The screenplay was written by Evan Hunter. Though Hunter read Du Maurier's original novel, Hitchcock told him to disregard it as all he wished to use was the title and the idea of birds attacking people.
Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a young wealthy socialite who meets a lawyer, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), in a San Francisco pet shop. He, looking to purchase a pair of lovebirds for his sister's eleventh birthday, pretends to mistake her for a salesperson, which infuriates her and leads her to inquire as to the reason for his behavior. He mentions a previous encounter that he had with her. Intrigued by him, she finds the address of his home in Bodega Bay, California. She purchases a pair of lovebirds and drives to his house by sneaking across the small harbor in a motor boat, leaving the birds and a note. As she is heading back across the bay, a seagull swoops down and inflicts a cut on her head.
Over the next few days, the avian attacks continue, as Melanie's relationship with Mitch, his clinging mother, Lydia (Jessica Tandy), his younger sister, Cathy (Veronica Cartwright), and Cathy's teacher (who is also Mitch's ex-lover) Annie Hayworth (Suzanne Pleshette) develops. The second strange bird incident occurs when Melanie stays for the night at the Hayworths' house and a gull kills itself upon hitting the front door. The next attack occurs at Cathy's birthday party. Avian violence escalates when Lydia discovers a friend dead in his bedroom.
After another attack by crows at the school, an argument erupts at the local bar. One resident believes the attacks are a sign of the apocalypse, but an out-of-towner yells at them for scaring her children. An old woman (Ethel Griffie) who is an amateur ornithologist insists that calling birds' behavior attacks is an exaggeration, and no bird species flocks and attacks. Despite her words, a motorist is attacked while filling his car with gasoline; he is knocked unconscious, and the gasoline continues to pump out onto the street. A man, unaware he is standing in the puddle, lights a cigar and drops the match on the ground. An explosion and fire result, and more deaths occur when there is another attack. While hiding inside the bar, the hysterical, out-of-towner mother believes Melanie is the cause of these attacks. After this attack subsides, Melanie and Mitch find Annie dead on her front porch and Cathy crying at the window.
Melanie and Mitch's family take refuge in the Brenners' house, boarding up the windows. The house is attacked by the birds and they almost manage to break through the doors. In the evening, when everyone else is asleep, Melanie hears noises from the upper floor and finds that the birds have broken through the roof. They attack her, sealing her in the room until Mitch comes to her rescue. He and Lydia tend to her, but determine she must get to the hospital. A sea of landed birds ripples menacingly around them as they leave the house but do not attack, aside from a few pecks. The radio reports several smaller bird attacks in nearby communities. Mitch drives the car slowly towards the road before picking up speed. The film concludes with it driving down the coast road and out of sight, as thousands of birds watch.
- Directed By Alfred Hitchcock
- Produced By Alfred Hitchcock
- Screenplay By Evan Hunter
- Story By Daphne du Maurier
- Music By Oskar Sala, Remi Gassmann and Bernard Herrmann
- Cinematography By Rober Burks, ASC
- Editing By George Tomasini
- Tippi Hedren - Melanie Daniels
- Rod Taylor - Mitch Brenner
- Jessica Tandy - Lydia Brenner
- Veronica Cartwright - Cathy Brenner
- Suzanne Pleshette - Annie Hayworth
- The Birds (film) at Wikipedia
- The Birds at AllMovie
- The Birds at the Internet Movie Database
- The Birds at Rotten Tomatoes
| This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at The Birds (film). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|
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