Rear Window (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

Rear Window1954

Rear Window (1954)

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Critic Consensus: Hitchcock exerted full potential of suspense in this masterpiece.

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Movie Info

Laid up with a broken leg, photojournalist L.B. Jeffries (James Stewart) is confined to his tiny, sweltering courtyard apartment. To pass the time between visits from his nurse (Thelma Ritter) and his fashion model girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly), the binocular-wielding Jeffries stares through the rear window of his apartment at the goings-on in the other apartments around his courtyard. As he watches his neighbors, he assigns them such roles and character names as "Miss Torso" (Georgine Darcy), a professional dancer with a healthy social life or "Miss Lonelyhearts" (Judith Evelyn), a middle-aged woman who entertains nonexistent gentlemen callers. Of particular interest is seemingly mild-mannered travelling salesman Lars Thorwald (Raymond Burr), who is saddled with a nagging, invalid wife. One afternoon, Thorwald pulls down his window shade, and his wife's incessant bray comes to a sudden halt. Out of boredom, Jeffries casually concocts a scenario in which Thorwald has murdered his wife and disposed of the body in gruesome fashion. Trouble is, Jeffries' musings just might happen to be the truth. One of Alfred Hitchcock's very best efforts, Rear Window is a crackling suspense film that also ranks with Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960) as one of the movies' most trenchant dissections of voyeurism. As in most Hitchcock films, the protagonist is a seemingly ordinary man who gets himself in trouble for his secret desires. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Cast

James Stewart
as L.B. "Jeff" Jefferies
Grace Kelly
as Lisa Carol Fremont
Wendell Corey
as Lieutenant Thomas J. Doyle
Raymond Burr
as Mr. Lars Thorwald
Judith Evelyn
as Miss Lonelyheart
Georgine Darcy
as Miss Torso
Irene Winston
as Mrs. Thorwald
Sara Berner
as Woman on Fire Escape
Frank Cady
as Fire Escape Man
Jesslyn Fax
as Miss Hearing Aid
Rand Harper
as Honeymooner
Marla English
as Party Girl
Kathryn Grant
as Party Girl
Alan Lee
as Landlord
Anthony Warde
as Detective
Bennie Bartlett
as Miss Torso's Friend
Barbara Bailey
as Choreographer
Bess Flowers
as Woman with Poodle
Fred Graham
as Stunt Detective (uncredited)
Ralph Smiley
as Carl the Waiter
Harry Landers
as Young Man
Mike Mahoney
as Policeman
Len Hendry
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for Rear Window

All Critics (122) | Top Critics (48)

Rear Window builds in a much more linear way, slowly creating tension bit by bit until the chilling final 10 minutes. It takes a long time to get there, but there is literally never a dull moment.

June 8, 2021 | Full Review…

It's a great movie and it's a chance in a million to see a passionate Grace Kelly... She had so much class it would be easy to overlook that underlying heat which Hitchcock let play in this film.

June 8, 2021 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Sure, Vertigo is more personal, Psycho more bizarre, North by Northwest more thrilling. But Rear Window shows the Master of Suspense at his most spare, sophisticated and sinisterly clever a movie that is essentially about watching movies.

June 8, 2021 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

This is Alfred Hitchcock at his best -- a hugely entertaining, romantic and witty film with just a touch of mayhem.

June 8, 2021 | Full Review…

Rear Window works as well today as it did when Alfred Hitchcock made it in 1954. Since none of his legion of imitators can match the master's touch, Rear Window is a cultural reference point against which to recalibrate our critical standards.

June 8, 2021 | Full Review…

The most densely allegorical of Alfred Hitchcock's masterpieces, moving from psychology to morality to formal concerns and finally to the theological. It is also Hitchcock's most innovative film in terms of narrative technique.

June 8, 2021 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Rear Window

Definitely a film intended to digest w/o much thought, a sensation thrill ride, as a laid-up-due-to-injury photographer realizes his neighbor may have killed his wife. Start thinking and questions bubble up on their own: like why is a 20 year old babe with a guy twice her age? A guy who spends his time eyeballing his we-keep-our-windows-open neighbors, "but we don't notice a guy with binoculars watching us." And there are other problems, but ignor the obvious snafus and the suspense will electrify.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

Rear Window is regularly listed with the greatest movies ever made. Certainly one of Hitchcock's finest. In addition to the exceptional chemistry between star James Stewart and a radiant Grace Kelly , there's Raymond Burr as salesman Lars Thorwald with his hair dyed white to make him appear older. When his invalid wife disappears, Jeff suspects foul play might be involved. The setting is a fascinating tableau. Virtually the entire feature is shot from Jeff's gaze looking out into the open courtyard into the many windows of his neighbors. Each residence is a set within itself, fully furnished. With few exceptions, the camera never leaves the confinement of Stewart's apartment. The setting can get a bit claustrophobic. Nevertheless it's a brilliantly assembled theatrical piece right down to the heart-pounding climax . Hitchcock's brilliance as a director has never been questioned and with Rear Window, his abilities as a visual storyteller remain unparalleled. fastfilmreviews.com

Mark Hobin
Mark Hobin

Super Reviewer

Masterful Hitchcock motion picture; filled with mystery, humor, suspense and a fluid direction. Rear Window is a classic film led by James Stewart and comprised of plenty of homages to American cinema in the mid-1900s. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

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