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Rebecca (1940)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.7/10
Reviews Counted: 44
Fresh: 44 | Rotten: 0

Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.

100

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 6 | Rotten: 0

Hitchcock's first American film (and his only Best Picture winner), Rebecca is a masterpiece of haunting atmosphere, Gothic thrills, and gripping suspense.

audience

92

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 37,927

My Rating

Movie Info

The second Mrs. de Winter is a shy and naive young woman, besotted with charming and urbane Maxim de Winter. They meet and fall in love while vacationing on the Riviera, and after a speedy marriage, return to Maxim's vast English estate, Manderly. His wife is introduced to an army of servants who immediately, if subtly, display hostility towards her, as they all adored Rebecca, Max's first wife, whose death is shrouded in mystery. As the servants become more hostile, the second wife grows more

Mar 13, 2001

United Artists

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on Rebecca

December 16, 2013:
Joan Fontaine: 1917-2013
The Academy Award-winning star has passed away at the age of 96.
February 10, 2012:
DreamWorks Plans Remake of Hitchcock's Rebecca
The studio hires "A History of Violence" screenwriter Steven Knight to tackle a new script.

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All Critics (44) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (44) | Rotten (0) | DVD (32)

This time Hitchcock does it all his way, does a splendid job and has a splendid cast to do it with.

February 17, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the finest productional efforts of the past year.

February 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Through its first two-thirds it is as perfect a myth of adolescence as any of the Disney films, documenting the childlike, nameless heroine's initiation into the adult mysteries of sex, death, and identity.

December 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hitchcock shows superb technical control and attends to his trademark motifs, from monstrous mother figures to the fetishisation of clothing.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An altogether brilliant film, haunting, suspenseful, handsome and handsomely played.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The result exhibits that the director is capable of a range few would credit him with.

January 1, 1800 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood film is a sumptuous and suspenseful adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's romantic novel.

February 11, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Self-consciously prestigious literary filmmaking... more in line with the producer's career than the director's.

February 26, 2013 Full Review Source: Antagony & Ecstasy
Antagony & Ecstasy

It's an elegant production, beautifully photographed and designed like a dream house shrouded in mourning, but it also favors the pictorial over the cinematic and surface over subtext.

February 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Parallax View
Parallax View

Let's take a moment to talk about water.

February 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

a clever mix of fancy drama and suspense

February 6, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

While the film offers no overt violence or thrills, it is a model of sustained mystery and eerie suspense.

January 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The real show-stopper remains Judith Anderson's formidable turn as Mrs. Danvers.

January 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Excellent, but may be too long and moody for kids.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comments (2)
Common Sense Media

Both a tender gothic romance and a haunting ghost story.

February 26, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A real treat. Captivating from its famous opening lines to its pyrotechnic finale, this is one of Hitchcock's finest -- and that's saying something.

February 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

[A] classic female gothic romance, beautifully adapted from Daphne du Maurier's novel, and hauntingly accompanied by Franz Waxman's score.

February 19, 2008 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Fontaine & Olivier directed by Hitchcock - enjoy.

July 27, 2007
ColeSmithey.com

The meandering storyline, however, ultimately prevents the film from living up to its reputation as one of Hitchcock's best...

February 2, 2007 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

Anderson, Sanders, and Florence Bates all reveled in nasty roles; they look delighted sharpening their talons on Fontaine's little brown wren.

December 12, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Alfred Hitchcock's first American film is an atmospheric triumph of suspense.

October 17, 2006 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

A gorgeous treat from one of cinema's masters. Not to be missed.

July 1, 2006 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Audience Reviews for Rebecca

This was the first film Hitchcock made after moving to the U.S. to further his film career. The subject matter for this assignment is an adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's eerie, gothic psychological chiller (with some romance moments) about an unnamed young woman who, after a short, whirlwind romance, marries a wealthy widower. They take up residence in his country estate Manderlay, and from there, the young woman starts to go mad, mostly because it seems that Manderlay is haunted by the spectre of her husband's first wife Rebecca. She died under mysterious circumstances, and most of the staff seem to obsessively prefer her over her replacement, especially the particularly rough and cruel Mrs. Danvers.

The film is brimming with lots of great stuff, especially a wonderful score by Franz Waxman, some great art direction, set design, gorgeous cinematography, and some excellent atmosphere, mood, and tone. This is a fine gothic psychological mystery chiller.

This was Hitchcock's only Oscar winning film (it took Best Picture in 1940), and it seems odd to me that not only did this get best picture, but that none of Hitchcock's work got any love from the Academy. To be fair, Foreign Correspondant was in competetion for the top prize with Rebecca the same year, but still, none of his great stuff from the late 50s-early 60s?

I enjoyed this film, but honestly, as much as I dig Hitch's work, I don't thnk this is Best Picture material, and it's rather overrated in general. Oh sure, I enjoyed it, but it really doesn't come off as all that special. It also doesn't help that it only somewhat seems like a proper Hitch film, something reinforced by the fact that the man himself called it a "Selznick film" instead of one of his own.

Where the acting is concerned, Joan Fontaine is decent as our protagonist, and Olivier is passable as our newlywedded widower, but I can't help but feel that he was holding back a bit. It's not a bad performance, but it should be a great one. The film does have one performance that really is quite brilliant, and that is the one given by Judith Anderson as Mrs. Danvers. She's the real scene stealer here. Everything about her performance and just her in general is awesome, from her voice and delivery to her mannerisms and facial expressions, especially her fiendishly eerie glare, this is one of the greatest creepy characters out there.

All in all, a decent enough film, but far from great. Maybe had Hitch had more control this could have really been a mesmerizing spectacle instead of a compromised offering from the Master of Suspense. Straight (but solid) B.
February 21, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

This gothic tale has so many twists and turns, that more than 70 years later, it still has the capability to keep audiences on the edge of their seat.
November 13, 2011
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Rebecca is so many films rolled into one, it's a romance, a thriller, a horror but most importantly, it's a winner. You don't need to take it from me how beautiful Hitchcock's directing is, especially his older black and white films. The acting is fantastic, Florence Bates steals most of the early scenes but this is very much Joan Fontaine's film, she is glorious and I completely fell in love with her after this. I would say it was one of Hitchcock's best films but then I would put at least 9 others in the same category. I absolutely adored it.
September 26, 2011
SirPant

Super Reviewer

    1. Maxim de Winter: And I should be making violent love to you behind a palm tree.
    – Submitted by Eduardo T (2 years ago)
    1. Maxim de Winter: It's gone forever, that funny young, lost look I loved won't ever come back. I killed that when I told you about Rebecca. It's gone. In a few hours, you've grown so much older.
    – Submitted by Eric H (2 years ago)
    1. Mrs. de Winter: How do you do?
    2. Mrs. Danvers: How do you do.... I have everything in readiness for you.
    – Submitted by Uditha D (2 years ago)
    1. Mrs. de Winter: Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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