Bedtime for Bonzo (1951) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bedtime for Bonzo (1951)

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Movie Info

Forget what you've been led to believe: Bedtime for Bonzo is a most enjoyable film, and Ronald Reagan is not outacted by the chimpanzee. Reagan is cast as psychology professor whose reputation is sullied by the fact that his father was a convict. To prove that environment rather than heredity dictates a man's personality, Reagan uses Bonzo the chimp to test out his theories. The hairy little guy seems to be responding to the kindnesses lavished upon him--and then he is accused of robbery. Reagan nearly goes to jail in Bonzo's stead, but everything turns out all right in the end (we're not giving anything away; after all, everybody knows that there was a Bonzo Goes to College in 1952). While it's an uphill climb, Ronald Reagan and his able costars Diana Lynn and Walter Slezak manage to keep Bonzo from running away with the picture. And yes, director Fred DeCordova is the same guy who produced Johnny Carson's late-night show in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Cast

Ronald Reagan
as Prof. Peter Boyd
Diana Lynn
as Jane Linden
Walter Slezak
as Prof. Hans Neumann
Lucille Barkley
as Valerie Tillinghast
Jesse White
as Babcock
Herbert Heyes
as Dean Tillinghast
Herb Vigran
as Lt. Daggett
Harry Tyler
as Knicksy
Edward Clark
as Fosdick
Edward Gargan
as Policeman
Joel Friedkin
as Mr. DeWitt
Brad Browne
as Chief of Police
Elizabeth Flournoy
as Miss Swithen
Howard Banks
as Policeman
Brad Johnson
as Student
Billy Mauch
as Student
Ann Tyrrell
as Telephone Operator
Bridget Carr
as Girl in car
Larry Carr
as Student
Larry Crane
as Student
Jack Gargan
as Teacher
Steve Wayne
as Student
Tommy Bond
as Student
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Critic Reviews for Bedtime for Bonzo

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (2)

As is, it is a minor bit of fun yielding a respectable amount of laughs but nothing, actually, over which to wax ecstatic.

March 25, 2006 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

A dim sitcom of the kind Universal turned out by the dozens in the early 50s, distinguished -- if that's the word -- by the presence of Ronald Reagan.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

For once Reagan is in synch with his costar, but Bonzo the chimp proved the more able farceur.

August 2, 2011 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Its bland star, Ronald Reagan, survived playing second banana to a chimp to become the 40th President of the United States.

August 24, 2007 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

... you might be surprised to discover that the modest little comedy is actually an enjoyable piece of light entertainment.

July 29, 2007 | Full Review…

THE Ronald Reagan monkey-on-his-back movie...slapstick laughs.

January 4, 2005 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Bedtime for Bonzo

The Ronald Reagan classic, Bedtime for Bonzo is a wacky goofball comedy that's full of laughs. When Professor Peter Boyd's father-in-law to be objects to his heredity, Peter attempts to prove nurture trumps nature by raising a chimp named Bonzo to have good morals; and to assist him he hires a nanny to care for Bonzo as she would a child. Reagan gives a strong performance as a straight-man and Diana Lynn has a natural charm and charisma. But of course Bonzo has to carry the film, and you couldn't ask for a cuter, funnier chimp than Peggy (aka Bonzo). Most of the comedy relies on physical slapstick, and the writers come up with a number of wild and crazy antics for the chimp to get into (without seeming overly contrived). For what it is, Bedtime for Bonzo is incredibly entertaining and fun.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

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