The Birds Movie Poster Image

The Birds

Classic Hitchcock horror film still gives the chills.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Horror
  • Release Year: 1963
  • Running Time: 119 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

No positive messages. 

Positive role models

The lead female character is a wealthy socialite who often finds herself in the gossip columns of newspapers due to her late-night antics. The lead male character is a lawyer who meets her under false pretenses. HIs mother is shown as possessive and domineering. The townspeople are small-town caricatures. 


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. 


Innuendos are couched so delicately they'll sail right over the heads of anyone under high school age.


"Damn." One of the characters jokes about how she spent time "finding new four-letter words." 

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters are shown drinking alcohol; one character is presented as an amusing drunk. Frequent cigarette smoking. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Birds is the classic 1963 Alfred Hitchcock film in which flocks of birds begin attacking the inhabitants of a small California coastal town. While certainly not the gore-fest of so many contemporary horror films, there are some 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 a gasoline spill and becoming engulfed in flames, as well as bird attacks on children. However the horror and suspense derive primarily not from the blood and killing but from a slowly ratcheted tension devoid of the usual background music cues so prevalent in most horror films when a character unknowingly (and perhaps foolishly) gets killed. There is frequent cigarette smoking, and characters are often shown drinking, including a scene in a bar where a man is obviously drunk as he rants about his hatred of birds and then finishes his drink and leaves to give a ride to a panic-stricken woman and her kids. "Damn" is heard.

What's the story?

In an age when special effects just aren't so special, the matte paintings and animation that create the attack scenes in THE BIRDS are admittedly both tame and lame. Yet this classic shocker is still unnerving, laced with shots that haunt you after you've switched off the TV. Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren, a textbook example of Hitch's cool blondes) impulsively follows a bachelor, Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor), up to his hometown, Bodega Bay, for a weekend jaunt. But things go quickly awry as thousands of crows, gulls, sparrows, and other birds flock over Bodega Bay and relentlessly attack, and even kill, its residents.

Is it any good?


THE BIRDS is quite talky and slow; the film runs for a good 45 minutes or so before anything the slightest bit odd happens. But once the birds get going, this is a real nail-biter. The birds attack at first with no warning, felling kids at an outdoor birthday party. Before long, they have trapped Melanie and Mitch's little sister and mother (Veronica Cartwright and Jessica Tandy, respectively) in the Brenner home, and it seems nothing can stop them from drilling and pecking their way in by the thousands. Although it sounds silly, in this movie, it's not.

Parents should know that this film is an excellent choice for families who love horror films. This might seem a bit tame for kids weaned on slasher flicks, but once they get into it, you might find them screaming for their teddy bears.

Families can talk 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? 

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 28, 1963
DVD/Streaming release date:March 28, 2000
Cast:Jessica Tandy, Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren
Director:Alfred Hitchcock
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:119 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13

This review of The Birds was written by

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Teen, 15 years old Written byJaysnake July 26, 2011

Great movie. But not too scary.

The birds is a very good movie. It has lots of violence but the movie has a great, well thought out story to it instead of just mindless violence like some movies. There is a tiny bit of mature but its very brief and well hidden. It is pretty violent and bloody but nothing over the top. It's kinda cheesy so it isn't terrifying. Overall parents and mature kids can enjoy this movie.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 9 years old February 16, 2011
ok i will give you a Brief explanation about the BIRDS if you are a parent you should know this this show has violence and disturbing content that some viewers may not like it also has a few bad language parts. theres only 1 or 2 gory parts the baddest one is when the lady walks in and sees the guy with his eyes plucked out and blood all over his eye sockets he also has cuts and scars this movie may be old u may think its old wont be that bad well i got 2 words for you THINK AGAIN.
Kid, 11 years old June 18, 2011

Good movie-- Little gore, no sex, and nothing very iffy!

I saw this movie, and didn't expect it to be too scary. The only part that freaked me out was when the woman found her father dead in his home, and the birds had pecked his eyes out. It's ok for kids 13+ and if your child is a movie buff (like me) they could probably take it at 10-11+
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence