The Birds (1963) Film Review

Updated on July 24, 2018
Coffeequeeen profile image

I am a film enthusiast and enjoy reviewing films I have watched. I like all sorts of films but mainly black & white ones from the 50's & 60s

Jessica Tandy
Lydia Brenner
Rod Taylor
Mitchell 'Mitch' Brenner
Veronica Cartwright
Cathy Brenner
Tippi Hedren
Melanie Daniels
Suzanne Pleshette
Annie Hayworth

About the film

Producer: Alfred Hitchcock

Director: Alfred Hitchock

Running time: 1 hr 59 mins

Genre: Drama, Mystery, Horror

Budget: $2,500,000

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

About the film

This film is based on the book of the same name written by Daphne du Maurier. Melanie is a rich socialite who is in San Francisco. She is in a bird shop wanting to purchase a bird when lawyer Mitch walks in. He mistakenly thinks she's a saleswoman and tries to buy 2 love birds from her. In reality, he knows who she is. He had previously seen her in court and knows how she loves to play pranks. He's really flirting with her. She eventually gets to know Mitch and his family - she even befriends his ex girlfriend, Annie. When she spends the night round Annie's, she hears a thud and notices a seagull had killed itself flying into the front door.

It is soon after this that a flock of ravens gets into the Brenner household through the chimney. It is then the seagulls attack. The town can't understand what is going on as the gulls start attacking people and even killing them. Now that the town is flooded with seagulls and ravens, how does the townsfolk deal with these creatures? It is a mystery as to why these birds have descended on the town and starting attacking people. To add further to the mysterious arrival, crows are also amongst the birds terrifying and maiming people.

The film runs for about 45 minutes before we get to any actual horror bits. I think this is deliberate to build the suspense and get a sense of the story. How will the towns people cope with all these birds?

My thoughts

I've watched this film several times over the years, but still enjoy watching it. Alfred Hitchock was a genius when it comes to making films, and The Birds is by no means any exception. You can understand why people have such a fear of birds. Why the birds have come to this small, sleepy town, is bewildering. But there they are. With Melanie's arrival in the town, so did the birds it seems. One woman even blames her for the flock arriving.

There are scenes which are truly horrid to see, especially when you see the birds attacking people. Even more scary, they can, and do, kill. The way the film is shot is cleverly done with close up shots of the seagulls and all the crows sitting on the telephone wires. What I like about this film is you've got the romantic side of the story with the love interest between Melanie and Mitch. Plus the horror element with the birds, and people trying to protect themselves from these creatures. I wonder what people thought when Hitchock first came up with the idea of making a film of the book? Making a film of killer birds must have seems ridiculous at the time. But with a name like Alfred Hitchcock behind it, you can more or less guarantee that the film will be a winner.

The actors who play Melanie and Mitch work well together, and their on screen chemistry can be seen throughout the film. I like the idea of 2 people, who seem worlds apart, to grow fond of each other. As I said, for the first 45 minutes or so, there's no real horror element to the film. But once it does start, it comes in leaps and bounds. It can send chills down your spine just watching how these birds attack. There is no music as such in the film, and none is needed. With a lot of films music helps to set the scene and lure people into the dark and scary side of the film. But I think with this film, it is so well shot that just by watching it can make your hairs stand up on end.

As to why the birds suddenly descended upon the town is never revealed. But for Hitchocks 49th film, this will most certainly give people the creeps, even after all these years.

The Birds Film Trailer

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Louise Powles


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • Laura335 profile image

        Laura Smith 

        20 months ago from Pittsburgh, PA

        This is probably my second favorite Hitchcock movie. I love the lack of music and the performances. You really get to know the characters before the horror hits, and when it does, it's intense. Each attack is unique and horrific. It feels so ahead of its time, and you can see how it has influenced modern horror films like "Signs" and "A Quiet Place." Birds are so strange in that they can be calm one second and aggressive the next. I was once swooped by a gull while eating pizza on the boardwalk in Atlantic City, and it was terrifying and then suddenly hilarious. Hitchcock manages to remove the humor element and just focus on the damage these creatures could do if they ever decided to unite and turn on humans.

      • ethel smith profile image

        Ethel Smith 

        20 months ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

        Have watched this movie many times too. Still a huge fan and will always give it a watch when on TV.

        Thanks Lousie

      • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

        Louise Powles 

        20 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Yes Ronald, I agree. It's strange why they start attacking people. It is still a good film though. =)

      • RonElFran profile image

        Ronald E Franklin 

        20 months ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

        To me "The Birds" is a very odd, yet enjoyable film. The odd part is that we are never told what it's all about - why do the birds turn on people the way they do? But even with that conundrum never being explained, I still enjoy it enough that I'll usually watch it when it's on TV.

      • rajan jolly profile image

        Rajan Singh Jolly 

        22 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

        Seems quite a suspense thriller from "The Master of Suspense". Hitchcock, I would say, reigns supreme at this even to this day. Your review makes me want to see this film.

        Unfortunately, I could not watch the trailer as it is blocked in my country.

      • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

        Louise Powles 

        22 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Thankyou Talal.

      • Genna East profile image

        Genna East 

        22 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

        Hitchcock was dubbed "The Master of Suspense" for good reason -- which you have outlined so well in your review of this film. He knew how to balance the psychological fears -- that anticipation with imminent danger and horror to great effect. I remember how so many of his sets/scenes seemed to be immaculate, much like how the women were dressed. There was no one like him, and there will never be another film like The Birds.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        22 months ago from The Caribbean

        I Hitchcock but have never seen this film. Thanks for the review. I'm that I won't be disappointed when I watch it.

      • Jodah profile image

        John Hansen 

        22 months ago from Queensland Australia

        I have seen this film so many times over the years, and it will always remain my favourite Hitchcock, and a real cult classic. Thank you for bringing back memories of this movie. Oh, Rod Taylor was an Aussie actor too. Also starred in the original Time Machine.

      • FlourishAnyway profile image


        22 months ago from USA

        I’ve never seen this, but with your review now I want to. Alfred Hitchock was fabulous.

      • AliciaC profile image

        Linda Crampton 

        22 months ago from British Columbia, Canada

        I really must watch this film now that I've read your review. I want to read the book, too. I've heard about the film many times and seen clips from it, but I've never watched the whole movie. I didn't realize that the birds' behaviour is never explained.

      • Jay C OBrien profile image

        Jay C OBrien 

        22 months ago from Houston, TX USA

        Thanks for the plot summary. I never did understand it. Keep in mind that birds are Avian Dinosaurs! It was a dinosaur uprising.

      • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

        Louise Powles 

        22 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Mike, thankyou for the lovely comment.

      • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

        Louise Powles 

        22 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Yes I can understand that Mary. Big groups of birds would be scare me too.

      • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

        Louise Powles 

        22 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Yes I agree Penny. I think Hitchcock was a genius. =)

      • Coffeequeeen profile imageAUTHOR

        Louise Powles 

        22 months ago from Norfolk, England

        Me too Lori, it's a great film.

      • lambservant profile image

        Lori Colbo 

        22 months ago from Pacific Northwest

        One of Hitchcocks best. Seen it a bazillion times.

      • Penny Sebring profile image

        Penny Leigh Sebring 

        22 months ago from Fort Collins

        I've loved this movie for decades, in part because we never do find out why it starts or stops.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        22 months ago from Ontario, Canada

        I have watched this movie several times, too. Hitchcock is indeed a genius but I have to admit, I got scared after that when I see a big group of birds.

      • Readmikenow profile image


        22 months ago

        I watched this movie more than once. I think it is an excellent film. Considering the film making technology available at the time, it is very good. I looked at groups of flying birds completely different after watching that movie. I enjoyed reading this article.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)