More than two decades after releasing back-to-back Daphne du Maurier adaptations with Jamaica Inn and Rebecca, Alfred Hitchcock returned to the well, commissioning writer Evan Hunter to collaborate on a feature-length screenplay loosely based on a du Maurier short story from 1952. Tippi Hedren stars in her first credited screen role as Melanie, a glamorous San Francisco socialite who, after a pet shop meet-cute with a charming lawyer (Rod Taylor), impulsively follows him to the small coastal hometown where he’s visiting his young sister and their stern, watchful mother, Lydia (Jessica Tandy). During Melanie’s stay, the town’s residents begin to witness mysterious, increasingly disturbing behavior from the local bird population, most notably the menacing swarms of gulls, crows, and sparrows that begin to materialize—and that soon proceed to wreak violent havoc. This late-career tour de force exemplifies the master of suspense’s virtuosic command of mood and tone, and remains one of the most influential and enduringly enigmatic horror films of all time.