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Fievel Mousekewitz is the main protagonist of the An American Tail series. He is the middle child of Mama and Papa Mousekewitz, younger brother of Tanya and older brother to Yasha. He is an adventurous, selfless, curious and optimistic young mouse who often endangers himself through his reckless, but (mostly) innocent, actions.
Fievel is usually dressed in a red shirt and a pair of blue pants. He is usually seen wearing his blue trademark hat, which is somewhat big for him. His attire has only changed during An American Tail: Fievel Goes West. In the aforementioned film, Fievel wears a yellow bandana around his neck and his blue hat can be altered into a white cowboy hat. It remains as that until the very end of the movie, when Fievel has finished a talk with Wylie Burp. Physically he has dark brown fur with light brown fur on his face, chest and belly. The exact shades of his fur differ somewhat from film to film. The film where Fievel gets the biggest redesign is Fievel Goes West, where his head his rounder, he has blue eyes, and pink pads on the bottom of his feet. He is older in this film too.
Fievel first appeared in An American Tail.
He is first seen in his home in Shotska, Russia. He receives his trademark hat as a Hanukkah present from his father. At first, Fievel claims that the hat is too big, but his mother says that he'll grow. His father then proceeds to tell them a story of the giant Mouse of Minsk: a mouse that was as tall as a tree and had a tail that was a mile long. The talk soon changes to America: a promise land where, suppossedly, the streets are paved with cheese, there are mouseholes in every wall, there are bread crumbs all over the house floors, a person can say whatever they want to say and there are no cats. Mama Mousekewitz tries to get Papa to not say "cat" (for fear that they will hear them), but it is too late; Cossacks soon attack the village, along with their pets- Cossack Cats (or "Cat-sacks"). For the sake of his family, Fievel goes to try to scare the cats away; however, his attempts are not very successful. Nevertheless, the Cat-sacks soon leave the village (albiet, in shambles). Deciding that they have no other choice, the Mousekewitz family gathers up their things and leaves for a boat bound for America in Hamburg, Germany.
Fievel's questions during the walk onto the boat end up annoying most of the other mice that are trying to get onboard, as well as the band performing there, prompting Fievel's father to say "this is the last time I take you to America". Waving goodbye to his homeland, Fievel and his family begin their ride over to America. On the trip, Fievel shows his curious ways by asking his father about fish and their different types. Shortly afterwards, he is seen dancing during the start of the song There Are No Cats In America. Later that evening, Fievel goes to explore the ship; however, a monstrous wave sweeps him overboard, separating him from his family.
He is later seen in a bottle that is washed onto the shores of the Statue of Liberty (how he ended up there is never explained). He soon meets Henri, a French pigeon who is helping to build the Statue of Liberty. Henri nurses Fievel back to health and, through the song "Never Say Never", restores Fievel's resolve to find his family. Advised by Henri, Fievel is flown over to the mouse version of Castle Garden (aptly named "Mouse Garden") to find his family.
However, upon arrival, he meets Warren T. Rat: a conman and (secretly) the leader of the Mott Street Maulers- a dangerous gang of cats. After (presumably) becoming immigrated to America, Fievel makes friends with Warren T, under the pretense that he is being taken to his family.
Fievel realizes far too late, however, that Warren T. was lying to him. Fievel is cast into slavery in a sweatshop run by a fat rat named Moe (that, ironically, is a short distance below his family's new tailoring shop/home). Later that night, Fievel teams up with a street-wise Italian mouse named Tony Toponi and the rest of the orphans working for Moe in an escape made by creating a ladder out of bed blankets that is flung out the window.
Fievel, being the first to escape, quickly runs off, deciding to search for his parents the next morning. His efforts appear to reach fruition when he hears a violin playing from a third-story window in a human apartment complex; alas, it is only a phonograph, as Fievel sadly discovers. Fievel is soon seen by two humans, who begin to throw things at him, ending up with Fievel jumping out of the window and eventually landing into a bucket, the contents of which are sent down the street.
Fievel once again runs into Tony, who decides to help Fievel find his family. Ironically, Fievel misses his family again when he walks on a passage over them at a local market. While at the market, Fievel and Tony meet Bridget, an Irish mouse who is trying to rally her fellow mice against the cats. During the attempted rally, Tony and Bridget accidentally kiss and fall in love (partly due to Fievel's work); Fievel, however, doesn't quite understand the concept of love (being young as he is). Fievel, of course, is confused as to why everyone is scared of cats even though (suppossedly) there are no cats in America. However, the belief of a world without cats is brought to an end when the Mott Street Maulers attack the local market in a scene that is somewhat identical to the scene where Fievel's house was destroyed; Fievel, himself, nearly gets eaten, but he manages to get out of the mouth of the cat that tried to eat him. After the destruction, Fievel regroups with Tony and Bridget. Bridget then decides to help Fievel and suggests that Fievel should meet Honest John, a local politician, as he knows every mouse in the city. Following his new friends, Fievel once again misses his parents at the market.
At a wake for Mickey O'Hare, Fievel ends up as part of the resistance against the cats when Gussie Mausheimer declares an alliance between the uptown mice and the downtown mice. They plan a rally at Mausheimer Park the next day to discuss plans to take care of the cats. Bridget asks Honest John if he knows the Mousekewitzes. Sadly, Honest John only knows every voting mouse in the city, which proves to be another fruitless end in Fievel's quest.
Later that night, Fievel sings a long-ranged duet of Somewhere Out There with Tanya. He then goes to sleep in preparation for the rally the next morning.
At the rally, Fievel has a mostly uninteresting time, as his attempts to sneak off are stopped each time by Bridget. He actually comes up with a plan to get rid of the cats- the creation of an actual "Giant Mouse of Minsk". The crowd cheers Fievel's idea, but Fievel once again misses his family (who was sitting in the absolute back row for the rally).
Fievel and Tony end up an hour late to the meeting at Chelsea Pier, which leaves Tony extremely annoyed (as he had promised Bridget he'd be on time), as Fievel (suppossedly) was suppossed to keep an eye on the clock, (which might not have been a good idea, since he can't tell time). On the way over to the pier, Fievel hears what sounds like violin playing coming from the sewers.
Thinking his family is down in the sewers, he slips through the sewer grate, following the music. He doesn't find his family: what he does find, however, is the Maulers' Hideout and the Mott Street Maulers, themselves. He also finds Warren T. Rat, who isn't a rat, but, in reality, a cat! Unfortunately, Fievel gets spotted by Warren T, who orders that Fievel be captured. Though Fievel gets out of the sewers, he is soon captured and thrown in a cage. He is watched over by a large and somewhat goofy cat named Tiger. Fievel quickly finds that Tiger is not like the other cats: He's a vegetarian, he likes mice (but not as food), he's separated from his family like Fievel (for years) and he is very nice. They quickly become friends and sing the song A Duo. However, an alarm soon goes off, waking up the Mott Street Maulers and getting Tiger fired (which, from his perspective, is a good thing). Fievel escapes in the confusion caused and heads for the pier.
Fievel rushes for the pier with the cats in hot pursuit; however, unbeknownst to him, he brought the cats in a hour early (according to Gussie's plan). Soon, the entire warehouse is awake and Fievel reveals Warren T.'s deceit to everyone. Soon realizing that the secret weapon is stuck, Fievel grabs a flame (after losing his hat) and uses it to sever the rope that is keeping the weapon from activating. Fievel releases the weapon, but is temporarily knocked out when a piece of metal knocks him in the head. Later, the dock catches fire, forcing Fievel (now awake) to flee from the flames.
He ends up in Orphan Alley, where a group of orphans, after hearing his story, tell him to give up on finding his family. Fievel then becomes depressed, saying that he'll "never find his family". The next morning, however, Fievel hears his father's violin. Listening to it, he is led back to his family, where he shares a tender moment with them. He also regains his hat, which finally fits.
He is last seen (in this movie) riding Henri with Tanya over America. He wonders if he will get to see all of America, with Henri responding that, someday, he will. He is last seen waving goodbye to the Statue of Liberty with Tanya.
In another film, the young mouse becomes an Old West hero after his family are tricked into moving out West by the villain known as Cat R Waul. Meanwhile, Fievel waves goodbye to Tiger and gets on the train with his family. His friend Tiger is chased by dogs and tries to get on the train (that Fievel, Tanya, Yasha, Papa, Mama, Tony, Bridget are on) that crosses the bridge over the river; however Tiger falls off the bridge and falls into the river and is later fished out. Fievel is once again separated from his family, thrown off the train after overhearing Waul's plan, but he soon joins forces with Tiger and Sheriff Burp to take down Cat R Waul and his gang before they can turn the mice into mouse-burgers. In this film (the second one chronologically but the 4th canonically), Fievel's personality is much more cheerful than in the first film, and he is very courageous. Between the films he has apparently taken a keen interest in cowboys, but over the course of the film he realizes that he can be a hero just by being himself.
Fievel is first seen with Tanya after having woken up from a good night's sleep. He mentions that he dreamed the Mousekewitzes moved out west and he became a famous gunslinger, clearly foreshadowing a later film. Though Tanya doubts this could happen, Fievel says "Well, it seemed real to me!"
In the rest of the movie, Fievel befriends a group of Native American mice (in particular, the daughter of the Chief, Cholena) and aids them against the cruel antics of a gang of rich sweatshop owners, who are also making Fievel's father's life miserable along with many of their workers in their pursuit of money and power. Throughout the film, Fievel must struggle with guilt over what the other European mice have put Native American mice through, and though he's not able to redeem his fellow Europeans, he shows the tribe that at least they aren't all bad.
In The Mystery Of The Night Monster, Fievel becomes ensnared in a mystery involving a supposed monster that is kidnapping mice, however this monster is soon revealed to be a mechanical device created by the villainous Madame Mousey - a miniature French poodle with a hatred of all things rodent. Unlike the other movies where he is courageous, in this film Fievel battles his fears and suffers nightmares due to the supposed monster. It takes the help of news reporter Nellie Brie to help him conquer his fears.
Appearances in Other Media
Fievel's popularity soared during the releases of the first two films. He acted as a mascot for UNICEF and the Reading is Fundamental program. He also briefly replaced Woody Woodpecker as the mascot for Universal Studios, and was for a long time a meetable character at the parks. As of 2015 Fievel's Playland at Universal Studios Florida is the last trace of Fievel at any of the parks. The short-lived animation company Amblimation also used Fievel as its mascot.
In addition, Fievel is the only playable character in all An American Tail video game spin-offs.
In June 2014, the HBO talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver produced a very child-unfriendly animated skit called "An Actual American Tail", featuring what Fievel would have gone through if his immigration experience had been a little more accurate to what illegal immigrants to America experience in real life. The results are not pretty of course.
- "Feivel" is the correct Yiddish spelling. His name is still spelled that way in the beginning credits of the first movie, some of the storyboards, and in most foreign releases. It was thought that the spelling might confuse Americans.
- Fievel is named after Steven Spielberg's grandfather.
- Fievel was voiced by Phillip Glasser in every appearance up until the direct-to-video sequels, where he is voiced by Thomas Dekker.