trap puts Basil's chemistry set to shame. It's a Rube Goldberg Device that will trigger several lethal weapons (he couldn't choose which one'he wanted, so he picked all of them) via a marble that will roll down a chute as soon as a record player is finished. It also triggers a camera to record the climactic moment.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: In the scene with the tea-making robot, the cup is noticeably lighter than the saucer before the robot picks it up.
  • Cool Old Lady: Queen Mousetoria is no slouch. When Ratigan ties her up and sends Fidget to feed her to Felicia, she fights as he carries her. Then she helps Basil and Dawson tie up Ratigan's men and save her people from Ratigan being made consort.
  • Creepy Doll: The dolls in the human toyshop are a little unnerving even before they're smashed apart in the scuffle.
  • Cue Card: Mr. Flaversham is forced to read off cue cards while operating the Queen Mousetoria robot.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The final battle shows that Basil doesn't stand a chance against Ratigan in a one-on-one wrestle, with Ratigan being several times his size and built like a tank. In real life, rats sometimes eat mice. Good thing Basil can still outwit him.

  • Damsel out of Distress: Queen Mousetoria is old, but she can fight. She kicks Fidget as he carries her to a hungry Felicia. Later, she helps Basil and Dawson take down Ratigan's men.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Basil is a bit more polite than the traditional example, but he still manages to get in a few good quips. For instance, he fails to mention to Dawson that his friend Toby is a dog, and subverts the Worthy Opponent speech by turning it into an insult against Ratigan.
  • Death Trap: Justified, In-Universe, by Ratigan.
    "I had so many ingenious ideas, I didn't know which to choose. So... I decided to use them all!"
  • Decoy Damsel: Basil and Dawson see Olivia imprisoned in a glass bottle. It turns out to be Fidgit.
  • Detective Animal: Basil, naturally, is a Sherlock Holmes sized mouse.
  • Detectives Follow Footprints:
    • Basil uses a magnifying glass to follow Fidget's clearly visible footprints in the toy store.
    • Played with when we first see the Great Detective's laboratory; there's a Rube Goldberg Contraption endlessly printing bootprints on paper, perhaps as a "have you seen these bootprints?" "Wanted!" Poster.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Ratigan, defined by Basil as the "Napoleon of crime" (an obvious reference to Professor James Moriarty).
  • Dialogue Reversal: When Olivia corrects Basil about her name during the movie, he says, "Whatever." Later, when Basil and Olivia part on good terms and he again gets it wrong, Dawson says, "Whatever."
  • Disney Death: Basil falls from the clock tower, but manages to fly back up with a piece of Ratigan's contraption.
  • Disney Villain Death: Ratigan dies when the bell from the clock tower goes off. Also serves as a Shout-Out to "The Final Problem", as Basil goes with him. However, Basil survives thanks to having a piece of Ratigan's blimp to use to save himself.
  • Distinguished Gentleman's Pipe: Basil smokes a pipe while pondering because he is a brilliant English detective. When he's disguised as a sailor, he uses a cigarette instead.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: It's quite easy to miss, but Fidget gets his leg stuck in the floor because he is watching the dancers in the bar scene. Dawson does too, but he's been drugged with something in his drink, so it's part of a Mushroom Samba.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: One hundred percent unintentional, but there's a moment where Basil points to a small circular hole in a pane of glass and calls it "our friend's point of entrance" while sticking Dawson's finger into it. He then shows how if you pull, the glass operates like a door.
  • Door Handle Scare: When Fidget breaks into Flavisham's Toy Shop with the intention of abducting the owner, he spends several seconds rattling the door handle (which turns out to be futile) before breaking the window and entering with a Jump Scare.
  • Dramatic Sit-Down:
    • Basil gets one as an Establishing Character Moment when two bullets don't match ballistic markings. Thinking he'd caught Ratigan, Basil is quite disappointed to learn he hadn't.
    • Basil has a bad Heroic BSoD. He can do nothing besides sit there through the Breaking Speech and wait for the death trap to go off. He gets better.
      Dawson: Dash it all, Basil! The queen's in danger, Olivia's counting on us, we're about to be horribly splattered, and all you can do is lie there feeling sorry for yourself!
  • Dramatic Thunder:
    • As the standard for Disney animated films, Basil and Ratigan's big fight on Big Ben near the end is accompanied by a strong thunderstorm, which clears up once Basil and Ratigan fall off the clock, and Basil survives thanks to using a piece of Ratigan's getaway blimp.
    • Also when Basil is first delivering exposition on who Ratigan is.
  • Dread Zeppelin: Ratigan has a sinister-looking blimp with sharp, flaring metal tailfins... driven by a bicycle-powered propeller and rudder.
  • Ear Worm: Fidget gets "Let Me Be Good to You" stuck in his head and is heard singing snippets of it as he leaves the bar.
  • Emergency Cargo Dump: When the bat Fidget tires from trying to lose the pursuing detective Basil, he advocates lightening the load: namely, throwing hostage Olivia from the airship. Fiendish Professor Ratigan likes the idea, but throws Fidget from the craft instead.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Basil doesn't appear at all for the first ten minutes or so of the film, letting the plot be established without him. When Dawson and Olivia are at Basil's flat waiting for his return, the movie (and the audience) is completely thrown off by the abrupt entrance of an insane-looking Chinese mouse, brandishing a revolver and screaming "I found him!" No sooner does the mouse storm in that it's shown that the Chinese mouse is Basil, wearing a realistic mask and a fat suit. But even after this, Basil utterly ignores the entreaties of the heroes to obsessively test his theory on matching bullets, howling in anguish when he is proved wrong and slipping into a spell of depression. It's only after all this that Olivia is able to get a word in and set the plot into motion, but by then, it's clear that Basil is not your typical Disney hero.
    • Besides his Villain Song, Ratigan's debut establishes his character quite easily; while threatening Flaversham, he speaks very tenderly about what could happen to his daughter, gently holds the toy he made for her... and squeezes it until it breaks.
  • Eureka Moment:
    • Dawson fruitlessly tries talking Basil out of a Heroic BSoD while the two are in Ratigan's Death Trap. Dawson finally gets fed up, saying that if Basil is feeling sorry for himself, then he should just set off the trap and get it over with. This gives Basil the idea to use the trap's mechanism's against it to free the both of them.
      Dawson: I know you can save us. But if that's the way you feel, then why don't we just set it off now and be done with it?!
      Basil: Heh. Set it off now. (beat, Basil's eyes open wide) Set... it off... now? Yes! Ha ha! That's it! We'll set the trap off now!
    • Ratigan gets one when he learns Basil's on the case. Rather than let Basil inevitably find him in the act, Ratigan gets the idea to lead Basil right to him in order to ambush him with his gang.
      Ratigan: (angry) Oh, I can just see that insufferable grin on [Basil's] smug face! (Ratigan hits his head on a bottle and rubs it; he suddenly smiles) Yes... yes, I can just see it!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The rest of Ratigan's thugs try to desperately to ease Ratigan's Berserk Button after a drunken Bartholomew presses it, quite mortified by by his expected punishment.
  • Everybody Smokes: Both the hero and the villain are smokers. Basil, being a Sherlock Holmes Expy, smokes a pipe, whereas Ratigan smokes cigarettes on a holder. Justified by the movie taking place in the Victorian era, and so many other minor characters are seen smoking as well, especially in the Rat Trap saloon.
  • Evil Brit: Everybody is British here because the setting is London, so this trope is averted on technicality, although Price's accent in the movie still sounds thoroughly American to British ears.
  • Evil Counterpart: Ratigan is one to Basil, just as Moriarty is to Holmes. Both are intelligent men of culture and taste; it's just that one's a detective and one's a Card-Carrying Villain.
  • Evil Feels Good: Ratigan expounds on the pleasure of evil during his villain song.
  • Evil Is Bigger: The heroes are mice, while Ratigan is a r... big mouse who dwarfs the heroes.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Ratigan's presence is bigger than he is. Again, look at who voiced him. It's inevitable.
  • Evil Sounds Raspy: Fidget is an extreme example, his dialogue is so raspy that it verges on The Unintelligible.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear: Felicia, Ratigan's cat, is last seen in the film pursued by royal guard dogs.
  • Expressive Mask: Basil's mania is on full display in his white rubber Chinese mouse mask.
  • Expy: Basil to Sherlock Holmes and Basil Rathbone, Ratigan to Professor Moriarty, Dawson to Watson and Mrs. Judson to Mrs. Hudson.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: It's a bit dubious as to exactly how much time passes in-universe, but the film takes place over, at most, two nights (June 20-21 of 1897, to be precise). The majority of the film happens within the span of just a few hours. Ratigan's comment "We will have our little device ready by tomorrow evening, won't we?" is some indication that everything happens relatively fast.
  • Face Palm: Basil during "Let Me Be Good To You" after Dawson starts making a fool of himself.
  • Fade Around the Eyes: Ratigan does this at the end of one scene. He grins at the camera with a sinister expression as the shot fades to the next scene. His bright yellow eyes are the last things you see.
  • Family-Friendly Stripper: Miss Kitty's song-and-dance number is period-accurate for Victorian-era England, with her just showing some leg in a leotard.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death:
    • It's implied Felicia is torn to shreds by the Royal Guard dogs after Toby chases her off a wall.
    • Ratigan tosses Fidget off the dirigible, as Fidget screams that he can't fly. The bat sinks like a stone into the Thames with an eerie splash.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Ratigan's brutal beatdown of Basil in the final scene.
  • Famous Last Words: Courtesy of Fidget before he falls into the Thames: "I can't fly! I can't fly]]!
  • Fantastic Racism: In this Mouse World, all middle- and high-class citizens appear to be mice, whereas other sapient animal species (rats, bats, lizards, toads and octopuses) are either criminals or clowns. Ratigan denies being a rat and claims to be a "big mouse" presumably for this reason.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ratigan comes off as rather cheerful and pleasant, especially when compared to Basil (who can be a bit of a smug Jerkass). However, he's also an evil criminal genius who's perfectly willing to threaten a child in order to get what he wants.
  • Fed to the Beast: Any Mook that upsets Ratigan ends up as a snack for Felicia. This was nearly the Queen's fate as well, but Basil manages to rescue her at the last moment.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: Played straight, what with taking place in Victorian-era London and featuring rodent Sherlock Holmes expies.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All the non-human cast members have four fingers; exceptions being Ratigan (a rat with five-fingered hands) and Fidget (a bat with wings), and the octopus clown that appears in the bar scene.
  • Foreshadowing: When Basil learns that a bat stole Olivia's father, he asks if said bat had a broken wing. It turns out that Fidget, said kidnapper does, which means he can't fly. When Ratigan tosses him off the zeppelin in the climax, Fidget is screaming "I can't fly!" as he falls and presumably drowns in the Thames.
  • For the Evulz: Ratigan doesn't kill Basil right away once he's got him cornered. He also didn't need to keep Olivia locked in a bottle with no way to escape after Flaversham agreed to help him. Ratigan just did all that because he's a jerk.
    Ratigan: You don't know what a delightful dilemma it was trying to decide on the most appropriate method for your demise.
  • Freak Out!: The failure of his plan fills Ratigan with so much rage, he turns feral and savage, dropping to all fours like an actual rodent and snarling when he talks, becoming far more predator-like than he was throughout most of the film.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted. The drinks in the Bad-Guy Bar are explicitly referred to as beer. Brandy, champagne and sherry are also mentioned.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Felicia, a giant house cat that Ratigan flowers with affection and uses to dispatch his enemies as well as any incompetent lackey.
  • Funny Octopus: One performer in the Bad-Guy Bar is an octopus clown, juggling three balls between his tentacles. He becomes the victim of Produce Pelting from the patrons of the bar who are unsatisfied with his act.
  • Furry Confusion: The movie has anthropomorphic mice, rats, bats, and lizards (maybe not completely anthropomorphic, as Ratigan proves), but real cats, dogs, and horses, and humans as well.

