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The Birds (1963)

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A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

Daphne Du Maurier (from the story by), Evan Hunter (screenplay by)
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Popularity
1,299 ( 298)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Rod Taylor ... Mitch Brenner
Jessica Tandy ... Lydia Brenner
Suzanne Pleshette ... Annie Hayworth
Tippi Hedren ... Melanie Daniels (as 'Tippi' Hedren)
Veronica Cartwright ... Cathy Brenner
Ethel Griffies ... Mrs. Bundy
Charles McGraw ... Sebastian Sholes
Ruth McDevitt ... Mrs. MacGruder
Lonny Chapman ... Deke Carter
Joe Mantell ... Traveling Salesman at Diner's Bar
Doodles Weaver ... Fisherman Helping with Rental Boat
Malcolm Atterbury ... Deputy Al Malone
John McGovern John McGovern ... Postal Clerk
Karl Swenson ... Drunken Doomsayer in Diner
Richard Deacon ... Mitch's City Neighbor
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Storyline

Melanie Daniels is the modern rich socialite, part of the jet-set who always gets what she wants. When lawyer Mitch Brenner sees her in a pet shop, he plays something of a practical joke on her, and she decides to return the favor. She drives about an hour north of San Francisco to Bodega Bay, where Mitch spends the weekends with his mother Lydia and younger sister Cathy. Soon after her arrival, however, the birds in the area begin to act strangely. A seagull attacks Melanie as she is crossing the bay in a small boat, and then, Lydia finds her neighbor dead, obviously the victim of a bird attack. Soon, birds in the hundreds and thousands are attacking anyone they find out of doors. There is no explanation as to why this might be happening, and as the birds continue their vicious attacks, survival becomes the priority. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Nothing You Have Ever Witnessed Before Has Prepared You for Such Sheer Stabbing Shock! See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$11,403,529
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (uncredited)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Alfred Hitchcock screen-tested Sandra Dee for the role of Melanie Daniels. See more »

Goofs

When Melanie is climbing upstairs we see her shadow on the wall, even though the only light source is the flashlight she is using. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Melanie Daniels: Hello there, Mrs. MacGruder.
Mrs. MacGruder, pet store clerk: Oh, hello, Miss Daniels.
Melanie Daniels: Have you ever seen so many gulls? What do you suppose it is?
Mrs. MacGruder, pet store clerk: Well, there must be a storm at sea, that can drive them inland, you know. I was hoping you'd be a little late because he hadn't arrived yet.
Melanie Daniels: Oh, but you'd said three o'clock...
Mrs. MacGruder, pet store clerk: Oh I know, I know. I've been calling all morning. Oh, Miss Daniels you have no idea. They are so difficult to get, really they are. We have to get them from India, when they're just baby chicks,...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits are at the beginning, sound effects from the film are shown. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Grey's Anatomy: Why Try to Change Me Now (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Arabesque no. 1 in E
(1888) (uncredited)
Claude Debussy
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Hitchcock makes a masterpiece Ed Wood must have been proud of
19 August 2013 | by GTeixeiraSee all my reviews

A rich woman goes to a small coast town after a man she saw on a pet shop. Her arrival, however, coincides with strange happenings in the city as the birds gradually start attacking everyone.

I was attracted by it because of its status as a 'classical horror', appearing in many listings as one of the best horror films, and the fact it's made by Alfred Hitchcock.

I can't understand all the hype. Ed Wood made better films.

This film is so bad, most of the 'scary' scenes actually had me laughing. No just the 'that is too silly' laugh, but the 'I almost fell out of my chair laughing' laugh; nothing short of Monty Python or Chaplin have ever made me laugh this much.

I showed this film to some of my family; the adults were mostly shaking their heads and questioning how Hitchcock could have success with something like this, while the younger ones (10-14 years old) were laughing and later said it was the best comedy they ever watched.

The acting is beyond amateurish, with characters mostly making faces to the camera and shrieking to convey their shock being something straight out of a bad parody. It also shocks me that Hitchcock, who always cast beautiful women like Ingrid Bergman, Vera Miles or Grace Kelly to star in his films, would cast the rather ugly Tippi Hedren. Was there no beautiful/cute blondes available? The characters are not far behind with their terrible development, being pretty much caricatures of human beings; Hedren's character being the worst offender, with her motivations or actions. They also act inexplicably dumb at times: Hedren's reaction to the birds in the school being the best example, but also the information given by the radio news.

The special effects are terrible. Not just the usual background scenes, but the birds and their attacks are laughably badly done. Suspension of disbelief can only work so far; in here, the birds looked like bad puppets with the way they moved. I fell laughing at most 'attack' scenes, with the gas station one being my favorite. The fact this was Oscar-nominated is nothing short of a joke, you could find better effects in the silent era four decades before this.

But the very worst of all is the story itself. Hitchcock always managed to make his stories have a degree of sense, even his most fantastic tales like 'North by Northwest'. That doesn't happen here. There is no explanation at hand, not even a hint for us to go by. Even horrors like George Romero's zombies or crap like 'The Mist' leave a hint for us to work on, to base ourselves. Hitchcock offers nothing at all. He explained that, by giving a reason, the movie would turn into science-fiction; clearly, he must either be an idiot or not understand horror at all.

This is a terrible, nonsensical film that should be on par with the likes of 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' or 'Battlefield Earth'. It is as if Ed Wood himself wrote/directed/produced.


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