Psycho (1960) - Rotten Tomatoes

Psycho (1960)

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Critic Consensus: Infamous for its shower scene, but immortal for its contribution to the horror genre. Because Psycho was filmed with tact, grace, and art, Hitchcock didn't just create modern horror, he validated it.

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In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock was already famous as the screen's master of suspense (and perhaps the best-known film director in the world) when he released Psycho and forever changed the shape and tone of the screen thriller. From its first scene, in which an unmarried couple balances pleasure and guilt in a lunchtime liaison in a cheap hotel (hardly a common moment in a major studio film in 1960), Psycho announced that it was taking the audience to places it had never been before, and on that score what followed would hardly disappoint. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is unhappy in her job at a Phoenix, Arizona real estate office and frustrated in her romance with hardware store manager Sam Loomis (John Gavin). One afternoon, Marion is given $40,000 in cash to be deposited in the bank. Minutes later, impulse has taken over and Marion takes off with the cash, hoping to leave Phoenix for good and start a new life with her purloined nest egg. 36 hours later, paranoia and exhaustion have started to set in, and Marion decides to stop for the night at the Bates Motel, where nervous but personable innkeeper Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) cheerfully mentions that she's the first guest in weeks, before he regales her with curious stories about his mother. There's hardly a film fan alive who doesn't know what happens next, but while the shower scene is justifiably the film's most famous sequence, there are dozens of memorable bits throughout this film. The first of a handful of sequels followed in 1983, while Gus Van Sant's controversial remake, starring Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche, appeared in 1998. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
Rating:
R (adult situations/language, violence)
Genre:
Classics , Horror , Mystery & Suspense
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Paramount Pictures

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Cast

Anthony Perkins
as Norman Bates
Janet Leigh
as Marion Crane
Vera Miles
as Lila Crane
Martin Balsam
as Arbogast
John McIntire
as Sheriff
Simon Oakland
as Dr. Richmond
Frank Albertson
as Millionaire
Lurene Tuttle
as Mrs. Chambers
Vaughan Taylor
as George Lowery
John Anderson
as California Charlie
Mort Mills
as Highway Patrolman
Francis De Sales
as District Attorney
George Eldredge
as Chief of Police
Sam Flint
as Official
Helen Wallace
as Woman Customer
Ted Knight
as Police Guard
Alfred Hitchcock
as Man Outside Office in Cowboy Hat
Frank Killmond
as Bob Summerfield
Anne Dore
as Perkins' Double in Shower Scene
Marli Renfro
as Leigh's Double in Shower Scene
Jeanette Nolan
as Norma Bates (uncredited)
Virginia Gregg
as Norma Bates (uncredited)
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News & Interviews for Psycho

Critic Reviews for Psycho

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (12)

The obvious thing to say is that Hitch has done it again; that the suspense of his picture builds up slowly but surely to an almost unbearable pitch of excitement.

Full Review… | June 16, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Hitchcock is the most-daring avant-garde film-maker in America today.

Full Review… | October 8, 2012
Village Voice
Top Critic

The best that can be said is there are bats in the belfry and a well-preserved corpse in the basement. What else can one do but scream?

Full Review… | October 27, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

It blazed a bloody trail for the much-loved slasher cycle, but it also assured us that a B-movie could be A-grade in quality and innovation.

Full Review… | April 1, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Director Hitchcock bears down too heavily in this one, and the delicate illusion of reality necessary for a creak-and-shriek movie becomes, instead, a spectacle of stomach-churning horror.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

An unusual, good entertainment, indelibly Hitchcock, and on the right kind of boxoffice beam.

Full Review… | October 7, 2008
Variety
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Psycho

½

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Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

Hitchcock's classic "comedy" featuring the world's most famous mother's boy is one of the most influential films ever made; every serial killer and slasher movie owes something to this, one of the true greats of cinema. Unfortunately, as the character of Norman Bates is SO infamous, this is one of those films I wish I could forget I had ever seen and watch it with fresh eyes, but it is still fascinating to watch the awkwardly shy and fresh-faced Anthony Perkins knowing how the story plays out, especially during the exchange between he and Janet Leigh in the parlour. The only minor flaw is the fact that the first act is stronger than the second inevitably meaning a slight anti-climax, especially since the final scenes include the psychiatrist's speech explaining all which is clearly irrelevant in this day and age when the concept of multiple personalities is common knowledge. This is countered however by the brilliantly creepy final shot of Perkins as "mother", who wouldn't even hurt a fly...One of those films that I still find gripping every time I see it.

xGary Xx
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

A seminal classic of horror by master Alfred Hitchcock, with some of the most memorable iconic scenes in the history of Cinema. Tense, horrific and a superb lesson in filmmaking, it offers complex characters and revealing dialogue with a huge regard for details.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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