Freaky Friday (1976) Movie Poster Image

Freaky Friday (1976)



Endearing '76 original may feel outdated to kids.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1976
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Annabel drives a car as a 13-year-old. She's also ostracized by her friends for being smart in class. But the overall message is understanding and family love. Annabel is mean to her older brother until she spends time with him in her mom's body.

Violence & scariness

Some comic car chases and car crashes, but no one gets hurt. Annabel drives on the sidewalk and scares pedestrians off a footbridge. Rival field hockey team members attack Annabel, hitting her with their sticks and tripping her.

Sexy stuff

Annabel has a crush on her neighbor, Boris and, as her mom, invites him over for the afternoon.

Not applicable

Ben eats Ritz crackers.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Mrs. Schmauss is an alcoholic. She doesn't drink on-screen, but characters allude to her drinking on the job and she goes to buy alcohol in the middle of the day.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Annabel and her mom share mutual animosity at the beginning of the film, but grow to respect each other as they live a day in the other's life. There's some comic car chases and car crashes, but nothing scary or dangerous.

What's the story?

There's been a lot written lately about the supergirl dilemma -- that is, girls feel like they have to be all things to all people at all times. Not surprisingly, supergirls grow up to be super women -- and both are exhausted. In the original FREAKY FRIDAY, a super girl and a super mom switch bodies for one important day to see if things really are better on the other side. Annabel Andrews (played by a delightfully young and awkward Jodi Foster) is 13, a daddy's girl juggling field hockey finals, term papers, a crush on her neighbor, and her developing body, all while trying to stay out of her demanding mom's way. When both decide they'd rather have the sweet life the other enjoys, something funny happens: their wish is granted, to comical effect. Suddenly the water-phobic mom (played wonderfully by Barbara Harris) has to water ski. The organizationally challenged Annabel has to handle the curtain-hangers, the carpet cleaners, her dad's ironing, an alcoholic house cleaner, and her dad's growing demands.

Is it any good?


We all know what happens, and the movie's heartwarming message still resonates. However, that may be all that appeals to the modern tween and teen. Especially those who've seen the Lindsay Lohan version that boasts the star power and more special effects. Kids may be bored by the constant inner monologues and the old-fashioned tasks on Annabel's to-do list.

Still, the film is important not just because of the message, but also because it shows how much the image of the teen girl has changed over the past three decades. Foster plays a regular teen, jersey t-shirts, jeans, and sneakers included. But compared to the sexed-up image of Lohan in the recent remake, she looks positively childish. Best to aim this story at younger kids, who will appreciate it more and adore the old-school cartoon introduction.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how different this film adaptation of Mary Rodgers' book is from the 2003 remake starring Lindsay Lohan. How different are the two Annabels, both in terms of dress and what people expect of them? Do you think girls today are under more pressure to be sexy and grown up than they were in the 1970s?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 13, 1976
DVD/Streaming release date:June 1, 2004
Cast:Barbara Harris, Jodie Foster, John Astin
Director:Gary Nelson
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, High school
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:G
MPAA explanation:general audiences

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 16 years old Written byLindsayphoto January 18, 2010

Freaky Friday

I LOVE this movie! I like it better then the newer one.( with Lindsay Lohan in it) But all of my sisters and brothers thinks that this IS kind of boring and that the newer old is the best. This older Freaky Friday is way cleaner then the newer one but both Freaky Friday have VERY good actors in it. If you (or your kids like the older Disney movies and like the Freaky Friday, then you must watch this! Jodie Foster ROCKS! :D:D:D
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 1, 3, 6, and 8 year old Written byhightide August 5, 2015

Old fashioned and fun

I think this is a great show, I grew up watching it and really enjoyed watching it with my girls (8,6). FYI There are a few body references- the first when the young annabelle makes a remark and obvious stare at her chest while looking in the mirror, when annabelle and her mother switch places and annabelle is discovering her mothers body through her brain, and then when annabelle is coming to her fathers office and meeting his attractive secretary. One bad word that I noticed. Annabelle (as her mother) refers to her little brother as a jack___. The mother smokes but it is obvious that it is distasteful to Annabelle. There are multiple references to alcohol, and one time that Ben pulls out a bottle of gin.
Educator Written bycaffinegirl85 February 23, 2012

i prefer this one!

I to prefer this one over the new version. cause this one is way funnier the clothes are cooler . this is a way better one than the 2003 one way better!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages