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Psycho

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Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Mark Deming
In a decade in which what was acceptable onscreen would change more radically than at any other time in history, Psycho was in some ways the first shot in the battle for freer filmmaking in the 1960s. Few movies of its time were more direct and unapologetic in their violence or served it up with such disorienting abruptness or tongue-in-cheek wit. With its casual depiction of sex outside marriage, fleeting nudity, bursts of shocking violence, killing off a major character less than halfway through the movie, and focus on the psychological subtext of the murderer's personality, as well as the geometric imagery of Saul Bass's credit sequence and the percussive strings of Bernard Herrmann's score, Psycho was the film with which Hitchcock left the 1950s behind and started the 1960s with relish. Time hasn't hurt the film, either; it still generates a palpable tension and the odd chemistry between Perkins and Leigh in their dinner scene is a wonder to behold. While the film is still frightening after all these years, repeated screenings reveal a cold-blooded humor; with Psycho, Hitchcock tore asunder the audience's expectations of what a suspense film should be, and he appears to have had a wonderful time doing it.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/1/1992
  • UPC: 096895500138
  • Original Release: 1960
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Anthony Perkins Norman Bates
Janet Leigh Marion Crane
Vera Miles Lila Crane
John Gavin Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam Milton Arbogast, detective
John McIntire Chambers, the sheriff
Simon Oakland Dr. Richmond
Frank Albertson Tom Cassidy, millionaire
Patricia Hitchcock Caroline
Vaughn Taylor George Lowery
Lurene Tuttle Mrs. Chambers
John Anderson California Charlie
Mort Mills Highway Patrolman
Marli Renfro Leigh's Double in Shower Scene
Anne Dore Perkins' Double in Shower Scene
Ted Knight Prison Guard
Virginia Gregg Voice Only
Jeanette Nolan Voice Only
Francis de Sales Official
George Eldredge Chief of Police
Sam Flint Official
Frank Killmond Bob Summerfield
Helen Wallace Woman Customer
Marion Crane
Technical Credits
Alfred Hitchcock Director, Producer
Jack Barron Makeup
Clarence Champagne Special Effects
Robert Clatworthy Production Designer
Helen Colvig Costumes/Costume Designer
Hilton A. Green Asst. Director
Bernard Herrmann Score Composer
Joseph Hurley Production Designer
George Milo Set Decoration/Design
John L. Russell Cinematographer
William Russell Sound/Sound Designer
Joseph Stefano Screenwriter
George Tomasini Editor
Waldon O. Watson Sound/Sound Designer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 38 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2002

    A Must See Hitchcock Movie

    I first saw Psycho when I was 18 yrs old in a film class in high school in 1980. I was not really impressed with it then. My only memories of it were the shower scene, mostly of the blood going down the shower drainand the pop, pop, pop, of the shower curtain being pulled off their clips as Marion falls to the floor... I am now 39 years old. We lived without television and movies by choice for 12 years. We still have no TV, but did decide it would be nice to see some movies again, and so bought a video player. The movies I wanted to see most of all and first thing were Alfred Hitchcock movies. It has really been fun to see them again. My 19yr. old daughter vaguely remembered Vertigo, Rear Window, etc. But I had never watched Psycho since high school. My daughter and I have had a lot of fun reading books on Hitchcock films and studying his filming technique. He was brilliant in film! Anyway, she wanted to see Psycho. I wasn't so hip on the idea, but we got it from the library, and watched it. I must say the 2nd time around I was much more impressed. It has much more depth to it than just the shower scene murder. As an adult I could appreciate and understand the movie as a whole more than I did when I was 18yrs. old.Actually what we like most about the film is the psychological study of the main characters. It was just a very good watch, the music is excellent, the acting very well done by perfectly chosen cast members. You will see Hitchcock's daughter in this one. I will not go into what it is all about, as BN already has done that for you. I just recommend it as a good film to see good techniques of symbolism, filming, music, all going together to tell a good story. It is, I am sure, one of the classic movies in Hollywood history and is a piece of American culture. I have never gone for the gore movies,never watch movies made past the mid-sixties. I do not enjoy the shower scene, but it is a part of what the story is all about. And made when it was, is ''tastefully'' done, if that term fits. We enjoyed this movie so much that for my 19yr. old daughters birthday cake, we did the scene of Norman sinking Marion's car into the swamp! And one gift she got was the soundtrack to Psycho. We were in Idaho recently, visiting where we used to live, and stopped by the Bates Motel in Coeur d' Alene. Has 12 rooms, has a stuffed bird in the office... go check it out sometime. But you might not want to take a shower!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 10, 2014

    Worth the price of admission!

    Despite its gruesome reputation, this movie is about the cleanest, most watchable R-rated horror film ever made. If you've seen "copies" of the plot in various incarnations, this one is the original "lonely guy and his murderous old mother" story. The Bates Motel could be anywhere in the country, as long as it is off the main drag. But you may be ill advised to stop there, depending on how beautiful you are!

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  • Posted October 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Enthralling and scary. Hook yourself up to a heart monitor.

    Enthralling and scary. Hook yourself up to a heart monitor. Only the late Neil Armstrong, whose heart rate was calm as he landed on the moon, could have watched this without going off scale.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Psycho

    this is classic hitchcock.the score is scary and relentless. the acting is great and the surprise begining is legendary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    You don't have to see psycho to have seen that one haunting shower scene. Though it would help to see the rest of the movie on who actually killed her. Was it really Norman's mom? The film has really good suspense and of course you should watch from the beginning to know why she was at the hotel in the first place. the ending was a surprise. janet leigh was pretty and had no idea she was jamie lee curtis' mom. anthony perkins did a really credible performance where at first he did seem shy but sweet but then later has a different side all together. and i noticed that he looks a little like the lead singer of depeche mode david gahan. specifically from the precious music video. and he reminded me of james marsters for some reason.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Psycho

    Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho By: Adam Thompson Rating: 3 Stars I’m sure that all hardcore movie fans who read that I give this movie only three stars have already formed a quite unflattering opinion about me, but honestly I don’t mind. I must say that times have really changed since this movie was made. I can’t say it was horrible. I’m sure that when the movie was made it was the top of the line. The story was very clever. It was about a young lady who took forty thousand dollars that she was entrusted to put in the bank. She left town and ended up in a small roadside motel. There she met the motel owner who lived with his mother in a house next to the motel. The owner showed some infatuation with this young woman. As a result of this the mother killed the young woman. Already having been looking for the young woman since her disappearance, her sister, her boyfriend, and a private investigator came looking for her. Digging too deep, the private investigator went into the house and was also killed by the mother. Taking matters into their own hands the sister and boyfriend investigated the house only to find that the mother had been dead for some time. The motel owner had schizophrenia, and had been pretending to be his mother out of a major guilt he felt for killing her when she met a man who took her attention away from him. This was quite the clever twist. I was impressed. However, having being used to the movies of today, I was bored. The story didn’t move fast enough for me. The movie is a classic, and I have to give credit where credit is due. However, the generation gap has not been bridged in this particular instance.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Future filmmakers dedicated to their profession can use "Psycho" as a textbook.

