732 user 210 critic

Vertigo (1958)

2:15 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.



(screenplay by), (screenplay by) (as Samuel Taylor) | 2 more credits »
1,243 ( 31)
Top Rated Movies #73 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Psycho (1960)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Casablanca (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A cynical nightclub owner protects an old flame and her husband from Nazis in Morocco.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
The Birds (1963)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Jessica Tandy
Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Comedy | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

An insane general triggers a path to nuclear holocaust that a war room full of politicians and generals frantically tries to stop.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Peter Sellers, George C. Scott, Sterling Hayden
Crime | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates
The Shining (1980)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A family heads to an isolated hotel for the winter where an evil spiritual presence influences the father into violence, while his psychic son sees horrific forebodings from the past and of the future.

Director: Stanley Kubrick
Stars: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A screenwriter is hired to rework a faded silent film star's script, only to find himself developing a dangerous relationship.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim


Complete credited cast:
Scottie's Doctor
Car Owner Mistaken for Madeleine


John "Scottie" Ferguson is a retired San Francisco police detective who suffers from acrophobia and Madeleine is the lady who leads him to high places. A wealthy shipbuilder who is an acquaintance from college days approaches Scottie and asks him to follow his beautiful wife, Madeleine. He fears she is going insane, maybe even contemplating suicide, he believes she is possessed by a dead ancestor. Scottie is skeptical, but agrees after he sees the beautiful Madeleine. Written by filmfactsman

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A tall story about a pushover [Video] See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 July 1958 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

'Vertigo'  »


Box Office


$2,479,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,783, 30 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$25,000,000, 31 January 1998
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


| (1996 restored)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (70 mm prints)



Aspect Ratio:

1.50 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When re-released to theaters in 1984, it was rated PG. But on home video releases, after the end credits, it says rated PG-13 by the MPAA despite having the PG rating at the back of the DVD/VHS. See more »


When Madeleine walks out of the Art museum and continues on to throw flowers in the bay before she jumps in and is taken out of the water by Scottie, she has no purse. After she wakes up at Scottie's and puts on his robe whilst her clothing is drying, she asks for her hairpins and purse which he brings to her. Perhaps, she left the purse in the car when she jumped in the bay, but most women would not go into a museum dressed in a suit with gloves and leave their purse in the car. See more »


[first lines]
Officer on rooftop: Give me your hand. Give me your hand.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening Paramount logo is in black and white while the rest of the film, including the closing Paramount logo, is in Technicolor. See more »


Referenced in House M.D.: House Training (2007) See more »


Symphony No. 34 in C K. 338, 2nd Movement, Andante di Molto (piu tosto allegretto)
Composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Played as 'cue 10B' on a record in the psychiatric ward
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

You're not lost. Mother's here.
19 July 2009 | by See all my reviews

John "Scottie" Ferguson is a San Francisco cop who decides to quit the service after his acrophobia results in him being unable to save the life of a colleague. Whilst taking it easy he gets a call from an old school friend, Gavin Elster, asking him if he wouldn't mind doing a little bit of detective work for him. The job is simply to tail his wife because she's obsessed with an ancestress who committed suicide, and the wife, Madeline, is showing signs of herself being suicidal. Ferguson tails her diligently and as the tail progresses, Ferguson himself starts to become ever obsessed about the demur blonde Madeline. As the story twists and turns, Ferguson's obsession will have far reaching consequences for both parties...

Vertigo is Alfred Hitchcock's most discussed, dissected and critically reappraised film, based on a novel by Pierre Boileau called D'Entre Les Morts, (also writer of Diabolique), Vertigo was not well liked on its release and unable to be viewed for some time due to copyright, the film was restored from a destroyed negative into a glorious 70mm print, and now in all its glory it can be seen as one of the greatest films to have ever been made. What is most striking about Vertigo, outside of Hitchcock baring his innermost that is, is that its plot on the surface is simplicity personified, but delving deeper, and repeat viewings are a necessity, its apparent that Vertigo is a chilling force of cinema, taking great delight in gnawing away at your perceptions, perhaps even your own capabilities as a human being.

Very much a film of two great halves, Vertigo first seems intent on being an almost ghost story like mystery. Once the prologue has introduced us to Ferguson's fear of heights, we then enter an almost dream like sequence of events as Ferguson tails the troubled Madeline, the suggestion of reincarnation bleakly leading to death hangs heavy as Hitchcock pulls his atmospheric strings. Then the film shifts into dark territory as obsessions and nods to Dante's Inferno and feverish dreams take control, Hitchcock, as we have come to learn over the years, lays out his soul for us the audience to partake in, the uneasy traits sitting side by side with fascination of the story. All of which is leading us to a spine tingling finale that is as hauntingly memorable as it is shocking, the end to our own dizzying journey that Alfred and his team have taken us on.

Technically the film is magnificent, the opening credits from Saul Bass brilliantly prep us for what is about to unfold, while Bernard Herrmann's score is as good as anything he ever did, unnerving one minute, swirlingly romantic the next, a truly incredible score. Hitchcock himself is firing from the top draw, introducing us to the brilliant zoom-forward-track-back camera technique to induce the feeling of Vertigo itself, with that merely a component of two hours of gorgeous texture lined with disturbing little peccadilloes. The two leads are arguably doing their respective career best work, James Stewart as Scottie Ferguson goes real deep to play it out with an edgy believability that decries his aw-shucks trademark of years since past. Kim Novak as Madeline is perhaps the quintessential Hitchcock blonde, perfect with the duality aspects of the role and playing off Stewart's ever creepy descent with seamlessly adroit skill. It however should be noted that Hitchcock and his loyal subjects had to work hard to get Novak right for the role, but the result proves that Novak had ability that sadly wasn't harnessed on too many other occasions.

Vertigo is a film that I myself wasn't too taken with on my first viewing, it's only during revisits that the piece has come to grab me by the soul and refuse to let go, it not only holds up on revisits, it also gets better with each subsequent viewing, it is simply a film that demands to be seen as many times as possible. Not only one of the greatest American films ever made, one of the greatest films ever made...period, so invest your soul in it, just the way that Hitchcock himself so clearly did. 10/10

64 of 83 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 732 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page