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Psycho
Year:
1960
Country:
USA
Genre:
Thriller, Mystery, Horror
IMDB rating:
8.6
Director:
Alfred Hitchcock
Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates
Vera Miles as Lila Crane
John Gavin as Sam Loomis
Martin Balsam as Milton Arbogast
John McIntire as Deputy Sheriff Al Chambers
Simon Oakland as Dr. Fred Richmond
Vaughn Taylor as George Lowery
Frank Albertson as Tom Cassidy
Lurene Tuttle as Mrs. Chambers
Patricia Hitchcock as Caroline
John Anderson as California Charlie
Mort Mills as Highway Patrol Officer
Storyline: Phoenix officeworker Marion Crane is fed up with the way life has treated her. She has to meet her lover Sam in lunch breaks and they cannot get married because Sam has to give most of his money away in alimony. One Friday Marion is trusted to bank $40,000 by her employer. Seeing the opportunity to take the money and start a new life, Marion leaves town and heads towards Sam's California store. Tired after the long drive and caught in a storm, she gets off the main highway and pulls into The Bates Motel. The motel is managed by a quiet young man called Norman who seems to be dominated by his mother.
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Reviews
The greatest Thriller/Horror ever created !
The first Alfred Hitchcock film I saw was The Birds and I thought it was a film which couldn't be beaten in its genre, until I saw, "Psycho." (There are a few spoilers here.) Horror films usually leave you cold and chilled and as shocking and disturbing Psycho is, it's a film you can somehow warm to. The shower scene is a scene like no other. Its more shocking than frightening, the instant when the curtain draws back and you are faced with a shadowy figure clutching a knife sucks the adrenalin out you like a sponge, after Marion is viciously stabbed she clutches the shower curtain and falls to the floor, so simple yet so powerful. The full story which is one that you really need to know nothing about to get the full affect. Unfortunately I knew quite a bit about it before I saw it. If there ever was a film with a plot twist this film would top the list. If you haven't seen it then go, go, go and rent it now, in fact buy it ! You won't be disappointed.
1999-09-16
I Didn't Think It Lived Up To Its Reputation
"Psycho" has gone down in Hollywood history as one of the greatest of horror movies, and even if you've never seen it (which I hadn't until today) you still feel a certain connection to the movie just on the basis of its reputation. That in itself can be a problem, because you're expecting a lot when you watch it for the first time. Unfortunately, for me at least, this didn't quite live up to its billing. It was a good movie, Alfred Hitchcock did a good job of directing with a number of what are today recognized as typical "Hitckcock-ian" touches, particularly with some very effective camera work, and basically the cast, headed by Anthony Perkins as motel owner Norman Bates and supported by Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin and Martin Balsam (I would say in that order of importance to the story) did a fine job. Still, I was expecting something more.

First, I would call this more of a suspense movie with a touch of slasher movie thrown in than a horror movie, although that's admittedly through a modern lens. There are really only a couple of scenes that were "horrific" - one being the famous shower scene and one being the revelation of Norman's mother near the end of the movie. Otherwise you get a mystery - with the end surprise being fairly clearly telegraphed to anyone who was paying attention. The suspense starts with Marion (Leigh) stealing a large sum of money from the real estate agency where she works and running off, eventually coming to the Bates Motel to spend the night. Since the murder in the shower is the classic scene of the movie, you don't expect it to come as early as it does, and you don't expect that so much of the movie is going to revolve around Lila (Miles) and Sam (Gavin) as they search for Marion. Somehow, I expected to see more of Janet Leigh. Still, there is good suspense even if the surprise about Norman's mother is pretty clear from even a mile away.

What knocked this down a bit for me, though, wasn't the obvious solution to the mystery. It was the seeming need to offer a very in depth psychological explanation near the end of what Norman was all about. Maybe there was a sense that movie-goers in 1960 would need such an explanation. I found what was virtually a closing soliloquy (and a very long one) by Simon Oakland playing a psychiatrist who's called in to examine Norman to be tedious in the extreme, and largely unnecessary; filled with psycho-babble. Norman could have been explained - if an explanation was felt necessary - much more succinctly.

One can't diss this movie. There's really very little wrong with it, except that its reputation makes it very hard for it to live up to when you watch it. Undoubtedly, when watched with late 20th-21st century eyes (well conditioned to the point of being almost oblivious to slasher-type violence) it comes across as a bit dull, frankly. Equally undoubtedly, it didn't come across that way to audiences in 1960. Still, I found it to be a little bit of a letdown compared to what I was expecting of it. (6/10)
2011-06-01
My favorite movie...
I think this is one of the best films ever made. It's a true classic. I have seen it over 20 times and I find something new in it every time I see it and it never gets boring. I'm really disappointed that they chose to remake it. But 50 years from now, people will remember the original and not the remake. A lot of people these days will be turned off by the movie because it's old and in black and white, but everyone should see. It's a technical marvel, Hitchcock was a wizard with the camera. There are also terrific performances by Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins. This movie basically started the whole slasher film genre that John Carpenter kick-started in 1978 with Halloween. In addition to being a great movie, it's also one of the most influential ever made. Look at films like Brian DePalmas's Dressed to Kill and Halloween if you don't believe me.
1998-11-03
One of the best movies ever made!
**Please excuse me for some spelling mistakes**

This is the BEST HORROR/THRILLER/SCARY MOVIE IN THE WORLD! I just love this movie! Since I am a true movielover I do not mind that it is in black and white at all. The actors were great and still today it is a bit creepy when the thievish Marion Crane chooses the wrong place to spend the night on (and the wrong shower, ha ha ha). Perkins is SO perfect as Norman Bates and the voice of mother really made me shiver. The movie is filled with classic lines that I won't forget even if I'll isolate myself for 20 years. For those who can't stand old movies, or are'nt any real movielovers this will be a sleeping pill. But for us with a good taste it will be a very good experience. Don't get me wrong, i mean ''The Blair Witch project'' for example is scarier than ''Psycho'' but ''Psycho'' is creepier and better than any other thriller!

Watch out for the remake from 1998, it really sucks!!!!!!

10 out of 10 OF COURSE!!!!!!!!
1999-10-24
I'm a little bit psycho for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. It's amazing!
Some critics believe 'Psycho' to be Director Alfred Hitchcock's Magnum opus. In my opinion, it's an masterpiece that set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in American films. Even before the 1960's, Alfred Hitchcock was already famous as the screen's master of suspense and perhaps the best-known film director in the world at the time. This movie just add to it with subliminal themes, subtext and images. The center theme of Psycho is the concept of multiplies identifies where characters are challenge to live through life under multiplies roles. Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is just that type of a character. She is unhappy in her job at a Phoenix, Arizona real estate office and living in a double life with her affect with strong will Sam Loomis (John Gavin). One day, Marion is given money to be deposited in the bank. Instead of depositing it, Marion takes off with the cash, hoping to leave Phoenix for good and start a new life with her love affair Sam. Rather than meeting Sam, she finds a nervous charming innkeeper Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) at the Motel, she was staying. He was control by his over demanding mother. Anthony Perkins gives a subtle performance here. She is taken by Norman Bates innocent charm, as she sees him as the fragile alter-ego of Sam. In many ways, Norman Bates and Sam have very similar stories, the only different is that Norman can't live without her mother, while Sam can. There's hardly a film fan alive who doesn't know what happens next, as the shower scene is probably the film's most famous sequence. In a way, the shower scene was like baptismal waters. Marion had decided to go back, come clean, and take the consequence, so when she stepped into the bathtub it was as if she cleaning herself of sin. I like the fact that Marion's underwear is white before the theft, and black after. Feeling in rage that Marion might steal Norman away from her when Marion suggests to Norman that he put his mother in a mental hospital, her mother strikes Marion, only for Norman to cover it up. When Marion goes off missing, her personality live on with her double, twin sister Lila Crane (Vera Miles) who finds herself staying at the Bates motel, just like her long-lost sister. I love how Hitchcock utilized and probably was the first to establish the writing technique of the false protagonist. The false protagonist is when the viewers are introduced to a character that supposed to be the main character, only to be removed from the story either by death or other means early in the film. By removing Marion Crane from the story, early on. It might offend Janet Leigh's fans, but Alfred Hitchcock's know what's for the best. One of the best image scenes are the mirrors in why show that the characters have multiply personality. Another running theme is the money. The stolen money that Marion carries about with her represents her dirty little secrets. Hitchcock goes so far as to symbolically link this pile of money to a pile of feces. Every talk about money is weaved into dialogue about how filthy it is. While the showing scene can be seen as erotica for Norman Bates; Norman Bates mother sees it as filth. Contrary to a widely told tale, Hitchcock did not arrange for the water to suddenly go ice-cold during the shower scene to elicit an effective scream from Leigh. But Hitchcock did tested the shock value of Mother's corpse by placing it in Leigh's dressing room and listening to how loud she screamed when she notice it there. Compare to Modern Day Slasher films, this film is really tame of violence. The film was known to be nauseating for some viewers at the time, even with it being shot in black and white. The novel is more brutal than the film version. It had a beheading no less in it. Alfred Hitchcock cut it out, and did stabbing instead. Even with its graphic nature, the "shower scene" never once shows a knife puncturing flesh. Alfred Hitchcock desire to prevent the shower scene from being too gory so he film the movie in black and white, while also trying to cut cost down. I think, the biggest reason why it is in black and white is because it's better for horror films with the use of shadows. While it is tame, the movie is still disturbing. Hints why the film still have the Rated R label. What might bizarre is how often the film talks about eating. Considering that the writer of the original book, Robert Bloch based his story loosely upon the activities of serial killer and cannibal Ed Gein, some of these constant references to eating could simply be a sly reference to cannibalism. One subliminal theme of Psycho is when Norman chats to Marion about his hobby of taxidermy. It's remind us another Hitchcock classic movie 1963's The Birds. By having Marion eat like a bird, and having a last name like a bird. No wonder why Norman wants to eat her all up, but Norman couldn't hurt a fly or could he. That's actually a form of symbolism. The soundtrack of screeching violins, violas, and cellos was an original all-strings piece by composer Bernard Herrmann titled "The Murder" is amazing. It works for the film so well. This film sequels that followed in 1983 are just mediocre at best. There was also a 1998's remake of the film with Director Gus Van Sant that was God awful. 2012 and 2013 was a big high for Psycho fans as Bates Motel started to aired on A&E. Anthony Hopkins star in 2012 film Hitchcock about filming the movie, and also a HBO telefilm call 'The Girl" with Toby Jones as Hitchcock during the filming of this movie, Psycho.
2013-06-26
My favourite film of all time!
By far the greatest work of The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. When I watched this film for the first time aged 16, I was sucked in by the plot, the characters, Bernard Herrmann's score and the terrific acting. I went in knowing one thing about the movie, and that was that there is a shower scene. It was the first Hitchcock film I'd ever seen and it was the first mystery/thriller I'd ever seen. Now I am a big fan of both Hitch and the genre.

