Box art for Frankenstein (1931)

Frankenstein (1931)

drama, horror, sci-fi & fantasy

Boris Karloff is the screen's most memorable creature in the story of Dr. Frankenstein, who tampers with life and death when he pieces together salvaged body parts to create a human monster.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 10
3 out of 5
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
Positive messages
0 out of 5
Positive role models
0 out of 5
1 out of 5

Classic monster movie still electrifies.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that although this horror movie is tame by today's standards, it does deal with issues of life and death and scientific ethics. Also, there are some killings, including a child who is drowned when a monster throws her into a lake. Younger children might be frightened by the monster, themes of grave-robbing, and the laboratory scenes. Still, older kids accustomed to modern-day horror's fast pace and stylized violence may find the film too "old-school" for their tastes.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how horror movies have evolved since this movie was released in 1931. What makes a movie scary?
  • Do contemporary horror films rely too much on gratuitous violence and gore?
  • How does this movie still manage to be scary without resorting to over-the-top content?
  • What does the Frankenstein's monster make you feel? Do you feel bad for him?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Maximum of stimulating shock is there, but the thing is handled with subtle change of pace and shift of tempo that keeps attention absorbed to a high voltage climax.

- Alfred Rushford Greason, Variety, Monday, September 24, 2007

Fresh: Absolutely essential.

- Cole Smithey,, Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: One of the most deservedly famous and chilling horror films of all time.

- Don Druker, Chicago Reader, Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Audience Reviews

4 stars

A satisfying and entertaining monster movie with a good moral message. It doesn't do justice to the novel, and it's influence is greater than the film itself, but still, it's worth a watch. I could go on and on writing about this film, but it's been praise enough, so very little of what I could say would be original. All people who call themselves movie lovers need to see this.

- cosmo313, Thursday, April 1, 2010

5 stars

This is probably my favourite horror classic! As a non-horror fan, I can honestly say that this film blew me away, from the great tone, to the great acting, to the fantastic camerawork, it just adds to the perfection of the story. Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster that has lived on from generation to generation and even with an age of 90 years, the monster is quite terrifying. I was so invested in the story that the funny practical effects that don't really hold up, didn't even phase me. I was drawn into this story until the very last moment, which is extremely intense by the way. "Frankenstein" is a masterwork!

- fb733768972, Sunday, October 21, 2012

5 stars

It's finally October and I've decided to do reviews of notable horror movies for the whole month. Any review I post (other than the ones of movies that are released into theaters) will be a review of a horror film, so let's begin wuth 1931's Frankenstein. It's based off of Mary Shelley's novel about a mad scientist who creates a monster in his attempt to play God. Boris Karloff plays the monster and he is just fantastic. Karloff's performance required him to be completely covered in makeup and the actual design of the monster looks great. It's a face that will be forever remembered when it comes to movie monsters. Karloff is one of the greatest horror icons of all time and this movie is what introduced him into the mainstream. Colin Clive is also great as Dr. Frankenstein and Dwight Frye is excellent as Fritz, the hunchbacked assistant of Frankenstein. The set design for the movie is terrific. Parts of the movie have scenes in a laboratory and the overall design of the lab in this movie is so good. I didn't feel like I was watching just some phony set, I really believed that this was the lab of a crazed scientist. The movie also includes shots a villages and castles and those are also great. While the film is visually stunning, the story also holds up, even to this day. There are parts where you actually sympathize with the monster. He's really nothing more of a freak of nature part of an experiment that went awry. He's a curious thing, but people still scream at him and want to burn him. One scene that always stands out in the movie is when the monster is sitting by a lake with a little girl and she's acting all innocent and sweet and out of nowhere, the monster grabs her, throws her in the lake and drowns her. The little girl didn't even do anything, yet the monster kills her anyway. (Sigh) What a lovable dumbshit. That's really one of a lot of memorable scenes in the movie. It all ranges from the part where Dr. Frankenstein yells "It's Alive!" to the climax of the movie. The movie even has its fair share of themes including the darkest side of Xenophobia and the consequences of playing God. One thing that I want to address is that nowadays people refer to the monster as Frankenstein even though Frankenstein is the name of the doctor who created the monster. I've never understood how people started that. Anyway, Frankenstein is one of the greatest monster films of all time and it's a staple of Halloween pop culture. Boris Karloff's outstanding performance is what brought the monster to the light of day. From what I've heard, the movie doesn't really follow the novel by Mary Shelley, but I really don't think that matters. Frankenstein is great either way and it really does stand the test of time.

- fb100000716838411, Monday, October 1, 2012