Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

The Films of Alfred Hitchcock

Recommended Posts

How many of Director Alfred Hitchcock's films have you seen? I've seen these 30 (parts of others & a lot of his TV show's episodes) and look forward to seeing (at least two) more of his movies that I haven't seen (particularly his early works) soon on TCM.


Rather than list my top 10 (or strictly my favorites), which would be difficult to do given the number of quality films he directed, I thought I'd give a brief summary (with some additional information, including some spoilers) of these, which I thought might be helpful for those who may not have seen very many of his movies. Also, if you didn't know, the director appeared briefly in almost all of his films (which I've included below); a practice he started doing earlier in each film as the years progressed so that the audience could concentrate on his film instead of his cameo.


I'll list them in chronological order and indicate if/when it will be shown next (uncut and uninterrupted!) on TCM:


The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) - Peter Lorre plays an assassin, his first English-speaking role (learned phonetically), in this thriller. It contains the memorable scene in which an assassination is attempted at a key point during a concert (and a concerto composed specifically for the film by Arthur Benjamin) at Albert Hall. The film also features a gun battle at the end which was based on the real-life "Sidney Street siege", that had occurred in London a short time before the production. Hitchcock remade this film 22 years later and many critics disagree about which is the better version.


The 39 Steps (1935) - one of Hitchcock's favorites, it was his first to use "the innocent man, framed by circumstantial evidence, who much run cross-country from police and spies alike in his frantic attempt to clear himself and find the real enemies of the people", a theme which he would make his trademark. Robert Donat plays that man in this film, Madeleine Carroll the woman who helps him. A memorable scene in this film involves Donat's landlady finding a body in "his" apartment and screaming at the same time he is seen on a train, with her scream being replaced with the shrill whistle of the train.

on TCM - 9/28 @ 11:30 PM ET

cameo - passing on the street


Sabotage (1936) - is the story of a saboteur, a terrorist bomber if you will, whose motivations are never really explained. The only recognizable actor/actress in the film is Sylvia Sidney, from which the director gets perhaps her best performance on screen. She plays the saboteur's wife whose younger brother is killed by one of her husband's bombs leading to a memorable (almost silent film like) scene in which she exacts revenge. The film was banned in Brazil because it upset public order, according to the South American government. The censor declared that it taught conspiracy and terroristic technique. In the United States, it was released under the title A Woman Alone.

on TCM - 7/28 @ 8 PM ET


Young and Innocent (1937) - is a surprisingly engaging film which recycles "the innocent accused man on a chase" (with aid from a woman) theme, yet uses no actors with which many would be familiar. There's an unforgettable barn set piece, exciting car chase sequences, and an amusing child's birthday party scene which adds tension while enabling the police to "catch up". However, the most memorable scene from the film is a long, sweeping shot which flows without interruption from 145 feet way to just 4 inches from the twitching eyes of the murderer. In the U.S., the film was cut by 10 minutes and released as The Girl Was Young.

cameo - posing as a photographer outside a courtroom


The Lady Vanishes (1938) - a delightful, in fact overtly funny, gem of a film (certainly in my top 10) starring Dame May Whitty and Paul Lukas, among others. Hitchcock begins the movie with typical British witty humor, laced with nuance, but then builds the suspense as the story progresses. The premise is that an old woman, a passenger on a train, disappears. At least, one lady insists that she's missing while most of the other passengers either deny it, or can't be convinced of it (particularly since a "substitute" old woman is on the train). There's a climactic shootout scene, but one of the most memorable things (for me;- ) about the film is the comedic pairing of Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford.

cameo - quick shot of him in London railway station

Awards - Best Director - New York Film Critics Circle


Rebecca (1940) - Hitchcock's first American film, having been lured "here" by Producer David O. Selznick, this strange love story pairs Laurence Olivier with Joan Fontaine, but the real fireworks (and the film's most memorable scene) occur between Ms. Fontaine's character and Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper, played brilliantly by Judith Anderson. There's a host of other great supporting actors as well including George Sanders, Nigel Bruce, C. Aubrey-Smith, and Reginald Denny.

on TCM - 8/12 @ 1 AM ET

cameo - near a phone booth in which George Sanders makes a call

Awards - Best Picture & Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) Academy Awards plus nine other nominations; Mrs. Danvers is AFI's #31 of AFI's top 50 Villains


Foreign Correspondant (1940) - this is the best of the two Hitchcock films released in 1940, IMNSHO, which is saying something given the fact that the other won the Oscar. Not only does it have terrific set pieces (an old Dutch windmill, a transatlantic clipper, etc.) but it contains standout performances by Joel McCrea (Hitch had wanted Gary Cooper, who turned down the role), Herbert Marshall (his best acting?) and George Sanders (one of many cynical characters he played to perfection). McCrea plays a reporter assigned to investigate the chances of an outbreak of war in Europe immediately prior to WW II. It does, and there's lots of suspense & intrigue including a kidnapping. The end of the film is a virtual advertisement urging the U.S. to join Britain in the war against Germany.

cameo - passes Joel McCrea on street

Awards - six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture


Mr. And Mrs. Smith (1941) - A film Mr. Hitchcock directed as a favor to his close friend Carole Lombard, who stars with Robert Montgomery (and Gene Raymond & Jack Carson) in this uncharacteristic screwball comedy. Predictably, it's not very good. It's a rather thin story about a couple with an up-and-down relationship who are told that their marriage license is invalid and "humor" that follows as they each have to decide whether or not they want to do it all over again. Even though I saw this fairly recently, I can't think of any memorable scenes.

cameo - passes Robert Montgomery on street


Suspicion (1941) - is the first movie that the "Master of Suspense" used Cary Grant as his leading man, and it's certainly the weakest in the four film series (perhaps in part because the suspicion is whether or not Mr. Grant's character is the bad guy!). It's the second (and last) time he used Joan Fontaine as his leading lady, though her understated performance earned her several awards including the Oscar. The most memorable scenes are near the film's end when Grant's character climbs the stairs carrying a glass of milk for Ms. Fontaine's (the intimation being that it is poisoned) and a wild car ride along a dangerous road with cliffs.

on TCM - 8/27 @ 4:15 AM ET; 9/27 @ 6 AM ET

cameo - mailing a letter at the village post office

Awards - Best Actress (Joan Fontaine) Academy Award plus two other nominations including Best Picture

Best Actress (Joan Fontaine) - New York Film Critics Circle


Saboteur (1942) - an incredibly ambitious film which is almost like a first draft of (maybe) his greatest film, North By Northwest. It contains the familiar "innocent man, wrongly accused" etc. theme (as mentioned above in The 39 Steps description) which ultimately culminates in a thrilling climax at a famous American landmark. Robert Cummings and Priscilla Lane star (though Hitchcock originally wanted Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck), while Otto Krueger plays the villain. There are many memorable scenes (& expensive set pieces), not the least of which is the leading pair encountering a truckload of circus freaks while escaping their pursuers, a deserted mining town, a blind man's home, and a shootout at Radio City Music Hall. I particularly like the scene where Mr. Cummings's character must enter the home of Mr. Krueger's while, predictably, he is having a party.

on TCM - 9/27 @ 8 AM ET

cameo - at a newstand


Shadow of a Doubt (1943) - like Suspicion, Hitchcock decided to cast a traditional "good guy" actor (in this case, Joseph Cotten) as his villain who has come to visit his sister's house to elude two detectives on his trail. It's said to be one of the director's favorites because it brought murder and violence "back into the house where it rightfully belongs." It also features the beautiful Teresa Wright in only her fourth film (she was nominated for an acting Oscar in each of her first three roles!). Throughout the film, two of the better known actors (Henry Travers and "neighbor" Hume Cronyn) discuss various means of murder and crime as is their "fun" hobby, which adds a bit of ironic humor as Mr. Cotten's "Uncle Charlie" character is staying with them. The most memorable scene involves a car intentionally left running in a garage to facilitate a murder, which is foreshadowed earlier in the film.

on TCM - 7/10 @ 6 PM ET; 9/27 @ 10 AM ET

cameo - has a full house in a card game on train

Awards - Best Writing (Original Story) Academy Award nomination; added to the National Film Registry in 1991


Spellbound (1945) - is another psychological thriller which marks the first (of three) time(s) Mr. Hitchcock was blessed with the talents of Ingrid Bergman. Also cast was Gregory Peck (the first of his two pairings with the director). Peck plays an amnesiac who poses as a doctor in a mental asylum, Bergman the one who tries to help him. This was the second film (after Rebecca) that Hitchcock did for Producer David O. Selznick, and the results are uneven at best. The most memorable scenes involve some dream sequences enhanced with custom work by Salvidor Dali and the ending sequence which is seen from Leo Carroll's character's POV as he points a gun at Ms. Bergman's, following her as she walks towards a door until ... I wouldn't want spoil it;- )

on TCM - 8/29 @ 8:30 AM ET; 9/14 @ 6 PM ET

cameo - gets off elevator in hotel

Awards - Best Music (Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture) Academy Award plus five other nominations including Best Picture & Director; Best Actress (Ingrid Bergman) - New York Film Critics Circle


Notorious (1946) - is certainly one of the director's most acclaimed (discussed & analyzed) films. It certainly contains terrific characterizations by its three lead actors: Cary Grant (inexplicably ignored by the Academy), Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains (whose performance did receive a nomination). The love story within is what distinguishes this thriller from his others. Grant's character must convince the woman he comes to love (Bergman) to seduce the enemy (Rains), whose genuine love for her is betrayed such that "we" are compelled to feel sorry for the villain. Of the many great scenes, perhaps the most memorable include a wide tracking shot of a party in Rains' home which ultimately focuses in on a key in Ms. Bergman's hand, which leads to Grant & Bergman trying to find the "contraband" in the basement. And, of course, the climactic sequence with Grant & Rains escorting Ms. Bergman down the stairs of his home while encountering (still more) bad guys.

