By Joyce Slaton,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Classic Hitchcock horror film still gives the chills.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
If you come together, you can defeat anything. It's important to take care of kids.
Positive Role Models
The townspeople come together to protect the children from the birds. The lead characters are a wealthy socialite and lawyer who meet under false pretenses and become attracted to each other.
All of the characters are White. While the main character is a woman, the film has a retrograde subplot that hinges on two women pitted against each other because of a man.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Birds attack and wound screaming children on a playground. Blood drawn by birds, breaking skin with their beaks. A man is found dead with his eyes pecked out. A man is killed after accidentally tossing a lit match on a gasoline spill and becoming engulfed in flames. A young girl is shown clearly traumatized by the bird attacks and the witnessing of them killing her teacher. Also, the lead female character appears to suffer shock and trauma from the bird attacks.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A romance takes place, but nothing explicit is shown. The dialogue is full of innuendos that may not be clear to younger viewers.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"Damn." One of the characters jokes about how she spent time "finding new four-letter words."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink alcohol; one is presented as an amusing drunk. Frequent cigarette smoking.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Birds is a classic 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film that's loosely based on a same-named short story by Daphne du Maurier. It focuses on a series of sudden and unexplained violent bird attacks on the people of a small California coastal town. While less of a gore-fest than many contemporary horror films, it has disturbing scenes, including a shot of a man found dead of a bird attack with his eyes pecked out, a man killed after accidentally tossing a match onto gasoline and becoming engulfed in flames, and bird attacks on children. Characters frequently smoke cigarettes and drink, sometimes to excess. "Damn" is used.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
Based on 13 parent reviews
Intriguing Story about Birds vs People
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
In THE BIRDS, Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) impulsively follows a bachelor, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), up to his hometown, Bodega Bay, for a weekend jaunt. But things quickly go awry as thousands of crows, gulls, sparrows, and other birds flock over Bodega Bay and relentlessly attack, and even kill, its residents. The birds attack at first with no warning, felling kids at an outdoor birthday party. Before long, they've trapped Melanie and Mitch's little sister and mother (Veronica Cartwright and Jessica Tandy, respectively) in the Brenner home, and it seems like nothing can stop them from drilling and pecking their way in by the thousands. Although it might sound silly, in this movie, it's not.
Is It Any Good?
This thriller is quite talky and slow, running for almost 45 minutes before the action starts. But once The Birds gets going, it's a real nail-biter. This film is an excellent choice for families who love horror films but aren't into explicit gore. It might seem a bit tame to modern kids, but once they get into it, their scares are likely to be genuine. Compared to today's advanced visual effects, The Birds' special effects might look basic and unconvincing, yet this classic shocker is still unnerving. It's laced with shots that haunt you after you've switched off the television.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about respecting animals and their habitats. Why do the birds attack humans?
Hitchcock is considered the master of suspense, never showing violence but always implying it. Do you find movies scarier with or without on-screen gore?
How is background music often used in horror movies, especially when something is about to happen? How is this different from The Birds, in which no background music is used?
- In theaters: March 28, 1963
- On DVD or streaming: March 28, 2000
- Cast: Jessica Tandy, Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren
- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Horror
- Run time: 119 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- Last updated: March 30, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Scary Movies for Kids
Scary (But Not TOO Scary!) Halloween Movies
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate