8.0/10
191,460
578 user 262 critic

Rosemary's Baby (1968)

Approved | | Drama, Horror | 12 June 1968 (Canada)
Trailer
1:38 | Trailer
A young couple trying for a baby move into a fancy apartment surrounded by peculiar neighbors.

Director:

Roman Polanski

Writers:

Ira Levin (from the novel by), Roman Polanski (written for the screen)
Reviews
Popularity
1,204 ( 9)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mia Farrow ... Rosemary Woodhouse
John Cassavetes ... Guy Woodhouse
Ruth Gordon ... Minnie Castevet
Sidney Blackmer ... Roman Castevet
Maurice Evans ... Hutch
Ralph Bellamy ... Dr. Sapirstein
Victoria Vetri ... Terry (as Angela Dorian)
Patsy Kelly ... Laura-Louise
Elisha Cook Jr. ... Mr. Nicklas (as Elisha Cook)
Emmaline Henry ... Elise Dunstan
Charles Grodin ... Dr. Hill
Hanna Landy ... Grace Cardiff
Phil Leeds ... Dr. Shand (as Philip Leeds)
D'Urville Martin ... Diego
Hope Summers ... Mrs. Gilmore
Edit

Storyline

Desirous of starting a family, the young Catholic housewife, Rosemary Woodhouse, and her struggling actor husband, Guy, move into the Bramford: New York's iconic building that brims with unpleasant stories of obscure dwellers and ghastly occurrences. Before long, the young couple is befriended by their somehow eccentric next-door neighbours, Roman and Minnie Castevet, and, shortly after, Rosemary gets pregnant. However, little by little--as the inexperienced mother becomes systematically cut off from her circle and friends--alarming hints of a sinister and well-planned conspiracy begin to emerge, enfolding timid Rosemary in a shroud of suspicion and mental agony. In the end, why is everyone so conveniently eager to help? Furthermore, why is Guy allowing it? Written by Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Conceived in terror, born in fear. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Robert Osterloh. See more »

Goofs

When the nurse at Dr. Hill's office is taking Rosemary's blood, the unnatural way her skin bulges outward reveals this is most probably a prosthetic. See more »

Quotes

Rosemary Woodhouse: [crying] I *won't* have an abortion!
Joan Jellico, Rosemary's Girlfriend: But nobody's telling you to have an abortion!
Elise Dunstan: Rosie, a pain like that is a clear sign that something is not right. We just want you to get another opinion, see someone else, that's all.
Tiger, Rosemary's girlfriend: Yeah, some doctor besides that... that... *nut*!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film originally proved problematic for the UK censors and the rape scene was toned down by the BBFC for the cinema release with edits made to remove dialogue and shots of Rosemary's legs being bound. All later UK video releases featured the uncut print. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Clive James Meets Roman Polanski (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Lullaby
(uncredited)
Composed by Krzysztof Komeda
Sung by Mia Farrow
See more »

User Reviews

 
"Awful things happen in every apartment house"
26 November 2006 | by Steffi_PSee all my reviews

Rosemary's Baby was originally proposed as a project to Alfred Hitchcock. He turned it down, and instead it fell to the up-and-coming Polish director Roman Polanski. It's hard to imagine what the master of suspense would have made out of this tale of devil worship and Catholic guilt, even though there is some Hitchockian psychology and mystery at work. As it was however, it proved to be right up the young Polanski's street, taking his career to new heights, and spawning a run of occult horrors in the late 60s and early 70s, of which this is still one of the few greats.

Polanski had already established himself as a director most comfortable with the confinement of interiors in films like Repulsion (1965). Here he draws us right into the claustrophobic feel of the upstairs apartment, often placing the camera in a room adjacent to the action, with the characters viewed through a doorway. The camera movement is mostly restricted to pans. It rarely tracks or dollys, as if it were trapped in a corner. Even in the exterior scenes the sky is often sandwiched or blotted out altogether between the buildings rising on either side. The actors often appear uncomfortably close to the camera, but not in individual close-up shots. Instead, they come in that close as they move around the set and the camera pans back and forth. Not only does this add to the cramped, awkward atmosphere, but this constantly changing distancing of actors within a single shots makes the audience feel as if they are actually standing there.

Rosemary's Baby may come across as very slow to some viewers. 140 minutes certainly is a long time in the horror genre. There do also appear to be a lot of unnecessary details in the dialogue – we get to find out far more about Rosemary's background than is normal for a character in cinema. But for one thing, Polanski was not interested in making a shock-and-gore horror – Rosemary's Baby is all about the eerie atmosphere, the tension and the mystery. He holds our attention by regularly dropping in clues that something sinister is afoot. Furthermore, all the detail and depth has its significance in the finished product – like the references to Rosemary's Catholic upbringing or the background of the Castavets.

Polanski has never overused flashy techniques – no fast editing, zooms or unusual angles that make for a very obvious directorial style. But there is always great complexity and meaning in the look of things – the set design, lighting, costume and so on. One of my favourite touches is Mia Farrow's extremely short Vidal Sassoon hairdo that she has done halfway through the film. With her bony features and pale skin she more and more begins to resemble a skeleton, especially under the carefully placed lighting in the scene after the party when she realises the pain has gone. It's simple yet significant ideas like that which make Polanski one of the best directors of his era.

There's some great casting in this picture. Careful choice of character actors makes for some quirky supporting roles. Mia Farrow and John Cassavetes are perfect in the lead roles. The musical score – that haunting opening melody, or the atonal violin squeaks – all add to the atmosphere.

Rosemary's Baby is a real landmark in horror. It helped keep the genre alive by pushing the occult - something fairly taboo, and not fully explored in cinema since the days of silents - to the fore. Also the restrained atmospheric horror was doubtless influential, particularly on Kubrick when he came to make The Shining. It inspired a lot, but was rarely bettered.


44 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 578 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 June 1968 (Canada) See more »

Also Known As:

Rosemary's Baby See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$2,300,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

We've Got Your Streaming Picks Covered

Looking for some great streaming picks? Check out some of the IMDb editors' favorites movies and shows to round out your Watchlist.

Visit our What to Watch page



Recently Viewed