Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 72
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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 private investigator, only to be lured into another case by his old college friend, Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore). Elster's wife, Madeleine (Kim Novak), has been possessed by a spirit, and Elster wants Scottie to follow her. He hesitantly agrees, and thus begins the film's wordless montage as Scottie follows the beautiful yet enigmatic Madeleine through 1950s San Francisco (accompanied by Bernard Herrmann's hypnotic score). After saving her from suicide, Scottie begins to fall in love with her, and she appears to feel the same way. Here tragedy strikes, and each twist in the movie's second half changes our preconceptions about the characters and events. In 1996 a new print of Vertigo was released, restoring the original grandeur of the colors and the San Francisco backdrop, as well as digitally enhancing the soundtrack. ~ Dylan Wilcox, Rovi

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James Stewart
as Scotty Ferguson
Kim Novak
as Madeleine Elster/Judy Barton
Tom Helmore
as Gavin Elster
Ellen Corby
as Hotel Proprietor
Henry Jones
as Coroner
Mollie Dodd
as Beauty Operator
Lee Patrick
as Mistaken Identity
Paul Bryar
as Capt. Hansen
Margaret Brayton
as Saleswoman
William Remick
as Jury Foreman
Julian Petruzzi
as Flower Vendor
Fred Graham
as Policeman
John Benson
as Salesman
Don Giovanni
as Salesman
Nina Shipman
as Young Mistaken Identity
Dori Simmons
as Middle-Aged Mistaken Identity
Roland Got
as Maitre d'
Carlo Dotto
as Bartender
Jack Richardson
as Man Escort
June Jocelyn
as Miss Woods
Miliza Milo
as Saleswoman
Jack Ano
as Extra
Joanne Genthon
as Girl in Portrait
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News & Interviews for Vertigo

Critic Reviews for Vertigo

All Critics (72) | Top Critics (22)

  • It's doubtful that Vertigo can take equal rank with the best of the Hitchcock studies -- it has too many holes -- but it assays high in visual confectionary of place, person and celluloid wiles.

    Sep 21, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Combines in an almost unique balance Hitchcock's brash flair for psychological shocks with his elegant genius for dapper stylishness.

    Jul 12, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • A dizzying cinematic experience.

    Jul 12, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The tempo may be generally very slow, but it is not monotonous; the camera work may be unostentatious but it is quietly, calmly efficient in establishing character, atmosphere, and uncertainty.

    Mar 21, 2018 | Full Review…
    Top Critic
  • Alfred Hitchcock's "Vertigo" is an artistic triumph for the master of mystery.

    May 9, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's as much a wonder of suspense as it is a catalogue of the director's themes and an allegory for his own art of enticement-and for the erotic pitfalls of his métier.

    Mar 15, 2015 | Full Review…

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