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The Birds (1963)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 29 March 1963 (USA)
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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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1,432 ( 476)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 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:

It could be the most terrifying motion picture I have ever made! 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

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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

The audio special effects included the use of spring and plate reverb units, as well as an Echoplex - an endless loop tape recorder with a fixed record head and a playback head that slides on a rail. This arrangement of record and playback heads creates an echo that can be time-adjusted. By turning up the record volume you can create an echo that repeats endlessly. Typically this would only be used for limited lengths of time because the hiss from the magnetic tape would build up to the point of creating a whirling wind-like sound. In order to create the density of bird sounds without amplifying the wind effect, they used a separate recorder and many takes from the Echoplex, layering the result while adding other types of bird sounds to produce the final result. There are a few moments at the end of an attack that the bird sounds drop in pitch and speed. This is created by sliding the playback head away from the record head. In some rock recordings in the 1970s this was used for UFO sounds. See more »

Goofs

As Melanie is in the boat crossing the bay, the reflection of the overhead lights can be seen on the casing of the outboard motor. 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 is no music in the opening credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Honest Trailers: The Secret Life of Pets (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Rissle-dy, Rossle-dy
(uncredited)
("I married my wife in the month of June")
Derived from the traditional Scottish folk song "The Wee Cooper o'Fife"
Additional lyrics by Evan Hunter
Sung by the schoolchildren
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Reality Flies Off
21 October 2000 | by tedgSee all my reviews

I am not an appreciator of Hitchcock, at least not recently as I wade though reviewings of his work.

But this film is different. Many of his films dance on the edge of the surreal, and deal with a person or people swept up in events beyond their control. But here he tips well into another world and does it so artfully that we don't notice. I recall the film being touted as a horror film when first released, but it is not so. Horror depends on reality -- the more likely, the more threatening. Terror is another thing.

What is so skillful here is that no one behaves as people normally would, not even close. Yet no one remarks on that fact. Such a notice would be automatic in today's infatuation with irony and self-reference. So what makes this film so intriguing is that it is entirely without irony, non-modern even in the sense common in the 60's. This effect is amplified by the `studio' style of camera-work: stationary cameras and flat sets. Essentially all dialog is indoors.

Further: huge mysteries remain at the end of the film, about the cause of the supernatural, about the Oedipal characters, and of course about what happens next. World, people, story are all left open. How intelligent.

A side remark: once again in a Hitchcock film, minor actors outshine the main characters. But no matter. The effects, as with the sets, are cheesy, but rather than detracting, this adds to the unsettling unreality of the work.

This film is pretty disturbing all around.


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