Bates Motel

Psycho (1960)

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None | Films of the Psycho Franchise | Psycho II

"A boy's best friend is his mother"

Starring Anthony Perkins
Janet Leigh
Series Order 1 of 4
Directed By Alfred Hitchcock
Written By Joseph Stefano (screenplay)
Robert Bloch (novel)
Producers Alfred Hitchcock
Release Date September 8, 1960
Body Count 2

Psycho tells the story of Marion Crane, who steals $40,000 from her employer. She leaves her home in Phoenix, Arizona and ends up at the Bates Motel in Fairvale, California. The motel is run by mother-fixated Norman Bates.

The movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It is based on the book of the same name, written by Robert Bloch, which, in turn, was loosely based on the true story of serial killer Ed Gein.


"Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece of the macabre stars Anthony Perkins as the troubled Norman Bates, whose 'dark old house' and adjoining hotel are not the place to spend a quiet evening. No one knows that better than Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), the film's ill-fated heroine who is victimized in the now-notorious 'shower scene.' Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, John Gavin, and John McIntire co-star in Hitchcock's most compelling and terrifying film. The screenplay was written by Joseph Stefano."



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  • Actresses Eva Marie Saint, Piper Laurie, Martha Hyer, Hope Lange, Shirley Jones, and Lana Turner were all considered for the role of Marion.
  • The film only cost Alfred Hitchcock $800,000 to make, yet earned more than $40 million. Hitchcock used the crew from his TV series, "Alfred Htchcock Presents," to save time and money.
  • In 1962, Hitchcock exchanged the rights to the film and his TV-series for a huge block of MCA's stock. He became their third largest stockholder.
  • An early script had the following dialogue:
Marion: "I'm going to spend the weekend in bed."
Tom Cassidy: "Bed? Only playground that beats Las Vegas."
  • Hitchcock bought the rights to the novel anonymously from Bloch for just $9,000. He then bought up as many copies of the novel as he could to keep the ending a secret.
  • During filming, this movie was referred to as "Production 9401" or "Wimpy."
  • Hitchcock originally intended to open the film with a four-mile dolly shot from a helicopter, a scene similar to Orson Welles' bravura opening of Touch of Evil (1958).
  • The painting that Norman removes in order to watch Marion undressing is a classical painting depicting a rape. The title of the painting is The Rape of Lucretia.
  • Hitchcock tested the "fear factor" of Mother Bates' corpse by placing it in Leigh's dressing room, and listening to how loudly she screamed when she discovered it.
  • The last shot of Norman Bates' face has a still frame of a human skull exposed over it.
  • Hitchcock insisted that audiences should only be allowed to see the film from the start. This was unheard of back then, as people were used to just coming in at any point during a movie. The reason for this was that the film was advertised as starring Janet Leigh, but her character is killed in the first half of the film.
  • After the film's release Hitchcock received an angry letter from the father of a girl who refused to have a bath after seeing Diabolique (1954) and now refused to shower after seeing Psycho. Hitchcock sent a note back simply saying, "Send her to the dry cleaners."
  • The shot of Marion flushing the toilet, complete with flushing sounds, is believed to be the first such shot in American cinema history.
  • See Shower Scene article for trivia specific to that scene.


  • In 1961, Janet Leigh was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress and won the Golden Globe award for the same category.
  • In 1961, Alfred Hitchcock was nominated for both an Oscar and the Directors' Guild of America (DGA) award for best director.
  • In 1961, John L. Russell was nominated for an Oscar for best black and white cinematography.
  • In 1961, Joseph Hurley, Robert Clatworthy and George Milo were nominated for an Oscar for best art direction and set decoration.
  • In 1961, Joseph Stefano and Robert Bloch won the Edgar Allan Poe award for best writing for a motion picture.


None | Films of the Psycho Franchise | Psycho II

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