A "benefit world premiere" for the film, with United Nations officials and "prominent members of the social and entertainment worlds" in attendance, was held on August 4, 1954 at the Rivoli Theatre in New York City, with proceeds going to the American-Korean Foundation (an aid organization founded soon after the end of the Korean War and headed by President Eisenhower's brother).
The movie was released wide on September 1, 1954.
The movie went on to earn an estimated $5.3 million at the North American box office in 1954.
The film received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and is considered one of Hitchcock's finest films. On the website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has been universally praised, garnering a 100% certified fresh rating, based on 61 reviews, with the consensus stating that "Hitchcock exerted full potential of suspense in this masterpiece."
Critic Bosley Crowther of The New York Times attended the benefit premiere, and in his review called the film a "tense and exciting exercise" and Hitchcock a director whose work has a "maximum of build-up to the punch, a maximum of carefully tricked deception and incidents to divert and amuse." Crowther also notes: "Mr. Hitchcock's film is not 'significant.' What it has to say about people and human nature is superficial and glib. But it does expose many facets of the loneliness of city life and it tacitly demonstrates the impulse of morbid curiosity. The purpose of it is sensation, and that it generally provides in the colorfulness of its detail and in the flood of menace toward the end."
Time called it "just possibly the second most entertaining picture (after The 39 Steps) ever made by Alfred Hitchcock" and a film in which there is "never an instant ... when Director Hitchcock is not in minute and masterly control of his material." The same review did note "occasional studied lapses of taste and, more important, the eerie sense a Hitchcock audience has of reacting in a manner so carefully foreseen as to seem practically foreordained." Variety called the film "one of Alfred Hitchcock's better thrillers" which "combines technical and artistic skills in a manner that makes this an unusually good piece of murder mystery entertainment."
Nearly 30 years after the film's initial release, Roger Ebert reviewed the Universal re-release in October 1983, after Hitchcock's estate was settled. He said the film "develops such a clean, uncluttered line from beginning to end that we're drawn through it (and into it) effortlessly. The experience is not so much like watching a movie, as like ... well, like spying on your neighbors. Hitchcock traps us right from the first ... And because Hitchcock makes us accomplices in Stewart's voyeurism, we're along for the ride. When an enraged man comes bursting through the door to kill Stewart, we can't detach ourselves, because we looked too, and so we share the guilt and in a way we deserve what's coming to him."
|Date of ceremony||Award||Category||Subject||Result|
|August 22 to September 7, 1954||Venice Film Festival||Golden Lion||Alfred Hitchcock||Nominated|
|December 20, 1954||National Board of Review Awards||Best Actress||Grace Kelly||Won|
|January 1955||NYFCC Awards||Best Actress||Grace Kelly||Won|
|Best Director||Alfred Hitchcock||2nd place|
|February 13, 1955||DGA Award||Outstanding Achievement in Feature Film||Alfred Hitchcock||Nominated|
|February 28, 1955||Writers Guild of America Awards||Best Written American Drama||John Michael Hayes||Nominated|
|March 10, 1955||BAFTA Award||Best Film||Rear Window||Nominated|
|March 30, 1955||Academy Awards||Best Director||Alfred Hitchcock||Nominated|
|Best Adapted Screenplay||John Michael Hayes||Nominated|
|Best Cinematography - Color||Robert Burks||Nominated|
|Best Sound Mixing||Loren L. Ryder||Nominated|
|April 21, 1955||Edgar Allan Poe Awards||Best Motion Picture Screenplay||John Michael Hayes||Won|
|November 18, 1997||National Film Preservation Board||National Film Registry||Rear Window||Won|
|2002||Online Film & Television Association Award||OFTA Film Hall of Fame — Motion Picture||Rear Window||Won|