The Absent-Minded Professor

  • Review Date: July 16, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1961

Common Sense Media says

Family entertainment at its best.
  • Review Date: July 16, 2003
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1961





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that younger kids will go for all of the crazy, bouncy action (there's a good dog in it, too), while aspiring athletes will love the Flubber-enhanced basketball game. This is family entertainment at its best -- the movie is sweet, clever, and laugh-out-loud funny.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

In this Disney classic, absent-minded college professor Ned Brainard (Fred MacMurray) keeps forgetting to show up to his own wedding but manages to create an amazing substance called Flubber. Like rubber with wings, Flubber can make an object bounce high up into the sky. Brainard's invention results in many comical situations, including a UFO sighting and a basketball game that's out of this world.

Is it any good?


Unlike the dreary 1997 remake, Flubber, which sacrificed the human element for more showy and ultimately less pleasing special effects, THE ABSENT-MINDED PROFESSOR is a masterpiece--yes, a masterpiece!--of Disney storytelling magic. Director Robert Stevenson keeps the pace lively and the laughs abundant. Parents might furrow their brows when the professor rigs a basketball game by ironing Flubber to the soles of the home team's shoes. But the payoff is huge once those players take to the court, bounding high over their taller opponents' heads, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

As the title character, Fred MacMurray is irresistible. He's not a nutty professor (that was Jerry Lewis). He's just a simple man of science dedicated to bettering the American way of life. His unflagging sincerity and kindheartedness warm you to him immediately. You want him to succeed. You want him to outwit greedy Alonzo Hawk and save the college from bankruptcy. And for crying out loud, you want to see him finally get to that altar with Betsy and get hitched. On all counts, you won't be disappointed.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about real inventions that are almost as amazing as Flubber. Also, do you think something like Flubber will really ever be invented? What are some recent inventions that would astound Professor Ned Brainard?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 16, 1961
DVD release date:January 14, 2000
Cast:Fred MacMurray, Keenan Wynn, Nancy Olson
Director:Robert Stevenson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Topics:Magic and fantasy
Run time:96 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Absent-Minded Professor was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 4 and 5 year old Written bypelotoner January 29, 2011

Mostly family fun, watch the language and gun violence.

Inappropriate language: Shut up, idiot, stupid. Very blatant and easy for the kids to infer usage.
Violence: there is a scene where the professor is shot at (with a gun!) and it hits the side view mirror. Also, a commander in the army threatens to shoot the car out of the sky with missiles.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written bytangled July 28, 2010

Better than the remake. One of my favourite live action classic disney movies.

What other families should know
Great role models
Parent Written byStepMomSterToo June 26, 2010

This movie has all kinds of goofy action and funny characters. Nothing offensive about it. A true family movie.

What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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