Peeping Tom (1960)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, Horror, Thriller  |  15 May 1962 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 20,850 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 130 critic

A young man murders women, using a movie camera to film their dying expressions of terror.



(original story), (screenplay)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 2.5/10 X  

In this action comedy, Jack Goldwater, an IRS agent on loan to the Federal Air Marshal Service, is relieved of field duty after insulting a powerful U.S. Senator, and finds himself exiled ... See full summary »

Director: J. Neil Schulman
Stars: Nichelle Nichols, Ethan Keogh, Susan Smythe
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.1/10 X  

A prank goes too far for the popular students at Hamilton High as they begin to pay for their actions 10 years later at their high school reunion.

Director: Steve Goltz
Stars: Kaleb Shorey, Marla Van Lanen, Kevin Sommerfield
Action | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

A group of Finnish and British people get stuck at a cabin when they are attacked by a creature that is a half human, half rabbit.

Director: Joonas Makkonen
Stars: Hiski Hämäläinen, Enni Ojutkangas, Veera W. Vilo
Documentary | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

For the third time, HBO cameras go inside Trenton State Maximum Security Prison--and inside the mind of one of the most prolific killers in U.S. history--in this gripping documentary. Mafia... See full summary »

Director: Arthur Ginsberg
Stars: Park Dietz, Richard Kuklinski
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Young filmmaker decides to make a movie of his life.

Director: Jim McBride
Stars: L.M. Kit Carson, Eileen Dietz, Louise Levine
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young man in Romania goes to shocking extremes to convince Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway to play in his film.

Director: Adrian Tofei
Stars: Adrian Tofei, Sonia Teodoriu, Florentina Hariton
Short | Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The epic story of one man's encounter with what could be the most relentless murderer of all time.

Director: Richard Gale
Stars: Paul Clemens, Brian Rohan, Melissa Paladino
Documentary | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Feature film examining the existence of films in which people are murdered on camera and the culture surrounding them. Through interviews with former FBI Profilers, Cultural Academics, and ... See full summary »

Director: Paul von Stoetzel
Stars: Larry C. Brubaker, Todd Cobery, Linda Flanders
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

During a rural picnic, a few students and a teacher from an Australian girls' school vanish without a trace. Their absence frustrates and haunts the people left behind.

Director: Peter Weir
Stars: Rachel Roberts, Anne-Louise Lambert, Vivean Gray
Lake Mungo (2008)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A supernatural drama about grief.

Director: Joel Anderson
Stars: Rosie Traynor, David Pledger, Martin Sharpe
Secvente (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Director: Alexandru Tatos
Stars: Geo Barton, Ion Vâlcu, Emilia Dobrin
Empire (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.2/10 X  

A single shot of the Empire State Building from early evening until nearly 3 am the next day.

Director: Andy Warhol
Stars: Jonas Mekas


Complete credited cast:
Karlheinz Böhm ...
Mark Lewis (as Carl Boehm)
Maxine Audley ...
Brenda Bruce ...
Miles Malleson ...
Elderly Gentleman Customer
Arthur Baden
Martin Miller ...
Dr. Rosen
Don Jarvis
Jack Watson ...
Chief Insp. Gregg
Shirley Anne Field ...
Pauline Shields (as Shirley Ann Field)
Pamela Green ...


Mark Lewis, works as a focus puller in a British film studio. On his off hours, he supplies a local porno shop with cheesecake photos and also dabbles in filmmaking. A lonely, unfriendly, sexually repressed fellow, Mark is obsessed with the effects of fear and how they are registered on the face and behavior of the frightened. This obsession dates from the time when, as a child, he served as the subject of some cold-blooded experiments in the psychology of terror conducted by his own scientist father. As a grown man, Mark becomes a compulsive murderer who kills women and records their contorted features and dying gasps on film. His ongoing project is a documentary on fear. With 16mm camera in hand, he accompanies a prostitute to her room and stabs her with a blade concealed in his tripod, all the while photographing her contorted face in the throes of terror and death. Alone in his room, he surrounds himself with the sights and sounds of terror: taped screams, black-and-white "home ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Han fotograferede sine smukke ofre i dødsøjeblikket! [Denmark] See more »


Drama | Horror | Thriller


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

15 May 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Face of Fear  »

Box Office


£135,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$77,752 (USA) (7 May 1999)


$83,957 (USA) (20 August 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In his memoirs Michael Powell revealed his other candidates for the role of Vivian as being Joan Plowright (rejected as 'too sympathetic') and a young Julie Andrews (rejected as 'too famous'). He eventually chose Moira Shearer despite initially describing her as 'too glamorous'. See more »


During the opening sequence we can see a shot of Mark's camera, showing that it is somewhat concealed in his coat, at chest level or lower. In the subsequent "first person" shots of the prostitute (supposedly showing what's being seen through the camera's viewfinder) it seems to have moved to eye level. See more »


[first lines]
[Mark approaches the prostitute, covertly filming her]
Dora: It'll be two quid
See more »


Referenced in The Simpsons: Peeping Mom (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Revered and reviled, but no longer ignored
11 August 2004 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

In these supposed enlightened times, director Michael Powell is considered a genius of British cinema. Emerging during the War as one of Britain's finest craftsmen, Powell and his partner Emeric Pressburger created the undisputed classics The Life And Death Of Colonel Blimp (1943), Black Narcissus (1947) and The Red Shoes (1948).

