Rear Window

1954

Rear Window

Critics Consensus

Hitchcock exerted full potential of suspense in this masterpiece.

100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 66

95%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 150,530
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Movie Info

Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbors, he assigns them such roles and character names as "Miss Torso" (Georgine Darcy), a professional dancer with a healthy social life or "Miss Lonelyhearts" (Judith Evelyn), a middle-aged woman who entertains nonexistent gentlemen callers. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered travelling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife's incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries' musings just might happen to be the truth. One of Alfred Hitchcock's very best efforts, Rear Window is a crackling suspense film that also ranks with Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) as one of the movies' most trenchant dissections of voyeurism. As in most Hitchcock films, the protagonist is a seemingly ordinary man who gets himself in trouble for his secret desires. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast

Grace Kelly
as Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey
as Lieutenant Thomas J. Doyle
Raymond Burr
as Mr. Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn
as Miss Lonelyheart
Georgine Darcy
as Miss Torso
Irene Winston
as Mrs. Thorwald
Sara Berner
as Woman on Fire Escape
Frank Cady
as Fire Escape Man
Jesslyn Fax
as Miss Hearing Aid
Rand Harper
as Honeymooner
Marla English
as Party Girl
Kathryn Grant
as Party Girl
Alan Lee
as Landlord
Anthony Warde
as Detective
Bennie Bartlett
as Miss Torso's Friend
Barbara Bailey
as Choreographer
Bess Flowers
as Woman with Poodle
Fred Graham
as Stunt Detective (uncredited)
Ralph Smiley
as Carl the Waiter
Harry Landers
as Young Man
Mike Mahoney
as Policeman
Len Hendry
as Policeman
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News & Interviews for Rear Window

Critic Reviews for Rear Window

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (66)

  • It's one of Alfred Hitchcock's inspired audience-participation films: watching it, you feel titillated, horrified, and, ultimately, purged.

    Mar 5, 2012
  • Just possibly the second most entertaining picture (after The 39 Steps) ever made by Alfred Hitchcock.

    Apr 20, 2009 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Of all Hitchcock's films, this is the one which most reveals the man.

    Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

    Geoff Andrew

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The deliciousness of watching the film as it's intended to be seen is that the big screen gives Rear Window back its claustrophobia.

    Jul 21, 2005
  • Don't resist the urge -- steal a peek at it now, and be reminded why Hitchcock is still without equal in the clammy thrills department.

    May 28, 2004 | Rating: 4/4
  • Hitchcock combines technical and artistic skills in a manner that makes this an unusually good piece of murder mystery entertainment.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Rear Window

  • Jul 28, 2018
    okay but too outmoded for my taste
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Dec 04, 2017
    Hitchcock's nod to voyeurism has a very simple premise: a photographer (Jimmy Stewart) is laid up with a broken leg, and finds entertainment in looking out his second floor window at his neighbors. The plot device is that during a heat wave, these neighbors leave their curtains drawn or shades up at all times, well, with the exception of a pair of newlyweds, whose implied activity (and its frequency) is a little joke Hitch gives us early on. He also dials up some eye candy circa 1954 with a dancer who regularly prances about her apartment. Stewart (slash Hitchcock) is a bit of perv, and he's kidded about that by his tough little nurse (Thelma Ritter) and glamorous girlfriend (Grace Kelly). Things get serious when he notices one of the neighbors (Raymond Burr) leaving his apartment multiple times in the wee hours of the night, and that the guy's wife has mysteriously disappeared. From then on, there is a tension to the film, as we're not sure what's going on, or if anything at all is going on, as Stewart's detective friend (Wendell Corey) is skeptical and provides some alternate explanations. You might say, c'mon, we're pretty sure something's going on, this is a Hitchcock film after all, but consider the uncomfortable light Stewart's character is placed in: spying on neighbors with binoculars and a gigantic zoom lens, suggesting that his friend break the law by searching the guy's apartment without a warrant, and even (gasp) having Kelly over for a little sleepover, despite only having a single bed. It would have been interesting had Stewart's character been darker, e.g. taking pictures of his neighbors, but that may be implied when he breaks out slides showing pictures of a flower garden in the courtyard to try to understand if anything has changed. Tension ratchets up considerably when Ritter and Kelly investigate on their own, but I won't spoil it. The fact that the action for the entire movies takes place in Stewart's apartment or from its vantage point is a pretty phenomenal achievement. Stewart turns in a strong performance, and Ritter's blunt speculations are effective in spurring our imaginations. I loved the scene which ends with Burr's cigarette glowing in the dark, one of the best moments in the film. The little stories playing out in the various apartments, including a woman who is lonely and depressed, provide interesting subplots. Overall the film is a little too constrained for me to consider it Hitchcock's best, and I could have used a little more darkness in the characters or the plot, but it's certainly very good, and a brilliant example of suspense not requiring fast-paced action or gore.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2016
    Truly suspenseful and masterfully crafted, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window is a masterpiece of thriller that is both parts witty and serious, clever and entertaining, and humor filled and fear inducing. James Stewart is amazing in the main role.
    Matthew M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 22, 2015
    Pretty well made but I disliked the ending and how it was handled so much that this brings the movie down significantly for me.
    Kyle M Super Reviewer

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