It’s been over a decade since Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 film Rear Window was released, and it still remains one of the best suspense-thrillers of all time.
The ending of Rear Window is one of the best endings in all of cinema. Jeff (James Stewart) finds out that his suspicions are true, but as he hurries home to stop Thorwald (Raymond Burr), Lisa (Grace Kelly) gets trapped by the killer himself. The ending is shocking and satisfying, giving us the closure we want but keeping us on edge until the final scene.
This article will take a look at the ending of Rear Window and what it means.
All About Of Rear Window 1954 Meaning and Ending Explained
The movie stars James Stewart as a photographer who breaks his leg in an accident, keeping him confined to his apartment. Unable to leave, he becomes bored and begins spying on his neighbours across the street. He soon becomes convinced that one of them has committed murder and decides to intervene with the help of his girlfriend (Grace Kelly) and nurse (Thelma Ritter).
Jeff is a photographer with a broken leg, left in a cast and stuck at home. As he sits helplessly in his wheelchair, he observes his neighbors through their windows. This includes a married couple who are arguing, an older woman who has lost her dog, and a lonely woman of obvious wealth who spends all of her time shopping for expensive jewelry.
Then there’s the Thorwalds — a man and his wife who are living on the top floor across from Jeff. One night, Jeff witnesses the husband kill the wife and saw the body into pieces. He then hides the evidence in little wooden boxes in the back yard.
Jeff is convinced that the Thorwald’s wife was murdered, but no one believes him because he has no proof. Lisa (Grace Kelly), his girlfriend, is supportive of him but she can’t help him unless he has something more concrete to give to the police.
Meanwhile, Jeff is being watched himself by his neighbor’s wife (Irene Winston). She knows what kind of trouble Jeff is in and thinks they should go to the police together. But Jeff refuses to get anyone else hurt — not even this woman whose name he doesn’t know.
Along the way, though, Thorwald realizes he’s being watched and tries to murder Jeff by pushing him out the window of his apartment. But Lisa intervenes and saves him. The police arrive soon after and arrest Mr. Thorwald for murder.
When asked what will happen to him now that he can’t use his legs, Jeff responds by saying he plans on proposing to Lisa, which she accepts.
He fails in this attempt thanks to Lisa and Stella, but he does steal all of Jeff’s camera equipment — meaning Jeff will be unable to continue making movies professionally. It isn’t clear whether or not Thorwald has been arrested for murder or if he’ll get away with killing his wife, but this doesn’t matter much to Jeff because Lisa agrees to marry him anyway.
Meaning of the Film
In the beginning of the Rear Window, Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff is in an argument with his girlfriend Lisa. It is implied that he has been dating Lisa for some time and she wants to take their relationship to the next level. Jeff is reluctant to get married because he fears that marriage will ruin his life and that Lisa will not be able to accept his lifestyle.
The main conflict in the film revolves around Thorwald, a man who lives across from Jeff. It is obvious that Thorwald’s wife has gone missing and he is acting suspiciously by disposing of a large suitcase. Jeff believes that Thorwald has murdered his wife and he sets out to prove it by using any evidence he can find.
Working with Lisa and his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), Jeff finds proof that Thorwald actually did murder his wife in the form of Mrs. Thorwald’s wedding ring which was thrown down a sewer drain. Along the way, though, Thorwald realizes he’s being watched and tries to murder Jeff by pushing him out the window of his apartment. Luckily, Jeff manages to subdue Thorwald and tie him up until police arrive on scene.
Rear Window’s opening sequence is a masterful exercise in exposition. We are told the story of Jeffries’ accident, and we are shown how it has led to his present predicament. We learn that he is an accomplished photographer, a brave man who is easily bored, and an inquisitive person who enjoys watching life unfold around him. All of this information is conveyed in the opening moments of the film, but Hitchcock manages to do so without resorting to any clunky narration or expository dialogue.
The film ends with Jeff looking out the window one last time.
What is the Meaning of the Ending?
The ending of Rear Window is both happy and sad at the same time. It’s happy because Jeff and Lisa get married, but sad because Jeff has to give up his job as a photographer (at least for a little while). His accident has left him with a broken leg that makes it impossible for him to go out in the field and chase after stories, so he takes a desk job.
In addition, he also gives up his apartment, which was basically the center of his life, so that he can move into Lisa’s. He has to give up all the people who used to be a part of his life (he only sees Stella one more time after his accident, and she just comes by to pick up some things), but in exchange, he gets to live with Lisa in her fancy apartment. In other words, his life is different now — he’s moved on from being single to being married — but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The ending of Rear Window is a suspenseful finale to Hitchcock’s classic. Working with Lisa and his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), Jeff finds proof that Thorwald actually did murder his wife in the form of Mrs. Thorwald’s wedding band, which was cut off her finger before she was murdered. Along the way, though, Thorwald realizes he’s being watched and tries to murder Jeff by pushing him out the window of his apartment.
Jeff survives and Thorwald is arrested. The film ends with Lisa happily agreeing to marry Jeff as he starts a new life of being cautious rather than dangerous.
The ending of the film is happy and sad at the same time. Jeff and Lisa get married, but he gives up his job as a photographer (at least for a little while). His accident has left him with a broken leg that makes it impossible for him to go out in the field and chase after stories, so he takes a desk job.
The ending of Rear Window is a classic ‘Hollywood’ ending, whereby the film comes to a full circle in a neat and tidy way. In this ending, Jeffries recovers from his injuries. He marries Lisa and finally turns his attention to race cars.
Working with Lisa and his nurse Stella (Thelma Ritter), Jeff finds proof that Thorwald actually did murder his wife in the form of Mrs. Thorwald’s wedding ring, which had been previously overlooked by the police. The trio then go over to Thorwald’s apartment in order to confront him about the murder.
Along the way, though, Thorwald realizes he’s being watched and tries to murder Jeff by pushing him out the window of his apartment. Despite being injured in the process, Jeff survives.
Stella winds up accidentally killing Thorwald during a struggle and he dies by falling off a window ledge onto some spikes below. The police arrive as Thorwald is dying (in an apparent suicide). As they leave, they take away Stella as she has killed another man (her husband having previously died from being pushed down the stairs).
The scene then returns back to Jeffries’ apartment where Lisa tells him she can break up with her previous boyfriend.
Likewise, Hitchcock wastes no time in establishing Jeffries’ ennui. In one shot the camera shows us one clock after another ticking out the time: time passing which Jeff cannot act upon. Two hours of therapy have passed, and he still isn’t ready to leave the confines of his apartment; two weeks have passed since his accident, and he still can’t return to work. This is all relayed through brief glimpses at each clock without a word being spoken.
Then there’s Jeffries’ relationship with Lisa, who we learn is more than just a woman hired to tend to his needs; she is also a fashion model who has only recently begun dating Jeffries, so their relationship is still new and prone to awkward fits of silence.
This article should explain the ending of Rear Window (1954) properly. The Alfred Hitchcock film starring James Stewart and Grace Kelly. Rear Window is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous films, ranking with Psycho, Vertigo, North by Northwest and The Birds as an example of the ‘Master of Suspense‘ at his very best.
It’s also one of the most rewatchable films ever made, because it’s packed with so many layers of meaning. It’s a murder mystery, a romance and an exploration of voyeurism all in one.
When you are trying to analyze a movie, Rear Window is one of the very best films to watch. The movie is so simple in its storytelling, yet so complex in its themes and morality.