That Darn Cat! (1965)

Movie review by
Michael Scheinfeld, Common Sense Media
That Darn Cat! (1965) Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Amusing but long romp for both adults and kids.
  • G
  • 1965
  • 116 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 10 reviews

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive role models.

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

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

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Canoe, a secondary character smokes a cigar. 

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBaruch N. January 3, 2021

Good family movie to watch with kids

Has some scary elements related to kidnapping, but overall a good family movie which can be watched without reaching for the remote.
Adult Written byMiloww January 2, 2021

slow and pointless

The cat, which may be the most important character in this movie, is present only in maybe about 30% of the movie, which is so boringly slow, for adults but par... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous July 25, 2017

That DARN cat!

This movie is good for the whole family, and is filled with humor, lots of cute moments, Hayley Mills, of all.......a sly, cheeky, crime solving c... Continue reading
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, becau... Continue reading

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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love animals

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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