Peeping Tom (1960)

UK, 1959
86m (US cut version), 101m
35mm, Eastmancolor, 1.66:1
mono, English

A British horror film directed by Michael Powell. The film was met with such damning reviews in the UK when it was first released that it had a serious negative impact on Powell's career. Hailed as one of the great British film-makers for decades, he suddenly found it difficult to find work at home and only had a handful of directing jobs over the next decade and a half, mainly on television or in Europe. His career ended in 1972 with The Boy Who Turned Yellow, made for the Children's Film Foundation.

Plot Summary

Mark Lewis, damaged as a child by his father's cruel experiments, works as a focus puller for a movie studio, and earns extra money by taking ‘glamour' pictures in a seedy studio above a newsagents. But the outwardly charming Mark has become so unhinged that he takes to murdering models and prostitutes and filming their death agonies. But things start to get very complicated for Mark when he meets and falls for Helen Stephens who moves into one of the rooms in the apartment block he lives in.


Directed by: Michael Powell
© MCMLX [] Michael Powell (Theatre) Ltd
Anglo-Amalgamated Film Distributors Ltd [opening logo]. Nat Cohen and Stuart Levy present a Michael Powell production
An original story and screenplay by Leo Marks
Photographed in Eastmancolor by: Otto Heller
Editor: Noreen Ackland
Music Composed and Directed by: Brian Easdale
Sound Recordists: C.C. Stevens, Gordon McCallum
Miss Anna Massey's Dresses by: Polly Peck
Miss Moira Shearer's Dress by: John Tullis of Horrockses
Make-up: W.T. Partleton
Hairdressing: Pearl Orton
Art Director: Arthur Lawson
Locations: 29 Rathbone Place, Bloomsbury, London, England, UK; 5 Melbury Road, Holland Park, London, England, UK; Clitterhouse Housing Estate, Claremont Road, Cricklewood, London, England, UK; Newman Passage, Soho, London, England, UK; Whitefield Secondary Modern School, Claremont Road, Cricklewood, London, England, UK
Studio: Pinewood Studios, Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire, England, UK

Carl Boehm (Mark Lewis)
Moira Shearer (Vivian)
Anna Massey (Helen Stephens)
Maxine Audley (Mrs Stephens)
Brenda Bruce (Dora)
Miles Malleson (elderly gentleman)
Esmond Knight (Arthur Baden)
Martin Miller (Dr Rosan)
Michael Goodliffe (Don Jarvis)
Jack Watson (Chief Inspector Gregg)
Shirley Anne Field (Diane Ashley)
Pamela Green (Milly)

Alternative Titles

Augen der Angst – West Germany
Chi wo sû kamera – Japan
El fotógrafo del pánico – Spain
Fotomodeller jages – Denmark
Kadin katili – Turkey
Kurkistelija – Finland
De Loerder – Belgium (Flemish)
L'occhio che uccide – Italy
Peeping Tom – en smygtittare – Sweden
Pelon kasvot – Finland
Röntgenci – Turkey
Smrt u ocima – Yugoslavia (Croatian)
A Tortura do Medo – Brazil
Tres rostros para el miedo – Argentine
A Vítima do Medo – Portugal
Le Voyeur – Belgium (French), France
Zvedavec – Czechoslovakia


Extracts included in
100 Years of Horror (1996)
78/52 (2017)
Doing Rude Things (1995)
Hollywood Uncensored (1987)
Long Live the New Flesh: The Films of David Cronenberg (1987)
Murder by Numbers (2001)
S&man (2006)
A Very British Psycho (1997)

See also
Last Night in Soho (2021)

Production Notes

Production began on 2 November 1959 1Variety 2 December 1959 p.20

To help promote the film, actress Moira Shearer appeared on the BBC's film review/magazine programme Picture Parade on Tuesday 12 April 1960 2Kine Weekly vol.515 no.2740 (7 April 1960) p.16.


Total Film no.83 (December 2003) p.47
As supreme an influence on the serial-killer genre as Psycho, there's still an important distinction: whereas Hitchcock goes for a shared scream, Powell dares to implicate each audience member in the killer's actions by letting us see what he sees. So what was once perceived as perverse now comes across as a particularly sharp dissection of and audience complicity. Fat lot of good for Powell – Peeping Tom forced him into exile until Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese both championed the movie in the late '60s. – from an illustrated article (The flops that rocked) by Jonathan Crocker and Simon Crook



  • Castle of Frankenstein no.3 p.4
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.4 p.6
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.22 pp.38, 39
  • Kine Weekly vol.515 no.2740 (7 April 1960) p.16 – note (Renters' news: ‘Peeping Tom' for Picture Parade)
  • Kine Weekly vol. 517 no.2749 (9 June 1960) p.15 – note (Renters' news: Peeping Tom back to West End)
  • Kine Weekly vol.517 no.2750 (16 June 1960) p.15 – note (Your films by Josh Billings)
  • Kine Weekly vol.517 no.2751 (23 June 1960) p.11 – note (Your films by Josh Billings)
  • Total Film no.83 (December 2003) p.47 – illustrated article (The flops that rocked by Jonathan Crocker and Simon Crook)
  • Variety 2 December 1959 p.20 – credits, production start date (Hollywood production pulse)


  • The 100 Best Movies You've Never Seen by Richard Crouse p.167-169
  • 500 Essential Cult Movies: The Ultimate Guide by Jennifer Eiss with J.P. Rutter and Steve White p.256 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Anatomy of the Slasher Film: A Theoretical Analysis by Sotiris Petridis p.6
  • Arrows of Desire: The Films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger by Ian Christie pp.12, 18, 21, 50, 78, 90, 101, 102-105, 106, 109, 100, 114, 124
  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.135-136
  • The Book of Horror: The Anatomy of Fear in Film by Matt Glasby p.16 – review
  • British Sound Films: The Studio Years 1928-1959 by David Quinlan p.360 – credits, synopsis
  • Educational Institutions in Horror Film: A History of Mad Professors, Student Bodies, and Final Exams by Andrew L. Grunzke pp.184, 194
  • English Gothic: A Century of Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.42, 85-87, 86, 88, 89-90, 95, 97, 104, 110, 142, 168, 189, 197, 210, 217, 230, 248, 252, 284, 343, 371
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.65, 94, 111, 210, 214, 250
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.347
  • The Films of Michael Powell and The Archers by Scott Salwolke pp.1, 2, 12, 17, 18, 28, 29, 39, 67, 68, 130, 155, 159, 187, 217-232, 235, 256, 259
  • Horror and Science Fiction Films II by Donald C. Willis pp.297-298
  • Horror Films by Subgenre: A Viewer's Guide by Chris Vander Kaay and Kathleen Fernandez-Vander Kaay p.87
  • Horrorshows: The A-Z of Horror in Film, TV, Radio and Theatre by Gene Wright p.24-25 – credits, review
  • The Mammoth Book of Slasher Movies: An A-Z Guide to Over Sixty Years of Blood and Guts by Peter Normanton pp.347-349
  • Michael Powell by James Howard pp.12, 82-86, 90, 93, 140-141
  • Michael Powell by Kevin Gough-Yates pp.4-8, 16-18, 20, 43
  • The Pocket Essential Slasher Movies by Mark Whitehead pp.22-23
  • Recovering 1940s Horror Cinema: Traces of a Lost Decade by Mario DeGiglio-Bellemare, Charlie Ellbé and Kristopher Woofter (eds.) pp.27, 29, 31, 41-42, 43n6, 97, 187
  • by Walt Lee p.361 – credits
  • Serial Killer Cinema: An Analytical Filmography by Robert Cetti p.341-345
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.319-320
  • Uneasy Dreams: The Golden Age of British Horror Films, 1956-1976 by Gary A. Smith pp.173-174
  • X-Cert: The British Independent Horror Film: 1951-1970 by John Hamilton pp.77-84; 224-225

Other sources

  • BFI Southbank Programme March 2016 p.21 – illustrated note