Frederick Joseph "Fred" Flintstone is the father of a "modern stone age family". Fred is married to Wilma and together they have a daughter named Pebbles, they also have a pet dinosaur named Dino. He works at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company as a blue collar bronto-crane operator.
Fred and Wilma Flintstone are best friends with neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble. Though no age is ever given, all four of them appear to be somewhere in their late twenties in the original television series, adults but still a little unseasoned by life and occasionally prone to daydreams, get-rich-quick schemes, the occasional temper tantrum, and youthful misadventures.
Big-hearted but also a big dreamer and desperately insecure, Fred constantly struggles to prove himself to his family, his friends, and the world (a fairly common source of plots for young working class husbands in the domestic sitcoms of the time). His enthusiastic joie de vivre as well as his deep love for family and friends endears him to the important people in his life, which is a good thing as his insecurity often subjects him to comic bouts of grousing, loud temper tantrums, pouting, a proud inability to admit when he is wrong and to pontificate on topics about which he knows nothing, and a gullible weakness for get-rich-schemes. (The original series implies that he will outgrow this once he gets a bit older.)
Fred often gets carried away by his enthusiasm, which comes across as quite charming when he is romancing his wife Wilma or playing with his daughter Pebbles but turns comically disastrous when he is pursuing another of his get-rich-quick schemes. As a consequence of his enthusiasm and dominant personality, Fred unconsciously takes advantage of his best friend Barney constantly without either of them realizing it, despite his deep love for his best friend. Both Barney and Fred endure teasing from their wives whenever they become disastrously cocky or recklessly naive (a fairly common occurence in a domestic sitcom such as The Flintstones).
In the original series continuity, Fred and Barney met Wilma and Betty while working at a ritzy motel during one of their first summers after graduating from high school. The romance between Fred and Wilma was tumultuous as both of them have dominant personalities, but love won out in the end. In later continuities, the four of them have known each other since children. The Flintstones series have never really attempted to follow a single continuity, so both origins are probably true.
During the original television series run, Fred and Wilma had a daughter, named Pebbles because she was "too tiny to be a chip off the block, more of a pebble". Unusally for the time, the series followed Wilma throughout her pregnancy, and unlike most sitcom fathers of the time, Fred never once wished he had a son instead of a daughter; despite the 1950s style society that Fred lived in, Fred remained fiercely supportive of his daughter's right to be anything she wanted to be and would let no man or woman stand in his daughter's way. In sequel television series, Fred enters middle age with nary a gray hair as daughter Pebbles Flintstone marries Bamm Bamm Rubble and, in one continuity, may have become a grandfather.
Like all the "cave people" of The Flintstones series, Fred easily performs feats of strength that are superhuman by modern standards, including lifting stone slabs twice his size overhead, and would appear to have a low level of invulnerability compared to a modern human being. (This greater strength and toughness has been vaguely alluded to the few times that the Flintstones and Rubbles have travelled into the future to the modern day or even past that to the retrofuturistic days of the Jetsons).
In Other Media
Fred Flintstone is the star of Hanna Barbera's cartoon The Flintstones. Alan Reed provided the character's voice during the run of the original series, and was later succeeded by Henry Corden.
The Flintstones ran from 1960 to 1966 on ABC. Re-runs are still showing on Boomerang. He subsequently made guest appearances on various Hanna Barbera cartoons.
In 1994 Fred was played by actor John Goodman in the Flintstones big screen live action movie.