8.4/10
282,570
722 user 209 critic

Vertigo (1958)

Trailer
2:15 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON TV
ON DISC
ALL
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) (as Samuel Taylor) | 2 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
1,297 ( 242)
Top Rated Movies #74 | 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
Action | Adventure | Mystery
    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
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
Casablanca (1942)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

In Casablanca in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate encounters a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henreid
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
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A family vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumble on to an assassination plot and the conspirators are determined to prevent them from interfering.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie
The Birds (1963)
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
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
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

Directors: Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly
Stars: Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Scottie's Doctor
...
Manager of McKittrick Hotel
Konstantin Shayne ...
Pop Leibel
...
Car Owner Mistaken for Madeleine
Edit

Storyline

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

Taglines:

A Mystery Revised... A Master Remembered! (1996 Restored Film Premiere) See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 July 1958 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

'Vertigo'  »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,479,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,783, 30 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,200,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1996 restored)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (70 mm prints)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.50 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Visa d'exploitation en France #21096 See more »

Goofs

When Scottie and Madeleine are talking on the beach, there is a tree between them. Madeleine puts her left arm around the tree, but then, without her having moved, she has her back to the tree. See more »

Quotes

[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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Sardis #4
(uncredited)
(Forever Female), from Skylark (1941) (Poochie)
Composed by Victor Young
Orchestrated by Gus Levene
Played as 'cue 12D' by the orchestra while Scottie and Judy are dancing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Hitchcock's once-overlooked masterpiece
21 December 2006 | by See all my reviews

John "Scottie" Ferguson (Jimmy Stewart, never better) is a retired detective with a severe fear of heights after a botched chase to capture a criminal. Due to his newly acquired acrophobia, he retires and wanders around the beautiful streets of San Francisco. Out of the blue, an old college friend Gavin Elster asks him to follow his wife Madeleine, as he believes that Madeleine may be possessed by the spirit of her great-grandmother, drifting in and out of reality and into trance-like states of mind. So Scottie agrees to follow the mysterious blonde (Kim Novak) as Hitchock guides us throughout San Francisco and into his strange and dark mind. Little by little, Scottie begins to become infatuated with Madeleine, and after he saves her from suicide (she jumped into San Francisco Bay) and decides to help her, he falls madly in love with her. In finding pieces of the puzzle to Madeleine's mystery, their journey takes them to the San Juan Bautista where Madeleine meets her end by tumbling off the bell tower, presumably by suicide. Scottie tried to save his love but his fear of heights stopped him. For the next year Scottie falls into a deep depression, feeling guilty for his impotency to save his love. His depression is halted when he sees Judy Barton (Novak again). Judy isn't like Madeleine--she's plain, in touch with reality and even vulgar when compared. But her face looks so much like Madeleine. Scottie begins to court Judy first for herself but eventually he tries to mold her into the beauty he lost prematurely, unaware that Judy has a big secret up her sleeve.

When it was first released, Vertigo didn't get good reviews and it didn't make money at the box office. People didn't understand the bizarre dream sequences that were so ahead of their time, they didn't feel sympathy for the characters (at the end, even Scottie is unlikable), and the BIG TWIST is given away in the middle of the movie instead of at the end, a la Psycho. Even I had my complaints about that last one, yet after a second viewing I realized that this movie wasn't even about what really happened to what really happened to Madeleine; it's about men's psychological--and sexual--desire for the perfect woman, even if she's out of touch with reality. This movie is considered Hitchcock's most personal film, as he could be domineering with his actresses, trying to mold them into his own dream. After the "failure" of Vertigo, Hitchcock never worked with Jimmy Stewart again, unfairly blaming him for not being able to draw a crowd on account of his age. Luckily for everyone, Vertigo has gotten better with age and is no longer forgotten. In the late 80s Vertigo started popping up on Top 10 Films of All Time lists, and today it's considered Hitchock's best film, and most definitely one of the best ever made.

The biggest reason for Vertigo's late success is because it is Hitchcock's most analyzed film and because it works on a psychological level; The film points out that men would rather have an unavailable, beautiful woman who is out of touch with reality than a woman who understands her surroundings and is utterly available. This is pointed out twice, once with Midge, an ex-fiancée and good friend of Scottie and later with Judy, who tries to make Scottie love her for who she is and not because she reminds Scottie of Madeleine. The first hour is drawn out very slowly, and while it's not as fast-paced as other Hitchcock's films, he uses it wisely. He starts by first gaining--later testing--our sympathy for Scottie; when he's hanging for his dear life in the opening scene, we pray for him (even though we know that there would be no movie if Jimmy Stewart dies in the first 3 minutes). When he's chasing Madeleine up the bell tower, we hope that he can get there in time and kiss his lover. And when the romance turns dark in the second outing to the bell tower, you feel just as caught in the middle as Scottie does in that moment. Hitchcock blurred the lines between victim and villain, and he earns our creative respect for him.

The key element to why Vertigo works so well in the end is because of the actors. It's practically impossible to think of anyone other than James Stewart, who embodied the everyman, and for that reason is so convincing in testing our sympathies. It's all in the minimalistic ways he does it, with the slightest crinkle in the forehead or the movement in the eyes doing evoking more emotion than most actors do screaming and crying. This is his best performance next to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. And Kim Novak is ravishing and haunting both as Madeleine and Judy, utterly convincing in both roles. With my respects to Grace Kelly, Novak just may be the most mysterious and convincing Hitchcock blonde to grace the screen. Their chemistry together, despite their age difference is explosive and natural.

Buy--don't rent--this DVD and you'll find yourself falling for every detail of this brilliant film.


9 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?
Review this title | See all 722 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Watch the Latest Episode of "The IMDb Show"

Katee Sackhoff talks about her characters on "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Wars: Rebels," and "The Flash." Plus, "The IMDb Show" learns what it takes to wield a lightsaber.

Watch the show