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The Birds (1963)

aka The Birds

"...and remember, the next scream you hear may be your own!"

Details: 119 mins · English · PG-13 (USA)

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Cast:

Small Mitch Brenner
Small Melanie Daniels
Small Annie Hayworth
Small Cathy Brenner
Small Mrs. Bundy
Small Sebastian Sholes
Small Lydia Brenner
No_movie_poster Hysterical Mother in Diner
No_movie_poster Deputy Al Malone
No_movie_poster Waitress
Small Helen Carter
No_movie_poster Drunken Doomsayer in Diner
No_movie_poster Brunette Girl at Birthday Party
No_movie_poster Traveling Salesman at Diner's Bar
No_movie_poster Deke Carter
Small Man Walking Dogs Out of Pet Shop
No_movie_poster Mitch's City Neighbor
Small Mrs. MacGruder

Crew:

No_movie_poster Bernard Herrmann Original Music Composer
Small Alfred Hitchcock Director
No_movie_poster Robert Burks Director of Photography
No_movie_poster George Tomasini Editor
No_movie_poster Robert F. Boyle Production Design
Small Daphne Du Maurier Author
Small Edith Head Costume Design
No_movie_poster George Milo Set Decoration
No_movie_poster Evan Hunter Screenplay
No_movie_poster Virginia Darcy Creature Design
No_movie_poster Norman Deming Production Manager
No_movie_poster James H. Brown Director
Small Alfred Hitchcock Production

Taglines:

"...and remember, the next scream you hear may be your own!"

"Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined!"

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

"Nothing You Have Ever Witnessed Before Has Prepared You for Such Sheer Stabbing Shock!"

Plot:

Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren), a young socialite, meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) in a San Francisco bird shop. Mitch wants to purchase a pair of lovebirds for his sister's eleventh birthday, but the shop has none. He recognizes Melanie from a previous encounter, but she doesn't remember him, so he plays a prank by pretending to mistake her for a salesperson. She is infuriated when she realises. Nevertheless intrigued, Melanie tracks down his address in Bodega Bay, California, and purchases a pair of lovebirds herself. After driving an hour or two, she sneaks across the bay in a motor boat and secretly deposits the birds inside Mitch's house with a note. He spots her on the water during her escape, and he intercepts her as she is attacked and injured by a seagull. Mitch invites her to stay for dinner, and Melanie reluctantly agrees.


Melanie develops a relationship with Mitch, meets his clinging mother Lydia (Jessica Tandy) and his younger sister Cathy (Veronica Cartwright). She also befriends local school teacher Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette), who later reveals she is Mitch's ex-lover. When Melanie stays for the night at Annie's house, they are startled by a loud thud; they find that a gull has killed itself by flying into the front door. At Cathy's birthday party the next day, the children are set upon by seagulls. The following evening, sparrows invade the Brenner home through the chimney. Lydia discovers a neighbor who has been killed by birds that invaded his house, and she flees the scene in terror. After being comforted by Melanie and Mitch, Lydia becomes concerned about Cathy's safety at school. Melanie goes to the school and waits for class to end, initially unaware that a huge number of crows are massing nearby. Horrified when she sees the playground engulfed by them, she warns Annie, and they evacuate the children. The birds attack, injuring several children.


Melanie meets Mitch at a local restaurant. Several patrons describe their own encounters with strange bird behaviour. A drunk believes the attacks are a sign of the Apocalypse, and a traveling salesman suggests exterminating them all. An amateur ornithologist dismisses the reports of attacks as fanciful and argues about it with Melanie. A young mother becomes increasingly distressed by the conversation and chides them all for frightening her children. Outside the restaurant, a motorist is attacked while filling his car with gasoline; he is knocked unconscious and the gasoline continues to pour out onto the street. The salesman from the restaurant, unaware that he is standing in a puddle of the gasoline, lights a cigar and drops the lit match. The gasoline ignites, killing him. The birds attack in greater numbers as people pour from the diner to survey the damage; Melanie is forced to take refuge in a phone booth. Mitch rescues her and they return to the restaurant, where the hysterical mother accuses Melanie of causing of the attacks. Melanie and Mitch return to Annie's house and find that Annie has been killed by birds while pushing Cathy indoors to safety.


Melanie and the Brenners barricade themselves inside the Brenner home. The house is attacked in waves by the birds, and several times they nearly break in through the sealed doors and windows. During a nighttime lull between attacks, Melanie hears noises from the upper floor. Not wanting to disturb the others' sleep, Melanie enters Cathy's abandoned bedroom and finds that the birds have broken through the roof. They violently attack her, trapping her in the room until Mitch comes to her rescue. She is badly injured and nearly catatonic, and Mitch insists they must get her to a hospital. A sea of birds ripple menacingly around the Brenner farm as Mitch prepares Melanie's car for their escape. The radio reports the spread of bird attacks to nearby communities, and suggests that the National Guard may be required because civil authorities are unable to combat the inexplicable attacks. The film concludes ambiguously, as the car carrying Melanie, the Brenners and the lovebirds slowly makes its way through a landscape inundated by thousands of different bird species perched together quietly. For the moment, they are not attacking.

Release Dates:

Video : 1999-08-13 : Germany

Theatrical : 1999-10-27 : France

Theatrical : 2012-11-16 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1963-03-28 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1963-05-30 : Argentina

Theatrical : 1963-07-20 : Japan

Theatrical : 1963-09-02 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1963-09-06 : Austria

Theatrical : 1963-09-06 : France

Theatrical : 1963-09-10 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 1963-09-16 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1963-09-20 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1963-10-10 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 1963-10-31 : Italy

Theatrical : 1963-11-08 : Finland

Theatrical : 1963-12-07 : Spain

Theatrical : 1964-11-20 : Portugal

Theatrical : Turkey

Theatrical : 1973-01-13 : Japan

Theatrical : 1981-04-17 : Finland

Theatrical : 1984-12-24 : Spain

DVD : 2000-03-28

2012-06-22 : Russia