567 user 174 critic

The Birds (1963)

PG-13 | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 29 March 1963 (USA)
5:13 | Trailer
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)
1,993 ( 1,345)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »





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 ... 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


It could be the most terrifying motion picture I have ever made! See more »


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Alfred Hitchcock: at the start of the movie, man walking two dogs out of the pet shop. The dogs were actually his white terriers named Geoffrey and Stanley. See more »


When the birds are attacking the teachers and school children there are shadows of the people but none of the birds. 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, and ...
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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
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User Reviews

Dated effects but chilling and great fun is to be had with the subtexts
5 December 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Melanie Daniels meets Mitch Brenner at a pet shop where he has come to buy some birds for his young sister. They have a conflict of words but he sparks her interest and she travels up to his small town to see him again. Daniels stays in the town for the weekend despite the tension between her and Brenner's mother. However this is not the only source of worry as the locals begin to notice that the birds are acting out of character and showing signs of aggression.

I came to this film because my mother mentioned she was scared of birds as a result of seeing this when she was young. So I went for it with highs hopes that were not disappointed on the whole. The basic plot is just that – basic. But it allows plenty of disturbing scenes of bird attack as well as a nice slow build. The effects have dated and it doesn't look as impressive now, but it still has an impact. More importantly the film has a rich side-plot about themes that carry over from Psycho about mother's and sons. Not quite as far out as that film, this still has plenty of meat for anyone looking to analyse it further.

Hedren is OK in the lead but I found her to be just giving the same performance as every `dangerous blonde' does in Hitchcock films. But she is the predator of the film and she does it pretty well. Taylor is a good stock B movie actor type but looking at him I couldn't help picturing Cary Grant doing the role and it took away from Taylor. Tandy looked old even then, but she does really well with a complex role of the mother. Pleshette is a little annoying but still ok

Most people see this as a horror film, but it is much more than that. The ending is quite low key but it worked well with the overall feeling of menace in the birds, but it's worth remembering that this is not the ending Hitchcock wanted. His first choice, the Golden Gate bridge covered in birds, couldn't be done due to a tight budget.

Overall this is a great bit of Hitchcock that works on several levels. The horror will have you sweating when walking through groups of pigeons in city centres and the subtext will keep you in the pub for several hours.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

29 March 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds See more »


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System) (uncredited)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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