Psycho is a 1960 American psychological horror film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, and written by Joseph Stefano. It stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, John Gavin, Vera Miles, and Martin Balsam, and was based on the 1959 novel of the same name by Robert Bloch. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane (Leigh), who ends up at a secluded motel after stealing money from her employer, and the motel's owner-manager, Norman Bates (Perkins), and its aftermath.
Psycho was seen as a departure from Hitchcock's previous film North by Northwest, having been filmed on a low budget, in black-and-white, and by a television crew. The film initially received mixed reviews, but outstanding box-office returns prompted reconsideration which led to overwhelming critical acclaim and four Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress for Leigh and Best Director for Hitchcock.
Psycho is now considered one of Hitchcock's best films and praised as a major work of cinematic art by international film critics and scholars. Often ranked among the greatest films of all time, it set a new level of acceptability for violence, deviant behavior and sexuality in American films, and is widely considered to be the earliest example of the slasher film genre.
After Hitchcock's death in 1980, Universal Studios began producing follow-ups: three sequels, a remake, a made-for-television spin-off, and a prequel television series, set in the 2010s. In 1992, the Library of Congress deemed the film "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry.