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Psycho (1960)

R  |   |  Horror, Mystery, Thriller  |  8 September 1960 (USA)
8.6
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 358,010 users  
Reviews: 957 user | 282 critic

A Phoenix secretary steals $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.

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Title: Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960) on IMDb 8.6/10

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Top 250 #36 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Caroline (as Pat Hitchcock)
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Mort Mills ...
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Storyline

Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The master of suspense moves his cameras into the icy blackness of the unexplored! (window card) See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 September 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho  »

Box Office

Budget:

$806,947 (estimated)

Gross:

$32,000,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the reasons why Alfred Hitchcock wanted to make Psycho in black and white is because Hitchcock loved french horror film Diabolique (1955), which was made in Black and White. Les Diaboliques is based on Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac's novel "Celle qui n'était plus" (She Who Was No More). Hitchcock attempted to buy the rights to this novel in 1950s. But director Henri-Georges Clouzot bought the film rights to the original novel. Clouzot reportedly beat Hitchcock by only a matter of hours. See more »

Goofs

In the movie's opening shots of the hotel window, the venetian blinds are bunched higher on the right and lower on the left: as the camera closes in the venetian blinds are level with the window sill. See more »

Quotes

Milton Arbogast: Now, if this Marion Crane were here... you wouldn't be hiding her would you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: Not even if she paid you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: All right, then lets say for the sake of argument that she needed your help and that she made you out to be a fool in helping her...
Norman Bates: Well, I'm not a fool. And I'm not capable of being fooled! Not even by a woman.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Stoker (2013) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Two Words: Hitchcock's Best (...and you know that's no small feat!)
31 July 2001 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Yes, everything you've heard is true. The score is a part of pop culture. The domestic conflict is well-known. But nothing shocks like the experience itself.

If you have not seen this movie, do yourself a favor. Stop reading thse comments, get up, take a shower, then GO GET THIS MOVIE. Buy it, don't rent. You will not regret it.

"Psycho" is easily the best horror-thriller of all time. Nothing even comes close...maybe "Les Diaboliques" (1955) but not really.

"Psycho" has one of the best scripts you'll ever find in a movie. The movie's only shortcoming is that one of the characters seems to have little motivation in the first act of the movie but as the story progresses, you realize that Hitchcock (GENIUS! GENIUS! GENIUS!) in a stroke of genius has done this on purpose, because there is another character whose motivations are even more important. Vitally important. So important that you totally forget about anything else. I was lucky enough to have spent my life wisely avoiding any conversation regarding the plot of this movie until I was able to see it in full. Thank God I did! The movie has arguably the best mid-plot point and climactic twist in thriller history, and certainly the best-directed ending. The last few shots are chilling and leave a lingering horror in the viewer's mind.

Just as good as the writing is Hitchcock's direction, which is so outstanding that it defies explanation. Suffice it to say that this movie is probably the best directorial effort by film history's best director. I was fortunate enough to see this movie at a big oldtime movie house during a Hitchcock revival. Janet Leigh, still radiant, spoke before the film and explained how Hitchcock's genius was in his ability to 1) frighten without gore and 2) leave his indelible mark on the movie without overshadowing his actors (like the great Jean Renoir could never do). "Psycho" is clearly its own phenomenon, despite all the big-name talent involved.

Hitchcock does not disappoint by leaving out his trademark dark humor. His brilliance is in making a climax that is at once both scary and hilarious. When I saw it in the theatre the audience was both gasping in disbelief while falling-on-the-floor laughing.

One more thing...

Tony Perkins. Janet Leigh got much-deserved accolades for this film, but it is Perkins who gives what remains the single best performance by an actor in a horror movie. He is so understated that his brillance passes you by. He becomes the character. The sheer brillance of the role is evidenced by the ineptitude of the actors in Gus Van Sant's 1998 (dear God make it stop!) shot-for-shot "remake." Though the movies are nearly identical, Hitchcock's is superior mostly because of the acting and the atmosphere (some of the creepiness is lost with color). This is made obvious by the initial conversation between Leigh's character and Perkins, a pivotal scene. The brilliance of Perkins in the original shines even brighter when compared with the ruination in the remake even though the words and the shots were exactly the same. The crucial chemistry in this scene lacking in the remake gives everything away and mars our understanding of upcoming events. The fact that Perkins could never escape this role - his star stopped rising star as it had done in the 50s - proves that he played the part perhaps too well.

I keep using the word brilliant, but I cannot hide my enthusiasm for this movie. It is wholly unlike the overblown, overbudget, overlong fluff spewing all-too-often out of Hollywood today. "Psycho" is simple, well-crafted and just the right length.

Eleven-and-a-half out of ten stars.


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