• PG
  • Alfred Hitchcock (1940)
  • US
  • 130 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
5 out of 5

Alfred Hitchcock's first Hollywood film is a sumptuous and suspenseful adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's romantic novel. Produced by David O Selznick, it is immaculately played and was rightly awarded the Oscar for best picture. That Laurence Olivier as Maxim de Winter is superb goes without saying, but it's mousey Joan Fontaine who is a revelation as the second Mrs de Winter. Lovers of lesbian subtexts will have a field day with Judith Anderson's sinister housekeeper Mrs Danvers, as Hitchcock circumvents the Hays Code censors who forced him to make changes to the original story. Fortunately no damage was done - unless you think too hard. And, since the style and pace never let up, there's no danger of that happening.

Plot Summary

Classic romantic thriller, based on Daphne du Maurier's novel, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Wealthy widower Maxim de Winter returns from Monte Carlo to his family estate in Cornwall, bringing with him his young bride. But the new Mrs de Winter soon finds herself haunted by the spirit of her husband's beautiful first wife, Rebecca, who died in mysterious circumstances.

Cast and crew


Maxim de Winter
Laurence Olivier
Mrs de Winter
Joan Fontaine
Jack Favell
George Sanders
Mrs Danvers
Judith Anderson
Major Giles Lacy
Nigel Bruce
Frank Crawley
Reginald Denny
Colonel Julyan
C Aubrey Smith
Beatrice Lacy
Gladys Cooper
Mrs Edythe Van Hopper
Florence Bates
Melville Cooper
Dr Baker
Leo G Carroll
Leonard Carey


Alfred Hitchcock

Other Information

Black and White
Theatrical distributor: 
Available on video and DVD
Released 30 Jun 2006
Certificate PG
BFI Films