Box art for Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby

comedy, romance


Legendary Academy Award-winners Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn star in this screwball comedy classic about a madcap heiress who upsets the staid existence of a rigid zoology professor.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    95%
  • Audience Score
    90%

common sense

ON for kids age 8
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
Language
0 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Sexy Stuff
1 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
Violence & scariness
1 out of 5

Classic screwball comedy with loads of tame laughs.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that while there are a lot of physical misadventures in this madcap comedy there no injuries; and except for a few shots of a roaring, teeth-baring leopard nothing is frightening or threatening in a real way. Characters are clumsy -- fall, bump into walls, drive incompetently, and more. "Baby," a tame leopard, is confused with a wild leopard which results in some chasing, erratic gun play, and more pratfalls. A character drinks to excess, also as a source of humor. There's one throwaway reference to going "gay."

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about comedies. What are the elements of a "screwball comedy"? What are other comedic styles? Which do you prefer?
  • How have movies changed over time? What sticks out in this movie as from another era? What elements of old-fashioned movies are missing from contemporary film? Have movies improved?
  • Alcohol drinking is played for laughs in this movie. What role do movies and other media have in our attitudes toward drinking?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    95%
    reviews counted: 12
    see all Bringing Up Baby reviews
  • Audience

    90%

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Though it's almost impossible, try to sit back sometime and enjoy this 1938 Howard Hawks masterpiece not only for its gags, but for the grace of its construction, the assurance of its style, and the richness of its themes.

- Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fresh: One of Hollywood's greatest comedies.

- Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: The speedy, 102-minute film is a total delight, and the performances are so invigorating that it can withstand many multiple viewings without losing its sparks.

- Douglas Pratt, Hollywood Reporter, Thursday, May 5, 2005

Audience Reviews

2 stars

An eccentric heiress takes a shine to a stuffy paleontologist and then inadvertently reduces his life to chaos in her attempt to keep him from marrying another woman. Considered a classic by most, Bringing Up Baby is one of those old school comedies that defines the term "screwball". It's essentially a farce involving a pet leopard who gets loose while the professor attempts to conceal his identity from a wealthy dowager while hunting for his missing bone that has been stolen by her pet dog and, well, you get the picture. It's really just a lot of falling over, running around and walking in and out of rooms while various onlookers are frightened by the big cat and no-one ever believing the unlikely explanations proffered for the various ridiculous situations. Cary Grant once more shows his talent for comedic timing but although I'm a big fan of Katharine Hepburn, here I just found her constant jabbering and trickery rather irritating. The "plot" is also just a series of absurd coincidences, which is fine if it's funny but it didn't really make me laugh. Comedy is a very personal thing and as I prefer the screwball comedies that rely on snappy dialogue rather than slapstick, this one didn't really do it for me. I'll take His Girl Friday over it any day.

- garyX, Wednesday, June 15, 2011

4 stars

One of the greatest comedies ever. If this movie doesn't make you laugh you've got some serious problems.

- mjgildea, Sunday, November 12, 2006

4 stars

That song is CATCHY. Katherine Hepburn acts a little more wackadoo than her usual liberalized woman, but I love her all the same. Howard Hawks doesn't usually light my fire if you know what I mean, but this is sexy and hiliarious and the chemistry is pure sex despite the PG content.

- jennifxu, Tuesday, June 3, 2008