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Western Animation / The Great Mouse Detective

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The game's apaw!

Dr. David Q. Dawson: Oh, how very thrilling, eh, Basil?
Basil of Baker Street: 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 film's major success, both with critics and at the box office (though it didn't make as much cash as An American Tail), after the failure of The Black Cauldron convinced the new senior management of Walt Disney Pictures that their animation department had a future after all and it should be noted that this film actually saved Disney from going bankrupt, similar to what Cinderella and 101 Dalmatians did, back in 1950 and 1961, respectively.

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 Mr. Flaversham (Alan Young) is kidnapped, his daughter Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek) hires the greatest detective in all mousedom, Basil of Baker Street (Barrie Ingham), to find him. On her way, she is found by the Narrator and Dr. Watson's Captain Ersatz, Dr. Dawson (Val Bettin), 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, Fidget (Candy Candido, in his final film), 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, which he would use to declare him the Queen's Royal Advisor and turn him into the Kingdom's 'shadow ruler' by "suggesting" various laws and actions which the "Queen" would then approve of. 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.

The film was the directorial debut of John Musker and Ron Clements (here credited alongside Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener), who'd go on to direct the film which properly kicked off the Disney Renaissance, The Little Mermaid, three years later, afterwards becoming the studio's most prolific directing team for the next thirty years with Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, The Princess and the Frog and Moana. This is also the final film to have any involvement from the Nine Old Men.

The Great Mouse Detective 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.
  • Adaptation Title Change: Was retitled from a book called Basil of Baker Street. In the United Kingdom, the film was renamed to Basil the Great Mouse Detective.
  • 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's 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.
  • Anachronistic Animal:
    • Toby the the Basset hound although more moderate than show Basset hounds in the 1980s and especially since, he has more exaggerated and easily tripped on ears, far more excessive eyebrow, eye, and torso skin, somewhat shorter legs, far more exaggerated flaws, than a real Basset hound in 1897, London, England or elsewhere, would have.
    • Averted with Felicia the Persian. She is a traditional or doll-faced Persian that would likely show up in the movie's time period. Modern Peke-faced Persians developed during the 1960s and only became popular in the 1990s (after the film came out).
  • 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.
  • Animal Jingoism: Toby chasing Felicia.
  • Artistic License – Politics: Ratigan apparently has free reign to change the law however he likes once he's the queen's royal consort. Parliament might have a word to say about that, though.
  • Aside Glance:
    • When explaining to Dawson how he knew he was in Afghanistan, Basil notes the threadwork on the sleeve, which he whispers to Olivia that it has a "peculiar pungency". Olivia responds by giving the camera a rather surprised look.
    • Fidget gives one when Ratigan frees him from the cat and begins cuddling him.
  • 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.
  • Bar Brawl: Gets kicked off by a Deadly Dodging of a patron swinging for Dawson but hitting another mate.
  • Battle in the Rain: The climactic No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Big Ben is accentuated by a storm, as per standard for a Disney film.
  • 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.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Ratigan is portrayed in an entertainingly over the top cartoonish fashion for most of the movie with peppy musical numbers and evil plans that consist of replacing Royalty with blatantly fake clockwork doubles. Then the climax of the movie rolls around and, once his plans go to hell due to Basil's meddling, he abandons all pretense of civilization and unleashes the nightmarish feral beast within that he has been holding back up to this point.
  • Big "NO!": Basil lets out when he discovers that the bullets don't match, meaning Ratigan has evaded him yet again.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Ratigan, after Olivia starts to bad mouth him when he's escaping.
    Ratigan: Would you kindly sit down and shut UP?!
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: Olivia's father gets kidnapped on her birthday.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Bond One-Liner: The newspaper article gives Ratigan's demise one: "Time Runs Out for Ratigan".
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Rather than just feeding Basil to Felicia or killing him quickly in any number of ways, Ratigan instead leaves the heroes in a giant death trap. Alleviated somewhat in that he'd been planning to stay and watch, but the heroes arrived 15 minutes later than he planned, so Ratigan doesn't have the time to stay, as he has to carry out his Evil Plan.
  • 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.
  • Burp of Finality: Felicia burps after eating Bartholomew. Ratigan had fed him to her for disrespecting him.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Chest of Medals: Ratigan's uniform at the Queen's place is full of shiny medals.
  • Chorus Girls: Miss Kitty musical number has also two backup dancers that dance alongside Kitty. They appear identical to her, but 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.
  • Clockworks Area: The climax in Big Ben.
  • Cold Equation: 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.
  • 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.
    • Fidget uses the entire contents of the toy shop to distract and attack Basil and Dawson, such as activating a wind-up knight on a horse to pin Dawson to a dartboard.
  • 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.
  • Covers Always Lie: Most official artwork and posters for the movie depict the clothing of Olivia as pink, even though her clothing in the movie is really blue.
  • Creepy Doll: The dolls in the human toyshop are a little unnerving even before they're smashed apart in the scuffle.
  • Cry into Chest: When she sees Basil seemingly fall to his death, Olivia starts crying into the shirt of her father. However, she stops rather quickly when she notices Basil coming back up.
  • 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. Truth in television: in real life, rats sometimes eat mice. Good thing Basil can still outwit him.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: It would've been much less of a hassle if Ratigan had simply had a frontman legitimately commission Hiram to build the animatronic, presenting a cover story such as it being for a party or play or something.

  • Dame with a Case: The film concludes with a pretty young mouse coming to see Basil of Baker Street. A quick Sherlock Scan leads Basil to deduce that the pretty visitor has come seeking help in finding a brass ring that's gone missing from her left hand. Zoom out, fade out.
  • Dangerous Interrogative: While Prof. Ratigan's thugs are singing "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind", one particularly drunk thug, Bartholomew, makes the fatal mistake of calling him a rat. When he hears that, Ratigan, who was drinking some champagne, spits it out in shock and turns sharply to Bartholomew.
    Ratigan: What was THAT?! What did you call me?!
    Thug 1: (pleadingly) Oh, he didn't mean it, Professor!
    Thug 2: It was just of the slip of the tongue!
    Ratigan: (grabbing Bartholomew and yelling in his face) I AM NOT A RAT!!!
    Thug 3: 'Course you're not.
    Thug 1: You're a mouse.
    Thug 4: Yeah, a-a big mouse.
    Ratigan: SILENCE!
  • Deadly Dodging: Two examples in quick succession that lead to a Bar Brawl at the Rat Trap bar. The Piano Player swings with a log for Dawson who fell and broke his piano. However, the latter falls backwards just in time so another patron gets hit who then tries to retaliate and smashes the piano behind the dodging pianist.
  • Deadly Ringer: Ratigan owns a tiny handbell that summons his Right-Hand Cat Felicia to eat mice that upset him. Basil keeps the bell as a trophy at the end.
  • 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.
  • Desperate Object Catch: Basil dives for his precious violin which Oliva knocked over. However, this only delayed the instrument's life by a minute.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • Digital Destruction: The 2002 DVD release of the film messes up parts of the film's music score; there are parts where it sounds like a good chunk of the orchestra is missing! This is corrected on future releases.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Drink-Based Characterization: Dawson almost blows his cover at the Bad-Guy Bar by ordering dry sherry, because Wine Is Classy. Thankfully, he gets interrupted by Basil changing the order to simple pints.
  • Dub Name Change: The finnish dub keeps most of the names the same (unusually), but Fidget is renamed Liuhu, "Flaversham" is changed to "Leikinheimo", and Bartholomew is called "Perttuli" (it's possible that his name is actually perttu, and the "-li" is just a diminutive, it remains ambiguous because His name is said only once).
  • 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.
  • The End: Title card at the end.
  • 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:
    • 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!
    • 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 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!
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The rest of Ratigan's thugs try to desperately to ease Ratigan's Berserk Button after a drunken Bartholomew presses it, quite mortified 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 a technicality, although Price's accent in the movie still sounds thoroughly American to British ears.
  • Evil Plan: Ratigan lays it onto his minions. The plan is to take over the kingdom by replacing the queen with an automaton, then have the automaton declare him the Queen's Royal Advisor and having any of his "suggestions" of various laws and actions be approved of by the "Queen", effectively making him the Kingdom's 'shadow ruler'.
  • 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. Basil even crosses over with Expy Coexistence in that he lives under Holmes' house.
  • 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.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Felicia assumes that she'll be safe from Toby by jumping over a wall only to get attacked. Then, the camera pans down to reveal she ignored a sign reading "Royal Guard Dogs".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Finale 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.
  • 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.
  • Foe Romantic Subtext:
    • Basil keeps a portrait of Ratigan, his Arch-Enemy, whom he obsessively pursues, in his room for one thing... and Ratigan has a voodoo doll of Basil on his shelf. Sure, it has pins in it, but who do you think made the doll, hmmm? Disney did release this, after all...
    • Ratigan's "Goodbye So Soon" song reeks of this, as well as the almost flirtatious way he says "Bye bye, Basil" as he leaves Basil and Dawson to die in his Death Trap while the song is playing. To say nothing of the way he runs his fingers up Basil's body while he's bound.
    • Ratigan also playfully pinches Flaversham's cheek and almost kisses him.
  • A Foggy Day in London Town: Played straight, what with taking place in Victorian-era London and featuring rodent Sherlock Holmes expies.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: Ratigan uses a handbell to summon his pet cat Felicia, in order to feed one of his underlings to her as a form of execution. It comes back again the climax, when Basil steals his bell and rings it in triumph just before Big Ben tolls causing Ratigan to fall to his death.
  • Forced Creativity: Ratigan kidnaps Hiram Flaversham, a toymaker in London, to force him to create a clockwork mechanical automaton with an as-of-yet unknown purpose. When Flaversham loses his temper under threat of being fed to Ratigan's pet cat, Felicia, Ratigan turns the tables on him by threatening his daughter, Olivia, forcing Hiram to continue work on the machine.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Basil learns that a bat kidnapped Olivia's father, he asks if said bat had a crippled wing. Fidget does indeed have a crippled wing, meaning he can't fly. This works against him when Ratigan tosses him off the zeppelin, and Fidget drops like a stone into the Thames.
    • When Ratigan is chasing after Basil and Olivia inside of the Big Ben, there's a prominent shot of him scurrying over the clapper of one of the clock's bells. He meets his end when the clock tolls, causing him to be disoriented by the ringing of the bells and fall to his death.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: All the non-human cast members have four fingers; exceptions being Fidget (a bat with wings), the octopus clown that appears in the bar scene, and Ratigan, a rat with five-fingered hands (though oddly, in some scenes he has a four-fingered hand as well; for example during the finale, where he alternates between four and five fingers).
  • 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, as is quite standard for Disney. The drinks in the Bad-Guy Bar are explicitly referred to as beer. Brandy, champagne and sherry are also mentioned.
  • 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.
  • Furry Reminder: During the climax, Ratigan abandons all pretensions of civilization and behaves exactly like a rampaging rat.

