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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
1,386 ( 107)

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Top Rated Movies #44 | 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

To accommodate the enormous set, a higher ceiling was required. Alfred Hitchcock had the production company tear out the entire floor of the studio, revealing the basement. What the audience sees as the courtyard was originally the basement level of the studio. See more »

Goofs

(at around 1 hr 11 mins) When Tom Doyle is on the phone to a colleague and before Lisa comes out of the kitchen, the shadow of a camera crew member is visible on wall by the kitchen window. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Swoon (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Balettmusik, nr 2, G-dur.
Composed by Franz Schubert
[from "Rosamunde, Princess of Cyprus", a play by Helmina von Chézy]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another Hitchcock masterpiece
10 April 2001 | by FlickJunkie-2See all my reviews

Alfred Hitchcock is considered by most to be the master of suspense. I believe he was also a master of understanding human nature. He intuitively understood that human beings are voyeurs by nature, not in the perverted sense, but in the curious sense. We are a species that slows down to look at accident scenes and steals furtive glances at lovers in the park who are oblivious to everything but each other. A major appeal of cinema and television is that they offer us an opportunity for guilt free voyeurism. When we watch a film, aren't we in essence looking through a window and watching people who behave as if they don't realize we are there?

Hitchcock realized this and took voyeurism to the next level, allowing us to watch a voyeur as he watched others. While `Rear Window' as a whole is probably not quite at a level with `Vertigo' (which was far more suspenseful and mysterious with a powerful musical score) as a cinematic accomplishment, it is more seductive because it strikes closer to our human obsessions. Hitchcock's mastery is most evident in his subtle use of reaction scenes by the various characters. We watch an event that Jeff (James Stewart) is watching and then Hitchcock immediately cuts to his reaction. This is done repeatedly in various layers even with the other tenants as they interact with one another. For instance, in the scene with Miss Lonelyheart (Judith Evelyn), we see her throw out the man who made a pass at her and then we see her reaction after she slams the door, followed by the reaction of Jeff and Lisa (Grace Kelly). In another scene, Detective Doyle (Wendell Corey) sees Lisa's nightclothes and presumes she will be staying the night. Hitchcock shows the suitcase, then Doyle's reaction, and then he goes to Jeff who points his finger at him and says `Be Careful, Tom'. This elegant scene takes a few seconds and speaks volumes with little dialogue. Such technique gets the viewer fully involved, because if we were there this is exactly what we would be doing, watching the unfolding events and then seeing how others around us responded. In essence, it puts us in the room with them.

Hitchcock was a stickler for detail. For instance, he aimed the open windows so they would show subtle reflections of places in the apartment we couldn't see directly. However, there were certain details included or excluded that were inexplicable. Would Thorwold really be scrubbing the walls with the blinds open? Would Lisa be conspicuously waving at Jeff while Stella (Thelma Ritter) was digging up the garden? Moreover, wouldn't Lisa have taken off her high heels before climbing a wall and then a fire escape? This film had numerous small incongruities that are normally absent from Hitchcock films. Though these are picayune criticisms, they are painfully obvious in the film of a director known to be a compulsive perfectionist.

The acting is superb in this film. Jimmy Stewart is unabashedly obsessed as the lead character. Photographers have an innate visual perceptiveness and the ability to tell a story with an image and Stewart adopts this mindset perfectly. Grace Kelly has often been accused of being the `Ice Maiden' in her films, yet in this film she is assertive and even reckless. Though cool at times, she is often playful and rambunctious. I always enjoy Thelma Ritter's performances for their honesty and earthiness and this is another example of a character actor at her best. Raymond Burr often doesn't get the recognition he deserves for this role, which is mostly shot at a distance with very few lines. Yet, he imbues Thurwold with a looming nefariousness using predominantly physical acting.

This film was rated number 42 on AFI's top 100 of the century sandwiched between `Psycho' (#18) and `Vertigo' (#61). I personally think more highly of `Vertigo' but it is a minor distinction, because I rated them both 10/10. `Rear Window' is a classic, a masterpiece of filmmaking technique from a director who was a true pioneer of suspense.


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