Ripley's Believe It or Not! TV Poster Image

Ripley's Believe It or Not!



Bizarre feats for those with strong stomachs.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Striving to reach a goal -- or looking for 15 minutes of fame?


Some acts involve self-inflicted pain.


A few acts include partial nudity -- menus written on the backs of naked waiters/waitresses, bikini trading cards, etc.

Not applicable

The name "Ripley" is widely recognized and will trigger interest in attending the related museums.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the feats performed on this show can be bizarre and grotesque and sometimes involve pain. Such acts are presented in graphic detail using dramatic music and camera angles and can be very difficult for anyone to watch, including adults, which makes it a poor choice for younger or squeamish kids. That said, not all acts involve self-inflicted pain -- some are actually inspirational or funny, and many showcase the amount of hard work it takes to reach a goal. If young viewers are curious about the bizarre accomplishments featured here, be aware of what they're watching and emphasize that nothing they see should be replicated at home.

What's the story?

RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT captures the undeniable, voyeuristic appeal of seeing otherwise-average individuals perform fantastic deeds that often veer into the realm of the grotesque and morbid. Each episode covers approximately 10 feats, each accompanied by interviews and an introduction by host Dean Cain. Segments have introduced viewers to the Gray Lady, who, as a child, took nose drops that turned her skin silver; a 6-year-old skateboarder who's the youngest competitor ever to participate in the Gravity Games; roosters with 40-foot-long tail feathers; and a cocktail that contains portions of a severed human toe (consumed as a rite of passage into the Yukon).

Is it any good?


Most teens will be able to recognize that the accomplishments showcased on this show are odd and shouldn't be replicated, but if something pops up that's particularly perverse, parents may want to be on hand to discuss it afterward. And, frankly, although the majority of the acts on Ripley's don't involve pain, the show isn't the best choice for anyone squeamish, regardless of age.

But every so often there's an act that can be extraordinarily difficult to watch -- like the minister who electrocutes himself to demonstrate the power of faith. It's these kinds of things that parents need to be particularly aware of; either turn the show off or be prepared to talk to your kids about what they've seen.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the amount of patience, commitment, and passion it can take to reach a goal. But what's the motivation for these participants? Are they internally driven to prove something to themselves, or are they looking for their 15 minutes of fame? How would you cope with external pressure when you're setting a personal goal?

TV details

Premiere date:January 12, 2000
Cast:Dean Cain
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD

This review of Ripley's Believe It or Not! 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

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

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.

Great handpicked alternatives

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, 12 years old January 7, 2012


AWESOME!!!!!! This show might have some graphic images for older kids, but it's still good. Parents: Explain this show to your kids, let them read the books or read it with them, and see if this show's right for them.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent Written byPlague April 6, 2010

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

This show is fabulous! Loved it as a kid, and still love it today.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byJoBrofanJa19 November 18, 2010

I Love it!

I used to love this show i was younger and i still do! It's great and it's somewhat educational and the message can tell kids it's ok to be different.
What other families should know
Great messages