Vertigo

Movie review by
Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
Vertigo Movie Poster Image
Must-see Hitchcock thriller for any classic movie bug.
  • PG
  • 1958
  • 126 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A woman allows an obsessive admirer to make her over in the image of a lost love.

Violence

Some physical violence implied; none seen. Some tense moments.

Sex

Subtle sexual undertones haunt the movie.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this movie's mature subject matter isn't suitable for all teens, but it's a must-see for any classic movie bug, Hitchcock fan, or lover of complex suspense. Some mature themes parents may wish to discuss after viewing: obsession, murder, deceit.

User Reviews

Parent of a 14 year old Written byTsion July 22, 2009

Engaging and Brilliant!

This is a great movie! It is engaging, thoughtful, and features great acting, a great score, and brilliant direction on the part of Alfred Hitchcock. There ar... Continue reading
Adult Written byUnknown Agent November 20, 2015

Great

Great movie. Contains some passionate kissing and some mild violence.
Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008

Overrated

Vertigo was boring, confusing, and mostly dumb. The first half was okay, but the rest is pointless and wanders without a definite plot. It had little objectiona... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old June 12, 2009

GREAT

Alfred Hitchcock is brilliant, I was totally on an edge the whole movie! You never know what will happen next. SEE IT!!

What's the story?

VERTIGO stars James Stewart as Scottie Ferguson, a police investigator who retires when he discovers he has a debilitating fear of heights. When a friend asks Scottie to find out whether his wife is possessed, Scottie agrees and begins trailing Madeleine (Kim Novak). Scottie follows the blond beauty to various areas in and around San Francisco, and then saves her life when she throws herself into the bay. He begins to fall for her, but mystery surrounds Madeleine -- and danger, too.

Is it any good?

Poorly received during its original 1958 release, Vertigo has since been hailed as one of Alfred Hitchcock's greatest achievements, and it's certainly one of his most disturbing. It's also, by his own accounts, his most personal picture, burrowing deep into what are said to have been some of the director's own darkest wormholes: obsessions with women, the desire to control them, and to mold them into a personal ideal. Such psychologically complex material is best suited for adults and mature teens, who will find more to enjoy here than a simple suspense story. This is the work of a master, whose genius shows in unconventional use of color and intricate storytelling that unwinds slowly, like the dizzying spirals of the opening credits sequence.

Stewart, is easy to sympathize with as the good-natured guy who learns too late that he's been set up. Kim Novak is also eerily convincing in a difficult role, and Barbara Bel Geddes is irresistible as Midge Wood, the woman Scottie would be in love with if he knew what was good for him. A painstaking two-year restoration project saved this movie for future generations. The colors are dazzling, and Bernard Herrmann's extraordinary score is crisp and haunting. Hitchcock would indeed be grateful.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different components that turn a suspense movie into something extraordinary.

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love thrills

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