But despite critical and commercial success, his career was in tatters by the early 1960's. The abrupt death of Powell's career can virtually be pinned down to one film, his most uncompromising portrait of madness, 1960's Peeping Tom.

Powell's infamous shocker opens with a movie camera-wielding Mark Lewis (Carl Boehm) following a prostitute to her boarding house room. Once inside, he slides a spike from his tripod leg and films her action of terror before stabbing her to death. As the credits roll, we find Mark alone in his apartment, replaying the footage with wide-eyed fascination.

As the film progresses, Mark is revealed as a stuttering loner whose sex drive has been somehow twisted into a murderous voyeuristic mania - working at a movie studio by day, he moonlights as a ‘glamour' photographer above a seedy newsagents. His blonde buxom model (Pamela Green), constantly taunting his virility, is the embodiment of the female he despises. The inquisitive girl downstairs, on the other hand, becomes his ideal and his possible salvation. Ultimately she is doomed by her altruistic attraction when she insists Mark must show her one of his 'films'. Horrified, she watches Mark as a child, tortured by his father's camera experiment of recording a child's reaction to fear. Mark's own experiment of filming his murder victims leads him on a downward spiral of insanity to the film's tragic conclusion.

Despite Peeping Tom's sensational subject matter, Powell's intention was deadly serious: to make a sober study of sexual violence, as well as a meditation on the audience's role of voyeur. Powell's camera positions us directly behind Mark and his spectators so that we become his unwilling accomplices - the audience watches Mark watching his films. Carl Boehm as Mark gives a chilling performance, at once icy reserve and murderous rage. Powell creates a garish red and pale blue twilight landscape of backstreet London in perfect detail.

At the film's completion, Powell believed he had made a masterpiece. Peeping Tom is certainly a personal film; Powell and his co-scriptwriter toiled for months until they had mastered a sympathetic three-dimensional serial killer. In later years, Powell would remain tight-lipped about his real reasons for making the film. But Britain's premiere 'glamour' pinup queen Pamela Green - Peeping Tom's photo-model and penultimate victim - would offer clues to Powell's hidden agenda.

Green became his leading choice for the role, although she had not appeared outside 8mm stag films, after seeing a life-sized nude portrait in her business partner Harrison Mark's studio. Her initial reception on the set was one of polite British reserve - until Powell unleashed his Jekyll and Hyde personality and she became one among many targets for his boorish, intimidating manner. On the day of Green's death scene, Powell changed his former plans of prudence and demanded she sprawl topless across her bed before she is skewered with Mark's tripod leg. She reluctantly gave in. Mid-shot she looked across the studio in horror. Beneath Powell's camera were his two pre-teen sons, watching unwaveringly according to their father's instructions. This incident brought a chill over Powell's casting of his son as Mark junior and of himself as Mark's father.

Whatever reasons drove Powell to make Peeping Tom, he had effectively signed his career's death warrant. The film opened to scathing reviews in April 1960, just months after the similarly-themed Psycho. Ironically, Hitchcock floated out of the controversy surrounding Psycho as the consummate old trickster, and saved his slowly sinking career. The time seemed ripe for Peeping Tom among audiences and critics alike. Unfortunately for Powell, the critics could find none of Psycho's black humour in his sober tome. 'Sick' and ‘vile' were a small sample of their vitriol. The papers were outraged that a filmmaker of Powell's calibre could sink his talents into material so vulgar and perverse. Powell hoped the distributor would weather the storm and allow the audience to find the film on its own merits. Instead, the plug was pulled on Peeping Tom after five days and at least in Britain the film was buried.

The print was sold to the American Roadshow circuit, with a lurid ad campaign designed to sell the film to a jaded American public. Shorn of twenty minutes footage, the film was considered too 'British' and was shelved after a limited run. There it sat, gathering dust for almost 20 years. Then in 1978 a cabal of admiring filmmakers led by Martin Scorsese (himself no stranger to controversy) rescued a complete print from Britain. Peeping Tom was thus relaunched in 1979 at the prestigious New York Film Festival to a predictably mixed reception. Correct-minded commentators grudgingly accepted its 'masterpiece' tag but were nonplussed with the Film's treatment of its sexual violence.

As for Powell, the British film industry no longer considered him bankable after Peeping Tom. He made one more film in Britain before exiling himself to Australia. The antipodean They're A Weird Mob (1966) was on of his final films before his death in 1984. Luckily for Powell, the film he considers his masterpiece is still revered and reviled, but no longer ignored.

140 of 152 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Alfred Hitchcock's Frenzy is a superior film! Saving_Private_Celluloid
1001 films you must see before you die elscorcho86
Milk PiranianRose
Quite a costly DVD 80sgal4ever
Banned? AzureSky
Disappointed soupready
Discuss Peeping Tom (1960) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: