Bringing Up Baby (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bringing Up Baby (1938)



Critic Consensus: With Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their effervescent best, Bringing Up Baby is a seamlessly assembled comedy with enduring appeal.

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Movie Info

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this inspired comedy about a madcap heiress with a pet leopard who meets an absent-minded paleontologist and unwittingly makes a fiasco of both their lives. David Huxley (Grant) is the stuffy paleontologist who needs to finish an exhibit on dinosaurs and thus land a $1 million grant for his museum. At a golf outing with his potential benefactors, Huxley is spotted by Susan Vance (Hepburn) who decides that she must have the reserved scientist at all costs. She uses her pet leopard, Baby, to trick him into driving to her Connecticut home, where a dog wanders into Huxley's room and steals the vital last bone that he needs to complete his project. The real trouble begins when another leopard escapes from the local zoo and Baby is mistaken for it, leading Huxley and Susan into a series of harebrained and increasingly more insane schemes to save the cat from the authorities. Inevitably, the two end up in the local jail, where things get even more out of hand: Susan pretends to be the gun moll to David's diabolical, supposedly wanted criminal. Naturally, the mismatched pair falls in love through all the lunacy. Director Howard Hawks delivers a funny, fast-paced, and offbeat story, enlivened by animated performances from the two leads, in what has become a definitive screwball comedy. ~ Don Kaye, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Romance, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 1, 2005
Turner Home Entertainment


Katharine Hepburn
as Susan Vance
Cary Grant
as David Huxley
Charlie Ruggles
as Maj. Horace Applegat...
Charles Ruggles
as Maj. Applegate
May Robson
as Aunt Elizabeth
Barry Fitzgerald
as Mr. Gogarty
Ward Bond
as Motorcycle Cop
Jack Carson
as Roustabout
Tala Birell
as Mrs. Lehman
Fritz Feld
as Dr. Fritz Lehman
Leona Roberts
as Hannah Gogarty
Virginia Walker
as Alice Swallow
Edward Gargan
as Zoo Official
as Baby the Leopard
Buck Mack
as Zoo Official
Vernon Walker
as Alice Swallow
Asta the Dog
as George the Dog
Richard Lane
as Circus Manager
Frank M. Thomas
as Circus Barker
Ruth Alder
as Dancer
Adalyn Asbury
as Mrs. Peabody
Judith Ford
as Cigarette Girl
Jeanne Martel
as Cigarette Girl
George Humbert
as Louis, Headwaiter
Billy Bevan
as Bartender
D'Arcy Corrigan
as Prof. La Touche
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Bringing Up Baby

Critic Reviews for Bringing Up Baby

All Critics (41) | Top Critics (7)

The enduring fascination of this 1938 screwball comedy is due to much more than its uproarious gags.

Full Review… | September 23, 2013
New Yorker
Top Critic

A perfect example of why directors (and even us brilliant professional critics) can often be completely in the dark about what works.

Full Review… | June 15, 2011
Time Out
Top Critic

There is little rhyme or reason to most of the action, but it's all highly palatable.

Full Review… | April 2, 2008
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 26, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

One of the finest screwball comedies ever.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

May 5, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Bringing Up Baby

Katharine Hepburn's performance alone is dynamic in this comedic classic. Bringing Up Baby is comedy gold with brilliance in its ensemble. The laughter is timeless, the dialogue is crisp and, once again, Hepburn and Grant formulate a charming duo. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

It is ironic that this enjoyable film flopped when it was still original and now is highly regarded as a masterpiece when it is obviously outdated and full of silly gags for today's standards - and despite her great chemistry with Grant, Hepburn is more irritating than funny.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Cary Grant (in a pair of glasses) plays a milquetoast nerdy-nerd scientist who's been assembling pieces of a dinosaur skeleton for years. While schmoozing a rich lady's lawyer on the golf course, he runs into Katharine Hepburn, a scatter-brained (yet attractive) lunatic who brings trouble with her wherever she goes, especially to the scientist. For good measure, they throw a leopard named baby (whose favorite song is "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby") into the mix and you have what might be director Howard Hawks' screwiest screwball comedy, lighter-than-air and yet heartily amusing. If there can be any criticism (and really, it's hard to take too critical a glance at something so lightweight), it may be with Hepburn and her portrayal of Susan Vance. The character is willfully ignorant, is mainly used as a means of advancing the comedic situations. But in working so hard to achieve this ignorant arrogance, the film loses a little bit of it's momentum (and good will). It's only once the film really gets rolling that Hepburn's comedic inadequacies can be overlooked (in fact, the film is almost a tale of two performances from Hepburn, the overly affected and forced first half of the performance, and the more flowing feel the performance achieves by the end). It's an unusual film to say the least.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

Bringing Up Baby Quotes

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– Submitted by Brigita S (3 years ago)

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