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High Anxiety

High Anxiety (1977)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 0 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 14,889

My Rating

Movie Info

This is Mel Brooks' spoof of over ten Alfred Hitchcock classics, including Psycho, Vertigo, and The Birds (Brooks actually used the bird trainer from that classic suspense movie in making his film). Brooks plays Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke, a renowned Harvard psychiatrist with a concealed fear of heights, or High Anxiety. Thorndyke takes over as the newest director of the PsychoNeurotic Institute for the Very, Very Nervous after the last director dies under suspicious circumstances. He soon finds


Mystery & Suspense, Comedy

Apr 4, 2006


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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (7) | DVD (8)

[VIDEO ESSAY] Mel Brooks's flair for comic riffing against a stylized background of plot devices draws on a long tradition of spoof movies that date back to the first days of sound cinema.

June 12, 2012 Full Review Source:

Very very funny Hitchcock spoof with some adult humor.

December 19, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Most of this stuff isn't particularly funny however, and even though I watched High Anxiety for the first time in 2010, I'm not sure it would have been very funny back in 1977 either.

June 11, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Brooks spoofs the master, Alfred Hithcock, and make a minor comedy classic of his own with High Anxiety

May 19, 2010 Full Review Source: What Would Toto Watch?
What Would Toto Watch?

One of Brooks lesser comedies from the 1970s, but it beats hands-down any of his later work.

March 23, 2009 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

The cinematic equivalent of an Elvis impersonator

April 16, 2006 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Mel Brooks reached his comedy peak with this riotous spoof of Alfred Hitchcock thrillers.

April 11, 2006 Full Review Source:

ridiculous and hilarious

August 26, 2005
Shadows on the Wall

Brooks at his most brilliant!

June 14, 2005
7M Pictures

its endless parade of campy Hitchcock gags makes us feel smart

January 20, 2004 Full Review Source:

Some sketches are indeed very very funny and some sketches just stink stink.

January 12, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Uneven Brooks satire of Hitchcock. Some of it works.

June 23, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Inconsistent but still funny Brooks silliness.

February 13, 2003
Your Movies (

Audience Reviews for High Anxiety

So lame. I couldn't even sit through it all. Not funny at all.
December 29, 2012

Super Reviewer

Dr. Charles Montague: Enjoy yourself, for God's sake! Get your mind off the Wentworth murder... Accident! Accident! 

"A Psycho-Comedy"

High Anxiety is a really stupid, moderately funny Hitchcock spoof. This isn't one of Mel Brooks better films. It doesn't touch his classics like Blazing Saddles or Young Frankenstein, but it is much better than his bottom dweller Dracula: Dead and Loving It. This one works just enough for me because of the subject matter. I am a huge Alfred Hitchcock fan; just like everyone else who is familiar with his work. So a spoof of some of his most legendary films and scenes was, at the very least, going to be interesting. While I think Brooks could have done a much better job with the material, it was still decent enough. 

The highlights of the film are two scenes that are reenacted from two different Hitchcock films. The first being the shower scene from Psycho and the second being the birds landing behind the woman from The Birds. Both brilliant scenes are taken and used in the most ridiculous context imaginable. Watch the scenes and you'll know what I mean. They definitely aren't smart comedy, but smart comedy was never what Brooks was selling; and that's what makes him such a genius I guess.

This should be good enough if you are a fan of Brooks' brand of comedy. It would also help if you are familiar with Hitchcock because if not, a lot of the references and comedy will be lost on you. Still it's a little disappointing just because I wanted a Young Frankenstein caliber film from Brooks when he was working with Hitchcock's films as his material. 
May 12, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Dr. Richard H. Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) is a well-known psychiatrist suffering from what his own doctor calls "high anxiety," one of the many recurring references to the titular psychiatric condition in Alfred Hitchcock's classic thriller VERTIGO. After being appointed as the head of the Psychoneurotic Institute for the Very, VERY Nervous, he is framed for murder and must face his condition.

Even if there was not a title card in the very beginning of the film to tell us so, it would still be clear that this is Mel Brooks's look at Alfred Hitchcock, the Master of Suspense. Though the plot pokes fun at VERTIGO, there are many notable sequences that work as spoofs of other films directed by Hitchcock, such as the nonsensical PSYCHO scenes and the scatological parody of THE BIRDS.

Music, as always for Brooks, is a key component to this spoof. Remember the scene in PSYCHO when Marion is driving in the rain away from her boss, and we hear the driving violin music? There is a scene from HIGH ANXIETY that is a direct copy, only instead of us hearing the violin music, the radio is turned on. In another scene, we see Brooks's eyes bulge in surprise and hear suspenseful music. At first we actually do believe that Mel Brooks is using Hitchcock's corny suspense methods, but within less than five seconds the chord transitions into pep rally music, and we see Brooks's character turn to look at a bus on the other side of the road, filled with people carrying band instruments.

The most important part about HIGH ANXIETY is that if you have not seen Hitchcock or you have not appreciated any of his films, skip it. This film was most likely constructed out of inside jokes for those who understood Alfred Hitchcock. Otherwise, I would highly recommend watching it, as for an overlooked film, it's quite decent.
January 27, 2012

Super Reviewer

Another hilarious spoof comedy from Brooks, this one spoofs Hitchcock's films, and it's very effective. If you like Brook's films, check it out.
January 5, 2011

Super Reviewer

    1. Victoria Brisbane: I'm Victoria Brisbane.
    2. Richard H. Thorndyke: The Cocker's daughter?
    – Submitted by Jared B (2 years ago)
    1. Brophy: I got it. I got it. I got it. [thump]
    2. Brophy: I ain't got it.
    – Submitted by Eli A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (2)

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