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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.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (novel)
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512 ( 24)
Top Rated Movies #35 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

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Caroline (as Pat Hitchcock)
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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 (301) »

Taglines:

The master of suspense moves his cameras into the icy blackness of the unexplored! (window card) See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

8 September 1960 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho  »

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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:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The theatrical trailer shows Alfred Hitchcock giving a partial tour of the set located on the Universal Studios back-lot. It ends with a tour of the famous bathroom and Alfred Hitchcock pulling the shower curtain revealing the screaming Vera Miles. (Vera Miles was the stand-in for Janet Leigh because Janet Leigh was not available. See more »

Goofs

When the cop awakens Marion in her car, the driver's side windshield frame has dozens of grimy handprints and fingerprints from everyone whose touched it while setting up the shot. As she pulls into the car lot the grimy hand prints / smears are shown to be all over the door panels also. See more »

Quotes

Marion Crane: Do you go out with friends?
Norman Bates: A boy's best friend is his mother.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: PHOENIX, ARIZONA

FRIDAY, DECEMBER THE ELEVENTH

TWO FORTY-THREE P.M. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Famous Names Week 3 (2009) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

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