Alfred Hitchcock is a man of many masterpieces. But there are a handful of films in his career that stand out as pop culture icons even above the legendary rest because the visuals, the sound, the suspense and the horror have burned themselves deeply into the everyday lives of viewers. “The Birds” from 1963 is one of Hitchcock’s most famous hits and is available today on the free, ad-supported streaming service Amazon Freevee.
» “The Birds” on Amazon Freevee*
In our ranking of the best horror films of all time, “The Birds” made it to 13th place and even positioned itself as the best animal horror film of all time, five places ahead of “Jaws”.
Anyone who finds the advertising blocks on Amazon Freevee annoying and would rather spend a little money instead in order to experience completely uninterrupted film enjoyment can of course also order “The Birds” on a physical data carrier.
» “The Birds” on Amazon: DVD* / Blu ray* / 4K Blu-ray*
Wealthy young lady Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) travels to California’s Bodega Bay, where she visits newly met lawyer Mitch (Rod Taylor) and his family. But the tranquil coastal settlement soon becomes the scene of a nightmarish scenario. Because the feathered population of the place shows an increasingly aggressive behavior.
At first, Melanie thinks nothing of being attacked by a single seagull. But when the deaths pile up and suddenly a whole army of birds is hunting the people, there is hardly any escape from the terror from above…
Who hasn’t stood in the shower without fear of the “Psycho” score swelling and the silhouette of a knife appearing on the shower curtain? Who hasn’t looked into the neighbors’ windows from afar and toyed with the idea that a murder could suddenly take place there, as in “The Window to the Yard”? and who doesn’t get a shiver down their spine when a swarm of ravens stands menacingly on the roofs of houses, because their sinister sight and croaking sounds are reminiscent of “The Birds”?
Alfred Hitchcock is such a legendary filmmaker that everyone is still familiar with it, not only because he is revered by film scholars and critics, but because he brought horror into the everyday lives of ordinary people. With his films, he managed to implant little mini-psychoses in generations of film fans who would probably need therapy to ever get them out of their heads. “The Birds” is also one of those Hitchcock films that is so omnipresent due to countless copies and parodies that it has long since transcended its own existence and has entered the collective consciousness of filmmakers and film viewers.
Instead of hitting on unrealistic monstrosities like Vampire, ghosts or werewolves, the Master of Suspense uses normal, everyday animals that also attack in broad daylight to create his terror. That was a brilliant move: Because Anyone who sees this film is immediately reminded of it at every turn. Whether you live in the city or in the country, birds are everywhere, and with them comes the threat of real horror should they ever decide to attack us. And with Hitchcock refraining from giving us a reason for their aggressive behavior, we can never be sure when that will happen.
The legendary British director also deliberately avoided traditional film music. Instead, he relies entirely on bird noises, which sometimes set threatening needle pricks, but in the particularly dramatic moments lay themselves over the horror as a sound carpet of terror, which anchors the events even more closely in reality.
All of this makes “The Birds” one of the most legendary and most cited horror films of all time. Especially now that it’s available to stream for free on Amazon Freevee, you shouldn’t miss this milestone in horror cinema.
*The links to the Amazon offer are so-called affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we will receive a commission.