  • 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 initially refuses to allow Olivia to come with him and Dawson to meet Toby, especially once she accidentally makes him sit on his favorite violin. Cut to Basil, Dawson, and Olivia sneaking through the human world with Basil's begrudging acceptance.
    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.
  • Goo Goo Getup: Fidget distracts Basil and Dawson by turning on the toys in the toy shop. When Olivia comes to a toy bassinet, she looks inside it to find Fidget dressed in a baby bonnet, who captures her.
  • 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.
  • GPS Evidence: The brandy, coal dust, and saltwater on Fidget's list leads Basil to Ratigan's hideout.
  • Gratuitous Laboratory Flasks: Basil has a chemistry setup in his home with colorful fluids, 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 15 minutes late, 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.
  • Heel–Face Return: Fidget survives and is suddenly a heroic character in a sequel comic.
  • "Hell, Yes!" Moment: A hostage Olivia smiles happily when Basil, Dawson 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.
  • 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 (Specificaly, "The Case of the Red-headed League").
  • 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.
    Dawson: Basil, you astound me!
  • 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.
    Fidget: My foot! My only foot!
  • 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, his rage causing him to act on impulse several times to his own detriment.
  • I Have Your Wife: Ratigan arranges to have Olivia kidnapped, and threatens to have her fed to his Right-Hand Cat unless Flaversham cooperates with his demands.
  • Indy Escape: Basil and Dawson running away from a large Ferris wheel toy rolling in their direction in a toy store.
  • 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.
  • Just in Time: At the Clockworks Area, Basil saves Oliva in the nick of time before she gets crushed by a gear.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Kill and Replace: Ratigan's plan to become ruler of all Mousedom was to have the real queen replaced by a robot built by Flaversham while having his cat Felicia eat the real one. Fortunately, Basil saves the queen in time.
  • 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.
    • Ratigan throws Fidget off his ship after he asks if he can toss Olivia overboard.
  • 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.
  • Little Did I Know: Dawson's last line of narration is "Little did I know that my life was about to change forever." From there, he meets Olivia and the plot proper kicks off.
  • The Load: Basil decides to infiltrate Ratigan's hideout with Dawson, who is a doctor with no experience in the detective field. Dawson only agrees to help save Olivia and make up for losing her. Sure enough, he blows their cover too easily, stalls Basil from following Fidget, and isn't a physical match for Ratigan or his army.
  • Long List: Ratigan's long list of suggestions when becoming the Queen's new royal consort.

  • Man Bites Man: Olivia bites Ratigan into his paw at the Clock Tower in order to distract him long enough for Basil to get out of danger.
  • 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.
    • Dawson cries after Olivia is kidnapped by Fidget in the toy store.
    • Though Basil doesn't shed them, he clears his throat and sniffs after Olivia leaves to go back to Scotland at the end of the movie.
  • Map Stabbing: After deducing that Fidget's list came from a pub at a place where the sewer connects to the waterfront, Basil takes out a map of London and sticks a dart at the only spot that matches the description.
  • 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.
  • Meanwhile Scene: After Olivia gets Basil interested in her case, we cut to Ratigan in his lair, showing what he is up to with Flaversham.
  • Monumental Damage: The film's climax involves smashing one of the faces of Big Ben, the clock tower.
  • 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.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Bartholemew. He's far too busy getting drunk off his ass to be any real threat, and it's his alcoholism that proves his undoing when he accidentally insults his boss.
  • 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.
    "Young lady, you are most definitely not accompanying us, and that is final!"
  • Mouse World: The film is set in a world occupied by mice that fits the trope's description. They even have a queen counterpart.
  • 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 Dawson 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 explains 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.
  • 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 Job Fixing It, Villain: When Basil and Dawson (In disguise) ask about Ratigan at the bar, the bar staff decide to silence the two by drugging their beers. Basil is savvy enough to catch on to their trick, but Dawson takes the bait and in his drunken state unwittingly provokes a massive brawl inside the bar, much to the horror of the bartenders.
  • 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-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.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • In Ratigan's Villain Song, he sings about various other evil plots he had. While most are just named and not given any description, one apparently involved drowning widows and orphans, and another was likely some kind of robbery, as he's seen dancing a huge pile of gems and gold at one point during the song.
    • At the very end, a mouse woman comes into Basil's detective agency and says she has a case involving her missing emerald ring. The movie then zooms out, with the dialogue getting quieter before cutting away so we don't know what exactly she was talking about.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Barkeeping: When Basil and Dawson enter the Bad-Guy Bar, there is a shot of the barkeeper cleaning a glass.
  • 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.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Basil, the Queen and Dawson 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.
  • 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.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • It's established that Ratigan reacts violently whenever he is called a rat. Then when he lures Basil into a trap, he instead goes for Technically a Smile and instead rips off Basil's fake mustache while taunting him. Eventually, it's revealed that Ratigan is letting it slide because he's captured Basil and won their game of mouse-and-rat.
    • Basil has consistently gotten Olivia's surname Flaversham wrong, and she corrects him with irritation. There is only one time he gets it right: when Ratigan and Fidget have taken her hostage in the climax. Basil asks "Mr. Flaversham" for help in constructing a device to chase after them. 
  • Out of the Frying Pan: After being chased off by Toby, Felicia leaps onto a high wall to get out of his reach, followed by giving him a haughty smirk and smugly jumping off onto the other side of the wall to what she thinks is safety. Unfortunately for her, it ends up being the yard for the royal guard dogs.
  • 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.