    If imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, then "Psycho" has no peers. Hitchcock always intended it to be a film for audiences but it's much more than that. Like myself, it has influenced countless filmmakers and writers throughout the years. I will never get over (nor do I want to) the impact that this film has had in my life. I watch it every six months or so and I still enjoy every second. I've shown it in college film classes and the reaction has always been amazing. Everything works in the film from the brilliant Bernard Herrmann score to the haunting performances by the entire cast. I wouldn't change a frame. I only wish I'd seen it when it first opened in 1960. How I envy those who did! I've certainly made up for it ever since. Alfred Hitchcock claimed that he had always wanted to be Cary Grant. Can anyone imagine cinema without Hitch? Thank God he didn't get his wish! In its own time, "Psycho" was certainly controversial. Initially, the film was burdened by misguided marketing attempts that hyped the idea that no one could be admitted to a showing anywhere once the movie had begun. In particular, this scheme created havoc at drive-ins all across America, but, in general, there arose a kind of carnival atmosphere around this movie, which deserved to be taken very seriously. The stabbing scene in the shower was considered excessive and shocking in 1960 and it attracted negative commentary, as well as calls for its censure and possible prohibition. An unsigned review of "Psycho" published in Esquire in 1960 commented, "I'm against censorship on principle, but that killing in the shower makes me wonder. And not because of the nudity I favor more nudity in film." Six years later, in 1966, CBS television canceled a planned national broadcast of the movie shortly after the kidnapping and murder of the daughter of U.S. Senator Charles Percy (R Illinois). At the time, however, most critical and industry attention was given to the film's unusual dramatic elements rather than to the powerful new visual aesthetic that was created in the shower scene. The story line of "Psycho" was seen as subversive of the values that had been traditionally advanced in classic Hollywood movies, because the central idea of the film was that horror could come from the heart of an American family and could be perpetrated by a superficially harmless and likable character such as Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). Nonetheless, "Psycho" was truly important aesthetically because the shower scene was shot and then edited so as to give the sequence a ragged edge that, in hindsight, could be assessed as "Stravinsky like" in its impact on the modern American cinema. In its thrusting and jabbing power, the sequence was for the American feature film in 1960 what the 1913 premiere of Igor Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" had been for modern music and dance. Although there were no riots outside the cinemas in 1960, as there had been in 1913 outside the theater in Paris where "The Rite of Spring" premiered, "Psycho" nonetheless marked the arrival of what was to become the dominant motion picture aesthetic of the late twentieth century. This aesthetic, honed and polished subsequently by Hollywood, constituted a cinema of sensation that emerged and grew up separately from the previously dominant "cinema of sentiment" that had characterized classic Hollywood production. [filmfactsman]

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Greatest horror movie of all time!!!!

    Of course I would give this movie a 5 star. The plot was the greatest and you didn't even see the end of the movie coming. anyone who gives this movie a 4 star or below has lost their marbles.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    biggest susspense in movie

    when the detective(forgot his name)is going up stairs and you see the door open. My stomache dropped.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Hitchcock's best!

    Possibly the first slasher ever made. The shower scene is the greatest scene in all cinema history.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The best thriller ever

    This movie is perfect. The shower murder was so scary and Norman was very creative in cleaning up the murder,and I was afraid that he would forget the newspaper with the money. I could almost feel Norman hoping that the car would drown. It was so scary when Norman tried to kill Marys sister. For those who are wondering, the remake is really good.This movie has been on TCM(channel 51) with no commercials.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Psycho: The BEST thriller of ALL TIME!

    Where's the oscars? Janet Leigh play's Marion Crane, a woman who steals money from the bank she works, and runs away with it. She stops at the bates motel, run by mother-fixated Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins). The movie is great. It has many climaxes, but there are two suprises (one of which is half/hour into the movie). The finale is so great, the final ten minutes, you won't sit back in your seat. Psycho was the winner of the AFI's best triller of all time award.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2002

    Gripping Melodrama at Local Motel

    Psycho is a nightmare film. Not because it is scary - because it isn't particularly frightening. It is deeply unsettling, perhaps, more than scary. ''The Birds'' left me in shivers; this one only left me with deep elusive emotions and the memory of Norman's maniacal, psychotic smile at the close of the film, an image which almost twelve hours later has not left me. Any more than has ''Mother's'' voice. I suppose this film is a study: a disturbing, but true look into the human nature. We all could be psycho killers if we had been in his place, and although we cringe at the horror and sickness of Norman's twisted mind and split personality, we find it hard to despise him. * Norman Bates looks at first glance as innocent as anyone - he is ordinary. Who would suspect he is a maniac scizophrenic? After all, practically anyone can acquire the aggravating habit of continuous candy corn consumption, or be twittery and stuttering, or look creepy in certain lights. But the moment the illumined ''Bates Motel'' sign comes into view through the weeping night, it is an edgy feeling that crawls over the viewer. But why? The cabins are no different from many others; in fact they are quite charming. Still, a peculiar air seems to be pervading the place, an air of dread, uncertainty and darkness. Not only the darkness of the hour, but of the mind. Perhaps it is the old house that stands guard of the cabins which is so menacing; perhaps she is protective of them. She looks as though she could reach out and destroy anything which threatened the solitude and silence of those twelve vacancies. * Mother's room is heavy, oppressive in its ornateness and antiquity. The imprint she left on the bed direct's one's mind - rather unsettlingly - to the thought of those plaster casts made from the hollows left by the victims of Pompeii. Trapped for years, perhaps, leaving a mark that will take many more years to efface. Norman's room is suggestive of the child he still is. His life as Norman ended at five, after all. When did he have a chance to grow up? At five his father died, and Norman began his long slow descent into madness. His toys have never been taken out of the place. The book which Lila opens is untitled. Just as its contents cannot ever be known by us, so we are unable to get a glimpse into Norman's mind. The record in the player is Beethoven's ''Eroica'': powerful music, almost light at times, frightfully aggressive at other moments. The motive goes in circles, first loudly, then softly, sometimes overlapping, never really reaching a resolution until the slamming close. * Mother Bates herself isn't all that frightening. I expect we are too desensitised by this time - after all, one see hundreds of such masks and worse at Hallowe'en time. No matter how revolting they may be, such things no longer frighten us as they would have done the general public in 1960. Lila touches her shoulder; the corpse turns about - eyeless, all smile and teeth and grey hair and shawl. When Norman comes in, looking ridiculous and far too tall in Mother's dressing-gown and wig, and is taken over by Sam, Mother rocks peacefully, the eternal smile fixed. The light bulb as it swings gives a weird shadow effect. Where Mother's eyes should be, the shadows play back and forth as if she is glancing from side to side - laughing at what she sees, laughing at the destruction she has helped to create. * I would say everyone should see this film at least once, for the experience. It is well-done and thought-provoking, with much more depth than the cheap horror flicks of today. This is a real situation, this could actually happen. I know a Bates Motel. I've never been in it. Perhaps someday I'll go check it out, but I think I'll stay out of the shower.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Psycho is a great movie

    I think that if you like the movie The Exorcit you will like Psycho a whole lot

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Another Masterpiece From The Master

    For years Alfred Hitchcock has made wonderful disturbing thrillers Spellbound Vertigo etc. But none of them has went as far as Psycho. Not a slasher movie but not a horror movie more of a psychological drama. It is about a young secretery {Janet Leigh} who steals a lot of money so she can marry her boyfriend Sam{John Gavin}. While she is driving to L.A. she stops at a motel and befriends Norman Bates {Anthony Perkins} and then gets a big surprise in the shower. I can't tell you any more but a big secret is reveled at the end of the movie. See it but DO NOT see the awful remake.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2001

    Classic Hitchcock!

    Excellent film starring Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam and John Gavin. It's about an attractive woman on the run (Leigh) that decides to spend the night at an eerie, run-down motel run by a shy mama's boy and his grouchy old battle-ax mother. The murder, mystery and madness that follow are now legendary and unforgettable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2000

    Review for Physco

    Physco is about a phisco man named Norman Bates who can not live without his mother. Him and his mother own a motel called the Bates Motel. After Normans mother dies he stuffs her and hides her in the motel, after a woman checks in Norman kills her in the shower. After he kills a detective the police get on to him and find out he has a mulit personality, the arest him and put him in a house for crazy people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews