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Film / Rosemary's Baby

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"He chose you, honey! From all the women in the world, to be the mother of his only living son!"
Minnie Castevet

A 1967 horror novel by Ira Levin, Rosemary's Baby is much better known for its 1968 screen adaptation by Roman Polański, the second film in the director's so-called "Apartment Trilogy" (along with Repulsion and The Tenant).

Young housewife Rosemary Woodhouse (Mia Farrow) moves into an elegant-but-gloomy old Upper West Side apartment building with her actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes). Their next-door neighbors are Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), an elderly couple who seem pleasant enough at first. Shortly after experiencing a very bad dream, Rosemary finds herself pregnant... and then things get very weird for her.

The film version received high praise for its close following of the novel, going so far as to replicate much of its dialogue word-for-word. The film's producer, William Castle, once speculated that this was at least partly because Polański had never done an adaptation before, and didn't know he was allowed to make changes. The Bramford, where all of the action takes place, was deliberately modeled on the Dakota in Manhattan (where John Lennon later lived, and where he would eventually be murdered). Exterior shots of the Bramford in the film are of the Dakota, but, due to the exclusive privacy policies of the building, the interior shots were filmed on a soundstage.

The film received a made-for-TV sequel, Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby, in 1976, while Ira Levin wrote a sequel to the novel, Son of Rosemary, in 1997. NBC aired a Mini Series remake in 2014, written by Scott Abbott (Queen of the Damned) and starring Zoe Saldaña as Rosemary. Unlike the 1976 sequel, it is based on both books by Ira Levin. The original story is also apparently getting a prequel, Apartment 7 A, directed and written by Natalie Erika James (Relic) and starring Julia Garner and Dianne Wiest.

It's also worth noting that in the 2017 horror anthology film XX, one of the segments serves as a kind of Stealth Sequel.

Provides examples of:

  • 20 Minutes into the Past: The book was written in 1967, while the film was made in 1968. In both versions, the story takes place in 1965-66.
  • The '60s: If you lived in New York City in the mid-1960s, you'll feel right at home. Levin weaves in references to the newspaper strikes, the great blackout, the JFK assassination, and Pope Paul VI's visit to Yankee Stadium. We also see cigarette commercials on television, and Rosemary gets a blood test to see if she's pregnant, two things that have dropped out of society.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Rosemary says to Terry Gionoffrio, "I thought you were Victoria Vetri, the actress," to which Terry responds, "Everyone says that, but I don't see the resemblance." Terry is indeed played by actress Victoria Vetri (under the name Angela Dorian).note 
    • Rosemary says that her short pixie haircut is from Vidal Sassoon. While the novel also mentions the character's Vidal Sassoon haircut, this refers to a famous publicity stunt during filming, in which Sassoon himself flew out from London to cut Mia Farrow's hair in a boxing ring. According to the actress, she'd actually already cut the hair years before, and Sassoon only trimmed it for the camera.
  • Affably Evil: All of the witches are revealed in the end to have the exact same personalities as they displayed all along; they're just also worshipers of Satan. The Castavets, in particular, maintain their casual and friendly personalities.
  • All Just a Dream: Rosemary believes that her Satanic conception is just a dream, then screams, "This is no dream! This is really happening!" Then she wakes up and doesn't seem to remember anything about it other than that she had a nightmare.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Guy. He was so determined to make it big in his film career that he went to the Castevets and the cult and made a deal with them to allow Satan to rape and impregnate his wife with the Antichrist in exchange for a part in a play. Although Guy is taken aback by his rival Donald Baumgart becoming blind suddenly, he doesn't think much of it.
  • Anti-Anti-Christ: What Rosemary might hope to raise her child as, assuming she's not totally defeated at the end.
  • The Antichrist: The witches believe that Rosemary's baby is the Antichrist.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: The entire plan is to have Rosemary fulfil this role by being the mother of Satan's child.
  • Baby as Payment: It's heavily implied that Guy promised the baby Antichrist to the Castevets as something in exchange for a boost in his career.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The cultists succeed in their plan to spawn the Antichrist — and it seems that they've drawn Rosemary herself into their ranks. The novel subverts it a little. While Rosemary does agree to raise her baby, it's because she hopes that she can influence him to reject his destiny and embrace his human side. This is shown when she demands that the baby be named Andrew (instead of "Adrian", after the cult's founder) and not wear black all of the time.
