More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 29.21%
Average: 6.74%
Pretty Bad: 10.11%
Total Crap: 14.61%

3 reviews, 71 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Road Not Taken, The by Jay Seaver

Great Battle, The by Jay Seaver

True Fiction by Jay Seaver

Pick of the Litter by Jay Seaver

Fahrenheit 11/9 by Peter Sobczynski

House With A Clock In Its Walls, The by Peter Sobczynski

Life Itself (2018) by Peter Sobczynski

Unity of Heroes by Jay Seaver

Hanagatami by Jay Seaver

Predator, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed

Birds, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by DarkHorse

"A well-done Hitchcock thriller..."
4 stars

"Suspense and shock beyond anything you have seen or imagined!" This quote was borrowed from Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" when it was first released. Does that lofty tagline hold true today? Of course not...

Almost 40 years later, we have seen people assaulted by killer bees, bats, frogs, snakes, slugs, sharks, rats and even tomatoes. You name a nature's revenge scenario and it's been done. Ok, maybe there hasn't been a movie involving giant squirrels yet, but I bet some studio has the screenplay, collecting dust somewhere, waiting to "shock and amaze" you.

Alfred Hitchcock waited three years after Psycho to release his next movie (before then he was averaging roughly a movie a year.) Needless to say, there was a great deal of anticipation when The Birds finally hit the screen in 1963. It would be his third adaptation of a novel by Daphne Du Maurier. The first was an uncredited, and uninspiring, adaptation of Jamaica Inn in 1939. Perhaps it was a tinge of guilt that prompted him to release a superior adaptation of a Du Maurier novel a year later. The result was the brilliant and chilling Rebecca. This marked Hitch's first foray into Hollywood, it was his first collaboration with producer David O. Selznick and was his only movie to receive the Academy Award for Best Picture. Excuse the pun, but The Birds was a bird of a different feather.

One of Hitchcock's calling cards has always been his masterful use of music to build suspense. In The Birds, the only score you'll hear is chirps and caws. This keeps the focus precisely where it should be; on our fine feathered fiends.

Most of the criticism I have read on this movie is that the characters are paper-thin. Granted, but isn't that really the point? The real stars here are the birds and Hitchcock doesn't let you forget it. They are in practically every scene. They are either benignly chirping in the background or descending upon a group of children and pecking the living shit out of them. If there is a scene in The Birds as memorable as the shower sequence in Psycho, it is the claustrophobic scene where Tippi Hedren is trapped inside a phone booth while numerous birds try to get at her.

The lack of character development was easy for me to overlook because of the choice of actors. Rod Taylor was one of the most charismatic actors of his time (for further evidence check him out in H.G Well's The Time Machine.) Tippi Hedren is stunning (it is no wonder that Hitch was rumored to have been groping her behind the scenes.) Tippi's offspring was Melanie Griffith, by the way.

Another complaint about The Birds is that it never fully explains why the birds decide to wage all-out war on humanity. My opinion is that this is explained in the opening sequence when Rod Taylor is in a bird store looking for a pair of Love Birds. He asks Hedren if it makes her feel bad that the birds are caged and kept separate from the other species. She is indifferent. I believe the film is trying to make a statement about the human superiority complex. Perhaps Hitchcock's cameo, in which he is shown walking his two dogs on a leash, was intended to drive that point home. When the birds are seen congregating in the background, and choose not to attack, maybe they are giving us a taste of our own medicine by making Bodega Bay a human cage. If this movie were made today their motives would probably be spoon-fed by way of a nearby nuclear reactor or some such nonsense.

Then again, Du Maurier herself said she got the idea for the story while watching a farmer ploughing his fields. As she watched seagulls "screaming and crying" as they dove for food around him, she wondered what it would be like if they lost interest in worms. So maybe it was just a matter of fancy. Whatever conclusions you draw, The Birds is a fun thriller full of Hitchcock's trademark wit and style.

"The Birds" is by no means Alfred Hitchcock's greatest movie but it is a great movie. It has held up remarkably well over the years. Avoid the sequel like the plague.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 06/01/00 02:20:58
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

7/16/18 Carl Bruun Hitchcock brings out the worst in critics. I can’t understand it. 4 stars
8/19/15 Carol Hitchcock should have retired after this one. 5 stars
1/02/15 Catherine H the final masterpiece classic from Hitch. do not venture later than this one of 1963 5 stars
7/18/12 cr a classic thriller with good acting and creepy suspense. 4 stars
4/02/12 keith miron Slow to start, but it got much better in the second half. 4 stars
6/07/11 Silkworm Say no more 5 stars
2/09/10 art FOR THE BIRD"S! 1 stars
10/05/08 action movie fan farfetched and takes a while but still many good thrills 4 stars
3/22/08 Pamela White intense but not scary 4 stars
3/05/08 ladavies A classic horror film. I guess people can't understand horror without zombies. 5 stars
11/22/07 Kevin One man surrounded by crazy chicks--the birds. 5 stars
11/13/07 Priscilla well... it could have been better 3 stars
4/07/07 fools♫gold Can't get any more thought-provoking. 5 stars
2/16/07 the famous amos it's a pretty good classic film.. but not as good as some now.. 4 stars
12/01/06 birds bad 1 stars
11/25/06 David Pollastrini brilliant, frightening 5 stars
6/26/06 MP Bartley Creepy tone changes to outright horror masterfully. One of his best. 5 stars
5/02/06 Eden Its about birds. They attack people. It doesnt have any 'deep symbolic undertones' to it 3 stars
12/28/05 Hebbar Its well crafted movie. One should have imagination to understand this film 5 stars
12/03/05 cr a classic creepy and freaky flim with good story and well done directing, a little slow 4 stars
11/09/05 J.D. Pittman III I couldn't stand it. I only kept watching it for a project. 1 stars
11/02/05 Raymond White this movie is such crap i cant stand it 1 stars
9/02/05 Zack ok not his top best but ok 3 stars
5/27/05 Quigley pretty hilarious film altogether. would make a great remake 4 stars
1/14/05 Nick Boyd One of the creepiest movies I have ever seen 5 stars
6/26/04 Connie Simple but intense. Unsatisfactory ending, more like the end is lost! 4 stars
6/15/04 T. Maj Creepy, funny classic--where's all the bird poop, though? 5 stars
5/21/04 alexa you have to be smart to understand it but its cool i understood it 3 stars
5/21/04 Sean Scanlan Horror and suspence dose it again 5 stars
5/20/04 Brandon Bliske This movie bites ass 1 stars
5/03/04 boborundo It was a tottaly spectacular film man! 4 stars
4/25/04 Ann This is the rhythm of society, it is a constant struggle. 4 stars
3/25/04 Cathy The best movie ever 5 stars
2/19/04 MP Bartley One of Hitchcocks top 3 5 stars
1/01/04 Jenna Not scary, weird set-up, no explanation offered for The Ring instead. 1 stars
12/07/03 john brilliant thriller - unpredictable and beautifully made - scary too! 5 stars
11/22/03 ross hendrick TERRIFRYING! 5 stars
9/28/03 Samuel Justus Classic Horror! 4 stars
7/25/03 Shadaan Feleli Hitchcock is a bludy genius ! Simply a brilliant film !!!! 5 stars
4/08/03 louise simmonds it sucked dont watch it, ending bites! 1 stars
4/02/03 Zach How can you say the effects suck when it was made in the SIXTYS. GREAT FOR WHAT IT IS. 5 stars
1/25/03 terri This movie is the best I love it so much I watch it over and over thanks for a super film! 5 stars
12/05/02 Marquisha Tate The movie was okay for what it was worth. 3 stars
6/25/02 Charles Tatum Awful effects, I started cheering for the birds 2 stars
5/17/02 Frank If you're not a Hitchcock fan, than get off his dick. This is one of his greats. 5 stars
5/12/02 Jennifer Crimeen not finished 4 stars
3/10/02 Indersharan Singh This movie sucked, the special effects were horrible and there was no noticable story line 2 stars
2/17/02 Turtle It's a fun movie, but acting and plot could've used some work. 4 stars
12/19/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Why, why did the girl entered the attic after all she's been trough? 4 stars
11/13/01 Veronica Very good movie, loved the idea behind it andloved "Tippi" Hedren 5 stars
9/15/01 Monster W. Kung Well... I'm not an Hitchcock fan, actually. And I think this is his worst. Nuff said. 2 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat The script needs work, but the movie itself is really exciting. 4 stars
8/07/01 E-Funk Only Hitch could pull a concept like this off. I loved it. 5 stars
7/28/01 Henry Ginsberg What a great idea for a movie . 5 stars
6/29/01 Alan Stewart Second rate Hitchcock 3 stars
3/29/01 Andrew Carden A movie you can't watch without closing your eyes. 4 stars
1/20/01 R.W. Welch Less effective than the Hitchcock classics, but reasonably entertaining 4 stars
11/15/00 salvo toscano How do you say "angoscia" in English? 5 stars
10/17/00 mac One of the best comedies of the 60's. 5 stars
6/02/00 J It Rocks, Hitch is of the old school of directors, movies that you had to think about. 5 stars
5/05/00 TIGGER Definitely one of Hitchcock's best films 5 stars
5/03/00 matt The Master of Suspense has done it again useing the seemingly harmless bird. Genious 5 stars
10/30/99 Bozo Vintage Hitchcock-as a kid I blamed the lovebirds for the whole thing 5 stars
10/25/99 Lame-Oh better than that shit movie Bats 5 stars
8/19/99 Matthew Bartley Hitchcocks finest hour.The lack of explanations is what makes it disturbing 5 stars
4/15/99 Jon Jackson I know it's a classic and all that, but c'mon it's a bit of a snoozer too. 4 stars
11/23/98 little jerry Belongs with VERTIGO & PSYCHO as Hitchcock's most audacious.Unlike any other disaster film. 5 stars
11/10/98 Silent Rob Not as expertly conceived as Psycho, Vertigo, Rear & Rope ,but damn good! The trailer slays 4 stars
11/09/98 {{{OZ}}} Another Hitchcock classic. Rod Taylor was the man. Spooky flick. 5 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  28-Mar-1963 (PG)
  DVD: 14-Oct-2003



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast