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Rear Window (1954)

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A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director:

Alfred Hitchcock

Writers:

John Michael Hayes (screenplay), Cornell Woolrich (based on the short story by)
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Popularity
1,124 ( 82)
Top Rated Movies #49 | Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... L.B. 'Jeff' Jefferies
Grace Kelly ... Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey ... Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle
Thelma Ritter ... Stella
Raymond Burr ... Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn ... Miss Lonelyhearts
Ross Bagdasarian ... Songwriter
Georgine Darcy Georgine Darcy ... Miss Torso
Sara Berner ... Woman on Fire Escape
Frank Cady ... Man on Fire Escape
Jesslyn Fax ... Miss Hearing Aid
Rand Harper Rand Harper ... Newlywed
Irene Winston Irene Winston ... Mrs. Emma Thorwald
Havis Davenport Havis Davenport ... Newlywed
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Storyline

Professional photographer L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies breaks his leg while getting an action shot at an auto race. Confined to his New York apartment, he spends his time looking out of the rear window observing the neighbors. He begins to suspect that a man across the courtyard may have murdered his wife. Jeff enlists the help of his high society fashion-consultant girlfriend Lisa Freemont and his visiting nurse Stella to investigate. Written by Col Needham <col@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Through his rear window and the eye of his powerful camera he watched a great city tell on itself, expose its cheating ways...and Murder! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

September 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$36,764,313

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$37,032,034
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (negative)| Color (Technicolor) (prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

When Jeff grabs the box of flashbulbs, all four can be seen in the box, but when he backs up more, there are only two left. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Voice on radio: Men, are you over 40? When you wake up in the morning, do you feel tired and rundown? Do you have that listless feeling...
[the camera pans around the courtyard; cut to later in the day]
Jeff: [answering phone] Jefferies.
Jeff's Editor: Congratulations, Jeff!
Jeff: For what?
Jeff's Editor: For getting rid of that cast!
Jeff: Who said I was getting rid of it?
Jeff's Editor: This is Wednesday; seven weeks from the day you broke your leg. Yes or no?
Jeff: Gunnison, how did you ever get to be such a big editor with such a small memory?
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In addition to the aforementioned "dream sequences", in 1986 Universal also padded the running time by slowing down the action during the main titles. The shades rolled-up so slowly that there was time to play the main title music twice. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Soft and Hard (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

Excerpt from 'Fancy Free'
(1944) (uncredited)
Ballet Music by Leonard Bernstein
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Excellent. Sharp, clever, funny, inventive, with great values all round.
12 November 2002 | by Aidan McGuinnessSee all my reviews

Ah it's a movie that's in IMDB's Top 20, and it has good reason to be. For starter's let's look at the simple premise - James Stewart is L. B. Jeffries, a photographer who is currently recovering from an injury on assignment. With his broken leg he's stuck in his apartment, with nothing better to do than spy on his neighbours and be visited by his girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont (Grace Kelly), his officer friend Wendell, and his nurse, Stella. Jeffries observes the coming and goings of the various apartments he can observe (from his rear apartment window) and it is one of these - a Raymond Burr - who draws his attention because. could it be that the man has committed some heinous crime? Let's find out.

One of the beautiful things about the movie is its superb use of location. The whole movie, bar a couple of brief scenes, is set in the apartment. This would seem claustrophobic but Hitchcock never inhibits us like this - he lets us escape through Jeffries binoculars and camera lenses, and his roving camera swoops down to let us see what the characters see (but never, thankfully, anything more than that - this is how you do suspense!). The set design is wonderful - the apartment is just the right size and is nicely laid out. However the real praise is for all the other apartments visible to Jeffries - an actual habitable set with multiple stories where characters can be observed only as they pass by their own windows (yeah, they don't care much for curtains). There's a sense of individuality gone in to each home, despite the fact we can only see barely elements of each. This is helped by a nice, differing range of characters inhabiting each and going about their daily lives - there's a mini soap-opera contained in the movie, all observed at a distance. Excellent stuff.

Acting? It's great here. There's some nice depth to the characters here, with them feeling like actual real people rather than slick one-dimensional tags. Stewart is very proficient in this type of role - he was born to it - and Kelly proves she is more than just a pretty face, managing to effuse her character with both grace (*groan*) and steel. Even supporting characters like Stella are good (she has a wickedly black sense of thinking that's hilarious). What's so incredible is that the characters we observe from a distance in the other apartments (and with whom we never actually interact with) have as much depth as most main characters in movies nowadays. Excellent script and acting in this movie.

I've already praised Hitchcock's set location and camera work, so I won't prattle on about him much more. He does a stellar job here and, in my opinion, this is the best piece of work he's done (that I've seen). It's virtually flawless and you're never let down (or bored). Well done. It's a shame he lost out on an Oscar (although he did have tough competition that year with `On the Waterfront').

`Rear Window' is a great example of how you can successfully have sharp acting, script, and directing and not feel the need for a slew of swear words and gratuitous violence. Regarded as a classic, and deservedly so. 9.1/10


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