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Psycho (1960)

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A Phoenix secretary embezzles forty thousand dollars 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
401 ( 224)
Top Rated Movies #40 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 10 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 office worker 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 forty thousand dollars 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 (288) »

Taglines:

The Essential Alfred Hitchcock. 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:

Wimpy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$806,947 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$32,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$50,000,000
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

People talk about Halloween being the daddy of all slashers, and Psycho being the Grandaddy. There's actually a much longer history of slashers in film, going almost all the way back to the the slient era! There's three eras of old school film slashers; the golden age, movies like Fritz Lang's M, and Myrna Loy's 13 Women; and And Then There Were None, which were the original slasher type movies. Then there would be Classic Age Slashers, films from the 1950s and 1960s, like Psycho (1960) and Diabolqiue (1955). which would help create the protype for slashers as well. And then there would be modern slashers, which would start in the late 1960s in Italy with Dario Argento, Mario Bava and the Gallo movies; which would push the envelope for gore in the modern era with movies like Bay of Blood and Last Twitch of the Death Nerve. THe next group of slashers, after Gallo in the 1960s; would Be the American Moden Slashers; starting with Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Black Christmas in 1974; both followed by the seminal classic slasher JOhn Carpenter's Halloween in 1970; and finally Sean Cunningham's Friday the 13th in 1980. The period after that would be the post modern slashers, starting with Scream in 1996. See more »

Goofs

When Norman discovers Marion's body in the shower he knocks a picture of a bird off the wall. There is no hanger on the wall. Later when he is cleaning up, the hanger is visible and he hangs the picture back up. See more »

Quotes

Milton Arbogast: Now, if this Marion Crane were here... you wouldn't be hiding her would you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: Not even if she paid you?
Norman Bates: No.
Milton Arbogast: All right, then lets say for the sake of argument that she needed your help and that she made you out to be a fool in helping her...
Norman Bates: Well, I'm not a fool. And I'm not capable of being fooled! Not even by a woman.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: PHOENIX, ARIZONA

FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH

TWO FORTY-THREE P.M. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the UK, the film was originally distributed by Universal Pictures and cinema and VHS releases replaced the Paramount Pictures logo with the Universal one. DVD releases have the Paramount logo as seen in the US version. See more »

Connections

Featured in Fear Itself (2015) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Two Words: Hitchcock's Best (...and you know that's no small feat!)
31 July 2001 | by LoveCoatesSee all my reviews

Yes, everything you've heard is true. The score is a part of pop culture. The domestic conflict is well-known. But nothing shocks like the experience itself.

If you have not seen this movie, do yourself a favor. Stop reading thse comments, get up, take a shower, then GO GET THIS MOVIE. Buy it, don't rent. You will not regret it.

"Psycho" is easily the best horror-thriller of all time. Nothing even comes close...maybe "Les Diaboliques" (1955) but not really.

"Psycho" has one of the best scripts you'll ever find in a movie. The movie's only shortcoming is that one of the characters seems to have little motivation in the first act of the movie but as the story progresses, you realize that Hitchcock (GENIUS! GENIUS! GENIUS!) in a stroke of genius has done this on purpose, because there is another character whose motivations are even more important. Vitally important. So important that you totally forget about anything else. I was lucky enough to have spent my life wisely avoiding any conversation regarding the plot of this movie until I was able to see it in full. Thank God I did! The movie has arguably the best mid-plot point and climactic twist in thriller history, and certainly the best-directed ending. The last few shots are chilling and leave a lingering horror in the viewer's mind.

Just as good as the writing is Hitchcock's direction, which is so outstanding that it defies explanation. Suffice it to say that this movie is probably the best directorial effort by film history's best director. I was fortunate enough to see this movie at a big oldtime movie house during a Hitchcock revival. Janet Leigh, still radiant, spoke before the film and explained how Hitchcock's genius was in his ability to 1) frighten without gore and 2) leave his indelible mark on the movie without overshadowing his actors (like the great Jean Renoir could never do). "Psycho" is clearly its own phenomenon, despite all the big-name talent involved.

Hitchcock does not disappoint by leaving out his trademark dark humor. His brilliance is in making a climax that is at once both scary and hilarious. When I saw it in the theatre the audience was both gasping in disbelief while falling-on-the-floor laughing.

One more thing...

Tony Perkins. Janet Leigh got much-deserved accolades for this film, but it is Perkins who gives what remains the single best performance by an actor in a horror movie. He is so understated that his brillance passes you by. He becomes the character. The sheer brillance of the role is evidenced by the ineptitude of the actors in Gus Van Sant's 1998 (dear God make it stop!) shot-for-shot "remake." Though the movies are nearly identical, Hitchcock's is superior mostly because of the acting and the atmosphere (some of the creepiness is lost with color). This is made obvious by the initial conversation between Leigh's character and Perkins, a pivotal scene. The brilliance of Perkins in the original shines even brighter when compared with the ruination in the remake even though the words and the shots were exactly the same. The crucial chemistry in this scene lacking in the remake gives everything away and mars our understanding of upcoming events. The fact that Perkins could never escape this role - his star stopped rising star as it had done in the 50s - proves that he played the part perhaps too well.

I keep using the word brilliant, but I cannot hide my enthusiasm for this movie. It is wholly unlike the overblown, overbudget, overlong fluff spewing all-too-often out of Hollywood today. "Psycho" is simple, well-crafted and just the right length.

Eleven-and-a-half out of ten stars.


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