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Parents Guide

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Sex & Nudity

  • The film contains some mild sensuality and strong themes, but because of the censors at the time, nothing major.
  • The famous "shower scene" includes some fleeting glimpses of a female character's body from various angles, including a blurred shot of her chest.
  • The sexual content is mainly limited to the opening scene in which a man and woman are dressing in a cheap hotel room before getting back to work, obviously post-coital and in the midst of an affair. Both are half-dressed, the woman in her brassiere and the man, shirtless. Their conversation is punctuated by some necking and sensual kissing.
  • There are darker, albeit subtle, sexual undertones to the plot. Voyeurism is depicted as a man watches a woman undress through a peephole, but no nudity is shown. On occasion, his mother is heard berating him about what she believes are his lascivious intentions towards women. It is verbally implied that an Oedipus complex exists between the mother and her son, although whether such a situation was enacted upon is left to our imagination. Various props and scenery also support this idea.

Violence & Gore

  • The violence is not graphic but deeply disturbing.
  • This film contains some strong violence and brief gore.


  • 1 use of "Oh, God" (though this use may not be in vain)

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • Besides a scene in which a man smokes, the drug and alcohol content of this movie is nonexistent. There is however an early scene in which drinking/alcoholism are subtly joked about between two men.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • The R-Rating is very outdated, by today's standards this is a PG-13.
  • While given an M rating from the MPAA at the time of its release (that time's version of PG) and an R re-rating, Psycho is relatively tame by today's standards. It still does contain many disturbing images and scenes. An appropriate rating would be: PG-13 for some violence, disturbing images and behavior, and thematic elements
  • This film contains substantial suspense that at times transcends the plot. Although the story is engrossing, a good portion of the atmosphere arises from scenery and music, which alone may frighten younger viewers. This does not take into consideration the film's depictions of violence, that, while not graphic, are fairly brutal and bloody, especially for the time period. The most blatant instance of violence occurs relatively early on and serves to heighten the suspense of the rest of the film.
  • Many scenes in the movie are frightening.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Sex & Nudity

  • The son is also referred to as a transvestite because it is later discovered he secretly dresses himself in his mother's clothes. The definition of a transvestite is then given.

Violence & Gore

  • The film's most graphic depiction of violence occurs relatively early, in which a woman is suddenly stabbed to death with a butcher knife while showering. It is a fairly brutal murder sequence wherein the unknown intruder enters the bathroom and delivers multiple blows to the victim, who screams, unable to shield her body. The scene only suggests nudity, and no wounds are explicitly seen; however the weapon audibly penetrates her body and we see blood. The girl finally collapses onto the floor, her dying gaze fixated on the audience, and we witness the aftermath of the murder in real time: the wiping up of blood, the removal and dumping of the body, etc. The abruptness of the scene subsequently leaves the audience with a lingering feeling of dread.
  • Later on, a man ascends a flight of stairs only to be stabbed once he reaches the top. We see blood splatter across his face and he tumbles backward, landing on the floor, his assailant following to finish the act. The scene quickly fades as the killer raises and lowers the knife again while the man screams.
  • During the film's climax, there is a brief struggle between two men in which one bashes the other over the head with a vase in order to flee.
  • Finally, near the end of the film, a gruesome discovery is made: the dried and embalmed corpse of a man's mother is found in the cellar of a house. We see it first from behind, sitting in a chair, resembling the figure of a person, until a woman turns it around to reveal its decayed, skull-like face. It is a brief yet shocking sequence.
  • It is also revealed that a man killed his mother and her lover as a boy by poisoning them both.

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