The Absent-Minded Professor Movie Poster Image

The Absent-Minded Professor

Family entertainment at its best.
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Classic
  • Release Year: 1961
  • Running Time: 96 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
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Violence & scariness
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Sexy stuff
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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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 less pleasing special effects, this movie's is 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/Streaming 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

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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
Kid, 12 years old February 1, 2013

One of Disney's Best Comedies

I saw it when I was on a campout for Boy Scouts. All the boys who were watching it thought it was very funny, and they clapped when it was over. Nothing really is an issue,and the main character is a good role model, even though he's so absent minded.
What other families should know
Great role models
Kid, 6 years old January 29, 2012

A Classic, Silly Fun, All White

Our six year old loved it, and her parents enjoyed it too. The "flubber" jumping effects worked because they weren't realistic in the way modern effects try to be. The movie does portray a strange mythical all white America. Not a person of color to be seen in the entire film which could off putting, especially to children of color. Subtle jokes about Congress and the military Joint Chiefs at the end still hold up today.