(1963)

Critic Reviews

87

Metascore

Based on 12 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Genuinely disturbing thriller classic from the master of suspense.
100
The essential Hitchcock movie, the purest and most confident, a brilliant distillation of the themes that had fueled him ever since he sent the lodger creeping to his upstairs room.
100
The true genius of the film, based on a 1952 short story by Daphne du Maurier, is the way Hitchcock makes the malevolent birds seem like manifestations of his characters' mental unease.
100
This is Hitchcock at his best. Full of subterranean hints as to the ways in which people cage each other, it's fierce and Freudian as well as great cinematic fun.
100
Hailed as one of Hitchcock's masterpieces by some and despised by others, The Birds is certainly among the director's more complex and fascinating works.
90
Alfred Hitchcock has concocted an elaborate tease in The Birds, as if to prove that suspense and thrills can be induced as much by the expectation of horror as by horror itself.
90
Making a terrifying menace out of what is assumed to be one of nature's most innocent creatures and one of man's most melodious friends, Mr. Hitchcock and his associates have constructed a horror film that should raise the hackles on the most courageous and put goose-pimples on the toughest hide.
90
As emblems of sexual tension, divine retribution, meaningless chaos, metaphysical inversion, and aching human guilt, his attacking birds acquire a metaphorical complexity and slipperiness worthy of Melville. Tippi Hedren's lead performance is still open to controversy, but her evident stage fright is put to sublimely Hitchcockian uses.
60
The premise is fascinating. The idea of billions of bird-brains refusing to eat crow any longer and adopting the hunt-and-peck system, with homo sapiens as their ornithological target, is fraught with potential. Cinematically, Hitchcock & Co have done a masterful job of meeting this formidable challenge. But dramatically, The Birds is little more than a shocker-for shock’s-sake.
50
The New Yorker
Some of the special effects are amusing, and a few are perverse and frightening, but the effects take over in this Hitchcock scare picture, and he fails to make the plot situations convincing. The script is weak, and the acting is so awkward that often one doesn't know how to take the characters.

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