Follow TV Tropes


YMMV / The Birds

Go To

The Aristophanes Play

  • Fanfic Fuel: The Emu War of AD 1932. What would it be from Peisthetaerus' perspective?
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: References to Rhea. Rhea is the name both of Zeus' mother and a South American relative of the ostrich.
  • Values Dissonance: What does Peisthetaerus dream of? A world where parents of attractive children want them taken advantage of sexually.

The Hitchcock Film

  • Adaptation Displacement: Did you know there was a short story? By Daphne du Maurier, no less. Not that it has a lot to do with it.
  • Advertisement:
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Annie Hayworth, the school teacher, stayed in the town her ex-boyfriend lived in on the weekends, despite originally being a city girl, saying she didn't want to lose the friendship between them... could it have been something else? Could Annie in fact have been Cathy's real mother, with Lydia actually being Cathy's grandmother given her age and appearance, but being the time period that it was, such an out-of-wedlock birth could not be accepted, so they all just lied about it to save face? It would certainly explain some of Annie's interactions with Cathy at the party and later on Annie sacrificing herself to save Cathy from the birds.
  • Applicability:
    • It's been suggested that the birds attacking draw lots of parallels with the fear of nuclear attack; the victims are forced to hide, reinforce their houses and have no way to stop the attacks. The Cuban Missile Crisis had happened just one year before the film's release.
    • Advertisement:
    • Melanie could represent second-wave feminism; in contrast to the domestic and conservative roles the women of Bodega Bay fill, Melanie is a liberated, sexually-free socialite who shakes up the whole town with her arrival. Notably Annie was once a city girl but gave it up to move to Bodega Bay. The attacks coincide with her entering Bodega Bay - and they force the women out of domestic roles to help stop them.
  • Canon Fodder: Just what ''did' cause the birds to attack? It's never specified either way, but that hasn't stopped people from guessing. Explanations range from a sudden heatwave angering them, to the lovebirds somehow causing it. The trailer implies that birds have just decided to declare war on mankind.
  • Ear Worm: I married my wife in the month of June. Risseldy, rosseldy, Mow, mow, mow. I carried her off in a silver spoon. Risseldy, Rosseldy, hey bambassity, nickety, nackety, retrical quality, willowby, wallowby, mow, mow, mow.
  • Advertisement:
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: Melanie's tracking down of Mitch is Played for Laughs and it's just a part of the playful banter between the two. When you learn about how Tippi Hedren was essentially stalked and harassed by Alfred Hitchcock, it becomes uncomfortable.
  • Genius Bonus: Lydia and Melanie are almost in a Love Triangle over Mitch, and Annie lampshades this by referencing Oedipus Rex. Lydia later finds a friend with his eyes pecked out, which references that Oedipus blinded himself when he realised he'd married his own mother.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Melanie being attacked by the birds is this if you discover that the crew lied to Tippi Hedren that they would use mechanical birds in the scene - and she didn't know she'd have live birds thrown at her until the day of filming. She would have to be given a week's bed rest due to the stress of shooting that scene.
  • Moe: Cathy is just precious. Especially when she first meets Melanie and hugs her in thanks for the love birds.
  • Narm:
    • "I think you're EVIL! EVIL!" Geez, lady, we understand you're very frightened here, but come on now. Fortunately she got a Bright slap either to get her back to sanity, or as her way of saying "SHUT THE HELL UP!!" to her.
    • When the camera keeps cutting between a trail of fire approaching the gas station, and Melanie making scared faces.
    • There's also Annie's ridiculously over the top reaction to Melanie in her first scene. It's been compared to a scene from a Soap Opera with how un-subtle it is.
    • The sounds of attacking birds, while scary, can turn a bit narmy when you realize that Hitchcock mixed in sounds of shrieking cats and rattlesnakes to enhance the terror of the sounds.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Mrs Bundy, the pompous ornithologist, who gets into a spirited debate with Melanie right before the birds attack the town.
  • Paranoia Fuel: You'll never look at birds the same way again...
  • Poor Man's Substitute: Try as they may, Rod Taylor and Tippi Hedren weren't Cary Grant and Grace Kelly.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Child actress Veronica Cartwright, who played Cathy, would become especially familiar to fans of science-fiction/horror films starting in the late 1970s thanks to Alien.
  • Sequelitis: The 1994 Direct-to-Video sequel The Birds II: Land's End got very negative reviews.
  • Special Effects Failure: Crossed with "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny; the bird effects were extremely technically innovative when the film first released, but look rather ropey nowadays.
  • Values Dissonance: Earlier in the film, Melanie is searching for Mitch's family home and the local townspeople give her directions to not only his home but also to the local school teacher's home; before that, an apartment resident tells her how long Mitch will be in Bodega Bay. This is jarring from a modern perspective worried about serial killers and stalkers. Then again, because of Melanie's beauty and the fact that she's a woman, she might not have too much trouble.
  • Values Resonance: It's been noted that the film is fairly feminist in that the majority of protagonists are female - Melanie, Cathy, Lydia and Annie - and Mitch is almost Melanie's Satellite Love Interest. The typical mother that doesn't approve of who her son is dating is shown in a more complicated light. The women are also pretty active in the plot - Lydia helping board up the house, Melanie saving the children from the birds and Annie's sacrifice to save Cathy.


Example of: