->''Vertigo - A feeling of dizziness...a swimming in the head...figuratively a state in which all things seem to be engulfed in a whirlpool of terror.''

A classic 1958 PsychologicalThriller directed by Creator/AlfredHitchcock.

[[Creator/JimmyStewart James Stewart]] plays John "Scottie" Ferguson, a San Francisco detective who, because of a rooftop chase which leads to the death of one of his fellow officers, develops a fear of heights.

Scottie goes on leave for a while, but is persuaded to go back on the job by Gavin Elster (Tom Helmore), a college buddy of his, who wants him to trail his wife Madeleine who has been behaving oddly. As he observes the beautiful, mysterious Madeleine (KimNovak), he begins developing feelings for her - feelings that are reciprocated by her. However, Madeleine appears to be possessed by the spirit of her dead ancestor Carlotta Valdes who is trying to get her to commit suicide. Scottie tries to help her out of this apparent madness, but in vain as he finds himself watching helplessly as Madeleine plunges to her death from the roof of a bell tower, unable to reach her in time due to his vertigo.

Scottie suffers a mental breakdown for some time after his love's death, constantly seeing her in women he meets. It turns out that there is one woman who really does look a lot like Madeleine - a sharp-tongued brunette named Judy Barton (Novak again). Still haunted by the memory of his dead love, Scottie pursues a relationship with Judy. But the ghosts of the past never die, and their consequences prove to be what no one expected...

The film was released to mixed reviews and modest box office results. Critics complained of the film being overly long, slow and too "bogged in detail". However by the late 1960s, scholar Robin Wood re-evaluated the film to be "one of the four or five most profound and beautiful films the cinema has yet given us". Removed from circulation in 1973, it remained somewhat obscure.

The movie was re-released to cinemas in 1983 and on home video in 1984. This time it was a commercial hit and reviews were overwhelmingly positive. By the end of the 1980s, ''Vertigo'' [[VindicatedByHistory was considered among the best films of Hitchcock and highly significant for film history]].

If it's the comics company you're looking for, search no further than VertigoComics.

!!This film provides examples of:

* AnguishedDeclarationOfLove: Judy delivers one to Scottie in the final scene.
* ArtisticTitle: The camera zooms into a woman's eye to reveal spirals of different colors.
* AsYouKnow: Scottie's line to Midge near the beginning, "hey we were engaged once". As one reviewer put it, "who would say that if there wasn't an audience listening?"
* BatmanGambit: Gavin's plan to use Scottie's fear of heights to prevent him from getting to the top of the tower definitely qualifies. And if Scottie had ever seen a picture of the real Madeleine, Gavin would've been sunk.
* BettyAndVeronica / LightFeminineDarkFeminine: [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] and played with in fascinating ways. Madeleine is the Betty/Light Feminine, even after she dies, while Judy is the Veronica/Dark Feminine that Scottie makes over in Madeleine's image.
** Midge also likes to see herself as the Betty to Madeleine's Veronica but Scottie has no interest in her.
* TheBigDamnKiss: Waves are crashing in the background while Scottie and Madeline share their first kisses.
* CatapultNightmare: Scottie does this after the haunting dream sequence.
* ColourCodedForYourConvenience: Madeleine is associated with green, which is [[{{Foreshadowing}} the color of death]].
** While white or black is traditionally associated with death from a symbolic standpoint, in many ancient cultures, and some parts of England, Green was the color of poison, sickness, and therefore death. For the Egyptians it was also a color of rebirth which plays into Judy being "reborn" as Madeleine in Scottie's eyes.
** Gavin is associated – via the carpet in his office and the wallpaper in the restaurant – with red, the color of danger or evil.
* ClimbingClimax: Scottie carries Judy up the bell tower at the climax.
* CreatorCameo: Hitchcock appears walking past the entrance of Gavin Elster's shipyard.
* DeliberatelyMonochrome: The opening credits from the Creator/{{Paramount}} logo up until the title card, which has a red background.
* DiabolusExMachina: [[spoiler:Just as it seems EarnYourHappyEnding ensued, a nun enters, scaring Judy who falls to her death.]]
* DigitalDestruction: The version included in the Alfred Hitchcock Masterpiece Collection DVD box set boasts a colorized version of the opening shot, a woman's face. Fortunately, the Blu-Ray features this scene in its original black and white.
** On a more infamous note (no pun intended), when Robert A. Harris and James Catz restored the movie for the 1996 re-release, Universal had the soundtrack remixed into six-channel DTS by mixing new (and jarringly modern) sound effects with the original music and dialogue. However, by the time Universal decided to restore the movie again, for its 2012 re-release and Blu-Ray debut, technology had evolved to a point where they could remix the soundtrack while keeping the original sound effects.
* DisneyVillainDeath: Sort of.
* DoppelgangerReplacementLoveInterest: After Madeleine jumps off the bell tower, Scottie meets Judy Norton and has her made over to look just like Madeleine. Little does he know that the truth is a lot weirder.
* DownerEnding: [[spoiler: Scottie conquers his acrophobia....only for his love to die ''for real'' this time as a result of his actions.]]
** ShootTheShaggyDog: Also counts, as he's back to square one.
* DreamingTheTruth: There's a moment in the dream where Scottie flashes back to the moment after the inquest when Elster is talking to him except in the dream Elster is embracing Carlotta, hinting that Elster is a villain and Carlotta (or rather her story) is his accomplice. Scottie's conscious mind doesn't accept this however until much later when he spots Carlotta's necklace in the mirror in third act.
* DrivingADesk: Particularly noticeable, to the point where Scottie seems to be driving on the wrong side of the road sometimes.
* EmpathicEnvironment: As Pop Liebel tells the story of Carlotta at the Argosy Book Shop, it gets noticeably darker both inside and outside the store.
** When Judy leaves the bathroom after getting her hair done in Madeline's style, there is an intense fog around her as though Madeline has "come back from the dead." Which she technically ''has''.
** When Scottie and Madeline kiss for the first time on a beach, a huge wave hits the shore at the exactly same moment underlining the culmination of their feelings.
* EpiphanyTherapy: Massively subverted, perhaps even deconstructed.
* EthicalSlut: Judy is forthright about this when Scottie appears in her apartment and wants to take her out, saying "Matter of fact, to be honest, I've been picked up before."
* FlawExploitation: Scottie's [[PrimalFear fear of heights]] is taken advantage of by Elster and Madeleine when they switch Elster's wife for Madeleine on top of the bell tower while Scottie couldn't follow up.
* FollowTheLeader: Creator/BrianDePalma's ''Body Double'', but with claustrophobia instead of acrophobia.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Midge's comment that "only another emotional shock" could cure Scottie's acrophobia foreshadows the final shot of the film.
* GlassesGirl: Midge.
* HandGagging: Happens during TheReveal. [[spoiler:Kim Novak has just seen her doppelganger (the real Madeleine) fall to her death and we see Gavin muffling her scream]].
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: The driving plot thread of first half of the film is the mystery behind Carlotta Valdes and whether or not Madoline is possessed by her. The second half of the film [[spoiler: (After Madoline's "death".)]] is centered around Scottie's obsession with Madoline and the lengths he'll go to in order to be with her again.
* HaveAGayOldTime: Try to listen to Midge's comments about "the gay old bohemian days of gay old San Francisco" without chuckling now.
* HeroicBSOD: Scottie suffers a severe one about halfway through the film.
* HypnoticHead: The DreamSequence, where Scottie's head floats over crazy geometric animation.
* ImpairmentShot: This is how the VertigoEffect is used in the movie--to show Scottie's attacks of vertigo.
* INeedAFreakingDrink: Scottie, after Elster tells him about Madeleine's relationship to (and seeming possession by) Carlotta Valdes.
* InternalReveal: The audience finds out that Judy and Madeleine are one and the same shortly after Judy's introduction. Scottie only figures it out when he sees Judy wearing Madeleine's necklace.
* IsThatTheBestYouCanDo: Line delivered by Judy when she presents herself to Scottie in the black dress but his reaction remains underwhelming.
* {{Jerkass}}: The judge, at least towards Scottie.
* JustFriends: Scottie and Midge, though they were once engaged and she still retains obvious feelings for him.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:Gavin gets to go scott-free with his crimes, while his partner-in-crime and lover, Judy/Madeleine, tries to repent and pays for it.]] This notably lead to the Hays Code demanding an alternate ending, which was shot, but never released.
* LastKiss: Ultimately subverted. After Madeleine ominously tells Scottie "If you lose me, then you'll know I loved you and wanted to go on loving you," she gives him a final kiss before heading off to the clock tower.
* LiteralCliffhanger: The opening chase scene ends with Scottie hanging from a storm drain by his fingertips. This causes his acrophobia and vertigo.
* TheLostLenore: Increasingly subverted.
* LoveMartyr: Judy, who is so besotted with Scottie that she lets him completely make her over into Madeleine.
* LovingAShadow: It's clear that Scottie never would have given Judy a second glance if she hadn't so strongly resembled Madeleine. And considering that the only Madeleine he ever knew [[spoiler:was part of an elaborate con, this makes it all the more tragic. He never really loved a real person but a projection and a fantasy.]]
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: [[spoiler:Elster]] kills his wife and makes it look like suicide.
%%* MindScrew
* {{Necromantic}}: Hitchcock stated in his interview with Truffaut that Jimmy Stewart's character was essentially this.
* NunsAreSpooky: Especially when they come out of the shadows and scare the bejesus out of you.
* OnlyKnownByTheirNickname: Scottie's real name is John.
* OrbitalKiss: A long one between Scottie and a made-up Judy in the third act.
* PrivateDetective: Scottie Ferguson, after he left the police.
* RedemptionEqualsDeath: For [[spoiler:Judie]] in the end.
* ReplacementGoldfish: Sums up Scottie's entire relationship with Judy.
* RoofHopping: The intro - Scottie and a policeman pursue a suspect through the rooftops. The policeman makes it, but Scottie almost falls off the ledge - the cop comes to his aid, only for the roof to shift and throw him to his death, giving him his acrophobia.
* SceneryPorn: Lots of shots of beautiful California countryside.
* StairwellChase: The first scene in the belltower.
* SweaterGirl: Judy Norton's standard tight-sweater-and-bullet-bra ensemble contrast Judy's earthy sexuality with Madeline the icy blond in the gray suit.
* TakeMyHand: Used and subverted in the opening scene, where the rescuer falls to his death.
* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Scottie is obsessed with the memory of Madeleine.
* VertigoEffect: TropeMaker and TropeNamer. The shot invented for this movie--zooming in while pulling the camera back at the same time--has become an iconic and much-used visual shorthand to indicate disorientation, shock, or fear. Here it is used for Scottie's vertigo attacks.
* WhamShot: When Judy flashes back to pretending to be Madeleine to help fake her suicide.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Midge disappears around the two-thirds point.
* WhyDidItHaveToBeSnakes: Heights for Scottie.
* YouRemindMeOfX: Scotty's line to Judie: "Because you remind me of somebody."
* ZipMeUp: Judy needs help with a necklace. This leads directly to the climax.