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The Birds (1963)

PG-13  |   |  Horror  |  29 March 1963 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 116,453 users  
Reviews: 445 user | 173 critic

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 there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.

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Title: The Birds (1963)

The Birds (1963) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Melanie Daniels (as 'Tippi' Hedren)
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Doreen Lang ...
Hysterical Mother in Diner
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Deputy Al Malone
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Drunken Doomsayer in Diner
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Helen Carter
Lonny Chapman ...
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Storyline

Melanie Daniels is the modern rich socialite, part of the jet-set who always gets what she wants. When lawyer Mitch Brenner sees her in a pet shop, he plays something of a practical joke on her, and she decides to return the favor. She drives about an hour north of San Francisco to Bodega Bay, where Mitch spends the weekends with his mother Lydia and younger sister Cathy. Soon after her arrival, however, the birds in the area begin to act strangely. A seagull attacks Melanie as she is crossing the bay in a small boat, and then, Lydia finds her neighbor dead, obviously the victim of a bird attack. Soon, birds in the hundreds and thousands are attacking anyone they find out of doors. There is no explanation as to why this might be happening, and as the birds continue their vicious attacks, survival becomes the priority. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Birds is coming! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 March 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds  »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System) (uncredited)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the film, it appears as if the schoolhouse is within the bay town limits. The frightened children are clearly shown running downhill toward the town and the water. In real life, the schoolhouse used for those shots is located five miles southeast and inland of Bodega Bay in the separate township of Bodega, California. See more »

Goofs

In town before going to Mitch's place, Melanie writes a note on her car and when she picks up the envelope she leaves a brown paper on the car - then it has disappeared See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Melanie Daniels: Hello there, Mrs. MacGruder.
Mrs. MacGruder, pet store clerk: Oh, hello, Miss Daniels.
Melanie Daniels: Have you ever seen so many gulls? What do you suppose it is?
Mrs. MacGruder, pet store clerk: Well, there must be a storm at sea, that can drive them inland, you know. I was hoping you'd be a little late because he hadn't arrived yet.
Melanie Daniels: Oh, but you'd said three o'clock...
Mrs. MacGruder, pet store clerk: Oh I know, I know. I've been calling all morning. Oh, Miss Daniels you have no idea. They are so difficult to get, really they are. We have to get them from India, when they're just baby chicks,...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

There were no ending credits. And in the opening credits the title "THE BIRDS" was slowly pecked away by the passing crows. See more »

Connections

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: La monnaie de l'absolu (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Rissle-dy, Rossle-dy
(uncredited)
("I married my wife in the month of June")
Derived from the traditional Scottish folk song "The Wee Cooper o'Fife"
Additional lyrics by Evan Hunter
Sung by the schoolchildren
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Terrific Visuals And Special Effects
2 November 2014 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Gripping and unnerving, Hitchcock's "The Birds" is one of the great films of all time. In more recent movies, special effects are the sole reason to see the film; there is no real story. What makes "The Birds" so eloquent is that the special effects enhance an already masterful story.

One could reasonably argue that Hitchcock's classic was one of the first, if not the first, films to explore an environmental apocalypse. As such, it has great thematic depth. The story shows how we take for granted simple features of our everyday world, and how unsettling it would be not to have control over these mundane environmental features.

Characters are multidimensional; we care about them; they clearly display their humanity. And the dialogue is excellent. My favorite character is the amusingly intellectual ornithologist. Mrs. Bundy, so sure of herself in the Café scene: "I hardly think that either species (of birds) would have sufficient intelligence to launch a mass attack; their brain pans are not big enough".

Plot structure is fine, although it's not unreasonable to state that the story is a bit slow to develop; perhaps a few scenes in the first twenty minutes could have been deleted or shortened. The film's ending is sufficiently clear without being explicit.

There are so many good visuals it's hard to know where to begin. A favorite of mine is the scene where Melanie sits in front of a jungle-gym smoking a cigarette; birds casually and innocently gather behind her. After a time when she has finished her cigarette, the camera reverts back to the jungle-gym; this time it has been overrun by an ominous army of birds; the scene is rendered even more effective by having no dialogue.

Another factor that makes this film good is the absence of background music; the story doesn't need it. Ambient sounds alone enhance suspense and realism. The sounds of flapping and squawking birds are eerie and effective. Casting is almost ideal. Tippi Hedren may be a bit prim and proper but she does a good job with her role. I don't recall a weak performance anywhere.

"The Birds" is probably my favorite Hitchcock film. Aside from possibly a slow start, it's a well-made film, using technically difficult visual effects. It is not only entertaining but also thought-provoking in its underlying environmental theme.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
why were the birds attacking people nickdodgerboy
Tippi Hedren's acting lynchislife95
Mleanie meets Mitch at the beech- so why....? skrall-991-949327
Tippi Hedren stalker? thomaswilliamboner
If birds actually started attacking, how screwed would we be? horneddemon
Oh, that perfect makeup butaneggbert
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