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Rear Window (1954)

Approved | | Mystery, Thriller | September 1954 (USA)
A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

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(screenplay), (based on the short story by)
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Top Rated Movies #40 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Ross Bagdasarian ...
Georgine Darcy ...
Sara Berner ...
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Jesslyn Fax ...
Rand Harper ...
Irene Winston ...
Havis Davenport ...
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Storyline

Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jeffries breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Seeing isn't always believing. (1983 re-release) See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

September 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$15,172 (USA) (21 January 2000)

Gross:

$24,500,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Eastmancolor) (negative)| (Technicolor) (prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Grace Kelly may have been a bit too beautiful and friendly, at least for the Paramount publicity department and James Stewart's wife. Known privately as a sexually free young woman, Kelly often had affairs with her leading men and she made everyone nervous by confessing to gossip columnists that she found Stewart one of the most masculinely attractive men she ever met. See more »

Goofs

When Jeff grabs the box of flashbulbs, all four can be seen in the box, but when he backs up more, there are only two left. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Voice on radio: Men, are you over 40? When you wake up in the morning, do you feel tired and rundown? Do you have that listless feeling...
[the camera pans around the courtyard; cut to later in the day]
Jeff: [answering phone] Jefferies.
Jeff's Editor: Congratulations, Jeff!
Jeff: For what?
Jeff's Editor: For getting rid of that cast!
Jeff: Who said I was getting rid of it?
Jeff's Editor: This is Wednesday; seven weeks from the day you broke your leg. Yes or no?
Jeff: Gunnison, how did you ever get to be such a big editor with such a small memory?
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder of a Cat (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpt from 'Fancy Free'
(1944) (uncredited)
Ballet Music by Leonard Bernstein
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Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

In the mid-fifties, Hitchcock brought remarkable suspense by reverting to the logic of a silent film (with an observer behind the lens as the hero)
15 January 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Many reviewers and critics have commented on Alfred Hitchcock's theme of the voyeur in Rear Window (the mere thought of a voyeur in a suspense film conjures up images from other classic Hitchcock films), and I felt that voyeuristic bug as well. But I realized something that I hadn't thought of as I watched it for the first time- this is a return for Hitchcock to his skills as a master of silent-film chills. As L.B. Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart in one of his most infamous performances) is in his wheelchair viewing out one perspective to other inhabitants in the apartment, the audience views right along-side him. So, for more or less 50 percent of the film, the only sounds we hear are the sounds of mere realism, as Hitch's camera keeps a close eye on things.

As the thrills build in the second hour of the film there is considerably more dialog than the first hour. This could, and occasionally does, present a challenge for the audience member that could either be accepted & payed off or resented- can one sit back and just watch things unfold as in a film from the 20's? Personally, the experience of seeing these events unfold and increase was near electrifying. Along with Stewart's performance, which ranges from amusing to terrified, compelling to frightened (i.e. Hitch's 'everyday man'), there's Grace Kelly as Lisa, who carries her own beauty & inner conflicts, and Raymond Burr as Thorvold, who could have things going a little better with his wife.

If we empathize with Jeff, it's because we become as much apart of his mind-set/POV as he already is, and that's the ticket to the film's true success. Not only is there a magnetic kind of skill to which Hitchcock (and cinematographer Robert Burks) presents us with the apartments' supporting and minor characters and how their fates are played out against the enclosed backdrop, but the psychology of Jeff becomes parallel, or against, to the audience's. This is the story of one man's temptation and compulsion to be involved with those he can see (much like movie-goers have with any given film), and how perception of the realities around him become ours. Rear Window may have become dated for some movie-goers, particularly since the theme has been played on by other movies and TV shows (like The Simpsons for example). Yet there is a certain effectiveness to it all, even in the earlier scenes, that holds an edge over imitators. A+


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