The Incredible Mr. Limpet



Classic, silly Don Knotts fish-in-water fantasy.
  • Review Date: November 19, 2007
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 1964
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Ladyfish is the typical damsel in distress and seems to have no thoughts of her own except about Henry.

Violence & scariness

Lots of comic violence, including Henry falling off the dock and being presumed dead, fish eating each other, a fish being caught on a hook. Lots of naval warfare, including torpedo fires and depth charges.

Sexy stuff

Henry kisses Bessy on the cheek. Ladyfish rubs up against Henry and wants to spawn with him. Ladyfish kisses Crusty.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Stickel and Harlock smoke cigarettes.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie discusses death and shows Henry falling into the ocean as a fun, comic thing that doesn't hurt him. The movie also acknowledges "spawning" so kids may ask for an explanation.

What's the story?

In the 1964 live action/animation film THE INCREDIBLE MR. LIMPET, Don Knotts plays Henry Limpet, a fervently patriotic but laughably unhealthy accountant whose bad eyesight and poor balance keep him from enlisting in the Navy. Since the film is set in 1941, that's a big deal. So instead, Limpet loses himself in the world of his fish and in his fantasies of one day becoming one of them (he carries around a book called The Theory of Reverse Evolution). But when he's lured into the water off Coney Island, a remarkable thing happens. He gets his wish, and suddenly he can serve his country in a way he never dreamed possible, helping foil U-boat attacks by the Nazis.

Is it any good?


This has everything a good children's movie should: celebration of imagination, a lovable main character with which kids can identify, some silly and fun songs, and cartoons. Throw in some explosions and espionage, and you have a film kids will love and that adults may remember fondly from their own childhoods. And adults may get a kick out of the truly X-Files-ish moment when Stickel (Jack Weston) and Harlock (Andrew Duggan) pull out the file on Mr. Limpet 20 years later.

So what's not to love here? It's a small gripe, but worth mentioning: Ladyfish, Henry's underwater love interest, is a simpering idiot. Unlike Henry's caustic human wife (Carole Cook), who has her own likes and dislikes, Ladyfish (Elizabeth MacRae) purrs out her words, offers herself to him on their first meeting, and seems to have no desires of her own except to be with him -- something worth pointing out to girls watching with you.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about finding the right niche for you. Could Henry be as happy as a man as he was as a fish? Would it be fun to be a fish? What important equipment are humans missing?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 28, 1964
DVD release date:October 1, 2002
Cast:Carole Cook, Don Knotts, Jack Weston
Director:Arthur Lubin
Studio:Warner Home Video
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Ocean creatures
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Incredible Mr. Limpet 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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Parent of a 8 and 10 year old Written bydavidmal770 November 5, 2011

Paints a picture of marriage I would just rather steer clear of

There is a bizarre slant to this movie; what with Don Knotts leaving his loveless marriage to become a fish - and fall in love with a ladyfish. Plus you have the friend going out dancing with his now-widow. It doesn't seem to have it's heart in the right place. Plus it's all set against the backdrop of the War. And of Limpet longing to be both a fish and war hero. I think it was interesting for its time, but that time has passed.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written byPoison Ivey December 27, 2009

This film prooves that movies can be enjoyable without drugs, sex, or violence.

Cute and funny yet enjoyable for everyone, not just kids, though they probably like it more. Thank goodness for little brothers. Without them I would have probably passed this movie by. ~Ivey
Teen, 15 years old Written byDominicboo1 May 9, 2011

Nothing Fishy!

Films that take place during World War II, hardly ever get as light hearted as this movie. Henry is a good role model, when he helps his country and uses his secret power (secret until you watch the movie) to save Ladyfish , Crusty, and America. The scene where torpedos chase Henry and Crusty can be a little intense, but they think of a way to escape.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Great role models


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