Great Characters Wiki
Great Characters Wiki

"We all go a little mad sometimes." ― Norman's most famous line

Norman Bates is the main antagonist of the novel Psycho and its legendary film adaptation, directed by the late Alfred Hitchcock. He also appears in three sequels to the original film and a TV series, Bates Motel. He is a mentally ill motel owner who murders woman while under the control of his other personality, which takes the form of his mother, whom he himself murdered.

In the films, he was portrayed by the late Anthony Perkins. In the TV series, he was portrayed by Freddie Highmore.

Why He Rocks

  • Perkins' iconic performance
  • He changed the popular portrayal of murderers from over-the-top, obvious monsters to seemingly normal, even likable people hiding dark secrets
  • The audience is torn between being frightened by Norman and sympathizing with him
  • The "Shower Scene" in which Norman (as Mother) murders Marion Crane is arguably the most famous murder scene in film history
  • He popularized the portrayal of mental illness and serial killers in film
  • Throughout the film series, he evolves from villain to protagonist


  • He is based on real-life murderer and graverobber Ed Gein.

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