Flash of Genius 2008


Flash of Genius 200 – 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. Flash of Genius is a 2008 American biographical drama film directed by Marc Abraham. Philip Railsback wrote the screenplay based on a 1993 New Yorker article by John Seabrook. The story focuses on Robert Kearns (played by Greg Kinnear) and his legal battle against the Ford Motor Company after they developed an intermittent windshield wiper based on ideas the inventor had patented. The film’s title comes from the phrase “flash of genius” (like “stroke of genius”), which is patent law terminology that was in effect from 1941 to 1952, although Kearns’s patent was filed in 1964; it held that the inventive act must come into the mind of an inventor as a kind of epiphany, and not as the result of tinkering.

Director: Marc Abraham
Writers: Philip Railsback, John Seabrook (article)
Stars: Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham, Alan Alda


Greg Kinnear as Robert Kearns, inventor
Lauren Graham as Phyllis Kearns, wife
Dermot Mulroney as Gil Previck, financial support
Alan Alda as Gregory Lawson, attorney
Mitch Pileggi as Macklin Tyler, Ford executive
Daniel Roebuck as Frank Sertin
Bill Smitrovich as Judge Michael Franks
Tim Kelleher as Charles Defao
Jake Abel as Dennis (21 Years)
Tatiana Maslany as older Kathy Kearns
Ben & Gavin Kuiack as baby Bob Jr Kearns

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