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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


They had the power. He had 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 »


Another error with the years of the cars. When Robert Kearns drops his keys outside the Ford Pavillion in the rain, a 1972 and a 1973 Mustang Fastback passes him by with their Intermittent Wipers operating. When he steps into the Pavillion, they are obviously introducing the all new designed 1971 Mustang. Dr Kearns also looks into a convertible on the floor which was a 1971 LTD you can see by the fenders, headrests and logo shown, possibly a 1972. Ford stopped making convertible LTD's with the new 1973 design. 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

There's a typo in the end credits, listing Bill Smitrovich as 'Bill Smitrovitch', although his name is spelled correctly in the main cast credits. See more »


References Frankenstein (1931) See more »


Cha Cha Cha
Written by Andy Quinn
Performed by Andy Quinn
Courtesy of DeWolfe Music, by Arrangement with RipTide Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

You Gotta Give The Underdog It's Due
19 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

You just got to hand it to Greg Kinnear. He has certainly put all of himself in every role he has undertaken. From the host of E Entertainment's 'Talk Soup', onto such film roles as 'Little Miss Sunshine','Auto Focus' & this fine film. Kinnear plays a downtrodden Joe Sixpack from the suburbs, with his wife & six children. Here he is an engineering professor who has re-invented the windshield wiper (or did he just upgrade it?), only to have his idea stolen by Ford Motors. After 12 years of struggle that includes a nervous breakdown & the melt down of his marriage, he finally has his day in court. Does he emerge the victorious? I won't kiss & tell. This is a quiet,understated little film that deserved far better than it got. Alan Alda also shines as his attorney that tries to go to bat for him. This is one of those films that (hopefully)will have a second chance when it gets released on DVD. Slapped a PG-13 by the MPAA for some salty language,a moment of sensuality & some rather erratic behavior,due to a nervous breakdown.

38 of 44 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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