  • Genius Bruiser: Ratigan prefers to use his brain to solve his problems (if nothing else than to preserve his image), but he is vastly stronger than any other small animal in the movie.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Played for Laughs from Basil to Dawson after he's drugged, then played seriously from Dawson to Basil when Basil is in a funk after they're captured.
  • Gilligan Cut:
    Basil: (to Olivia) Young lady, you are most definitely not accompanying us, and that! Is! FINAL!
    (Cut to Basil on the case, accompanied by Dawson and Olivia)
    Basil: And not a word out of you. Is that clear?
  • Giving Them the Strip: When Ratigan's cape gets caught in the gears of Big Ben, he (narrowly) escapes being crushed by ripping off the cape.
  • The Glomp: Basil is uncomfortable when Olivia glomps him after he agrees to take the case, but is a bit more accepting when she hugs him at the end of the movie.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Basil comes across as somewhat rude, especially early in the film, which makes him a good contrast to the Faux Affably Evil Ratigan. Fitting, since the original Holmes can be somewhat of a Jerkass Smug Snake himself at times. Although he does slowly grow out of it, as seen when he tries to comfort Dawson. Granted, he doesn't actually apologise for his rant, but it's clear from the look on his face that he regrets being so harsh.
  • Good Smoking, Evil Smoking: Basil smokes a pipe while Ratigan smokes a cigarette (complete with long stemmed filter holder a la Cruella de Vil). When Basil disguises himself as a sailor captain, he swaps out his pipe for a cigarette.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: You see the shadow of Felicia just before she eats Bartholomew the mouse.
  • GPS Evidence: The brandy, coal dust, and salt water on Fidget's list leads Basil to Ratigan's hideout.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Basil has a chemistry setup in his home, which he uses to determine that Fidget's burglary list has come in contact with salt water, leading Basil to deduce that Fidget frequents a sleazy pub "where the sewer meets the riverfront." In fact, when Ratigan snares Basil in his ambush, he chides Basil, "Trouble with the chemistry set, old boy?"
  • Ground by Gears: Basil flips The Villain's cape into some bevel gears while the two were fighting inside Big Ben. Basil then rushes to rescue the Heartwarming Orphan, who is poised to be crushed by much larger gears meshing, leaving The Villain to tear off his cape to free himself.
  • Hand Gagging:
    • Basil does this to Dawson, as does Ratigan to Olivia—before she bites it. And the kid who blew the raspberry at Ratigan in the Queen's palace was quickly silenced this way by his mother.
    • Dawson gives a rather angry one to Basil while he's in the middle of his Heroic BSoD, which actually helps Basil, leading to his Eureka Moment detailed above.
  • Hats Off to the Dead: One of Professor Ratigan's mooks pushes his Berserk Button by drunkenly calling him a rat, and Ratigan feeds him to his pet cat Felicia as punishment. After the impromptu execution, one of Ratigan's other mooks is shown holding his hat across his chest.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: When Miss Kitty start to strip, in her musical number, only Basil pays no attention while patrons grab fruitlessly at her.
  • Heel–Face Return: Fidget survives and is suddenly a heroic character in a sequel comic.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": When Dawson is trying to get Basil to snap out of his slump, he provides Basil with a Eureka Moment:
    Dawson: Dash it all, Basil! The Queen's in danger, Olivia's counting on us, we're about to be horribly "splatted" and all you can do is lie there feeling sorry for yourself. Well, I know you can save us, but if you've given up then why don't we just set it off now and be done with it?
    Basil [faintly]: He he. "Set it off now." Set if off... now?
    Basil [triumphantly]: Ha ha! Yes! We'll set the trap off now!
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: A hostage Olivia gives a Grin of Audacity when Basil, Dawn and her father appear with a rudimentary hot air balloon to rescue her from Ratigan.
  • Heroic Bystander: One old man stands up to Ratigan and calls him a tyrant; the rat responds by breaking his cane. When Basil unearths Ratigan's plot in front of the crowd at Buckingham Palace, a good number of mice dogpile on Ratigan along with the detective to subdue him. They only lose because Ratigan is that strong.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: By the end, Basil manages to entice Dawson into staying by having him help with a new client, whom Basil immediately gives a Sherlock Scan, impressing Dawson yet again.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Basil undergoes a near-fatal one after he falls for Ratigan's trap.
    • Dawson has a minor one after Olivia is kidnapped by Fidget.
    • Basil also has a minor one earlier in the film, after finding the bullets in his latest investigation don't match. He goes into a depression, slinks into his easy chair and starts playing a mournful tune on his violin with a depressed look on his face.
  • Hero of Another Story: As Basil goes to visit Toby and ask for his services, he hears Sherlock Holmes and Watson discussing a case.
  • Hollywood Glass Cutter: A variation: When Basil and Dawson trail Fidget to the toy shop he broke into, Basil sees a hole drilled into the window—a small hole, the size of a single finger—and immediately realizes that's how Fidget got in. Dawson wonders how anyone could fit through such a tiny hole. Basil demonstrates by popping Dawson's finger into the hole, then using that finger to pull the window open on its hinge.
  • Homage: "Elementary, my dear Dawson". The entire movie, really, especially one scene where the silhouettes of two men who are obviously Holmes and Watson are visible discussing a case. The Holmes expy even shares a name with probably the most famous actor who played Sherlock. (So would that make this a Holmsage?)
    • In fact, in The Adventure of Black Peter, Holmes mentions he's known as (Captain) Basil around the Sumner area, though that much is coincidence. There's also Toby the dog, whom Holmes used in The Sign of the Four.
  • Humanlike Animal Aging: Mice in this universe seem to live exactly as long as their human counterparts. The Queen of Mice has been crowned the very same day (20th of June, 1837) as the human Queen Victoria, and has been on the throne for 60 years.
  • Hurt Foot Hop: Poor Olivia becomes the hostage of Ratigan. His bumbling accomplice, Fidget, tries to keep Olivia still, but she stomps on Fidget's foot, eliciting a yelp of pain and the requisite hopping. Bonus points to Fidget, as his other leg is a peg leg.
  • I Am Not Weasel: The professor HATES being called a rat; he's a "big mouse". This is actually true in the books - in the film, anatomical clues make it unlikely at best.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Basil and Dr. Dawson grab it pretty hard in the toy store by not realizing that someone had to have set off all the toys' mechanisms and that they didn't just wind themselves up. Basil should have instantly realized that whoever turned them on must have done so to provide cover for himself, and Dawson messed up by just letting Olivia wander off by herself.
    • Basil again. When he finally discovers Ratigan's hideout, he insists on going in alone with just his good natured but inexperienced new partner, instead of also bringing the police or some other form of backup in case Ratigan discovered him and had too many goons with him, or if there was a trap set up for him. The latter of the two is what happens.
    • Ratigan's intelligence tends to drop considerably when he's very angry, causing him to act on impulse several times to his own detriment.
  • I Have Your Wife: Ratigan kidnaps Olivia (a daughter in this case) to make Flaversham cooperate.
  • Indy Escape: Basil and Dawson running away from a large Ferris wheel toy rolling in their direction in a toy store.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: This is Bartholomew in all of the five minutes we see of him. It proves to be his downfall when he accidentally insults Ratigan while sloshed in the alcohol fountain.
  • Infant Immortality: Olivia doesn't die but she is put in life-threatening danger several times. Most notably she is almost crushed to death by the clock gears in Big Ben, saved literally at the last second by Basil. Ratigan also threatens to kill her unless they let him escape.
  • Insistent Terminology: "I AM NOT A RAT!" note  This is different from the books, where he really isn't a rat.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Dawson, after drinking a drugged pint of beer, is so tipsy that he forgets the mission and starts can-can dancing.
  • Ironic Echo: Basil's ringing of Ratigan's little dinner bell (as Ratigan would use to call Felicia) before Big Ben strikes the hour, the bell's vibrations knocking Ratigan off to his demise.
  • Jump Scare: Twice by Fidget; when he breaks into Flaversham's shop in the beginning of the film, and when he hides in a cradle while inside the human toyshop. Both times include a Nightmare Face.
  • Karmic Death: Just as Ratigan used a handheld bell to execute his incompetent or unlucky followers, he dies when the bell from the clock tower goes off.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • When Ratigan threatens Olivia, he slowly crushes the doll that was her birthday present in front of Flaversham. He also literally tosses her when she calls him a giant rat in the climax.
    • During "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind", it's mentioned that one of Ratigan's previous plots involved drowning widows and orphans.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Ratigan throws Fidget off his ship after he asks if he can toss Olivia overboard.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Olivia is the child the young audience can mostly identify with, as the rest of the cast are middle-aged men (well, mice).
  • Kidnapped Scientist: Flaversham is a toymaker, but he qualifies. His skill with making mechanical toys had applications for chicanery that Ratigan made forcible use of.
  • Knighting: It's certainly implied by the picture in the newspaper article at the end that Basil was knighted for his actions in saving the queen.
  • Large Ham:
    • Ratigan is one of Disney's largest. In fact, Vincent Price said that this was his favorite role, and that he had a lot of fun with it. What's more, he also professed to being "flattered" that all of Ratigan's songs were written specially for him so that he could act as over-the-top as possible. Mr. Price was prone to making wild, over-the-top hand gestures and such while acting, which the animators worked into Ratigan's character as well.
    • There's also the incredibly expressive, hyperactive unless quite visibly depressed, always overdramatic Basil himself. Barrie Ingham (Basil's voice actor) was also given to dramatic gesturing. The animators had lots of raw material to work with!
    • Basil's most notably hammy moments are:
      "Young lady, you are most definitely not accompanying us! AND THAT IS FINAL !!!
    • and...
      "Set it off now. Set . (laughs madly) Yes, yes, we'll set the trap off NOW!!".
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • Felicia escapes Toby by jumping over a high wall, only to be torn apart by the royal hounds on the other side.
    • Basil sheds his ego to help a girl find her father, and ends up saving the queen from an assassination and usurper's plot. He gains a partner in Dr. Dawson, the queen's favor, and Olivia's gratitude.
  • Last-Name Basis: (Padraic) Ratigan, (David) Dawson, and (Hiram) Flaversham.
  • Latex Perfection: Basil's white rubber Chinese mouse mask during his introduction (despite taking place in 1897, before latex masks were invented!).
  • Leitmotif:
    • Basil, Dawson and Olivia all have their own respective themes that frequently show up in the film's score: Basil's theme is also used as the main title music, Olivia's is also the tune her father's dancing music box mouse plays, and Dawson's theme prominently features a bassoon.
    • Ratigan has two themes; a solo clarinet and a dark french horn/bass combination.
  • Letting the Air Out of the Band: Happens to the clockwork band in the toyshop when Basil switches it off.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Toby to the mice is a Big Friendly Dog, until Basil tells him that they need to solve a case. Then Toby is all business. In the climax, he chases down Felicia so that she can't eat the queen and distracts her from the "meal".
    • Dawson and Flaversham in the climax. When Ratigan's plot is exposed and Basil leads a dogpile on him, the two mice join in on the assault. After Fidget takes Olivia hostage while escaping with the rat, Basil commands Flaversham and Dawson to make a rudimentary hot balloon to keep up the chase. Father and doctor are completely focused on the task to save Olivia, and keep the balloon steady when Basil jumps off onto the rat's dirigible.
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite the gloomy, London backgrounds and some of the violence, this film is significantly more lighthearted than Disney's contemporary pieces.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: A rather unusual example, as the animals do live in a human world, despite humans mostly being in the background. But while there are anthropomorphic mice, rats, bats, and lizards, there are also real non-anthro cats, dogs and horses as well.
  • Lucky Translation:
    • Basil is called "Basil Holmuis" (hole-mouse) in Dutch. Yes, that's a real word.
    • The Italian title for the film is Basil l'investigatopo, a play on words with "investigatore" ("detective") and "topo" ("mouse").

  • Manly Tears:
    • Bartholomew sheds them while Ratigan is talking about his history with Basil.
    • One of Ratigan's thugs also sheds one after Bartholomew is eaten by Felicia.
    • Though Basil doesn't shed them, he cries after Olivia leaves to go back to Scotland at the end of the movie.
  • Match Cut: After the "World's Greatest Criminal Mind" number, as Ratigan smugly smiles, lightning flashes and the next scene begins on a portrait of Ratigan in Basil's flat doing the same smug smile.
  • Missing Mom: Olivia doesn't have one, as she rather bluntly tells Basil.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • The opening scene begins as a sweet and tender moment between Flaversham and his daughter, only to turn into a violent and disturbing (though thankfully brief) fight scene as Fidget kidnaps the toymaker. The scene ends with the once bright and cheery shop now darkened and wrecked, while poor little Olivia plaintively cries out to her father, only for her voice to echo away in the fog. And then the extremely jaunty, upbeat title music starts playing.
    • Less extreme, but the drama and intensity of the chase sequence in the final act is somewhat marred by the fact that, whenever the action cuts from Ratigan's zeppelin back to Basil and the others, the release of helium from the balloon essentially results in it endlessly Blowing a Raspberry. This does, however, add to the zany madcap nature of the chase, and provides some welcome humor just before things are about to get very dark.
    • This happens during Ratigan's villain song when the scene started out whimsical and fun. Then, the scene starts going dark the moment Bartholomew accidentally calls Ratigan a "rat" and it was then that Ratigan ends up feeding Bartholomew to his pet cat Felicia, causing the tone to shift to pure terror.
  • More Expendable Than You: In the climax, Basil focuses on Olivia's safety when they are trapped in the clock tower with Ratigan. He rescues her from clock gears about to crush her and tosses her into her father's arms before Ratigan can catch up with them. Only then can Basil focus on saving himself from a feral rat.
  • Most Definitely Not a Villain: Dawson when in disguise as a ruthless shipmate, is still as polite as ever. Basil can't help but groan every time he does this.
  • Most Definitely Not Accompanying Us: The Trope Namer — said by Basil when he tries (and fails) to get Olivia to stay behind while he and Dawson investigate.
  • Mouse World: The film is set in a world occupied by mice that fits the trope's description. They even have a queen counterpart.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Miss Kitty. Her only appearance in the film is her putting on a burlesque performance while stripping from a dress to a showgirl outfit, earning quite a bit of cheers from the bar patrons.
  • Musical Trigger: A record player sets off the Death Trap by releasing a marble.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: The film is Diagetic: all three songs (not including the reprise of "Goodbye So Soon" over the credits) happen in the story. Miss Kitty is a bar singer, there's a record player, Ratigan's minions indulging his vanity, etc.
  • My Parents Are Dead: Basil, depressed about failing to catch Ratigan yet again and playing the violin to console himself, dismisses Olivia's request that he find her father with, "Surely your mother knows where he is." Olivia responds, "I don't have a mother," and Basil's playing comes to a screeching halt.
  • Mythology Gag: Plenty homages to original Holmes novels :
    • The first meeting between Basil and Dawnson reflects the first meeting between Holmes and Watson in "A Study in Scarlet". In both cases Holmes/Basil calls his future partner a "Doctor" and explain how he deduced he was a Doctor and that he just came back from Afghanistan.
    • Toby is Holmes's dog from the story "The Sign Of the Four".
    • Holmes is voiced by Basil Rathbone (who played Holmes in 14 movies!) and his lines are from the story "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League". Basil himself is named after Rathbone.
    • The final fight between Basil and Ratigan reflects the final fight between Holmes and Professor Moriarty in the story "The Final Problem".
    • When Dawson says (commenting on Basil's deduction skills) "It's amazing", Basil replies, "Actually it's... elementary, my dear Dawson", a reference to Holmes's so-called catchphrase. Basil repeats this phrase when going through the maps to find the location of Ratigan's hide-out.
    • Another Holmes catchphrase ""The game's afoot!" is used by Basil as well.
    • Ratigan's voodoo doll looks just like Basil in Paul Galdone's illustrations in the original "Basil of Baker Street" stories.
    • A silhouette of Sherlock Holmes is shown in the window of 221 Baker Street, not 221b. The 'B' is above Basil's mousehole.
    • When they venture into Holmes' rooms, there's a picture of an elegant lady over the mantlepiece who Holmes fans will recognize as Irene Adler.
  • Natural Weapon: Ratigan, at the end, is revealed to have long, deadly sharp claws which he normally conceals with gloves.
  • Never Mess with Granny: Queen Mousteria is supposed to be as old as Queen Victoria, but she is tough. When Fidget carries her Bound and Gagged to a waiting Felicia, she fights back and kicks him for all that it's worth. After Basil saves her, she helps him subdue all of Ratigan's men and ties up Fidget with obvious pleasure.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: an ironic version, in that Dawson fixes the Death Trap. See, Ratigan's Death Trap has fortunately been foiled by the broken record. Dawson bellows out his "Pull Yourself Together!" at Basil, and causes the record needle to jump past the broken spot, thereby starting the Death Trap up again. It's purely Rule of Funny in action, but allows the more spectacular escape to happen.
  • Nice Mice:
    • Most of the mice in the movie (Basil, Dawson, Olivia, Olivia's father etc.) are moral, heroic etc.
    • Averted with Ratigan's minions, most of them are mice and thuggish criminals. Ratigan, by contrast, is a rat (even though he vehemently denies being one) but in the books he was also a mouse.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Queen Mousteria, a clear analogue of Queen Victoria.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Towards the end of the movie, Ratigan mercilessly attacks Basil while shouting "There's no escape this time, Basil!" That Ratigan is usually more friendly than that only makes his suddenly vicious attack feel even more intense.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Ratigan's intent with the Death Trap he's constructed for Basil is thorough. Unable to decide which method to eliminate Basil with, he simply uses all of them: Snap his neck with a mousetrap, shoot him with both a derringer and a crossbow, bisect him with an axe, and finally flatten him with an anvil. All of these objects are human-scale.
  • Nominal Importance: Some characters, including "Miss Kitty", are only named in the credits.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Basil isn't the least bit distracted by Miss Kitty's burlesque performance. Lucky too, since he notices that his drink is being drugged.
  • Not Good with People: Basil is downright rude towards Olivia and seems to be very very uncomfortable while trying to cheer up Dawson.
  • Nothing Personal: Implied by Ratigan towards Dawson; as he sets the Death Trap, he tells him, "Sorry chubby. You should have chosen your friends more carefully." (Or maybe he just decides to kill him For the Evulz.)
  • Obsession Song: "Goodbye So Soon," a song recorded on a record and played during the Death Trap segment. It's Ratigan gleefully singing about how he's dreamed of killing Basil.
  • Off-Model: The very unfortunate DVD cover that was formerly at the top of this page. See its completely different art style here. Then there's the current DVD cover artwork. Basil and Olivia don't look too bad, despite Basil having five fingers (usually he has four) and Dr. Dawson's eyes looking rather odd.
  • Offing the Annoyance: Or, as Ratigan calls it, "Lightening the Load". Poor Fidget.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Basil, the Queen and Dawn subduing Ratigan's mice happens while he is making his big Parliamentary speech. We only get a hint of it when the robot queen pauses in her praise of Ratigan, which means it could have only happened within seconds.
  • Offstage Villainy: Ratigan lists his previous villainous exploits in his opening song (The Big Ben Caper and the Tower Bridge Job, as well as a plot that involved drowning widows and orphans), but as his Card-Carrying villainy would suggest we never get to see them.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Fidget gives an "Uh oh..." when he realized he left the list behind.
    • Also Basil right after he accidentally sits on his violin and wrecks it.
  • Ominous Music Box Tune: In the toy shop, when the cradle that Fidget hides in is wound up.
  • One-Winged Angel: As part of his Villainous Breakdown, Ratigan reverts to his monstrous feral rat form in the climax. He proves incredibly dangerous, nearly killing Basil.
  • Only Sane Man: Dawson for most of the movie, with a few exceptions like when he gets drugged in the bar. On seeing a lost child, he takes her to Baker Street when she asks and encourages her to talk to Basil when the detective is ignoring her distress. He reminds a Heroic BSoD Basil that the mouse needs to shape up and save everyone because no one else will. It's for this reason that Basil makes him his partner.
  • Panty Shot: Olivia, a few times. It's most notable when Fidget shoves her into the bottle.
  • Papa Wolf: Dawson, Basil and Flaversham care deeply about Olivia's safety. While Flaversham is Ratigan's prisoner for most of the movie, he gets to show off his chops when Basil saves him and helps him rescue his daughter. He helps Basil assemble their rudimentary hot air balloon and navigates with Dawson to catch Olivia when Basil saves her from the clock tower.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Basil and Dawson's sailor disguises are poor and this is Lampshaded by Ratigan. It's odd considering that Basil clearly has much more convincing disguises at his disposal, such as the large Chinese mouse he was dressed as earlier in the film when he was introduced. Perhaps he didn't expect to be abruptly confronted by Ratigan in person, but that hardly fits with Basil's usual tendency to consider all possibilities.
  • Parent Service: Miss Kitty musical number "Let Me Be Good To You" will go right over the heads of children. Thus, it was clearly meant for their parents.
  • Perma-Stubble: Ratigan looks like he has stubble but this is technically just the fur color.
  • Plucky Girl: Olivia shows shades of this near the climax of the film.
    Olivia: Just wait! Basil's smarter than you! He's going to put you in jail! He's not afraid of a big, old, ugly rat like you!
    Ratigan: Would you kindly sit down and shut up!
  • Precision F-Strike: A G-rated version, with Basil's "DRAT!" among finding his two bullets don't match.
  • Primal Stance: When Ratigan's animal rage returns him to all fours while attacking Basil, also exposing his claws and baring his teeth.
  • Punny Name: Many in the foreign language editions — besides "Ratigan". For instance, the Italian Dawson is named "Topson", with "topo" meaning "mouse."
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: If Ratigan's body starts to quiver uncontrollably and his eyes become blood-red, START RUNNING FOR YOUR LIFE!
    • This is used as a blink-and-you'll-miss-it bit of foreshadowing early on in the film. When we are first introduced to Ratigan, after he has just completed his Villain Song, he turns to Fidget, asking if everything is going as planned. When Fidget nervously reveals that he accidentally led Basil onto their master plan, Ratigan momentarily flies into a blinding rage, his eyes glowing a deep, bloody red, going so far as to sic Felicia on Fidget. But once Ratigan realizes that he can use Basil's involvement to his advantage, his rage subsides, but the redness in his eyes lingers until the next scene.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Olivia is an adorable little mouse girl.
  • Right-Hand Cat: Felicia. Oddly, she's also a Right-Hand Attack Dog, though obviously not in the literal sense.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Downplayed but the Queen is seen helping tie up Ratigan's mooks. She can also be seen helping with trying to restrain Ratigan before he escapes.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The clock tower ends up being a huge death trap. It doesn't work, but man, if someone didn't outdo themselves thinking it up.
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: Basil, a Good Is Not Nice detective, has a tendency to be brusque and unconcerned with others (he has No Social Skills), while Dr. Dawson is an Adorkable Sensitive Guy who gets involved in the adventure to begin with because he can't stand to see a little girl cry. Given that this is a Sherlock Holmes story with mice, the dynamic between Basil and Dawson mirrors the one between Holmes and Watson (particularly the Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce versions). This being Disney, he (and Olivia) wind up defrosting Basil.
  • Running Gag: "Everything will be fine, Miss Flanghangar!" "FLAVERSHAM!" "Whatever."
  • Running on All Fours: Ratigan shifts to this after his Sanity Slippage, as his savage, animalistic side comes out.

  • Sapient Eat Sapient: Although cats and dogs are less anthropomorphic than smaller creatures, Felicia still emotes to a considerably human degree, and appears to explicitly understand Ratigan's instructions and plans. (Specifically when it comes to who and who not to eat.)
  • Scenery Porn: Big Ben from the inside-out.
  • Schmuck Bait: "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" has the line You're the tops, and that's that. Considering Ratigan's Berserk Button, why would the chorus end a line with anything that could rhyme with 'rat'?
  • Second Face Smoke: A woman at the tavern blows smoke at Dawson when he tries to apologize for bumping into her. Ratigan does it to Flaversham while holding him prisoner.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Being the genius he is, Basil does this quite a bit, confusing or impressing Dawson at times.
  • Shame If Something Happened:
    Flaversham: You can do what you want with me. I won't be a part of this-this... this evil any longer!
    Ratigan: Oh, very well, if that is your decision. Oh, by the way, I'm taking the liberty of having your daughter brought here.
    Flaversham: O... Olivia?
    Ratigan: Yes... I would spend many a sleepless night if anything unfortunate were to befall her.
    Flaversham: "You... Y-You wouldn't!"
    [Ratigan crushes Olivia's doll his hand]
  • Sherlock Homage: Basil is obviously a mouse version of Sherlock Holmes. He even lives under the floor boards of the real Sherlock.
  • Sherlock Scan: Well, duh. Starting from his first with Dawson:
    Basil: You've sewn your torn cuff together with a Lambert stitch, which, of course, only a surgeon uses. And the thread is a unique form of cat-gut, easily distinguished (aside to Olivia) by its peculiar pungency (to Dawson again) found only in the Afghan provinces.
  • She's Got Legs: Miss Kitty the bar singer has some of the most shapely, curvaceous legs ever animated and has a showgirl skirt to showcase them.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Ratigan dumps his lackey Fidget (who provided most of the film's comic relief) out of his dirigible, into the Thames River. That's a big clue that things are about to get dark and intense. Cue Villainous Breakdown and Nightmare Fuel inside Big Ben.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Basil uses the Queen Victoria robot to tell Ratigan where to go.
    Basil: Most assuredly... you insidious fiend. You're not my Royal Consort! You're a cheap fraud and impostor. A corrupt, vicious, demented, scoundrel. There's no evil scheme you wouldn't concoct. No depravity you wouldn't commit. You, Professor, are none other than a foul stenchus rodentus, commonly known... (Basil pops out) as a sewer rat!
  • Showgirl Skirt: Miss Kitty's number has her remove a normal skirt to show a blue leotard with a short, feather skirt underneath.
  • Shown Their Work: At the end of the episode, the newspaper's date says "Monday, June 21, 1897". That day was indeed a Monday.
    • All the mice in the film have four fingers, but Ratigan has five. That's not an accident - unlike mice, rats do have five digits, so despite his denial, Ratigan's own hands betray his nature.
  • Sissy Villain: Ratigan (before he turns into a psychotic, feral rat at the end) is quite possibly one of Disney's most cold-blooded villains... and yet he surrounds himself with pink and purple fabric, fashionable capes, and sings songs while being carried around by his hired boys.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Basil and Dawson are given drugged drinks sometime in the bar. Basil tests his drink first, but Dawson isn't so fortunate. Oddly enough, it doesn't really do much but make him tipsy, and it wears off almost immediately. Then again, Ratigan wanted Basil to fall into his trap.
  • Smoking Barrel Blowout: Basil does this after firing a gun he obtained as part of his most recent case, at Mrs. Judson's pillows.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Basil's pipe smoking is treated as refined.
  • Smug Snake: Ratigan is standing on the very edge of the clock hand after Basil has fallen off, and as he's laughing in victory, he doesn't notice that the clock is chiming the Westminster Quarters... In general, this is what Ratigan is at his core. He just manages to hide it very well.
  • Spanner in the Works: Dawson ends up accidentally delaying Basil when they go to Ratigan's hideout to rescue Olivia. Due to getting drugged and starting a bar brawl while tipsy, Dawson needs a few minutes for Basil to slap him to his senses. Then he goes the wrong way down the pipe. As a result, Ratigan says they were fifteen minutes late and doesn't stay around to watch the Death Trap. Dawson then convinces Basil they should escape, which Basil wouldn't have done if he were alone.
  • Spit Take: Ratigan spits out his drink during his Villain Song when Bartholomew calls him "the world's greatest rat".
  • So Much for Stealth: Basil and Dawson are creeping through the toystore when Olivia activates a music box.
  • Staggered Zoom: Done on Ratigan right before he goes nuts during the Big Ben scene.
  • Steam Punk: The robotic Queen Victoria duplicate and its control system that Flaversham built out of cobbled-together gears and toy scraps commonly found in the 19th century, as well as Ratigan's favorite mode of aerial transportation, can only be explained as this.
  • Stepford Smiler: Ratigan's a Type C, the Mask of Sanity type. He's truly a savage and feral monster under that veneer of wicked cultured.
  • Stock Scream:
    • Olivia Flaversham has one, heard nearly any time she screams. The only time she shrieks differently is at Fidget's second Jump Scare in the toy shop.
    • Fidget's screaming from off-screen among Ratigan summoning Felicia is actually a Stock Sound Effect from Disney's sound library, not Candy Candido actually screaming. It actually comes from the Disney LP record "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House".
  • Stock Clock Hand Hang: In the final chase scene, Basil hangs on the giant hand of a tower clock when he fights with the villain, Professor Padraic Ratigan.
  • Super Senses: Basil is able to detect drugs in his beer by simply dipping his fingertip into the drink and licking it. Which is similar to what real-life mice and rats do if they suspect poison. He also tastes a sheet of paper to get more evidence on its origins. His mentor often sniffed evidence, including corpses, but taste is more of a mouse thing.
  • Symbolism: The material Basil uses to create his makeshift hot-air balloon? The Union Jack flag. Emphasized when Ratigan, in the middle of his Big "SHUT UP!" to Olivia, is freaked out by the flag suddenly rising hugely into view behind his zeppelin—and considering what he'd tried to do the Mouse Queen, extremely apt in a "the British Empire rising up against its enemies" sense.
  • Techno Babble: Basil spouts some while analyzing Ratigan's Death Trap. See Writers Cannot Do Math down the page.
  • Tempting Fate: Ratigan gloats to his henchmen that not even Basil can stop his plot. After his Villain Song finishes, Basil is ruminating over why Ratigan kidnapped toymaker Flaversham and gets a lead when Fidget appears.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Ratigan calls Olivia "my dear" as he is pulling her away from her father.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The Death Trap Ratigan puts Basil and Dawson in consists of a mousetrap, gun, crossbow, ax, and an anvil. Apparently, he couldn't decide which method of death was best, so he used them all.
  • Thrown from the Zeppelin: A literal example; Fidget the bat is forced off his boss's zeppelin to "lighten the load". He has a crooked wing so this is still dangerous for him and he drowns in the Thames.
  • Title Drop: The last line of the film. The original title would have been "Basil of Baker Street", the name of the book series. Characters utter "Basil of Baker Street" quite frequently throughout the film, so if Executive Meddling hadn't changed the title, there would have been a lot of title drops!
    Dawson: From that time on, Basil and I were a close team, and over the years we had many cases together. But I always should look back with fondness on that first: my introduction to Basil of Baker Street, the great mouse detective.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Poor Bartholemew. He was a little too fond of the drink for his own good and pressed his bad boss's berserk button.
    • Also, poor Olivia. It's best not to wander off from the detectives protecting you when there's a kidnapper on the loose. She almost dies several times because of this, and the only reason she doesn't is because said detective gets to her in time, each time.
  • Tranquil Fury: Throughout most of the movie, Ratigan repeatedly gets angry, but manages to rein it in and remain Faux Affably Evil as he threatens and murders his henchmen. During the climax, this goes away.
  • Trapped in Villainy: It's implied that Ratigan's henchmen have no choice but to do his bidding. If they step out of line, he can ring his bell and they all become cat food. Running is also not an option, with his stamina and smarts.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Goodbye So Soon" is recorded by Ratigan in a mocking tone as Basil and Dawson are awaiting their doom. During the credits, the song is reprised by a chorus in a more upbeat, celebratory tone.
  • Tuckerization: Basil shares his name with Basil Rathbone, an actor famous for his portrayal of Sherlock Holmes and whose image often inspired the image the detective has in popular culture.
    • Bonus points: Basil Rathbone's voice appears, through the magic of archived dialog, as the voice of Sherlock Holmes.
  • Unconventional Vehicle Chase: Ratigan flees with Moe Olivia as his hostage in an airship powered by a bicycle-like assembly at its tail. Ratigan is pursued by The Hero Basil of Baker Street in a makeshift helium balloon powered by jetting the gas from the balloon's bottom. The chase runs a merry distance over London; Ratigan's Fidgit-powered craft jettisons Fidgit, and Ratigan himself propels the craft, while Basil's balloon stays close behind despite bleeding off copious amounts of helium.
  • Underlighting: Underlighting was used in a very subtle manner. It provided the glow for the coals when a character was smoking a pipe.
  • Underside Ride: Dr. Dawson rides in a mouse-sized compartment beneath a stagecoach.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Queen Mousetoria's guests aren't too quick to pick up on the fact that her double looks a bit... robotic.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Basil falls for Ratigan's ploy perfectly, throwing him into a temporary Heroic BSoD at the shock of his own stupidity.
  • Victorian London: This is the main setting of the film. Specifically, this is during a time the Mouse Queen's Diamond Jubilee coincides with Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
  • Vile Villain, Laughable Lackey: The film has a strong, savvy villain in Ratigan, but his bat lackey Fidget has a crippled wing and peg leg (while far from incapable of real villainy) and is funny and not near as threatening by comparison.
  • Villain Song: "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" has Ratigan recount his past criminal successes and history with the detective always hot on his trail, while his minions feed his ego about how evil and brilliant he is. "Goodbye, So Soon" could count as well since it is a smug component of a death trap for said detective.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Ratigan, towards the final battle, turns from a formal and composed rat into a hulking and monstrous one. It's even the trope's picture on the animated films page! It is made even more frightening is the fact he was previously so Faux Affably Evil. Up to that point, Ratigan has succeeded in keeping Olivia and her father separated from each other. When he sees Basil successfully reuniting them before his very eyes, and thus depriving him of what little victory he had had left, Ratigan completely loses it and focuses just on killing Basil with his own two hands.
  • Villainous Face Hold: Having lured Basil to his lair, Ratigan ambushes the hero with a faux surprise party. After tearing away Basil's fake mustache, Ratigan toys with Basil, holding Basil's chin while sarcastically complimenting him on his seafarer disguise.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Mercifully averted. However, the original script called for Big Ben to strike midnight instead of ten o'clock like in the film.
  • World's Smallest Violin: A surprisingly literal example, as Basil is a mouse playing a violin just his size... It is played straight in that Basil is ignoring Olivia for his violin playing as she tries to tell her story.
  • Worthy Opponent: Subverted.
    • Ratigan makes it clear that he doesn't respect Basil one bit and wants the smaller mouse dead.
    • When Basil confronts Ratigan and starts speaking, it looks like he's invoking this trope, but it's actually the lead-in to an insult:
    "Ratigan, no one can have a higher opinion of you than I have... and I think you're a slimy, contemptible sewer rat!"
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The bar customers prepare to toss tomatoes and chairs at the next gig, only to lower their weapons when seeing it's a woman singing an emotional song. This makes them slightly better than Ratigan, who would' and does hit a girl in this.
  • Wretched Hive: The seedy pub. They DO serve Rodent's Delight, after all...
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Really, Basil... just what is "the square root of an isosceles triangle", exactly? (Maybe Basil just is so much smarter than us that he knows how to calculate the square root of an isosceles triangle!)
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Ratigan and Basil are good at this. Ratigan when he realizes Basil is hot on his tail (no pun intended), and Basil when escaping Ratigan's trap.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: The Bad-Guy Bar has a burlesque performance (consisting of a juggling octopus and a trio of period-accurate strippers) for entertainment. You know, for kids.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Rats seem to be despised by mice, and Ratigan denies being one to the point that calling him one is his Berserk Button. He fits the stereotype to the T, being a scheming, slimy and diabolical villain.


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