    • Queen Mousetoria does notice that Fidget is very poorly faking being a guard, but only has time for a disbelieving "Have you been with us...long?" before events overtake her.
    • The Queen's guests aren't too quick to pick up on the fact that her double looks a tad robotic.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Produce Pelting: Done for a Rule of Threes in the Bad-Guy Bar, with the fruit being quickly followed by everything else they can get their hands on, including daggers. The villainous customers then ready more objects to throw at the next performer, but the curtains open to reveal a hot singer/stripper who quickly has them eating out of her hand.
  • Punny Name: Many in the foreign language editions — besides "Ratigan". For instance, the Italian Dawson is named "Topson", with "topo" meaning "mouse."
  • Recycled Animation: Due to the film's lower budget compared to other Disney animated features of the time, it's inevitable...
    • A few bits from the Bar Brawl are recycled from a similar bar fight scene from the "Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet" segment in Make Mine Music; a particularly obvious example is a silhouetted shot where a chair is thrown down; the patrons' heads were redrawn as mice.
    • Several of the mice entering Buckingham Palace for Queen Moustoria's Jubilee are reused from The Rescuers when mice are entering the Rescue Aid Society headquarters for a meeting earlier in the film.
    • When Toby, Basil, Dawson and Olivia are hurrying to Buckingham Palace, they pass by and startle the horse-drawn dogcatcher's wagon from Lady and the Tramp.
  • 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.
  • 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 awkward 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 Villainous Breakdown, 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.)
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Ratigan does it when catching Basil and Dawson in his lair and congratulating them for their "marvelous performance". He even has a big sarcastic welcome sign deployed.
  • 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.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: You see the shadow of Felicia just before she eats Bartholomew the mouse.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Basil makes his proper introduction in the story at the tail-end of another adventure relating to his nemesis, but what exactly happened is never elaborated on and never comes into play later.
  • 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 in 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.
    • At the climax, Basil quickly calculates the trajectory of all the parts of the Rube Golberg-style trap so he can time the exact moment to prematurely set it off.
  • 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 off.
    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 as a... (Basil pops out) sewer rat!
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Sore Loser: Neither Basil nor Ratigan take defeat at the other's hand very well, particularly when it happens in a way that seemingly proves the superior intelligence of one over the other. The former falls into a depressive funk after he walks into a trap that's so deep, he's completely unconcerned about his impending death. And the latter becomes a completely unhinged psychopath.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Olivia successfully evading Fidget and and catching a glimpse of him during her father's abduction. This sets off the chain of the events that brings her to Basil, which in turn gets him on the case, and ultimately brings down Ratigan's plan. In the criminal mastermind's defense, Ratigan had no way of predicting that such a young girl would seek out London's Great Detective (or that she'd gotten a glimpse of Fidget's distinct appearance and that description would instantly get Basil's complete and undivided attention).
    • 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 15 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.
  • Stab the Picture: As Rattigan explains his plan to depose Queen Moustoria and rule in her place, he burns a picture of her in the newspaper with his cigarette.
  • Staggered Zoom: Done on Ratigan right before he goes nuts during the Big Ben scene.
  • Steampunk: 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.