The best aspect of this movie is the fantastic acting. What can you say that hasn't already been said about the performance of Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates except that it's a tragedy he wasn't nominated for an Oscar. His delivering of the script, his shyness and sudden twists is one of the best acting performances I've witnessed. But that doesn't take away from the rest of the cast. Janet Leigh is wonderful Marion Crane, and supporting talent from John Gavin, Martin Balsam and especially Vera Miles, make for a film you can watch over and over.

This is the first film I ever saw where afterwards, I wanted to know everything there was to know about it. I watched all the making of documentaries I could find, I wanted to watch all the sequels (Psycho II is also very good by the way) and I even chose the film as my specialist subject in a quiz we did in my college.

I recommend this film to everyone. It's full of twists, turns and surprises that keep you guessing write till the end, and I mean the very end. You can't take your eyes of the screen. You're engrossed by these characters and the plot that you don't want to miss a second.

Suspenseful, sophisticated, chilling, thrilling and an absolute masterpiece of film making.
2014-11-13
Truly the original horror movie of all times .
Psycho , Alfred Hitchcock's classic about a guy and his mother is the movie that is at the origin of all horror movies ever made . It is truly an experience to live !!!!!!!!!!!!

The music has a great part in this movie .

Anthony Perkins is the ultimate psychopath ever !!! He and his "mother " are the best killer duo ever produced.

The new version is good but not quite as great as the original.

Still I urge all movie lovers to see it , whether it's the original or the new version , GO SEE THIS ULTIMATE EXPERIENCE!!!
1998-12-13
It was a dark and stormy night...
(((((SPOILERS))))

For most people, the most memorable scene in Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO, indeed it's most famous scene, is the shower sequence. It has been broken down and analyzed ad nauseam as an example of the fine art of editing. It is a great sequence, but to me the best scene in PSYCHO occurs just before that. Janet Leigh as Marion Crane, on the run from having committed a crime, sits in the parlor behind the Bates Motel's office and discusses nothing and everything with Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates, the motel's lonely proprietor. It is a chat between strangers who desperately need to talk to someone, anyone, but have no one to whom they can confide. It is a beautifully written and acted scene, which serves as the calm before the storm.

For all of its flashiness and sleight-of-hand gore, the shower sequence isn't nearly as effective at showing what a master filmmaker Hitchcock was. It is in the parlor scene that the entire narrative spins around; as the audience is prompted to switch their allegiance from Marion to Norman. Nothing really happens in the scene, other than two characters talking, but how things are said reveals as much as what is actually said. Here Marion comes to terms with her mistake and decides to pull herself out of her "private trap." Norman introduces us, indirectly, to Mother and wins our sympathy, which is vital to the way the rest of the film plays out. The scene very skillfully sets the mood of uneasiness that propels us into the upcoming murder, even as it suggests that Marion is achieving a sense of inner peace. Madness is revealed, danger is suggested, yet the audiences is coolly and cruelly lulled into an almost tranquil state. It is obvious something is coming, but not so soon.

Then the shower curtain is ripped aside and blood begins to splatter.

The measure of a film like PSYCHO is not how cleverly it fools you the first time, but how irrelevant its surprises are to enjoying it time after time. Indeed, compare it to Gus Van Sant's 1998 remake, or even Brian De Palma's 1980 semi-remake, DRESSED TO KILL, and the power of the film is obvious. Van Sant's version, though a scene for scene imitation is barely watchable even once, especially if you are already familiar with the plot; and while De Palma's homage is stylish and intriguing the first time around, its psychology and plot tricks don't stand up on repeated viewings. By contrast, Hitchcock's PSYCHO can be viewed repeatedly with full awareness and appreciation of knowing what is coming up next.

I think an element of Hitchcock's genius is apparent in that he doesn't treat his major plot twist as a just a gimmick. The entire first half of PSYCHO could have been treated as just a shaggy dog story, a prelude marking time until Norman Bates' story takes center stage. But Hitchcock realized that Janet Leigh's story had to be presented with all due gravity, otherwise the shift to Anthony Perkins' story wouldn't be nearly as effective. Neither Van Sant nor De Palma seemed to understand this, especially De Palma who treats the Angie Dickinson scenes in DRESSED with a cruel, condescending sense of humor. Hitchcock's PSYCHO works as a whole, but could very easily have been presented as two independent episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents....." Marion Crane's story is not just a build up (though Hitchcock himself claimed that killing off his leading lady was all meant as a joke on the audience), but as a complete story unto itself, replete with the type of shocking twist ending that was the hallmark of Hitchcock's television anthology. Likewise, the Norman Bates half of PSYCHO, is a complete suspense tale in its own right. The shower scene is the bridge between the two stories, but it is the scene in the parlor that cements the two tales -- and the fates of the two protagonist.

And if you look at PSYCHO as two separate parts of a whole, then Marion's story is revealed to be the more complete of the two. Norman's story, while beautifully done, is essentially a mystery story; Sam, Lila and Arbogast are trying to solve a whodunit: what happened to Marion and the $40,000? The cleverness of Hitchcock and screenwriter Joseph Stefano is that they let us think we know the answer right off the bat, building to a conclusion where it is revealed how completely we have been fooled. In the end, we know little more than Lila and Sam. To some extent, this is the real gimmick of the film.

On the other hand, Marion's story allows Hitchcock to make so much out of so little. He creates tension, even though there is no tangible threat. Marion is on the run with stolen funds, but the theft hasn't even been discovered yet. All of the danger is strictly in her mind: What will happen when...? She is a smart woman who has done something very stupid, but proceeds even as her fears grow and grow. But cinematically the suspense is created out of mundane things: a policeman's face at the car window, rain and windshield wipers slashing across the screen, the glare of on coming headlights. Mix this with the haunting voice overs of accusing voices and Bernard Herrmann incredible musical violence and the effect is hypnotic. But these imagined dangers do not prepare Marian or the audience for the real dangers ahead.

And something has to be said for Janet Leigh. Always overshadowed by Anthony Perkins' iconic performance, Leigh never gets her due (though she was nominated for an Oscar, she lost to Shirley Jones in ELMER GANTRY). But she dominates the first half of the film with a vivid performance that is sexual, humorous and bittersweet. So much of her role depends on the subtlety of her facial expressions: her sad smile at pretending to believe Sam's excuses for not marrying her, her bemused glances at the flirtatious old millionaire, her self-satisfied smirks as she thinks about how people will react to discovering her crime, her mixture of concern and fear as she talks to Norman in the backroom parlor. Plus, she displays an attitude that is both smart and sexy. It is one of the great film performance.

It's easy to take PSYCHO for granted now; it has been imitated so many times in so many ways by far lesser talents. Indeed, it's one negative is that it inspired so may pale imitations, including its own three sequels and a very bad remake. Yet even so, PSYCHO remains a one and only original. And its iconic status can't be denied; it redefined the concepts of what a Hitchcock film was and what a horror film could be.
2004-06-13
A horror masterpiece
This is one of the most well-crafted horror film of all time. I can't say much about this film that hasn't already been said, so I'll just say it is eerie, suspenseful, and well-told. With this, Hitchcock became one of the best directors ever. 5/5 stars.
1999-07-28
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