That Darn Cat! (1965)



Amusing but long romp for both adults and kids.
  • Review Date: October 20, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1965
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

No real educational content, except the implication that kids should trust their instincts.

Positive messages

The movie reinforces the idea that one should help out when others are in trouble, and that the police or other authority figures can be important allies. Also, it's important to trust your instincts -- even as a kid.

Positive role models

Patti and Ingrid are independent, confident young women who are not influenced by what others think of them. Both women are strong-willed and do exactly what they stick their minds to. Patti proves that following your gut instinct can be helpful and accurate.

Violence & scariness

Kidnapping is part of the plot, although it's treated humorously. Voices are raised and younger viewers may find the abductors to be scary. In the final scene there is a scuffle between a detective and the kidnapper. Guns are used, but no one gets shot. 

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

The cat's name is D.C. for the phrase "Darn Cat," which is frequently yelled with frustration when he gets into mischief.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Canoe, a secondary character smokes a cigar. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, although younger kids will enjoy the cute cat's antics, the movie is way too long to hold their complete attention. The kidnapping plot -- though treated humorously -- might frighten very young or sensitive kids. There is some scuffling and the appearance of guns, though no one is hurt. Otherwise, the movie is squeaky clean.

What's the story?

In THAT DARN CAT, D.C., a Siamese cat owned by Patti Randall (Haley Mills), follows a bank robber back to his apartment, where he and his partner are holding a bank teller prisoner. Seeing the cat, the teller begins to scratch the world "help" on the back of her watch and attaches it to the cat's collar. Patti finds the message and brings it to Zeke Kelso (Dean Jones), an FBI agent who's then assigned to follow D.C., even though he's allergic to cats. The FBI's first two attempts to trail the cat to the robbers' hideout end up as farcical fiascoes, but the third time is the charm. Using a transmitter hidden in its collar, D.C. leads the authorities to the thieves' apartment and Zeke arrests the crooks with the help of Patti and D.C.

Is it any good?


Despite being overlong and leisurely paced, That Darn Cat is an amusing and enjoyable romp that will appeal to both adults and kids. Hayley Mills was Disney's biggest child-star of the 1960s and it's easy to see why. Graduating to a teen role here after several movies playing a child, she's as bright, charming, and precocious as ever, while never taking herself too seriously. Dean Jones, who also starred in a string of Disney family films, demonstrates his deft touch as a light comedian as the bumbling Zeke. The supporting cast is stocked with familiar character actors who will bring a smile to the face of anyone who grew up in the '60s.

Director Robert Stevenson, also a longtime Disney associate, expertly mixes slapstick hijinks with mystery and suspense. The scenes in which the FBI try to tail D.C. through the neighborhood at night are very funny -- as the feline encounters angry dogs, runs through a drive-in movie theater, and makes the G-men look more like the Keystone Kops. The movie is definitely from an earlier, fantasized era when everyone was clean-cut, but it's good fun for the whole family.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about classic movies. Is this movie still funny, even though it was made in the 1960s?

  • Where did you find yourself laughing? Did anything seem outdated to you -- or not make sense?

  • Older kids may be interested in comparing and contrasting it with the remake.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 2, 1965
DVD release date:May 3, 2005
Cast:Dean Jones, Hayley Mills, Roddy McDowall
Director:Robert Stevenson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of That Darn Cat! (1965) was written by

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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; OK 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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Kid, 12 years old August 22, 2013

Great movie!!!!

I Love this movie! I watched it twice in a row! Nothing bad at all.. Just great funny Disney comedy with some action in it too!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 14 years old Written byHunter.O August 11, 2015

One of my favorites!

This is one of my favorite movies. I would watch it all the time when I was a kid, and I am a big fan of Dean Jones. The Movie is great for kids 6 and up, because they do talk about killing and "how to deal with the body" after they killed her. I don't want to ruin the movie for you, so I won't tell you anymore about it. None of these threats, go through but they are talked about often. (the whole movie pretty much revolves around it) The only real violent moment is the last fighting scene, which included no blood. And I was very happy to see there was no kissing, besides a kiss on the four head! Overall great movie!!!
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Parent Written byMixyplixl August 28, 2014

It's Hayley Mills treat!

This is one of our all time favorite family movies, and the one that introduced my child to the charms of Hayley Mills. The one caution is that it does involve a kidnapping (though tame in portrayal), and this was distressing at a younger age. Amazing cast of great actors - including the cat, who is a force of nature - make for a very funny, entertaining film.


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