The Birds - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Birds Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 28, 2007
Inexplicably, birds begin attacking the town of Bogeda Bay, interrupting a burgeoning love affair between a socialite and a lawyer. These birds are as natural, inexplicable and inevitable as death itself.
Super Reviewer
September 19, 2013
In an isolated California town, birds mysteriously begin attacking people.
It's often said that a Hitchcock film has two plots: in the beginning there is an innocuous plot, but then something unexpected happens that overtakes the film. For example, Psycho is about a woman stealing money from her employer until Norman Bates appears thirty minutes later. Notorious is about a love story between Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman until it becomes a spy flick about thirty minutes later. The Birds follows this formula, but the problem is that the initial story is so damn boring. The love story between Mitch and Melanie gathers no steam, and the Breaking Bad credits have more chemistry than Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren. Once the birds start pecking away at people's eyes, I had already given up on caring about these characters.
Also, the film refuses to answer why the birds go nuts, and while I don't think it's necessary that the film answer this question, the film's steadfast apathy for wherefores got overbearing when a character asked why for the fourth or fifth time.
What I can say about the film is that Hitch's work changes the way people look at the world. The Birds is not a strong film, but I did notice myself paying closer attention to birds as I drove to work. It's irrational but also the mark of director who can affect his audience in mysterious ways.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2012
Hitchcock's The Birds, like millions before me have said and witnessed themselves, absolutely manages to turn birds into frightening monsters of terror. Hitchcock manages to build tension slowly until the build-up almost becomes unbearable and then all hell breaks loose. Obviously the special effects are dated and a little laughable at times, but nonetheless they get the point across and were much better for their time. The actors do a good job of character building during the slower first half where we get to know all of the characters. In true disaster movie fashion, the characters aren't the smartest and their circumstances for being in the wrong place at the wrong time aren't exactly the best, but Hitchcock keeps enough under wraps that you don't question their bond by the end. The film is a little long and slow in spots, but they are worth sitting through for the pay-off. Like most Hitchcock films, The Birds makes you think and lingers in your mind long after the credits roll. It's not his best film, but it's a darn good one.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2013
Hitch is a pro, yah, and never forgets his audience ... but sometimes yah just gotta let the animal out and get yer own groove on, which is what ol'Al does with this outstanding fascination with the fascination with blondes ... and just what Hitch thinks about it. Tension aplenty. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I understand Ms. Hedren succumbed to exhaustion prior to the last scenes being shot ... I hope that's true and not Hitch's p.r. machinations! And yes, the birds, the birds!
paul o.
Super Reviewer
August 21, 2012
And the oscar would go to the birds of the movie. The mass collection of many birds make an audience feel like bait towards the end. Its different and has a strange way of showing this with its early green screen technology. Another great entry for fans of the hitchockian genre.
Super Reviewer
March 30, 2012
I have the utmost respect for Alfred Hitchcock. He was a genius. A true testament to the man's brilliance, is that even after nearly 50 years, nothing is able to capture the towering suspense that Hitchcock directed with the semblance of ease. It's amazing, given the advancements in technology and the endless streams of source material directors currently have at their fingertips. "The Birds" is a horror masterpiece. The movie moves at a deliberate pace, never wasting a single motion, all the while creating a subtle anxiety. Hitchcock never shows his hand too early, and there are no cheap scares. The payoff is well executed, as events erupt into a crescendo of chaos. The most startling scenes occur when the unlikely antagonists swarm their prey, caging them, while their war cries completely drown out the soundtrack. The film closes with a very appropriate and ambiguous ending. The special effects were state-of-the-art in 1963, but viewers may find them a bit crude by today's standards. If that stops you from enjoying this film, you deserve to watch the found footage paranormal garbage that pollutes today's landscape. "The Birds", is, was, and always will be a perfect movie.
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2012
The effects and acting certainly aren't what make the film great, it is the mystery and suspense that do it . As to why the birds attack, we will never know because Hitchcock wanted the audience to be able to make their own conclusion. It will leave you in a guessing game following the film, wondering what happens next and why it happened. It is that judgement and curiosity that make the film a brilliant classic!
Super Reviewer
December 26, 2011
A brilliant and tense film that gives you everything but then takes it all away with the ending. I detest the unresolved and cliffhanger ending which isn't really an ending at all. What happened to the characters? What happened to the town? Did the birds ever attack again? So many questions but no answers. This really lets the whole fantastic film down.
Super Reviewer
October 23, 2011
One of my least favorite Hitchcock films but that still puts it a cut above most.
Super Reviewer
February 7, 2009
"I hardly think a few birds are going to bring about the end of the world"

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 there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.

Before and since "The Birds", you've had all manner of creatures to make their impact in horror films. The brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock is that he doesn't go for the obvious - the great white shark, the rampaging gorilla, or the Jurassic dinosaur. What could be more welcome than a few songbirds to brighten up and add some cheer to an otherwise ordinary day? As the crows congregated in the schoolyard it seemed like they exuded evil in a strange way, foreshadowing an event outside the normal scheme of things. With all the slash and gore spectacle prevalent in horror films today, one has a keen sense as a viewer that nothing presented on screen is real. But take one look at the plucked out eyes of farmer Dan Fawcett slumped against the wall of his home, and you begin to wonder, wow! could something like that ever really happen?

Offsetting the grim spectacle of the bird attacks, I thought Hitchcock did a nicely nuanced job with some offbeat humor that might not seem obvious at first. Would a pair of caged lovebirds really respond to inertia the way the ones in Melanie's car did taking those curves on the road to Bodega Bay? I thought that was a neat touch. And how about shortly after the sparrow attack at the Daniels home, when the diner waitress orders baked potato with the fried chicken? Hitchcock's little way of a preemptive strike on the feathered set before things really get going.

As for the players, Tippi Hedren did a commendable job in virtually her very first screen role. There was something mysterious to her persona that might have been construed as to contributing to the bird attacks. That idea was voiced later in the story by the panicked mother who wanted to leave town as quickly as possible with her daughter. I couldn't really warm up to the idea of Veronica Cartwright and Rod Taylor portraying a brother and sister with the apparent age disparity, but that wound up working out OK.

Before closing I have to throw out this bit of ornithological trivia, and I'm curious why Hitchcok didn't use it in the film. There was in fact a reference to a flock of crows in the picture, but the more accurate description would have been a 'murder of crows'. Seriously, you could look it up, the term came about because a group of crows is known to kill an already dying animal in order to feed. A whole bunch of them looks kind of spooky too!
Super Reviewer
October 28, 2007
OOH man i love Alfred Hitchcock but i do not love this movie. Maybe it was better in its time but i cannot appreciate this movie even a little because its just not that great.
Although it kept me interested the storyline was pretty terrible and the ending was pretty abrupt as well.
Not to sure id recommend this to anyone.
Super Reviewer
June 14, 2006
Every time I show this film to a person below 25, it's apparent that viewing habits and audiences have changed in the last 20 years. When I was a kid this was one of the scariest films to stumble upon on a late Saturday night. The horror starts out very slowly, more like a romantic comedy kind of film. The signs get more and more, though, and once the birds attack it's still as terrifying as it was, even if not all of the special effects aged that well. Hitchcock also made sure to take his characters seriously, not throwing cardboard stereotype persons into this mess, but real complex characters. Plenty of scenes from this have gone down into pop culture, will be quote and referenced for decades. The fact that there is no explanation for the bird's behavior makes it even more disturbing. A classic.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2007
i really liked this movie a lot. this is a genuine classic with real suspense. the course of events that led ms. daniels to bodega bay was weakly built and the lack of explination of the bird attacks were weak points for me, but this was one of hitchcocks more enjoyable films. very good stuff.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
I really love the story in this movie, it's based on a short story, it's crazy good. If you haven't seen this movie, please go rent it. It's a classic Hitchcock film, and one of the best horror movies of the sixties.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2010
Alfred Hitchcock is to horror as Vincent Van Gogh was to art. He is without a doubt one of the greatest horror directors who ever lived. His work inspired generations of Horror film makers including John Carpenter. By 1963, Hitchcock was a household name because of his previous work, Psycho. His next Project, weould be something totally different. What thing I love about his work, is his unrelenting genius to create horror and suspense. In an age where Horror is violence based and requires stupid jump scares to create tension, Hitchcock worked in the heyday of good cinema. He used effective storytelling and pacing to create his vibe and mood on screen. The birds was his follow up to Psycho, and follows a community that is attacked by birds. What makes this so scary, is the motive of the bird attacks are never given, much like the motive for the truck driver tormenting the salesman in Duel. This is a classic masterpiece of Horror cinema and one of the best films that the genre has ever produced.
Super Reviewer
March 3, 2008
In 2008's The Happening, M. Knight Shyamalan failed spectacularly to do what Alfred Hitchcock did way back in 1963. Make a great movie about what would happen if one of the most benign and least threatening aspects of nature, suddenly, inexplicably, and fatally turned against humanity.

While Shymalan tried to horrify us with the wind and plant pollen, Hitchcock decides to remind us of how many more birds there are than humans, and how sharp beaks are just as capable of plucking out eyes and stabbing flesh as they are at pecking seeds. If you scoff at the idea of birds being deadly...well, imagine yourself in any of the various terrifying and menacing situations that these characters face throughout The Birds. The last 15 minutes are as tense as almost anything I've ever seen in movie

The ordinary and frivolous opening of the story is a perfect segue into the unexpected horror that descends on the small coastal town of Bodega Bay. There's a slow, menacing buildup to the action, and it definitely serves to lull you into an easy calm that shatters all the harder once the feathers start flying. And we never know why. Great movie.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2010
I can still remember this being the first and one of very few horror movies to actually have an effect on me as a child. Now I donā??t really take it as seriously as I did, but itā??s a great horror movie none the less. It was probably the best way for Hitchcock to follow up Psycho because itā??s a completely different horror movie. There arenā??t really any twists, you know who the trouble makers are from the get go. Itā??s just how they go about causing said trouble is what makes it so dynamic. Tippi Hedren is a great lead that you can root for and enjoy. Itā??s got some great new tricks from Hitchcock and itā??s probably the most demented he ever got.
Super Reviewer
May 12, 2006
One of the scariest and mysterious Alfred Hitchcock films ever. Utterly horrifing scenes leave a deep impression on the viewer and easily disturbs. The birds at the school, in the living room, at the party, in the town, every where. However the ending is the most confusing element of a very confusing film. I mean What the Hell? Why are the birds doing this? How did it start? Will it end? All Questions that are never answered. Verging on Sci Fi, masterfuliy do but leaves alot to be answered.
Super Reviewer
½ August 15, 2009
As long as I can remember, I've always heard people brag about how good of a movie "The Birds" was. I finally got to see it on television and I agree with everything I had ever heard about it. It is a great, classic horror movie. Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is on a short trip from San Francisco to Bodega Bay, California in order to deliver a couple of lovebirds to Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), for his younger sister's birthday. All the while, Melanie, Rod, and the others are noticing some strange behavior in some local birds, especially the seagulls and the crows. Once a huge number of birds flock into Mitch's house, and then later attack a school, Melanie and the rest of the people must do something to protect themselves from the birds.
If you like great horror movies, I definitely recommend getting "The Birds." Don't think that just because it was made in 1963 that it's not a good horror movie, because it is, it's a classic from Alfred Hitchcock. Hitchcock definitely did a good job directing the movie, and everybody in the movie did a good job of acting. All the horror scenes, especially the one where the birds are almost pecking through the wooden door and the major attack on Melanie at the end of the movie are well done. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. I still remember the night I watched that movie...extremely memorable and if you think about it, scary...just think if animals decided to turn on us like that! And seagulls have always been my favorite type of bird!
Super Reviewer
August 10, 2009
Better than a lot of other Hitchcock films! Creepy, but not too bad, interesting technical aspects.
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