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Flash of Genius (2008)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  3 October 2008 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 13,807 users   Metascore: 57/100
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Robert Kearns takes on the Detroit automakers who he claims stole his idea for the intermittent windshield wiper.



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Based on the true story of college professor and part-time inventor Robert Kearns' long battle with the U.S. automobile industry, Flash of Genius tells the tale of one man whose fight to receive recognition for his ingenuity would come at a heavy price. But this determined engineer refused to be silenced, and he took on the corporate titans in a battle that nobody thought he could win. The Kearns were a typical 1960s Detroit family, trying to live their version of the American Dream. Local university professor Bob married teacher Phyllis and, by their mid-thirties, had six kids who brought them a hectic but satisfying Midwestern existence. When Bob invents a device that would eventually be used by every car in the world, the Kearns think they have struck gold. But their aspirations are dashed after the auto giants who embraced Bob's creation unceremoniously shunned the man who invented it. Ignored, threatened and then buried in years of litigation, Bob is haunted by what was done to ... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Corporations have time, money, and power on their side. All Bob Kearns had was the truth. See more »


Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

3 October 2008 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un éclair de génie  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$2,251,075 (USA) (3 October 2008)


$4,234,040 (USA) (17 October 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Marc Abraham asked Greg Kinnear to put on about 20lbs as his physique didn't really resemble that of a college professor with 6 kids. See more »


Early on Robert, as a "professor of mechanical engineering", said a pause in the wiper couldn't be done mechanically. But it can - if he knew how a clock works, a cog and clutch make up the escapement to intermittently drive the hands by a mainspring at even tension. His electronic design, however, had two fewer dragging parts to wear down. See more »


Bob Kearns: Whatever happened to this little thing called justice we talked about?
Gregory Lawson: This is justice, Bob. This is how justice is dispensed in this country - with checkbooks. There are no brass bands, you know, there are no ticker tape parades, the mayor doesn't give you the key to the city and call you a hero. You get a check, and that check makes the lives of you and your family a little easier... a little more pleasant. It's that simple.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Today there are over 145 million automobiles on the road with the Intermittent Windshield Wiper. See more »


References Frankenstein (1931) See more »


Stage Door Queen
Written by Dick Wagner (as Richard Wagner)
Performed by Ursa Major
Courtesy of Spirit Music Group
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Every Law Student Should Be Required To See This Film Before Graduating!
13 October 2008 | by (Baltimore, Maryland) – See all my reviews

This is absolutely the best movie I have seen, so far, this year! I sincerely hope Flash of Genius gets a few Academy Awards! But one thing is for certain! People will be watching this powerful film a 100 years from now! It's that good!

When I left the theater and reached the safety of my car, I sobbed uncontrollably! Why? The reason is simple! I can identify with what Dr. Kearns went through, having had a somewhat similar gut-wrenching experience as a whistleblower.

I really don't think most people can begin to understand what it is like to stand up for one's honor and to confront a powerful institution, such as a huge transnational corporation, (or in my case a government agency) - no matter what the personal cost.

Making matters even more difficult is that many politicians with a conservative bent love to turn the issue of litigation awards into a political football! Oh, how rich and powerful institutions are the "victims" of shady lawyers and questionable plaintiffs, they cry! But what these unethical politicians don't tell you is the mind-boggling amount of work that goes into preparing your case before you can even find a lawyer willing to take it! Or, that no matter how serious the injury, there's no guarantee your case will ever see the light of day!

This true story is also about love & family! Dr. Kearns is so fortunate to have such wonderful children. It's amazing how much can be accomplished when a human being gets emotional and logistical support from those he loves! Ultimately, I think that's the bottom line, here!

46 of 79 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I stopped watching the movie after the scene... blam_web
Intermittent wipers are useless aland-16
Karma is a bitch. mtgentry81
100 Things I learned from Flash of Genius paschel-jd
Reminds me of what Edison did to Nikola Tesla.... Roadghost69
Modern car in the background..lawl danat86
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