AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Birds
Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Dir)
Release Date:   1963
Premiere Information:   New York opening: 28 Mar 1963
Production Date:   5 Mar--10 Jul 1962
Duration (in mins):   120
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Cast:   Rod Taylor (Mitch Brenner)  
    Tippi Hedren (Melanie Daniels)  
    Jessica Tandy (Mrs. Brenner)  
    Suzanne Pleshette (Annie Hayworth)  
    Veronica Cartwright (Cathy Brenner)  
    Ethel Griffies (Mrs. Bundy)  
    Charles McGraw (Sebastian Sholes)  
    Ruth McDevitt (Mrs. MacGruder)  
    Joe Mantell (Traveling salesman)  
    Doreen Lang (Hysterical woman)  
    Malcolm Atterbury (Deputy Al Malone)  
    Karl Swenson (Drunk)  
    Elizabeth Wilson (Helen Carter)  
    Lonny Chapman (Deke Carter)  
    Doodles Weaver (Fisherman)  
    John McGovern (Postal clerk)  
    Richard Deacon (Man in elevator)  
    Alfred Hitchcock (Man at pet shop)  
    William Quinn    

Summary: While in a San Francisco pet shop, wealthy Melanie Daniels becomes attracted to Mitch Brenner, a young lawyer who is trying unsuccessfully to find a pair of lovebirds for his little sister Cathy. Acting on a sudden impulse, Melanie buys two of the birds and decides to deliver them to Mitch's home on an island in Bodega Bay. After secretly leaving the birds in the Brenner house, she is returning to the mainland by motor boat when a seagull swoops down on her, gashes her forehead, and then flies away. Mitch meets her at the mainland pier and brings her back to his home. The next day a group of birds attack Cathy and her friends during a birthday party. That evening hundreds of finches fly down a chimney and terrorize Melanie and the Brenners. Panic in the small town mounts as birds murder a chicken farmer by pecking him to death, create a flash fire at a gas station, and swarm over the local children as they leave school. Following the death of schoolteacher Annie Hayworth, most of the townspeople leave their homes and head for San Francisco. Mitch boards up all entrances to his home and awaits the onslaught. The birds dive against the house, tearing at shingles and gnawing at doors, but they are unable to get inside. When Melanie goes to the attic, however, she is attacked by a roomful of crows who have made a hole in the roof. Mitch manages to rescue her but realizes the house is no longer safe. With the coming of morning, the birds are momentarily quiet. Taking advantage of the silence, he puts Melanie and his family into his car and leaves for San Francisco as thousands of birds watch their departure. 

Production Company: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions, Inc.  
Distribution Company: Universal Pictures  
Director: Alfred Hitchcock (Dir)
  James H. Brown (Asst dir)
Producer: Alfred Hitchcock (Prod)
Writer: Evan Hunter (Scr)
Photography: Robert Burks (Dir of photog)
  Leonard South (Cam op)
Art Direction: Robert Boyle (Prod des)
Film Editor: George Tomasini (Film ed)
Set Decoration: George Milo (Set dec)
Costumes: Rita Riggs (Ward supv)
  Edith Head (Miss Hedren's cost des)
Music: Remi Gassman (Electronic sd prod & comp)
  Oskar Sala (Electronic sd prod & comp)
Sound: Waldon O. Watson (Sd rec)
  William Russell (Sd rec)
  Bernard Herrmann (Sd cons)
Special Effects: Lawrence A. Hampton (Spec eff)
  Albert Whitlock (Pictorial dsgn)
  Ub Iwerks (Sp photog adv)
Make Up: Howard Smit (Makeup)
  Virginia Darcy (Hairstyles)
Production Misc: Norman Deming (Prod mgr)
  Peggy Robertson (Asst to Mr. Hitchcock)
  Lois Thurman (Scr supv)
  Ray Berwick (Bird trainer)
  James S. Pollak (Main titles)
Country: United States
Language: English

Source Text: Based on the short story "The Birds" by Daphne Du Maurier in The Apple Tree (London, 1952).
Authors: Daphne du Maurier

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions 28/3/1963 dd/mm/yyyy LP25722
Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions 21/4/1963 dd/mm/yyyy LP35397

Physical Properties: col: Technicolor

Genre: Horror
Subjects (Major): Birds
  Brothers and sisters
  Family relationships
  Pet shops
  San Francisco (CA)
  Small town life

Note: Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions copyrighted The Birds twice; on 20 Apr 1963 with a running time of 120 minutes and on 28 Mar 1963 with a running time of 119 minutes. In Apr 2005, Hollywood trade papers announced that director Michael Bay was in negotiations to direct a remake of The Birds for Mandalay Pictures for a Universal release. 

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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