  • Big "NO!": Rosemary screams these in the end as she learns that she was raped by the devil and her baby is the Antichrist and she has been gaslit and brainwashed by a satanic cult and her abusive husband the whole time. All while the cult chants "Hail, Satan!" to her dismay.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Castevets appear to be a friendly elderly couple and warmly welcome Rosemary into their apartment building. In reality, they are cultists who target women whom they believe to be capable of bearing Satan's child. After gaining Rosemary's trust, they drug her, subject her to a ritual where she is impregnated by Satan, and take measures to ensure the baby's birth, never displaying any concern for Rosemary herself.
  • Bookends: The movie opens with a long, sweeping pan across the Midtown Manhattan skyline, accompanied by Rosemary's eerie singing, and ends with what is essentially a reverse of the shot, with the same soundtrack.
  • The Cameo:
    • Elisha Cook Jr. is the building manager who shows Rosemary and Guy the apartment in the opening scene.
    • William Castle is the man waiting outside the phone booth.
    • Tony Curtis provides The Voice of the actor who's blinded and replaced by Guy in a play.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Rosemary can't get anyone to believe her stories about witches.
    • Hutch advises Rosemary and Guy against moving into the Bramford because of its unsavory history but neither take his warnings seriously.
  • Celebrity Resemblance:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Guy and Rosemary spend their nights playing Scrabble. She later uses the pieces to figure out the anagram involving Roman Castevet's name.
    • When Hutch visits Rosemary, he loses his glove somewhere in her apartment. Shortly afterwards, he falls into a coma. The connection between the two events only makes sense once it's revealed that the Satanists can only affect other people if they can get their hands into one of their victims' possessions.
    • The hall closet seen in the beginning of the film has a secret passage to the Castevets apartment. Rosemary goes through it in order to finally find out the truth about what her neighbours did to her son.
    • The manually-operated elevator. Rosemary uses it to escape from Guy and Dr. Sapirstein when they return to the apartment building.
    • The knife rack in the kitchen. Rosemary uses one of the knives in the end to defend herself from the satanists while locating her baby.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Dr. Hill is mentioned several times as Rosemary's original doctor. She ultimately goes to see him toward the end of the film, but it's ultimately subverted as he does no good whatsoever and still refuses to believe Rosemary.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: As soon as Rosemary tells Hutch about the apartment building, he tells her the story of witches and Adrian Marcato. It turns out that this was all important to what is happening to Rosemary, though she doesn't figure it out until the end.
  • Christianity is Catholic:
    • Rosemary was raised Catholic. Roman also criticizes the Catholic Church, but not a word is said about any other one (although he does make a passing comment dismissing "all religions").
    • In the book, it's also vaguely implied that the mother of Satan's child is required to be Catholic. The cryptic comments by JFK in Rosemary's fever dream about only Catholics being allowed on the yacht and being "bound by these prejudices", and Terry having an Italian surname could be hints for this.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Inverted with Rosemary. She was raised Catholic but has drifted away from the church, and the Castevets find her a ripe target. Meanwhile, her staunchly Catholic sister can sense that Rosemary is in danger but Rosemary doesn't get anything of the sort.
  • Cold Reading: At dinner, Roman uses a variation on this to stroke Guy's ego and gain his confidence. Roman, knowing that Guy was in Luther, lies about having seen the play, incorrectly guesses that Guy was Albert Finney's understudy, but then claims that he remembered seeing Guy make a certain gesture during the play (of course a stage actor's going to give a character a specific gesture, and is going to be impressed with someone who claims he noticed it), then lets Guy fill in the details on what the gesture was.
  • Comically Small Bribe: A non-comedic example. Guy allows his wife to be raped and impregnated by Satan, so she can bear the Antichrist. Does he get power? Riches? Fame? Nope. He gets a part in a play. A small but important play, the kind of thing that gets noticed and leads to power, riches, and fame. "He's suddenly very hot."
  • Cool Old Guy:
  • Creator Cameo: Producer William Castle appears as the man waiting outside a phone booth while Rosemary makes a call.
  • Cult: The Castevets and Dr. Sapirstein turn out to be Satanists. They convince Guy to join their cult by promising him a successful career. In exchange, he agrees to have his wife Rosemary bear Satan's child.
  • Dark Is Evil: Reconstructed. The Satanists do not appear to follow this, as all of them, especially Minnie, wear very brash, bright colors. However, when we see their true lair undisguised for the first time, it's cloaked in black.
  • Daylight Horror: Rosemary's attempted escape from the cultists and her birth all take place in bright summer daylight and stifling heat.
  • Deal with the Devil: Implied Trope. It is all by outright said that Guy promised Minnie and Roman something to do with his firstborn in return for better fortunes in his acting career. Said windfall comes in the form of him replacing a senior actor, Donald Baumgart, when he goes spontaneously blind.
  • Death of a Child: What Rosemary thinks will happen to her baby once it's born. It turns out to be quite the opposite.
  • Defiant Stone Throw:
    • One of the few notable incidents in the book that didn't make the film: after Roman reveals that the baby will be called Adrian, Rosemary refuses to accept it and states that his name is Andrew John Woodhouse, which she'd picked a few months earlier. (The "Hail Rosemary, Mother of Adrian" chant may have clued her in that she's got some clout.) Minnie cuts off Roman's objection and starts chanting "Hail Andrew!" and the rest of the cult follows her, allowing Rosemary a small victory.
    • Guy tries to convince Rosemary that all her suffering will pay off, since the cult intends to reward them. She responds by defiantly spitting on his face.
  • Downer Ending: Hutch and Terry are killed by the cult, and Laura-Louise threatens Rosemary that they'll kill her, milk or no milk, if she doesn't stop crying "Oh, God." (Minnie immediately chastises Laura-Louise and tells her to shut up and show some respect, again handing Rosemary a clue that she has some power.) While it's possible that Rosemary can save herself, she appears completely, permanently traumatized.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Several times. Dr. Hill believes that Rosemary has lost her mind and in that sense, misses the point; but Rosemary also misses the point in thinking she can trust him and he's going to trust her. More generally, Rosemary misses the point in thinking that the cult wants to sacrifice her baby. It doesn't, it wants to worship the baby.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Sapirstein. Even before we learn that he's part of the coven, his patronizing attitude towards Rosemary and his Hurricane of Excuses for her pain and weight loss make him seem heartless.
  • Dude, She's Like in a Coma: Rosemary dreams she is being raped by the devil (unfortunately, as it later turns out, this is not a dream). When she wakes up, she discovers that Guy, with whom she had planned to try to conceive that night, tells her he has had sex with her while she slept. His justification? "I didn't want to miss 'baby night'."
  • Enfant Terrible: Adrian/Andrew is the antichrist. He apparently looks monstrous, though he drinks breast milk and cries like a normal baby.
  • Evil Is Petty: Assuming what we suspect was happening all along was true, the cult caused the deaths of Mrs. Gardenia and Terry simply because they started questioning their motives, the death of Hutch because he was trying to tell Rosemary who her neighbors were, and blinded Donald Baumgart only so they could manipulate Guy into going along with their plans. Also, it's not out of the question that the whole arrangement of the birth of the Antichrist was just to allow Roman/Steven to one-up his father: Adrian Marcato merely conjured Satan, Steven will actually allow his seed to start roaming the earth.
  • Evil Old Folks: Most of the coven of witches are quite elderly. Rosemary notices that all of her friends since moving into the apartment are over 60 and specifically plans a party only for her younger friends. This manages to exclude all of the witches and helps Rosemary start to resist their influence.
  • Extreme Doormat: Rosemary doesn't have much will of her own, partly due to her personality, partly because she's a housewife from Omaha in the 1960s, and partly because of the physical toll of her pregnancy. She does grow more assertive throughout the film, especially once she starts figuring out what's going on.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Unlike the original movie, where Rosemary seemed to be traumatized yet quietly resigned to protecting her infant from the cult, in the remake it's implied that she actually becomes at ease with what they have done and truly in love with the child with no revulsion. Enough so that she appears to be entrusted to walk him in the pram with no surveilance.
  • Family Eye Resemblance: Roman says of the title spawn of the Devil that "He has his father's eyes".
  • Fan Disservice: A naked Rosemary is restrained to a bed surrounded by many unclothed elderly satanists watching her as she is raped and impregnated by Satan. There are close-up shots of her naked body painted in red satanic symbols as Satan caresses her, and she is covered in scratches afterwards.
  • Fanservice:
    • Rosemary (played by the very pretty Mia Farrow) appears in a bikini alongside several other attractive bikini-clad women in her dream sequence before appearing fully nude. Quickly becomes Fan Disservice as the dream takes a dark turn though.
    • Rosemary and Guy's first night making love in their new apartment.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Laura-Louise. Unlike the other cult members, whose mostly nice personalities all seem genuine, she becomes far more openly hostile after The Reveal. It's to the point that Roman has to tell her to cut it out.
  • Fetus Terrible: The pregnancy causes Rosemary severe pain, negatively impacting both her physical appearance and mental state. Justified by the fact she is carrying Satan's child.
  • "Friends" Rent Control:
    • Such vast apartments in a pre-war building in the exclusive Upper West Side would be extremely expensive even in the 1960s, so it's somewhat odd that a not-particularly-successful actor and his housewife would be able to afford one, nor the gaggle of retirees that seem to populate the rest of the building. However, the building is shown to be rather dilapidated in the opening sequence, with the Woodhouses stepping over crumbling tile floors. Their apartment is also a fraction of a previous apartment, and there is a very thin wall between the two, further lowering its value. The superintendent also mentions that the apartment would be much more expensive if rent control didn't prevent them from raising the rates much above what the previous tenant paid, who'd lived there for decades. Furthermore, the building has a horrifying history which by itself lowers property value considerably. Guy is said to have booked several TV commercials — one of which is still airing, and he makes another one soon after they move in — and commercials do pay very well, so it's possible he was making a steady living from that (and therefore wished he could have the prestige of being a stage actor, even though it wouldn't be as financially sound).
    • The Made-For-TV remake gets around this by having the building owners generously offering an expensive apartment for free after the young, struggling couple loses their previous apartment to a fire. Then again, it's also implied that the fire wasn't an accident and that the cult arranged for them to lose the apartment in order to place Rosemary under their control.)
  • Foreshadowing:
    • After getting to know one another as new neighbors, Terry tells Rosemary that the Castavets are the nicest people in the world and that she'd probably dead or in jail by now if it weren't for the Castavets taking her in. Not long after, Terry is found dead on the streets.
    • As Rosemary is ecstatic over her stomach pain being gone and she asks Guy to feel the baby move, he is rather hesitant. That's because he knows he's not the father and that the child is the Antichrist.
  • Gaslighting: The Movie. Rosemary is gaslighted by everyone around her through the entire film (with the very few exceptions being her friends and Hutch), with everybody constantly denying and brushing off all of her accurate suspicions and complaints.
  • God Is Dead: In a doctor's waiting room, Rosemary reads a magazine with a cover asking, "Is God Dead?" (an actual Time magazine issue from 1966). In the end, Roman joyously proclaims, "God is dead!"
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Discussed. Rosemary has been in pain since November but she refuses to have an abortion. Her friends at the party tell her that no one was even suggesting an abortion and that she should simply get a new doctor.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Rosemary is very sweet, kind, and nice to everyone. Emphasized as her villainous husband has dark hair, although Terry also has dark hair and is a sympathetic character (but doesn't last).
  • Hate Sink: Guy Woodhouse conspires with the Castevets, literally selling his soul to the Devil and setting Rosemary up to be raped by Satan himself, gaslit over a period of months, and give birth to the Antichrist... all to get a role in a play. No one is sorry to see Rosemary spit in his face at the end of the movie.
  • Haunted House Historian: Hutch tells Rosemary and Guy all about the Bramford's history, including a pair of sisters who cooked and ate children, a dead baby found in the basement, and a warlock named Adrian Marcato who claimed to have conjured Satan. Turns out that last one is more relevant to their lives than any of them could suspect.
  • Hellevator: When Rosemary packs a suitcase and goes to see the doctor, she takes the elevator to go down and the light glows red.
  • Hellish Pupils: The Devil, while mating with Rosemary, is shown to have yellowish cat-like eyes. Their baby is stated to have inherited them as well.
  • Henpecked Husband: The arguments between the Castevets that Rosemary hears through the walls suggest Roman might be one.
    Minnie: Sometimes I wonder how come you're the leader of anything!
  • Hollywood Board Games: Rosemary has played Scrabble so many times, she can deduce the Significant Anagram that hides the villain's name.
  • Hollywood Satanism: The witches worship the Christian Satan, and seek to bring about the apocalypse by creating the Antichrist. They're part of a long tradition of witches that have been well documented. Their Religion of Evil gives them magical powers they can use to cast spells in order to maim or even kill people from afar.
  • Human Sacrifice: Rosemary assumes that the witch coven intends to steal her yet-unborn baby to be sacrificed, before discovering they actually want to worship him, as he is Satan's spawn.
  • Important Haircut: Played with. Rosemary cutting her hair to a pixie isn't done out of a desire for character growth or changing her life; she just gets it because it's fashionable. However, Guy's negative reaction to it mark it as a sign of her autonomy being frowned upon. In the film, her hairstyle stays this way. In the book, it is implied that her hair grows back down to her shoulders by the time she gives birth.
  • Japanese Tourist: One of the Satanists at the end is a Japanese tourist who smiles and snaps photographs of the Antichrist.
  • Jerkass: Right from the outset of the movie, Guy constantly acts like a callous and mean-spirited jackass towards Rosermary. After she gets a haircut, he repeatedly states to his wife's face that he thinks her new hair is hideous and that it's the worst decision she's ever made.
  • Large Ham: Ruth Gordon as Minnie Castavet, and it earns her an Academy Award.
  • Leitmotif: Beethoven's "Für Elise", played by an unseen tenant in the building, is heard recurrently throughout the film. The playing gets better every time you hear it.
  • Love Martyr: Downplayed, before being brutally invoked by the end. Guy is completely selfish, demeaning, bullying, and tells Rosemary that he raped her in her sleep. She still adores him. That it was actually Satan doing the deed makes this no better, although after months of his gaslighting, bullying, and finally, the revelation that Guy let Satan rape her pushes her over the edge and she spits in his face.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: The deaths of Mrs. Gardenia and Hutch and the blindness of Donald Baumgart were apparently caused by spells cast by the coven but were assumed to be naturally caused.
  • Mama Bear: When she figures out they're in danger, Rosemary vows to protect her unborn baby at any cost. She kills one of the Satanists and attacks others. But her baby is Satan. This trope is then deconstructed, very darkly, though, as Rosemary still gives in to the cult because of her love of her child.
  • Marital Rape License: The night after Satan impregnates her, Rosemary notices some scratches on her. Guy tells her he got too excited last night and then handwaves it as "not wanting to miss Baby Night." Outside of the fact that Guy is covering for the fact that he let Satan rape his wife, he covers by saying he basically raped her unconscious body, scratching her in the process, and thinks that's an acceptable cover story. To top it off, he says "it was kind of fun, in a necrophile sort of way".
  • Meaningful Echo: "To 1966! The Year Is One!" Stated as a pregnant Rosemary rings in the new year 1966 with Guy and their neighbors the Castevets. The second time is much more sinister. When Rosemary discovers the satanic cult and learns the awful truth about her newborn child being the Antichrist, Roman chants "God is dead! Satan lives! The Year Is One! Hail, Satan!" along with the rest of his cult.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Rosemary, combining the name of the mother of Jesus with a plant that has thorns, which are pointed and sharp just like the horns that certain creatures might have on their heads. It's also the name of an herb, and herbs play a role in the story. Rosemary is for "remembrance" and it's when she puts her memories of recent events together, literally days before she gives birth, that things start to add up.
    • Guy ends up being no one of importance, as Rosemary is the mother and Satan is the father. He's just a guy.
    • Mrs. Gardenia grew and tended plants. In the book, her first name was Lily.
  • Mistaken for Insane: After figuring out Roman's true identity, Rosemary flees from Guy and the rest of the Satanic cult to Dr Hill, the doctor she'd seen earlier. She tells him everything and he seems to believe least until she mentions Dr Sapirstein's name. He tells her he'll send her to a hospital, which Rosemary is (unusually for this trope) perfectly happy with, as it will allow her to give birth in private. Unfortunately, Dr Hill calls Guy and Dr Sapirstein instead, allowing them to take the apparently "hysterical" Rosemary home.
  • Mundane Horror: Basically the gist of the whole Polanski "apartment trilogy". A seemingly ordinary apartment complex with friendly neighbors where the protagonist is increasingly disturbed, having strange medical symptoms and believing that the people around them are up to something. Which turns out to be the truth.
  • Mundanger: The real horror comes from not the supernatural themes — which are rather subdued by today's standards — but from Rosemary's predicament: She's being manipulated and conspired against by everyone around her, and even when she realizes this and fights back, she is powerless to stop them.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Guy's reaction to the news that Donald Baumgart went blind and he's been chosen to take over the role is very telling: he drops his confident veneer and seems shaken, almost at a loss for words. This suggests that he'd made his deal with Roman and Minnie only half-seriously, not completely believing they had any real powers. But now that they've come through so spectacularly for him, he realizes there's no turning back.
    • Rosemary's reaction after she gives in to her craving for raw meat and then gets a look at herself in the reflection of a toaster and realizes what a terrible thing she is doing.
  • Mystical Pregnancy: Rosemary is prescribed mysterious drugs by her doctor during her pregnancy, which she comes to suspect aren't legitimate treatments but something more sinister...but it is too late, and she births The Antichrist.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • We never see what the baby looks like, but Rosemary looks horrified when she sees him, and she demands to know why his eyes look like that. The witches respond, "He has his father's eyes."
    • What little we see of Satan looks like Guy with monstrous features and red, cat-like eyes.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Rosemary has a dream where she's drugged and undressed by Guy and the cult members, and then raped in her sleep by the devil. She later awakens to discover that she is pregnant, but Guy goes along with her assumption that he "went ahead and did it."
  • No Indoor Voice: Minnie is so loud her words can be clearly heard through the partition separating the Cassevets' apartment from the Woodhouses'.
  • Nosy Neighbor: Minnie and Roman insert themselves into the lives of the Woodhouses, much to Rosemary's annoyance.
  • Nothing Is Scarier: The viewer is never shown Rosemary's baby, but her horrified reaction makes it blatantly clear that whatever she gave birth to is clearly not human.
  • Number of the Beast: Present throughout, right down to Rosemary's due date: 6/66.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: A frustrated Rosemary ditches Minnie's mysterious herbal smoothie in favor of her own drink, which contains a dollop of sherry. Later, when her abdominal pain abruptly stops, her first thought is that she killed the baby with booze.
  • The Oner: The film's Title Sequence features a slow, continuous aerial pan across Midtown Manhattan and Central Park, then down along the top of the Dakota (a.k.a. the Bramford) and on to the front of the building, as we see Rosemary and Guy reaching the entrance from the sidewalk far below.
  • Product Placement:
    • Rosemary makes a big deal about the fact that her new haircut is Vidal Sassoon, but all of the characters then say it doesn't look good on her. Works on a meta-level. While the Vidal Sassoon cut is mentioned by name in the same context in the novel, Mia Farrow was famous at the time for abandoning her long strawberry-blonde locks in favor of a Vidal Sassoon pixie cut, garnering similar responses from her fans.
    • A Yamaha commercial that Guy stars in is shown.
    • Guy brings home pockets full of packs of cigarettes after shooting a Pall Mall commercial.
    • Minnie asks Rosemary to pick up an instant Sanka while she's out shopping, and later gives her Lipton tea at the baby shower.
    • Guy's favorite dessert is pumpkin pie from Horn and Hardart, a once-ubiquitous New York City automat.
    • A neighbor's small daughter asks Rosemary if she likes Cap'n Crunch. Rosemary's never heard of him. (The book is set in 1966 and Cap'n Crunch was introduced in 1963. Rosemary, being a childless adult, probably isn't hip to children's breakfast cereals.)
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Minnie's friend Laura-Louise is quite immature for an old minion of Satan, poking her tongue at Rosemary and acting like an unpleasant brat. It's implied that she's deeply jealous of her for getting to birth the son of Satan.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • The Castevets—bubbly, friendly, garrulous Minnie and aloof, quieter Roman.
    • Rosemary is a mousy, unsophisticated housewife who wants nothing more than her pretty apartment, her handsome husband, and a baby, while Guy is a charismatic and ambitious actor in pursuit of bigger roles and more prestige.
  • Religious Horror: Genre Popularizer. The boom in this sub-genre in The '70s followed the lead of Rosemary's Baby.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Terry Gionoffrio only appears in a single scene before being killed off. Her death is a hint that there is something very sinister about the Castevets.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Hutch is one of the few people who is not trying to manipulate Rosemary in any way and actually helps her figure out what is really going on. Unfortunately, the villains quickly realize he is a threat to their scheme and kill him.
  • Satan: Is established as a real entity and even gets a horns-and-all cameo.
  • Satanic Panic: Trope Codifier. The panic that Rosemary undergoes is very real in-universe, but the popularity of the book and film helped to support panic around Satanic cults and particularly their interest in babies/children.
  • Screaming Birth: Reconstructed. The birth is obviously extremely physically hard on Rosemary, but more significantly, she's screaming because she's surrounded by Satanists and is completely powerless to stop them. This is the line that's made it into "100 Greatest Moments in Film" clipreels.
  • Sequel: Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby for the film, and Son of Rosemary for the book.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Rosemary becomes suspicious of her husband and the neighbors he's befriended and tries to protect her unborn baby from them. Everyone who is inclined to help her dies or is horribly injured. She discovers her suspicions are all too horribly true - in fact, worse, because she thinks they're "only" going to sacrifice her baby - and tries to escape, but fails. She births the antichrist, and it falls directly into the hands of Satanists.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Rosemary mentions in passing that she and Guy enjoyed watching a production of The Fantasticks the other day.
    • It's mentioned that Guy had been in plays called Luther and Nobody Loves an Albatross. These were a pair of real Broadway shows, about Martin Luther and a talentless television writer-producer, respectively. Roman asks if Guy was Albert Finney's understudy in Luther. Finney was, indeed, the star of that play. Phil Leeds, who plays Dr. Shand in the film, was actually in Nobody Loves an Albatross.
    • Before that, Guy makes a self-depreciating joke that he and Rosemary are Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, then the power couple of Hollywood (in contrast with Guy's run of minor supporting roles).
    • At one point Guy reads the reviews for Drat! The Cat!, an incredibly short-run Broadway musical with lyrics and book by Ira Levin (creating an odd Celebrity Paradox by implying that the book's author exists in his own universe).
    • Rosemary is seen reading Sammy Davis Jr.'s autobiography, Yes I Can, which is also visible on the bookshelf later. (In the novel, she's reading The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.)
    • Levin named The Bramford after Bram Stoker.
    • J.R. Hanslet, the author of All of Them Witches, is a double allusion to Detective Fiction writer John Rhode (Pen Name for Cecil Street) and his recurring character Inspector Hanslet. Levin was a big fan of Rhode's novels.
    • Guy puts All of Them Witches above copies of Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female, before throwing it out, arousing Rosemary's suspicions. At the time, all the hip young progressives were reading the Kinsey Reports, which marked the first mainstream (semi-)objective studies of homosexuality, and which are credited for ushering in the free love of the 1960s.
    • Rosemary rationalizes Guy's vanity as being a typical trait of an actor, speculating that even Laurence Olivier is probably self-centered. This line is in the book but in the film, it becomes an In-Joke since she's delivering it to Hutch, played by Olivier's archrival on the Shakespearean acting scene, Maurice Evans.
    • Part of the reason Rosemary is looking forward to having Dr. Hill as her obstetrician is because he resembles television dreamboat Dr. Kildare.
  • Shown Their Work: A few pages from All of Them Witches are shown. Here's a transcription and discussion!. We see chapters on actual historical personages; Thomas Colley (executed for falsely accusing and murdering an old couple who were not witches) and Prudence Duvernoy (not a witch but a confidante of Marie Du Plessis, the real Lady of the Camellias). When Guy throws out the book, Rosemary buys another copy at Samuel Weiser's bookstore. She also gets The Book of Ceremonial Magic, by A.E. Waite (one of the developers of the familiar Ryder Waite Tarot Cards). In the taxi, she reads a phrase about "many people died under mysterious circumstances" and that spells of this type "could not be cast without one of the victim's belongings". This is not in the real book. The production people inserted it on page 105, where Waite actually discusses misinterpretations of spells found in actual grimoires (magical textbooks) and controversies over authorship of Spell Books.
  • Significant Anagram: Steven Marcato the warlock. Roman Castevet the neighbor. They're one and the same.
  • Significant Birth Date: Rosemary gives birth on June 25 — the Anti-Christmas — in the sixth month of the year 1966 (6/66). According to the novel, an old Satanic prophecy pinpointed this date for the birth of the Antichrist.
  • Sliding Scale of Adaptation Modification: Type 5: the film adaptation is extremely faithful to the original book, to the point that the book reads more like a Novelization of the film.
  • Slipping a Mickey: The chocolate mousse given to Rosemary by Guy contains some sort of drug. She complains that it has a chalky aftertaste and doesn't want to keep eating it, but he gets defensive, insists that it doesn't have an aftertaste, and pressures her to eat it. She secretly discards most of it. She quickly passes out afterward, but wakes up midway through her satanic conception, having not taken as much of the drug as the Satanists thought.
  • Spiteful Spit: Rosemary spits in Guy's face when he tries to defend his actions.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: Subverted. Guy tries to convince Rosemary that nothing strange is going on with their neighbors next door and that all of the other disturbing things that happen to her during her pregnancy are in her mind. However, he knows that they are really part of a devil-worshipping cult, and he's promised the baby to them.
  • Take Our Word for It: We never see the eponymous character, probably because it is the Spawn of the Devil himself. Roman notes that "he has his father's eyes".
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: The Castavets give Rosemary a chocolate mousse laced with a sedative. Rosemary discreetly disposes of it when she notices that it has a chalky taste, but she's still consumed enough of it to be unable to resist when Satan impregnates her while's she's still sleeping.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Rosemary thinks she is dreaming at the ceremony where she becomes pregnant, but for an instant realizes she is not. Much later, after she sees her child, she remembers that moment and knows it was all real.
  • The Three Wise Men: The final scene is staged as a semi-parody of the Nativity, complete with visitors from the East: a Japanese man (named Hayato in the novel, but unnamed in the film) and a Greek guy named Argyron Stavropoulos.
  • Title Drop: In-universe example. Rosemary reads a book titled "All them witches." When she starts growing more and more paranoid she starts rambling "Witches.. Witches...All of them, witches...All them witches!" and then seems to laugh to herself.
  • Unbuilt Trope: While it's the Genre Popularizer for Religious Horror, these days it almost plays like a deconstruction of it, since the genre would evolve in a more extreme supernatural direction. The villains are Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Evil Old Folks rather than sinister Obviously Evil types, the horror is more low-key and built around a slow burn, with few Jump Scare moments, and—in contrast to the deadly serious tone usually associated with Religious Horror—there's a lot of wry Black Comedy. And ultimately, Satan himself only has a brief cameo appearance, while we don't even get to see the Antichrist (in the film, at least; he is described in the novel).
  • The Unreveal: We never see Rosemary's baby's face. We're only told it has the eyes, hands, and feet of Satan. In the book, he also has a tail and horn buds.
  • Urban Legends: No, Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey wasn't involved with this film, and that isn't him in the demon costume.
  • Visionary Villain: Unlike Guy, the Castevets and the rest of the Satanists are principled in a twisted way. They have a grand vision they're pursuing, which all the violence and horror they perpetrate is in pursuit of.
  • The Voice: Donald Baumgart, the actor whom Guy takes over for after he's blinded, never makes a physical appearance, but he is dubbed by Tony Curtis when Rosemary calls him over the phone.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: After devouring raw meat, Rosemary promptly vomits in the kitchen sink after realizing what she has done.
  • Wacky Cravings: Rosemary has a sudden craving for rare meat, just barely touched to a hot frying pan. This is another clue that something isn't quite right with her titular baby.
  • Wham Line: Two.
    • When Rosemary contacts Guy's film role rival Donald to apologize for his blindness, she learns Guy hasn't exactly been truthful:
    Rosemary: By the way, he has something of yours, you know.
    Donald: What do you mean?
    Rosemary: Don't you know?
    Donald: No.
    Rosemary: Didn't you miss anything that day?
    Donald: You don't mean my tie, do you?
    Rosemary: Yes.
    Donald: Well, he's got mine and I've got his. He can have it back. Doesn't matter to me now what color tie I'm wearing.
    Rosemary: I'm sorry. I didn't understand. I thought he'd only borrowed it.
    Donald: Oh no, it was a trade. you think he stole it?
    • When the nurse compliments Rosemary of her good luck charm scent and then tells her that Dr. Sapirstein's aftershave has the exact same scent:
    Nurse: Mmm! That smells nice. What is it?
    Rosemary: Oh, my— it's called detchema.
    Minnie: Well, it's a big improvement on your regular, if you don't mind my saying.
    Rosemary: That wasn't a perfume. That was a good luck charm. I three it away.
    Nurse: Good. Maybe the doctor will follow your example.
    Rosemary: Dr. Sapirstein?
    Nurse: Yes, the aftershave. Well, it isn't, is it? I don't think he has a good luck charm. Anyway, he has the same smell once in a while. Whatever it is. And when he does— Oh, boy. Haven't you ever noticed? Well, maybe you thought it was your own you were smelling. What is it, a chemical thing?
  • Wham Shot: Rosemary spelling with the scrabble tiles Steven Marcato and Roman Castevet.
  • We Can Rule Together: The clear implication of Roman's offer that Rosemary should take care of her child. She appears to accept, but whether he means it sincerely or not (or if she does) are both left ambiguous.
  • Weight Loss Horror: Rosemary loses a lot of weight rather then gain weight due to the supernatural elements of her pregnancy.
  • Womb Horror: Rosemary's pregnancy becomes a nightmare, as she fears a Satanic coven has designs on her unborn child. More literally, she's also in agonizing pain for a large part of the pregnancy and becomes very ill.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Subverted. Rosemary comes to suspect that the Castevets and company are planning to sacrifice her baby, but she's wrong. After all, why would they kill The Antichrist, the one who they hope will bring Satan's reign on Earth? She had the right genre, after all — she just didn't realize she had more of a starring role.

Alternative Title(s): Rosemarys Baby