There are multiple themes in Alfred Hitchcock's film Rear Window, including love, loneliness, survival, conflict between the sexes, empathy, and murder. L. B. Jefferies, Jeff, is in a wheel chair with a broken his leg when the film opens. Bored, he watches his neighbors across the courtyard. The themes of love and loneliness soon emerge.
For instance, in one apartment there is a young woman who has many boyfriends and entertains almost nightly. Jeff dubs her Miss Torso and tells Lisa that “she’s like a queen bee with her pick of the drones.” Lisa replies that Miss Torso is “doing a woman’s hardest job, juggling wolves. ... She’s not in love with him or any of them.” Lisa is right. Miss Torso's real boyfriend, Stanley, is a serviceman who comes back to New York by the end of the film.
In another apartment lives a middle-aged woman who is alone nearly every night. She pretends that she has a dinner companion, toasting her wine glass to her imaginary date at a candlelit table. Jeff calls her Miss Lonely Heart. He, Lisa and Stella have tremendous empathy for Miss Lonely Heart. Jeff and Stella observe Miss Lonely Heart preparing to take a presumably fatal dose of pills. However, she hears her neighbor’s music coming through the window and changes her mind. Relieved, Stella tells Jeff, “Mr. Jeffries, the music stopped her.”
The movie also reveals the conflict between Jeff and Lisa, who have extremely different view of marriage. Jeff feels that he cannot marry Lisa because he wants to travel the world as a photojournalist. Jeff tells Stella:
Jeff: She wants me to marry her.
Stella: That's normal.
Jeff: I don't want to.
Stella: That's abnormal.
A major theme in the film is that of murder and suspense. Jeff thinks that his neighbor Mr. Thorwald is guilty of something and suspects that he murdered his wife. He convinces Stella and Lisa that Thorwald has committed a murder. They say:
Lisa: The last thing Mrs. Thorwald would leave behind would be her wedding ring. Stella, do you ever leave yours at home?
Stella: The only way somebody would get that would be to chop off my finger. Let's go down to the garden and find out what's buried there.
Lisa: Why not? I always wanted to meet Mrs. Thorwald.
At the end of the film, Thorwald tries to kill Jeff. The theme of survival becomes evident, largely through the camera close-up of Jeff’s face and his look of terror as he tries to hold on until help can reach him.