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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 became much better known as a 1968 film 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 New York City apartment building with her actor husband Guy (John Cassavetes). Their new neighbors are Minnie and Roman Castevet (Ruth Gordon and Sidney Blackmer), an elderly couple who seem nice enough at first. Shortly after having a very bad dream, she 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 Polanski had never done an adaptation before and didn't know he was allowed to make changes. The Bramford, where all the action takes place, was deliberately modeled on the Dakota in Manhattan (where John Lennon 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. It also received a Mini Series remake on NBC in 2014, written by Scott Abbott (Queen of the Damned) and starring Zoe Saldana as Rosemary. Unlike the 1976 sequel, it is based on both books by Ira Levin.

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


Provides examples of:

  • 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 played by actress Victoria Vetri (under the name Angela Dorian).note 
    • Rosemary's short haircut is said to be Vidal Sassoon. While the book also refers to Rosemary's Vidal Sassoon haircut, this refers to a famous publicity stunt where Vidal 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 Vidal Sassoon only trimmed it for the camera.
  • Adult Fear: The real horror comes from not the supernatural themes — which are rather subdued by today's standards — but from Rosemary's predicament: She is manipulated and conspired against by everyone around her, and even when she realizes this and fights back, she is powerless to stop them.
  • 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.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: Younger viewers may be a little surprised to see that Rosemary has to see if she's pregnant by visiting the doctor and getting her blood drawn, and then wait to find out the results later.
  • Anti-Antichrist: What Rosemary might hope to raise her child as, if she's not totally defeated at the end.
  • The Anti-Christ: The witches believe that Rosemary's baby is the Antichrist.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: Rosemary.
  • 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 Applesauce: Completely.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretty much anyone who's in the cult.
  • Bookends: The movie starts 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.
  • Call-Back: On second viewing/reading, nearly every detail of the film/book becomes this.
    • In the novel, Rosemary and Guy spend evenings playing Scrabble. At the story's climax, Rosemary uses the Scrabble board to decipher the anagram of Roman's name.
    • In their first real meeting, Minnie invites Guy and Rosemary to dinner. Rosemary tries to beg off, telling Minnie she shouldn't go to any trouble on their account, to which Minnie replies "if it was any trouble I wouldn't ask; I'm as selfish as the day is long." This turns out to be nothing more than the truth, as Minnie's only inviting them over to size up Rosemary as a potential mother for Satan's child.
    • Early on in the film, Roman talks to Rosemary and Guy about how he's visited many different cities around the world throughout his life. At first it seems like he's just a well-traveled retiree, but the book Rosemary reads reveals that Roman saw so much of the world because him and his father, Adrian Marcato, kept getting driven out of the cities they settled in because of their Satanic beliefs.
    • Dr. Shand: Briefly mentioned before as another Castevet friend, introduced to Rosemary at New Year's, and showing up to drive them from Dr. Hill's.
    • The paintings in the Castevets' home: The spaces on their walls are noted by Rosemary when they first have dinner there. Later, a burning building and a sinister bearded man overlooking the ritual are elements of Rosemary's "dream"; and later we see, in the final scene, the picture of the burning church in the hallway, and the painting of the man in the living room, which is actually a portrait of Adrian Marcato, Roman's father.
    • Hutch's missing glove.
    • Saperstein advises Rosemary not to read pregnancy books. At first this seems like kindly advice, as he tells her that nervous first-time mothers often think every small aberration is a sign of something wrong, but later we find out that the doctor is also a member of the cult, and he's deliberately keeping Rosemary away from standard pregnancy manuals because he knows her pregnancy will be abnormal. He also encourages her to indulge her Wacky Cravings because he knows that Satan's baby is going to want bloody meat and raw chicken hearts at three in the morning.
    • The very first scene: When Nicklas is showing Miss Gardenia's apartment, there are plenty of herbs everywhere, which is confirmed that she grew things with Minnie. Then Nicklas notices the dresser in the hallway blocking the closet for some strange reason, revealed that the closet has a secret door between the apartment and the Castevets' next door. And before any of that: Rosemary noticing a strange note made (presumably) by Miss Gardenia ("...than the unusual and engaging pastime I believed it to be. I can no longer associate myself...").
      • These two fragmented lines, in retrospect, managed to convey Gardenia's entire backstory: she originally thought the cult was just a quirky bunch of harmless New Age believers until she found out that they were the real deal, and when she tried to break away (and presumably tell other people about them), they killed her for it.
  • The Cameo:
  • Cassandra Truth: Rosemary can't get anyone to believe her stories about witches.
  • Celebrity Resemblance:
  • Character Tics: Guy's nervous laughter.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • The Scrabble board pieces.
    • Hutch's missing glove.
    • The manually-operated elevator.
    • The knife rack in the kitchen.
    • The hall closet.
  • 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: Roman seems like this at first glance, but he ends up being pretty despicable despite his affected amicability. Hutch is a more straight-forward example, as he's a genuinely friendly old dude and one of the few people in Rosemary's life who tries to help her escape the cultists.
  • Creator Cameo: Producer William Castle appears as the man waiting outside a phone booth while Rosemary makes a call.
  • Cult: A Satanic one, at that.
  • 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.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Guy.
    • Rosemary has her moments too. "Shut up, you're in Dubrovnik. I don't hear you." stands out.
  • 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.
    • Rosemary's Spiteful Spit also counts.
  • Deliver Us from Evil: Almost the opposite of this happens at the end when Rosemary decides to stay and raise her baby, the anti-christ, with the Satanists. It's not clear whether she will become evil or not though.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: This movie has a very slow start. But once it gets going...
  • Divine Date: Divine rape in this case, but the rules of the trope still apply.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Driven to Suicide: Terry Gionoffrio, who turns out to have been the original choice to be impregnated by Satan. Of course, whether or not it was a suicide is ambiguous.
  • 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.
    • In Terry's case, it's likely Minnie and Roman may have told her directly that they wanted her to volunteer as Satan's bride and that she killed herself to escape. This is evidenced by a scene in which Rosemary overhears Minnie berating Roman: "Time enough to tell her later, I said!" It's even possible that Terry killed herself after she discovered she was pregnant and reasonably told her hosts, who then informed her of their plans—or even that the horror of being raped by Satan drove her to it.
  • 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".
  • Faux Affably Evil: Roman and Minnie. It's easy to think of them as being straight Affably Evil as they generally treat Guy and Rosemary well onscreen, and are unfailingly polite even at the end, but they probably killed Terry because she wouldn't go along with their plan, definitely killed Hutch, and it's implied that they're prepared to kill Rosemary if she doesn't give in at the end.
  • Fetus Terrible: Although aside from causing her several months of unusually extreme pain, the fetus itself doesn't have that much influence while it's in Rosemary's womb.
  • "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. 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.)
  • Gaslighting: Guy tries to think that Rosemary is just imagining the cult at first. It doesn't work, although poor Rosemary is driven to hysterics by that treatment.
  • 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!"
  • 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).
  • 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 was more relevant to their lives than any of them could have suspected.
  • Hellish Pupils: The devil mating with Rosemary is shown to have yellowish cat-like eyes. Their baby is suggested 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 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 and even blind or kill people from afar.
  • Horny Devils: The Devil is the reason why Rosemary has her baby...
  • Human Sacrifice: Rosemary assumes that the witch coven intends to steal her yet-unborn baby for this purpose, before discovering the even more diabolical truth at the end.
  • 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. But everyone else's negative reactions to it marks a sign of her autonomy being frowned upon.
  • Incubus: Rosemary's Satanic conception draws a lot from incubus myths.
  • Ironic Nursery Tune: "Rosemary's Lullaby", the wordless vocal theme that opens and closes the film, performed by an uncredited Mia Farrow herself. It's also known as "Sleep Safe and Warm", and recordings with official lyrics can be found (for example, Claudine Longet's version). With lines like "from my arms, no power can take you", Fridge Horror questions whether it's really the mother that's doing the singing.
  • Japanese Tourist: Rather perplexingly, one of the Satanists at the end is a Japanese tourist who smiles and snaps photographs of the antichrist. This is probably meant just to show that it's a worldwide religion. There's a Greek man there as well.
  • Jerkass: Right from the outset of the movie, Guy constantly acts like a callous and mean-spirited jackass towards Rosermary. Seriously, what man repeatedly states to his wife's face that he thinks her haircut is hideous and that it's the worst decision she's ever made? Her excuses for him all revolve around his career.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Call home to Mom, have her buy you a plane or train ticket. Since everyone around is being creepy and lying to you, and the honest ones are dying, just go back to Omaha. And since those special witch foods aren't available back home, that should solve the problem of the inconvenient pregnancy. Meanwhile, Rosemary doesn't do this because of her several personality traits, for which she was specifically chosen by the witches. She's the type of good former Catholic girl who won't leave her husband, or have an abortion, no matter what. She's also the sort of person to remain in denial about a situation as long as she possibly can so that she will continue to convince herself everything is just fine long past the point that another woman would go running for help. In fact, that was the mistake the witches may have made the first time: not being careful enough to select someone who would keep telling herself all the warning signs were just her imagination and had to help her to suicide (the circumstances of her death are murky, however). Admittedly the reality of Rosemary's situation is so incredible that it's not all that surprising that she's in denial for a while (she does begin fighting back once she starts guessing at the truth). Plus the fact that the creeps, highly respected doctor and husband included, are extremely controlling. It's likely they'd just find a way to prevent her leaving (which is exactly what they do when she tries to get help from Dr. Hill). The book also spells out more clearly that she's estranged from her family because she married a non-Catholic.
  • 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 recurringly throughout the film. He gets better everytime you hear it.
  • Love Martyr: Downplayed, before being brutally invoked by the end. Guy is completely selfish, demeaning, bullying, and Rosemary thinks he raped her. She still adores him. That it was Satan 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: It's never specifically portrayed in the story, but one interpretation of Terry's fate is that she might've have been murdered and the coven staged it to look like a suicide. Also, 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 One!" The second time is much more sinister.
  • 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.
  • Mundane Horror: Basically the gist of the whole "apartment trilogy". A seemingly ordinary apartment complex with friendly neighbors and the protagonist is increasingly disturbed, having strange medical symptoms and believing that her husband and neighbors are up to something. She isn't wrong.
  • 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 made his deal with Roman and Minnie half-seriously, not completely believing they had any real powers. Since they came through so spectacularly for him, he realizes that he can't turn back now.
  • 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 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".
  • Nosy Neighbor: Minnie and Roman insert themselves into the lives of the Woodhouses, much to Rosemary's annoyance.
  • Number of the Beast: Present throughout, right down to Rosemary's due date: 6/66.
  • One Drink Will Kill the Baby: Played straight when 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.
  • Parental Substitute: Hutch for Rosemary after she moved to New York (a role he also filled for other newly-arrived young women).
  • People in Rubber Suits: Satan. It's not a very convincing suit, which is probably why they avoid showing you too much.
  • 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.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Minnie's friend Laura-Louise is quite immature for an old minion of Satan, poking her tongue to Rosemary and acting like an unpleasant brat. It's implied that she's deeply jealous of Rosemary.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: It only makes sense for the Antichrist to be conceived this way.
  • 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.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Hutch.
  • 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.
    • 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 novel's 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.
    • 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.
  • Shown Their Work: A few pages from All of Them Witches are shown, chapters on 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.
  • The '60s: If you lived in New York City in the 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.
  • 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: It's implied that 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 her 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 states, "He has his father's eyes."
  • Tampering with Food and Drink: Rosemary's neighbors give her chocolate mousse laced with a sedative. Rosemary discreetly disposes of it when she notices that it has a chalky taste, but she still ate enough of it to be unable to resist when Satan impregnates her while's she's still sleeping.
    • Averted when Minnie just gives her some "plain ordinary Lipton tea" with sugar and lemon at the baby shower.
  • 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.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Hinted at, though (apparently) averted at the end.
  • 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.
  • The Unreveal: We never see Rosemary's baby's face, we're only told it has the eyes and feet of Satan. In the book, he also has a tail and horn buds.
  • Urban Legends: church of Satan founder Anton LaVey wasn't actually involved in 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 who Guy takes over for after he's blinded (dubbed by Tony Curtis).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Womb Horror: Rosemary's pregnancy becomes a nightmare as she fears she is carrying the spawn of Satan. More literally, she's also in agonizing pain for a large part of the pregnancy and becomes very ill.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Subverted. Rosemary thinks that the Castevets are going to sacrifice her baby. 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


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