  • Stock Animal Diet: Felicia, Ratigan's Right-Hand Cat, eats mice, and Mrs. Judson the housekeeper bakes fresh cheese crumpets, to go with the Victorian London setting.
  • 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.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Olivia joins Basil and Dawson on the search for her father, and is pretty quickly captured by the bad guys after wandering off. A child isn't going to be much of a help when fighting a criminal mastermind.
  • 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.
  • Taking You with Me: Ratigan tries this twice during the climax. First when Basil is trying to hand Olivia off to her father, he tackles Basil off the top of Big Ben where they land on the hands. Then when the clock chimes and the vibrations shake Ratigan off the hands so that he's falling to his death, he grabs Basil's foot (Basil is hanging off the wreckage of Ratigan's blimp) and tries to pull him to their deaths. The latter attempt only fails because Basil grabbed the foot-powered propeller to the blimp and uses it to fly himself to safety.
  • 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: 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.
  • Thief Bag: Fidget carries one when he loots the toymaker store. It doubles as a Bag of Kidnapping when he nabs Olivia.
  • 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: Done by Dawson in the closing narration, with it being the final line of the film:
    Dawson: From that time on, Basil and I were a close team, and over the years, we had many cases together. But I will always look back at that first with the most fondness. 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 that said detective gets to her in time, each time.
  • Tranquil Fury: Ratigan after Fidget reveals he accidentally got Basil involved in the case. He's about to go nuclear, then calms down. Fidget fails to pick up on this, thinking Ratigan isn't mad and it almost gets him eaten by Felicia. He only survives because Ratigan grants him a stay of execution (thanks to his "Eureka!" Moment and realizing Fidget's unwittingly given him an opportunity to get Basil).
  • 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 (courtesy of a 1966 reading of "The Adventure of the Red-Headed League" for Caedmon Records), 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    • Ratigan also patronizingly squishes Flaversham's cheek at one point.
  • Voodoo Doll: As Ratigan is ranting about how much he hates Basil, we see that he has a voodoo doll in the shape of a mouse in a deerstalker.
  • Wham Line: "I didn't lose [my father]. He was taken by a bat!" This is an in-story Wham Line as Basil, who'd previously not been taking Olivia seriously, becomes instantly attentive. Olivia's response to his subsequent question if the bat had a crippled wing ("I don't know, but he had a peg leg!") confirms his suspicions: This is no ordinary abduction and Ratigan's involved.
  • 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.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: When Basil and Dawson had made their way to Ratigan's lair, Ratigan should've just rung the bell to summon Felicia.
  • 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.
  • Would Hurt a Child: In his Villain Song, it's mentioned that Ratigan actually drowned orphans.
  • 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? The only possible explanation is that he's thinking faster than he's talking and skipping steps.
  • 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.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Ratigan dumps Fidget from the zeppelin after the latter is out of breath.
  • You're Insane!: A crippled mouse says this to Ratigan when he announces that a heavy tax would be levied on crippled people such as him. Ratigan is not pleased by this, and snaps at him.

Goodbye, so soon, and isn't it a shame?
We know by now that time knows how to fly
So here's goodbye, so soon, we'll go our separate ways
With time so short I'll say so long and go
So soon, goodbye!

Alternative Title(s): Basil The Great Mouse Detective, The Adventures Of The Great Mouse Detective


Double Deadly Dodging

Characters dodging hits during a bar brawl.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / DeadlyDodging

Media sources: