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Psycho (1960)

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A Phoenix secretary embezzles $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run, and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Joseph Stefano (screenplay by), Robert Bloch (based on the novel by)
Popularity
446 ( 130)
Top Rated Movies #33 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anthony Perkins ... Norman Bates
Vera Miles ... Lila Crane
John Gavin ... Sam Loomis
Janet Leigh ... Marion Crane
Martin Balsam ... Det. Milton Arbogast
John McIntire ... Sheriff Al Chambers
Simon Oakland ... Dr. Fred Richman
Frank Albertson ... Tom Cassidy
Patricia Hitchcock ... Caroline (as Pat Hitchcock)
Vaughn Taylor ... George Lowery
Lurene Tuttle ... Mrs. Chambers
John Anderson ... California Charlie
Mort Mills ... Highway Patrol Officer
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Storyline

Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

motel | money | shower | theft | secretary | See All (287) »

Taglines:

The screen's master of suspense moves his camera into the icy blackness of the unexplained! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 September 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$806,947 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$32,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$50,000,000, 31 January 2004
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shamley Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The amount of cash Marion stole, $40,000 in 1960, would be equivalent to approximately $315,000 by today's standards. The $700 difference she paid when trading in her car, and getting another one, would be equivalent to about $5,500 in today's money. See more »

Goofs

When Marion pulls into the motel during the rain and sees the office, she drives over to it and stops. In the next shot two lights on a stand can be seen to the immediate left of the office, left by the crew. See more »

Quotes

Tom Cassidy: I'm buying this house for my baby's wedding present. Forty thousand dollars, cash! Now, that's... not buying happiness. That's just... buying off unhappiness.
[waves money in front of Marion]
Tom Cassidy: I never carry more than I can afford to lose! Count 'em.
Caroline: I declare!
Tom Cassidy: [staring at Marion] I don't! That's how I get to keep it!
George Lowery: Tom, uh... cash transactions of this size! Most irregular.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: PHOENIX, ARIZONA

FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH

TWO FORTY-THREE P.M. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Daisy Does... (2006) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Movie At The Crossroads Of Time
10 August 2004 | by Bill SlocumSee all my reviews

What can you say about a film that's been talked about to death? Just this: If you've never seen it, you owe it to yourself to do so, not because it's a way of paying homage to the one true master of modern film, but because it's so fun to watch.

Janet Leigh plays a bored office drone who decides to steal some loot from her boss's obnoxious client and parlay it into a new life with her all-too-distant boyfriend. All is going more or less according to plan until she stops in at the wrong motel, where she befriends a friendly if somewhat nerdy desk clerk only to find it causes problems with that clerk's possessive mother, who as her boy explains, "is not herself today." I'll say she isn't, and so would Leigh's Marion Crane, who maybe should have put up that "Do-Not-Disturb" sign before taking a shower.

You can feel the decade literally shifting out of '50s and into '60s with this one. Even the opening shot, where the camera looks over a Western U.S. city in the middle of the afternoon and zooms in on what looks exactly like the Texas School Book Depository overlooking Dealey Plaza. Norman Rockwell touches abound, like the decor of the motel, but look at what's going on around it. People dress well, they still wear fedoras and jackets, but in their tense conversations and hooded gazes you can feel the culture just ticking away like a time bomb waiting to explode.

Most especially, there's Anthony Perkins, who plays motel clerk Norman Bates in a very oddly naturalistic way, complete with facial tics and half-swallowed words, not the polished image one expected to see then. Just compare him with John Gavin, who plays Marion's boyfriend in the standard-actor-of-the-day way. Perkins manages to be so weirdly magnetizing, even in small moments like the way he stumbles on the word "falsity" or notes how creepy he finds dampness to be.

He shines in bigger scenes, too, like his tense chat with Martin Balsam's boorish but diligent private detective character, Arbogast, who along with Perkins and Leigh delivers a landmark performance. The way both actors play out the awkwardness in their conversation makes you literally sweat. Then again, you're always uneasy around Norman. You definitely feel wary of him right away, but you find yourself liking him, too, even when he's busy covering up "Mother's" misdeeds. Not since Bela Legosi played Dracula did you get a horror movie with such a compelling central figure.

If you are sampling the many other comments here, be sure to look up Merwyn Grote's. He makes an interesting, compelling case for how director Alfred Hitchcock used his television series as a template for "Psycho." Certainly "Psycho" looks more like early 1960s television than any of the more sumptuous fare Hitchcock had been bringing to screen at the time. Not only is it in black-and-white, not color, but the sets; a ramshackle motel, a mothbally old house, a couple of cheap looking bedrooms, a bathroom in a used-car dealership, are deliberately low class.

It's thrilling to see Hitchcock move so effectively outside his normal element, and move things along with such clinical detachment and low-key technical finesse. Thrilling, too, to realize this is one of his most accomplished products; made by a man who was experienced enough to know how the game was played, and daring enough still to break the rules; indeed, start a whole new ballgame.

Is it the best Hitchcock movie? It's definitely one of his best, right up there with "The 39 Steps" and "Strangers On A Train" and "Sabotage" and "Shadow Of A Doubt." He only once again came close to making as good a film, with "The Birds," while Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins never escaped the greatness they helped create here. Poor John Gavin had to quit the biz entirely, and became an ambassador.

Often imitated, parodied, referenced, and analyzed to death, "Psycho" still isn't played out nearly 45 years after it came out. You owe it to yourself to pay a visit to the Bates Motel; Norman has a room ready.


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