A former police detective juggles wrestling with his personal demons and becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman.


Alfred Hitchcock


Alec Coppel (screenplay by), Samuel A. Taylor (screenplay by) (as Samuel Taylor) | 2 more credits »
1,466 ( 961)
Top Rated Movies #93 | Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... John 'Scottie' Ferguson
Kim Novak ... Madeleine Elster / Judy Barton
Barbara Bel Geddes ... Marjorie 'Midge' Wood
Tom Helmore ... Gavin Elster
Henry Jones ... Coroner
Raymond Bailey ... Scottie's Doctor
Ellen Corby ... Manager of McKittrick Hotel
Konstantin Shayne ... Pop Leibel
Lee Patrick ... Car Owner Mistaken for Madeleine


Following his early retirement as a detective from the San Francisco Police Department, John Ferguson - Scottie to his friends - becomes obsessed with two women in succession, those obsessions which trouble his long time friend and former fiancée, Midge Wood, a designer of women's undergarments. The first is wealthy and elegant platinum blonde Madeleine Elster, the wife of his college acquaintance Gavin Elster, who hires John to follow her in Gavin's belief that she may be a danger to herself in thinking that she has recently been possessed by the spirit of Carlotta Valdes, Madeleine's great-grandmother who she knows nothing about, but who Gavin knows committed suicide in being mentally unbalanced when she was twenty-six, Madeleine's current age. The second is Judy Barton, who John spots on the street one day. Judy is a working class girl, but what makes John obsessed with her is that, despite her working class style and her brunette hair, she is the spitting image of Madeleine, into ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Alfred Hitchcock engulfs you in a whirlpool of terror and tension! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


When Judy first meets Scottie, she is showing him her driver's license from Salina, Kansas. Kim Novak starred in Picnic (1955), which was filmed in Salina. See more »


As the camera moves away from Scottie standing at the edge of the tower, the shadow of the camera can be seen for a split second on the outer wall of the tower. On the Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection DVD, the image is cropped so the shadow cannot be seen. See more »


[first lines]
Officer on rooftop: Give me your hand. Give me your hand.
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Crazy Credits

The opening Paramount logo is in black and white while the rest of the film, including the closing Paramount logo, is in Technicolor. See more »

Alternate Versions

When Universal bought the rights to the pre-1960 Alfred Hitchcock films from Paramount in 1962, the 1996 theatrical re-release had the 1991 Universal Pictures logo with the MCA byline; meanwhile, VHS and DVD releases had the 1997 Universal Pictures logo, and the Blu-Ray and streaming prints had the current Universal Pictures logo with the Comcast byline. See more »


Sardis #4
(Forever Female), from Skylark (1941) (Poochie)
Composed by Victor Young
Orchestrated by Gus Levene
Played as 'cue 12D' by the orchestra while Scottie and Judy are dancing
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User Reviews

Beautifully Twisted
28 December 2018 | by eveflower1970See all my reviews

Two years before Hitchcock's legendary horror movie "Psycho" (1960) hit the theaters, our Alfred stunned audiences with another masterpiece. Perhaps not as dark, cruel and shoking as "Psycho" (1960) or "The Birds" (1963), "Vertigo" (1958) still manages to be called a timeless classic.

First of all, Scottie's condition allowed the use of an entirely new camera technique. "The Dolly Zoom" is one of cinematography's most impressive camera tricks. Years before Steven Spielberg used it in "Jaws" (1975), Irmin Roberts was the first cameraman to ever use this technique, in a Hitchcock film.

This movie tells the story of Scottie, a retired cop who's asked to investigate the case of his friend's wife, which seems to be possesed by the spirit of a dead young woman who committed suicide.

As the chilling story goes on, several moments of suspense accompanied by chilling musical scores are happening. If you're not a fan of it, you can still enjoy the superb settings throughout the movie, and as well the beautifuly filmed shots. These elements alone are a pure work of art in my opinion.

Because it's a 50's film, you will encounter extravagant dialogue between the characters, that still manages to look natural. It's not over the top forced as you may see in other films of the era.

Toward the end of the movie, I appreciated the interesting depiction of madness that Alfred creates throughout dreams and illusions that our leading man deals with. The beautiful lighting used in the last half an hour of the movie is also outstanding enough to be mentioned. And, without spoiling anything, I'd like to mention how from my perspective, the leading man portrayed throughout the movie as a tragic hero, becomes an antagonist.

Definetly an unpredictable and stylish classic you don't want to miss.

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Release Date:

22 May 1958 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Darkling I Listen See more »


Box Office


$2,479,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$252,880, 18 March 2018

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (1996 restored)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| DTS (70 mm prints)| DTS (DTS: X)



Aspect Ratio:

1.50 : 1
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