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Rear Window (1954)

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

John Michael Hayes (screenplay), Cornell Woolrich (based on the short story by)
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Popularity
1,601 ( 71)

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Top Rated Movies #45 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... L.B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
Grace Kelly ... Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey ... Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
Thelma Ritter ... Stella
Raymond Burr ... Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn ... Miss Lonelyhearts
Ross Bagdasarian ... Songwriter
Georgine Darcy Georgine Darcy ... Miss Torso
Sara Berner ... Woman on Fire Escape
Frank Cady ... Man on Fire Escape
Jesslyn Fax ... Miss Hearing Aid
Rand Harper Rand Harper ... Newlywed
Irene Winston Irene Winston ... Mrs. Emma Thorwald
Havis Davenport Havis Davenport ... Newlywed
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Storyline

Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating ways...and Murder! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$234,258, 2 October 1983, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$36,764,313

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$36,888,916
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (negative)| Color (Technicolor) (prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Because all but a few scenes were shot from inside Jeff's apartment, Sir Alfred Hitchcock remained in that part of the set, communicating with his actors and actresses across the way via short wave radio broadcast to their flesh-colored earpieces. See more »

Goofs

During Stella's first visit to Jeff, she places a thermometer in his mouth. When she does that, Jeff's hands change from being separated to together. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Voice on radio: Men, are you over 40? When you wake up in the morning, do you feel tired and rundown? Do you have that listless feeling...
[the camera pans around the courtyard; cut to later in the day]
Jeff: [answering phone] Jefferies.
Jeff's Editor: Congratulations, Jeff!
Jeff: For what?
Jeff's Editor: For getting rid of that cast!
Jeff: Who said I was getting rid of it?
Jeff's Editor: This is Wednesday; seven weeks from the day you broke your leg. Yes or no?
Jeff: Gunnison, how did you ever get to be such a big editor with such a small memory?
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 1986, Universal added a three-minute dream sequence for commercial television release in order to "adapt" the picture for a longer television time slot. This scene is not part of the movie in any of the subsequent TV broadcasts as well as home video or DVD releases. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dick Cavett Show: Alfred Hitchcock (1972) See more »

Soundtracks

Mona Lisa
(1950) (uncredited)
Written by Ray Evans and Jay Livingston
Sung by cast members during the cocktail party scene in the pianist's studio
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Our Obsession with Voyeurism
8 April 2004 | by dxiaSee all my reviews

After viewing 'Rear Window' again, I've come to realize that Alfred Hitchcock was not only a great moviemaker but also a great moviewatcher. In the making of 'Rear Window,' he knew exactly what it is about movies that makes them so captivating. It is the illusion of voyeurism that holds our attention just as it held Hitchcock's. The ability to see without being seen has a spellbinding effect. Why else is it so uncommon to have characters in movies look directly into the camera? It just isn't as fun to watch someone when they know you're there. When we watch movies, we are participating in looking into another world and seeing the images of which we have no right to see and listening to the conversations that we should not hear. 'Rear Window' and Powell's 'Peeping Tom' are some of the best movies that aren't afraid to admit this human trait. We are all voyeurs.

When watching 'Rear Window,' it is better to imagine Alfred Hitchcock sitting in that wheelchair rather than Jimmy Stewart. When the camera is using longshots to watch the neighborhood, it is really Hitchcock watching, not Stewart. Hitchcock's love of voyeurism is at the center of this movie, along with his fascination with crime and his adoration of the Madonna ideal.

In many of Hitchcock's movies, 'Rear Window,' 'Vertigo,' 'Psycho,' 'The Birds,' etc, the blonde actresses are objects. Notice how rarely they get close with the male leads. In 'Vertigo,' Stewart's character falls in love with the image of Madeleine; in 'Psycho,' we see the voyeur in Hitchcock peeking out of Norman Bates at Marion; and in 'Rear Window,' Jeff would rather stare out of his window than to hold the beautiful Lisa by his side. For Hitchcock, these women are ideals that should be admired rather than touched.

However, the story of 'Rear Window' isn't about the image of women, as it is in 'Vertigo.' 'Rear Window' focuses more on seduction of crime, not in committing it but in the act of discovering it. At one point in the story, Jeff's friend convinces him that there was no murder, and Jeff is disappointed, not because someone wasn't dead but because he could no longer indulge into his fantasy that someone was. Think how popular crime shows are on television, and noir films at the movies. People do not want to commit crimes; they want to see other people commit them.

'Rear Window' is one of the most retrospective movies I've ever seen. In a span of two hours, it examines some of the most recurrent themes in film. When we watch 'Rear Window,' it is really us watching someone watch someone else. And all the while, Hitchcock is sitting on the balcony and seeing our reaction. It is an act of voyeurism layered on top of itself, and it allows us to examine our own behavior as we are spellbound in Hitchcock's world. The only thing that I feel is missing in the movie is a scene of Jeff using his binoculars and seeing himself in a mirror. Why did Hitchcock leave it out? Maybe because it would have been too obvious what he was doing. Or maybe he was afraid that the audience would see themselves in the reflection of the lens.


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