What's Up, Doc? Movie Poster Image

What's Up, Doc?

'70s screwball comedy is lot of fun for the whole family.
Parents recommend
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1972
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Sexy stuff

One mild joke as Eunice tells the judge "They tried to molest me," and he replies "That's...unbelievable."

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie doesn't have any inappropriate content. It's a lot of fun, even if it doesn't come close to meeting the standards of the screwball comedies it's trying to emulate.

What's the story?

Like the classic screwball comedies of the 1930s, WHAT'S UP, DOC? centers on a madcap young woman (Barbra Streisand), Judy Maxwell, who disrupts the life of shy bespectacled professor Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal). Bannister arrives at a hotel to present his findings about ancient societies using rocks as primitive instruments. His prize rocks are in his plaid overnight bag, but as it happens, three identical bags arrive at the hotel at the same time -- one contains valuable jewels, another top secret government documents, and the last nothing more than a change of clothes. (Attempts by a spy to steal the bag with the documents and a thief to steal the bag with the jewels add to the storyline). Accompanied by his stuffy and overbearing fiancée, Eunice (Madeline Kahn), Bannister hopes to get a research grant from wealthy conference attendee Mr. Larabee. Judy, who is simply after a free meal, is drawn to Howard, and stays on to be near him. She impersonates Eunice at the opening dinner, utterly captivating Larabee. She then proceeds, as Howard says, to "bring havoc and chaos to everyone," including the destruction of a hotel room (and Howard's engagement), and a wildly funny car chase through the streets of San Francisco, before it all gets straightened out.

Is it any good?


This movie is a lot of fun, but it does not come close to meeting the standards of the movies it is trying to emulate. The main flaw is that Judy and Howard (and the actors who portray them) are simply not as appealing as their prototypes in classics like Bringing Up Baby. For example, as we meet Judy, she is stealing a meal from a hotel, something which may have had more appeal in the "anti- establishment" early 1970s, but which now seems less than charming. The big laugh line at the end of the movie, a poke at O'Neal's overwhelmingly successful previous movie, Love Story, will not mean anything to today's kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what they think about the way Judy behaved. Did she ever think ahead, or did she just do what seemed right at the moment? Eunice tells Howard that she does not want romance because she wants something stronger -- trust. What is the point of view of the movie about that? How can you tell? Which is the funniest part of the movie? Were there any parts that were supposed to be funny that you did not think were funny? Why?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 9, 1972
DVD/Streaming release date:July 1, 2003
Cast:Barbra Streisand, Madeline Kahn, Ryan O'Neal
Director:Peter Bogdanovich
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:PG

This review of What's Up, Doc? was written by

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Adult Written byrufusmom April 9, 2008

a laugh a minute

This is one of my (and my kids) favorite movies. Some friends of ours got upset with the 2 or 3 episodes where there was alcohol served (champagne), and God's name was used flippantly a few times. Other than that, and a kiss between the two main characters at the end of the movie, this is one of the best movies ever made!
Teen, 13 years old Written byZaphrodite September 7, 2010


I loved this movie. I first watched it when I was 7 and I fell in love with it. I have always loved old movies. Common Sense didn't go into detail about this movie. There is plenty of sexual stuff and innuendos(it will not go over little kid's heads) but its pretty okay for all the other stuff they show on TV.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great role models
Adult Written byWhatdoIthink? April 9, 2008
Well this movie is kinda boring, but not awful, if you want to see Barbara Streisand @ her best, see For Pete's Sake.