The Love Bug

Kids will fall in love with this spunky Bug.
  • Review Date: March 3, 2005
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1968
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Some Asian stereotyping, as represented by a Chinese character speaking in pidgin fortune-cookie aphorisms and Buddy Hackett's goofy misrepresentation of Tibetan wisdom.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that well-paced laughs and just-scary-enough driving thrills enhance this sweet, wholesome story. Other than the fact that parents will want to point out that seatbelts weren't widely used in 1969, this film offers fun for the whole family. Young ones will identify with the spunky little VW and enjoy the racecar action. Older kids will enjoy the lively story and jokes about '60s hippie culture.

What's the story?

Meet Herbie, a VW Beetle with a mind of its own -- one that kids will be instantly taken with. In this, the first -- and best-- of the four movies starring the loveable car, Herbie is rescued from his mean owner Mr. Tomlinson (Peter Thorndyke) by nice-guy Jim (Dean Jones). Herbie and Jim become fast friends – and fast race car drivers as they win race after race. When Tomlinson decides he'll stop at nothing to get Herbie back, Jim, the woman he's sweet on (Michele Lee), their friend Tennessee (Buddy Hackett), and the loveable VW bug are in for one wild ride.

Is it any good?


While 1968's THE LOVE BUG shows its age, it still provides lots of harmless Disney entertainment. This movie seems to exist in a different Disney universe from that of the studio's earlier features: one populated by hippies, mock-mystic mechanics, and pants-wearing career women. The differences are merely superficial, however, a sign of the changing times; Disney wholesomeness is still very much intact. In fact, other than a noticeable lack of seatbelts, there's nothing here to alarm parents.

Peter Thorndyke makes a fine villain: oily, bullying, and deliciously underhanded. Buddy Hackett's Tennessee, on the other hand isn't nearly as much fun, and audiences will likely wince at the racial stereotyping presented by Mr. Wu. Children, of course, are meant to identify with Herbie, the Love Bug himself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the importance of being safe even when they are goofing around, as Herbie did. Families may also want to discuss the racial stereotyping depicted in Mr. Wu.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 24, 1968
DVD release date:August 3, 2004
Cast:David Tomlinson, Dean Jones, Michele Lee
Director:Robert Stevenson
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Topics:Cars and trucks, Friendship
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Love Bug was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 8 years old January 12, 2011
age 7+

love it

this is a great movie
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 16 years old Written byUgli Chic March 14, 2010
age 6+
I absolutely love this movie! definitely for the whole family, go and rent this movie for your next family night. Your family will laugh so hard, guaranteed! :) Ugli Chic
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
age 0+


It's a kinda good movie. It was made quite a few years ago so be ready for some lame special effects. Its just misssing that Disney charm throughout most of the movie!


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass