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The Birds (1963)

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

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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.


Alfred Hitchcock


Daphne Du Maurier (from the story by), Evan Hunter (screenplay by)
1,908 ( 459)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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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


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


Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined! See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

29 March 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds See more »


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (uncredited)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sir Alfred Hitchcock disliked filming on-location, so he filmed as much as possible in the studio on-set. See more »


After Melanie delivers the lovebirds to the Brenner home, the camera follows her as she walks back along the jetty to her boat, with the dolly track clearly visible. See more »


[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 »


Referenced in Impractical Jokers: Unmotivational Speaker (2011) See more »


Rissle-dy, Rossle-dy
("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

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.

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