The Mouse That Roared


Peter Sellers-Grand Duchess Gloriana XII

Peter Sellers-Prime Minister Count Rupert Mountjoy

Peter Sellers-Tully Bascombe

William Hartnell-Will Buckley

Jean Seberg-Helen Kokintz

David Kossoff-Professor Alfred Kokintz

Leo McKern-Benter

MacDonald Parke-General Snippet

Austin Willis-U.S. Secretary of Defense

Monty Landis-Cobbley

Timothy Bateson-Roger

Colin Gordon-BBC Announcer

Harold Kasket-Pedro

Stuart Saunders-QE Captain

Ken Stanley-QE Second Officer


Many critic have panned this 1959 movie as being outdated. They say the satire is no longer relevant. They question the whole premise of the film and accuse it of being unbelievable. I must conclude that these are the same people that take life in general much too seriously and can’t overlook the flaws of a film and just enjoy it. They probably take Road Runner cartoons very seriously also. After all, how can a coyote fall off a five hundred foot cliff, make a coyote shaped impression in the ground below, and survive?

With the admonishment to just sit back and enjoy it, this is a great film for Peter Sellers fans. He plays three roles in this story about the smallest country in the world declaring war on the United States.

The Duchy of Grand Fenwick is located in the French Alps and has a total area of fifteen and three quarters square miles. The army of Grand Fenwick consists of twenty uninspired volunteers. Their weapon is the longbow and their uniforms are chain mail. They are led Will Buckley (William Hartnell) who is their sergeant and Tully Bascombe (Peter Sellers) who is the hereditary Field Marshall for the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.

The prosperity of the country depends solely on its main export, a wine called Pinot Grand Fenwick, and the United States is the main market for this wine. The country prospered until a California wine producer bottled an imitation of the wine and called it Pinot Grand Enwick. The market for Pinot Grand Fenwick soon dried up in the United States because of a vast advertising campaign by the imitators. This turned the small country into a state of crisis.

The prime minister sent three protests to the United States about the imitation wine but all three protests went unanswered. The parliament decided that the only way out of their predicament was to declare war on the United States, lose that war, and collect aid.

As luck would have it, the United States has scheduled a practice air raid alert for New York City on the day the Grand Fenwick army enters The Port of New York on their hired tug boat. All of the inhabitants of New York are underground in air raid shelters and the city is deserted. The alert is being held because of the invention of a very powerful nuclear device called the Q- Bomb. The Grand Fenwickian army can find no one to so they can begin collecting their foreign aid.

They wander around looking for someone to surrender to until they are spotted by a Civil Defense decontamination team in Central Park. The decontamination team thinks they are invaders from outer space because of their uniforms. Soon, word spreads all around the city that Martians have invaded in great numbers.

The Grand Fenwick army ends up at The New York Institute for Advanced Physics where, unbeknownst to anyone, Professor Kokintz, the inventor of the bomb, has built a working model. The Grand Fenwick army captures the professor, his daughter, the Q-Bomb, a U.S. Army General and four New York policemen.

Upon their arrival back in Grand Fenwick, Tully Bascombe informs the duchess that they won the war. This statement throws the government of Grand Fenwick into total chaos. They’d been planning for a loss, not a win. Both sides of parliament resign in protest and Tully Bascombe is elevated to the post of Prime Minister. Many countries in the world rally around the small country and offer to help protect them against an attack. Each country wants to take the Q-Bomb home for safekeeping.

The matter is resolved when the United States surrenders and negotiations are held. It is agreed that the imitation wine will be taken off the market. Grand Fenwick also demands a million dollars. The U.S. negotiator insists that they may have to take a billon dollars. Grand Fenwick also demands that they keep the Q-bomb and that there is a general disarmament supervised by the small neutral nations of the world. If that doesn’t happen, they threaten to explode the bomb.

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Opposition Leader: “Has the Prime Minister never thought of sending a protest to the United States about this Californian fellow and his imitation wine?”

Prime Minister Mountjoy: “My dear chap. I have sent not one protest but three. Mind you, the situation is complicated by the fact that we have never officially recognized the United States so we’ve had to send all our protests through Monte Carlo.” (199K)

Prime Minister Mountjoy: “In other words, gentlemen, in effect, we declare war on Monday, we are defeated on Tuesday and by Friday we will be rehabilitated beyond our wildest dreams.”  (99K)

Prime Minister Mountjoy: “I move we declare war on the United States of America.”

Opposition Leader: “As leader of the party of the common man, I say that war is reprehensible, barbaric, unforgivable, and unthinkable and I second the motion.”  (150K)

Tully Bascombe: “Men of Fenwick, do you love your country?”

Crowd: “Yes.”

Tully Bascombe: “When you hear the name of Grand Fenwick do your hearts swell with pride?”

Crowd: “Yes.”

Tully Bascombe: “And if your country calls, will you rush to enlist?”

Crowd: “No.”  (152K)

Tully Bascombe: “What’s your name, soldier?”

General Snippet: “I’m General Snippet, you fool. Who are you? What’s going on around here? Why are you dressed like this?”

Tully Bascombe: “I’m Field Marshall and Chief Constable Tully Bascombe and you are prisoners of war.”

General Snippet: “Field Marshall and Chief Constable of what?”

Tully Bascombe: “The Duchy of Grand Fenwick.”  (136K)

U.S Secretary of Defense: “Not only did they capture Doctor Kolkintz but they also took his working model of the Q bomb.”

Military Officer: “The Q bomb! Well that means….”

U.S. Secretary of Defense: “Yah. Sure. They just about control the world.”  (103K)

Tully Bascombe: “Actually, there’s been a slight change of plans. I know it will come as a surprise, a pleasant one I hope, but we sort of won.”  (90K)

Tully Bascombe: “And we want a million dollars.”

U. S. Secretary of Defense: “You mean a billion dollars.”

Tully Bascombe: “No, sir. No. Just….Just a million.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense: “You can’t expect us to give you a measly million. That’s less than we spent in Germany on one city alone.”

Tully Bascombe: “Yes, but you see, sir, they lost.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense: “Oh, I can’t promise to get that through. You may have to take a billion.”

Tully Bascombe: “Right. If you could try, sir.”  (179K)

U.S. Secretary of Defense: “Do you really believe that the big nations are going to trust a group of small, neutral nations to set up a disarmament policy for them? Do you think they’ll agree to that?”

Tully Bascombe: “Well, I hope so sir, because if they don’t we just have to explode the bomb.”  (145K)




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American Graffiti (1973) One night in the lives of teenagers in 1962
Animal House (1978) A run down fraternity’s members cause chaos on campus.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944) Two elderly matrons poison lonely men and bury the bodies in the basement.
Cat Ballou (1966) An outlaw and her gang rob trains to try to break a town.
The Cheyenne Social Club (1970) A cowboy inherits a brothel called The Cheyenne Social Club.
Dr. Strangelove (1964) Insane base commander sends his B52 bombers into the Soviet Union.
Harvey (1950) Quiet, unassuming man has a giant rabbit for a friend.
The Mouse That Roared (1959) Smallest country in the world declares war on the U.S. and wins.
On Golden Pond (1981) Elderly couple spend a summer at their cottage on a lake.
The President’s Analyst (1967) A prominent psychoanalyst becomes the psychiatrist for the president.
Raising Arizona (1987) An ex-con and a policewoman kidnap a baby to raise as their own.
Support Your Local Sheriff (1969) A drifter on his way to Australia takes the post as sheriff of a western boom town.
Waking Ned Devine (1998) Villagers try to collect a dead man’s lottery winnings.

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