Psycho Movie Poster Image




Classic Hitchcock horror masterpiece still thrills.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Thriller
  • Release Year: 1960
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are all flawed, if not deeply disturbed.

Positive role models

One character has some major mother issues, and even the protagonists aren't innocent, as they steal money and have affairs.


The iconic shower scene never shows the knife touching flesh, but there is blood, and the character's dead face and eyes are shown up close. There are also several very frightening scenes involving a corpse. A man is stabbed, with slash marks across his face. 


A couple is shown post-sex, though they are clothed. A man spies on a woman as she removes her blouse, revealing her bra. Nudity in shower scene but nothing sensitive shown.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some drinking, but no one acts drunk. Cigarette smoking. A secretary makes reference to taking tranquilizers to help her with her headaches. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Psycho is one of the scariest movies ever made, even though it's far less explicit than a lot of what's in theaters now. Still, this is a frightening movie, and judgment should be used about which kids will enjoy it and which will find it disturbing. The famous shower scene never shows the knife touching flesh, but it's still terrifying. There are also several very frightening scenes involving a corpse. On a less scary note, a character steals money from her boss' client, and a couple is shown post-sex, though they are clothed. There's some drinking and smoking. That said, this is a classic of filmmaking, one of the most influential and respected films ever made. It's terrifying and brilliant, and families with teens can enjoy the scares together.

What's the story?

In this Hitchcock classic, Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) steals money from her boss' client and skips town. She drives for hours and then, exhausted and nervous, stops in a remote area at the Bates Motel, run by Norman Bates (a delightfully creepy Anthony Perkins). Norman is cheerful, but he's nervous and hiding something. He invites Marion to share some dinner with him and mentions his overbearing mother (whose silhouette is seen in a window of the big looming house that sits on the hill just above the motel). Norman's hobby is taxidermy, and he also happens to have in his possession the extra key to Marion's room ...

Is it any good?


PSYCHO is a classic, and for good reason. Everything about this film is perfection, from the gorgeous black-and-white cinematography to every single performance to the famous Bernard Herrmann soundtrack to some of the most suspenseful and frightening scenes ever filmed. Anyone who considers herself a film buff must see this one. There is some real violence in this film, but it's not at all explicit, making it in some ways scarier than the gore-fests that are so popular now.

It's a film that works on many levels. It's truly scary, but it's also a psychological mystery and a couple of different kinds of love story. All the performances are excellent, and the screenplay is top-notch, but Hitchcock is the real star, manipulating the audience in every frame, making it perfect for repeat viewing -- there's always something new to see. It's a great way to introduce older kids to Hitchcock and may spark interest in his other wonderful films.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Hitchcock's style and techniques and the way he uses the camera and lighting to tell the story. It's fun to go back over the film and look for clues to the ending, too.

  • Much of the violence in this movie is implied rather than shown, unlike so many horror movies that have been released since Psycho. Does implied violence seen scarier to you than graphic violence? Why, or why not? 

  • What are some of the ways in which this movie is a classic, and how is it also very much rooted in the time when it was released? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:June 16, 1960
DVD/Streaming release date:September 2, 2003
Cast:Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Director:Alfred Hitchcock
Studio:Universal Pictures
Topics:Book characters
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written byPlague December 14, 2009


All I have to say is... MASTERPIECE! Alfred Hitchcock = God.
Teen, 15 years old Written byCaptain_Tripps April 9, 2008

One of my Favorite Films of All Time

Perfect for any horror fan. Parents won't have to worry about sex, language, or gore, but keep in mind the film is very scary. This is probably okay for kids 13 and up.
Teen, 16 years old Written bythegodfather123456 April 29, 2011

The greatest horror/suspense film of all times... a must-watch if you haven't already.

A masterpiece from the horror genre. Don't listen to people who don't know what they're talking about like Jadenp (reviewer below) who laughs at this film. IT WAS FROM THE 60'S!!!!!!!!!! Do you expect for it to be as visually scary as films like Signs? Of course not! Use your brain for once! You have to think about the tension that these characters are going through, then you can look at me and tell me it is scary. This is Hitchcock's masterpiece. One of my 10 favorite films of all-time. I'm not saying it's one of the 10 BEST. All of the performances are great, but by far the best thing in this film is how Hitchcock creates tension, and how he creates a great climax so when you're at the end, you will be totally satisfied. I promise you will be on the edge of your seat, biting your nails and when the ending enrolls itself, your jaw will be dropped. Psycho has also one of the greatest scenes of all-time, which is the famous Shower Scene. (NOTE that the Shower Scene is soooooo good that I capitalized it). P.S. Just because this film is in B&W does not give you any reason whatsoever to not watch it right away. Many other films on the greatest of all-time list are in B&W like Casablanca, Raging Bull, and It's a Wonderful Life.