7.7/10
156,505
520 user 148 critic

The Birds (1963)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 29 March 1963 (USA)
Trailer
5:13 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
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)
Reviews
Popularity
1,432 ( 476)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two men attempt to prove they committed the perfect crime by hosting a dinner party after strangling their former classmate to death.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Vertigo (1958)
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

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

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A psychopath forces a tennis star to comply with his theory that two strangers can get away with murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Adventure | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Marnie (1964)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Mark marries Marnie although she is a habitual thief and has serious psychological problems, and tries to help her confront and resolve them.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Martin Gabel
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A tennis player frames his unfaithful wife for first-degree murder after she inadvertently hinders his plan to kill her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

An American physician and his wife take matters into their own hands after assassins planning to execute a foreign Prime Minister kidnap their son.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie
Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
Psycho (1960)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

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
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Frenzy (1972)
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A serial murderer is strangling women with a necktie. The London police have a suspect, but he is the wrong man.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Jon Finch, Barry Foster, Barbara Leigh-Hunt
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A retired jewel thief sets out to prove his innocence after being suspected of returning to his former occupation.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis
Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young woman discovers her visiting uncle may not be the man he seems to be.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey
Edit

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
Edit

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:

...And remember, the next scream you hear could be your own! See more »


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 March 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Alfred Hitchcock approached Joseph Stefano (screenwriter of Psycho (1960)) to write the script, but he wasn't interested in the story. The final screenplay (from a Daphne Du Maurier short story) was written by Evan Hunter, best known to detective story fans under the pen name Ed McBain. See more »

Goofs

When the gas station attendant is hit by a gull, he falls face down, and his body is angled toward the camera. Mitch and some other men go to help him, and in the last shot of them together, he is face up and his body is angled to the left. There is quick cutting in this sequence, and not enough time between shots for the men to have moved the attendant. 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

There were no ending credits. And in the opening credits the title "THE BIRDS" was slowly pecked away by the passing crows. See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Hitchcock just past the crest of his prime achievement.
28 August 2005 | by tostinatiSee all my reviews

There are some reviews you dread writing because you know sufficient numbers of people think highly enough of a property you're about to drub that nothing but a punishing reaction can come from your comments. You also dread writing them because they fly in the face of a personal icon and art touchstone. The Birds is one such film for me. It may be understating it to say that I adore Hitchcock. As some astute person said, he stands as the very definition of the term film director. But, try as I might, I cannot muster full and enthusiastic appreciation of this film. Having followed The Birds, as it were, checking in to view it and review it several times over the last three and a half decades, I find that it gets worse instead of better with age, for a couple of reasons.

Perhaps the major problem, for me, is that by this point in his life, Hitchcock seems to have decided his destiny lay in making honest-to-God Art Films for the masses. It's a confused mixed pot that Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds and Marnie comes from. A French auteur critic-influenced pot. His montage called more attention to itself than ever at this time; his pacing slowed, also becoming more deliberate; and a European stillness, almost Bergmanesque, began to pervade his films. I don't know if the man felt personal confusion at this time about whether he was an artiste or a roller coaster designer (to use his own frequent parallel), but his films seem to betray such a state of confusion. There are stretches that are downright odd in these films, so slow and floating in some abstract space. For the first time you are moved to ask, of this brightest of directors, "what on earth is he getting at here?"

The scene where the Pleshette character sits taking a smoke while the birds cover a playground set is brilliantly constructed of "pure montage". --But also slow as molasses. It takes one of the master's hallmark gambits (letting us in on something that the people in his film do not know yet, and tightening the screws until, as he said, we want to cry out to them "don't go in there!") and inverts it by dragging it out to the point of comedy/absurdity, not tension. This time, we want to scream "we get the point already!" by the time the scene reaches it's flash point. Am I wrong to read this as arty conceit setting aside the vitality of the Hitchcock of old? But there is perhaps, too, a bit of uncertainty about how to proceed, how to pace things that all this attention to Hitchcock the Artist may have thrown off kilter for good. The sureness and lightness of touch seems impaired.

The other big issue I have with The Birds is that it looks and feels like a Universal TV show. Gone is the grit and bleakness of Psycho (which one could describe as like Universal TV, too), replaced by Universal City in Hollywood cheapness. The color is garish and the sets look freshly painted and put up. But this isn't just a question of production values. The look and feel of the film adds to the impression that nothing about the Birds (or Marnie) seems to be taking place in the real world. The production screams back lot. This problem, which one overlooked for a decade or so after the films release, becomes harder to ignore over time. It wasn't long after this that films began shooting more and more on location, in natural light on faster speed film. This replaced the 60s TV look with the grit of real locations and images of Rembrandtesque palette and color control. Film cross-processing would come along in a couple more decades and make the universe of the Birds seem even more alien.

Now, I didn't wake up one day saying to myself, "I want to beat up on my all time favorite director." But hearing a radio adaptation from the 1950s of Daphne DuMaurier's original story reminded me of how great a director Hitchcock really was. He recast the story for the film and expanded it to something mythic and universal, far removed from its pulp melodrama origins. Then, a couple of weeks later, a local theater showed The Birds in a retrospective. That reminded me of the limitations of The Birds of which I had been aware for some time.

Final report: The Birds is a film by one of the two or three most brilliant, innovative, influential and visionary directors in film history. Here, he is in absolute control of his medium, but not at the top of his form, sorry to say.


38 of 76 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 520 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows to Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse all our free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed