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Vertigo (1958)

tomatometer

98

Average Rating: 8.8/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 57 | Rotten: 1

An unpredictable scary thriller that doubles as a mournful meditation on love, loss, and human comfort.

93

Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 15
Fresh: 14 | Rotten: 1

An unpredictable scary thriller that doubles as a mournful meditation on love, loss, and human comfort.

audience

93

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 98,615

My Rating

Movie Info

Dismissed when first released, later heralded as one of director Alfred Hitchcock's finest films (and, according to Hitchcock, his most personal one), this adaptation of the French novel D'entre les morts weaves an intricate web of obsession and deceit. It opens as Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) realizes he has vertigo, a condition resulting in a fear of heights, when a police officer is killed trying to rescue him from falling off a building. Scottie then retires from his position as a

Mar 31, 1998

Paramount Pictures

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Latest News on Vertigo

August 1, 2012:
Vertigo Topples Citizen Kane in Sight & Sound Critics' Poll
The latest edition of the once-a-decade list makes a case for the Hitchcock classic as the greatest...
September 26, 2008:
Exclusive: Brand New The Children Photos and Director Introduction
Writing exclusively for RT, director Tom Shankland presents the first gallery of stills from the set...

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All Critics (58) | Top Critics (15) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (1) | DVD (13)

Hitchcock's most tender story.

June 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The old master, now a slave to television, has turned out another Hitchcock-and-bull story in which the mystery is not so much who done it as who cares.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine | Comments (40)
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the landmarks -- not merely of the movies, but of 20th-century art.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (3)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Why is this movie Hitchcock's masterpiece? Because no movie plunges us more deeply into the dizzying heart of erotic obsession.

August 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Newsweek
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Slow but totally compelling.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

James Stewart, on camera almost constantly, comes through with a startlingly fine performance as the lawyer-cop who suffers from acrophobia.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Hitchcock's rich and strange fable of love lost, and lost again, makes the case for him as a grand experimental artist who labored in genre cinema.

June 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

A haunting meditation on sexual politics, romantic love, and obsession, Vertigo is one of the greatest surreal movies ever made.

April 24, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Must-see Hitchcock thriller for any classic movie bug.

January 2, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

"Vertigo" is Alfred Hitchcock's beautifully stylized psychological thriller about a man in love with a fetishized romantic fantasy invented by another man.

May 2, 2010 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Technically well made, but there are a plethora of more entertaining Hitchcock films available.

January 8, 2010 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs | Comment (1)
Three Movie Buffs

Vertigo is a kind of consummate illusion--tantalizing for being so often out of reach (DVDs don't match the reel deal), fulfilling only for bringing us as close as possible to Hitchcock's head and heart in Frisco circa '58. Or...

August 24, 2009 Full Review Source: minnpost.com
minnpost.com

a disturbing and darkly revealing psychological thriller

August 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinemania

After it, Psycho and the rest of the '60s are only a bitter précis of this thesis of sexual disassociation and identity politics.

December 11, 2008 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

The "Vertigo" shot created for this film was so powerful and unique that everytime I see it used today, I get teary eyed.

August 2, 2008
BDK Reviews

Vertigo is an acknowledged masterpiece, one of those narrative films in which a bracing and unpredictable story has been distilled into a form that is at once classic and inventive.

May 30, 2008 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Hitchcock was elsewhere an entertainer, often a great one, but Vertigo finds him working as an artist...

November 5, 2007 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
eFilmCritic.com

Alfred Hitchcock at his most disturbing.

February 14, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A rich, resonant meditation of male romantic obsession ... Not only does Hitchcock demonstrate a total mastery of cinematic point-of-view, but he turns what might have been mere melodrama into film poetry. Perhaps his greatest film.

February 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Hitchcock's twisty, suspenseful tale is far more involving and memorable than most recent Hollywood thrillers.

September 11, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

What can one say? Exquisitely controlled, framed, scored, acted, and edited. A peerless triumph.

August 16, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Audience Reviews for Vertigo

A cop who's recently retired from the force because he suffers from vertigo takes a job trailing an old college friend's wife and grows obsessed with the mysterious woman. A masterpiece of dizzying psychological depths.
June 22, 2014
366weirdmovies
Greg S

Super Reviewer

Although I did find that the story told through this film was incredible, it did feel a tad slow at times, almost bridging on the fact that it is a Hitchcock film so nobody should worry. However, that is exactly the case here. Hitchcock is such a master class that you need not worry about this film dragging on too long, because there is a reason it does that and the conclusion is more than satisfying. I loved my experience watching "Vertigo", it just felt like it took a bit too long to get to the point. From the screenplay to the acting, the overall atmosphere of this film screams brilliance. It's not the type of film to watch over and over again. But it is surely a film that can be recommended over and over again to those who have not yet seen it. It is not at the top of Hitchcock's masterpieces, but it tries very hard to get there. "Vertigo" is surreal at times, and I loved it for that!
June 9, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

One of the better known Hitchcock films; it has a long and strenuous history as well as a legacy unlike many of his other films. In part this is probably because Hitchcock made this film very personal, and made it his mission to indelibly link it to himself. The film is based on a book by two of his favorite writers, it takes on a psychological problem among scores of real people, and it has a great twist that makes it iconic. Unlike some of Hitchcock's previous films, this one takes a decidedly mature look at murder. Not that films such as "Rear Window" and "The Man Who Knew Too Much" didn't seem devilish, but there's something so methodically torturous about the psyche of the main character that it makes it stand out from his previous films. "Psycho" would be the only true rival to this film, though this one feels more like a passion project than the former. When this film was initially released it didn't do well with box office figures and certainly not with the critics. Most of the criticism attributed to this film has to do with the choice in cast. James Stewart was a powerful and interesting collaborator with Hitchcock throughout both of their careers, but at the time he was pushing fifty and having a 24 year old love interest (Novak) as the femme fatale seemed a little too overboard for most audiences. This doesn't really bother you as the viewer though, because the character of Judy seems too needy and unloved, so that Scottie's (Stewart) admiration for her only shows her true colors. Scottie loving Madeleine only shows her inherent beauty and youth. Scottie's vertigo isn't used in every juncture of the film, but it is used as a pivotal piece of the plot, and remains one of the better Hitchcockian twists in any film. Everything about this film feels a bit off, mostly because it is dealing with the subject of vertigo, and the strange fascination of two identical people fooling another all for the means of a fiend. Hitchcock is marvelous, and it really pains me to know that this film, sometimes said to be the best film of all time, was reviled when it came out.
August 22, 2013
FrizzDrop

Super Reviewer

Greatest movie ever made? Maybe but that hardly matters since this is another undeniable masterpiece from the master auteur of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock. Great acting (especially from the infinitely charming James Stewart), great suspense, top-notch cinematography and the score by Bernard Herrman is beautifully haunting. Offers plenty of twists and turns that will truly keep you guessing till the end.
March 14, 2013
Christopher Heim

Super Reviewer

    1. John "Scottie" Ferguson: You know, the Chinese say that once you've saved a person's life, you're responsible for it forever.
    – Submitted by Nishant V (24 months ago)
    1. Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton: Only one is a wanderer; two together are always going somewhere.
    – Submitted by Nishant V (24 months ago)
    1. Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton: If I do what you tell me, will you love me?
    – Submitted by Andy A (2 years ago)
    1. John "Scottie" Ferguson: Anyone could become obsessed with the past with a background like that!
    – Submitted by Andy A (2 years ago)
    1. John "Scottie" Ferguson: One final thing I have to do... and then I'll be free of the past.
    – Submitted by Andy A (2 years ago)
    1. John "Scottie" Ferguson: You shouldn't keep souvenirs of a killing. You shouldn't have been that sentimental.
    – Submitted by Andy A (2 years ago)
View all quotes (9)

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