on TCM - 8/27 @ 8 AM ET

cameo - drinking champagne at party

Awards - two Academy Award nominations; #38 on AFI's top 100 Thrills; #86 on AFI's top 100 Passions;


The Paradine Case (1947) - this was the last of the tumultuous Hitchcock/Selznick productions, and it shows. Poorly cast with Gregory Peck (again) were Charles Laughton & Ethel Barrymore (great husband & wife roles though), Ann Todd (a standout performance), Charles Coburn, Louis Jourdan, and Alida Valli. A woman (Valli) is accused of murdering her blind, rich husband and is defended by lily-white lawyer Peck, married to Todd, who promptly falls in love with his client and convinces himself of her innocence. The most memorable scene comes in court when Peck learns something about the client he's been defending.

on TCM - 8/29 @ 6 AM ET

cameo - carrying cello case

Awards - one Academy Award nomination


Hitchcock does COLOR!


Rope (1948) - One of "the lost 5 Hitchcocks", bought back by him and left as part of his legacy to his daughter (along with The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), Rear Window (1954), The Trouble with Harry (1955), and Vertigo (1958)), and re-released in theaters around 1984 after a 30-year absence. Long on technique, but short of much else, though it does mark the first successful pairings with James Stewart (out of four) and Farley Granger (of two); it also features John Dall. The film was shot in a series of 8-minute continuous takes (the maximum amount of film that a camera could hold) and almost plays in real-time as well. The story is loosely based on the real-life Leopold and Loeb murders.

on TCM - 7/13 @ 2 AM ET; 8/21 @ 12:45 PM ET; 9/27 @ 12 PM ET

cameo - crosses street after credits


Strangers on a Train (1951) - his last four films unsuccessful with critics and moviegoers alike, (including Under Capricorn & Stage Fright), Hitchcock needed this film which, though thin of story & convincing dialogue, helped him to reclaim his title as "the Master of Suspense". The story involves two men, played by Farley Granger and Robert Walker (interesting casting given his previous, "light" roles), who meet on the train and discuss doing each other a favor by murdering someone in the other's life whose causing them angst. The several memorable scenes include a merry-go-round, a tense tennis match, and a lost cigarette lighter. Leo G. Carroll (who appears in SIX of Hitch's films), Ruth Roman, and the director's daughter, Patricia, also star.

cameo - boards a train carrying a double bass

Awards - one Academy Award nomination; Directors Guild of America nomination; #32 on AFI's top 100 Thrills


Dial M for Murder (1954) - filmed in 3-D, though released after the craze had died down, this thriller is the first of three consecutive films in which the director used Grace Kelly as his female lead. Ray Milland brilliantly portrays a man jealous of his wealthy wife's affections for another (Robert Cummings) who plots to have her murdered. In addition to Milland's chilling performance, John Williams does an excellent job playing the Scotland Yard detective who figures it all out. And, there are several memorable scenes including not only the murder attempt itself, but the discovery of a key.

cameo - pictured in a reunion photo on wall

Awards - Directors Guild of America nomination, Best Actress (Grace Kelly) - New York Film Critics Circle; #48 on AFI's top 100 Thrills


Rear Window (1954) - This voyeuristic film is loved by many - James Stewart plays a new photographer who's been confined to a wheelchair in his apartment which gives him a view of a courtyard & into the apartments of many residents and their lives. His nurse (Thelma Ritter) and fiancee (Ms. Kelly) become drawn in also and begin watching as well. Things get particularly interesting when they start to suspect that one particular neighbor (Raymond Burr) has bumped off his wife. Like the character Stewart portrays, Hitchcock uses his camera such that it becomes the real star in the film, creating many scenes which reveal the character(s) in the windows. And, his characteristic "black humor" abounds, right to the very end.

on TCM - 7/18 @ 4 PM ET; 7/20 @ 8 PM ET; 8/21 @ 10 PM ET; 9/27 @ 1:30 PM ET

cameo - seen winding a clock

Awards - four Academy Award nominations including Best Director; Directors Guild of American nomination, added to the National Film Registry in 1997; #42 on AFI's top 100 Movies; #14 on AFI's top 100 Thrills


To Catch a Thief (1955) - though not critically acclaimed, this is definitely in my personal top 10 Hitchcock films. Why? Because Grace Kelly is irresistibly beautiful in it, and Cary Grant is as smooth as ever playing a retired cat burglar who must use his considerable skills to catch "his" imposter. It's solid entertainment with several memorable scenes including the prophetically dangerous drive along the French Riviera (which later killed the real Princess Grace), a fireworks enhanced "romancing the stones" on the couch (great double entendre dialogue too!), and the climactic roof top scene. It also marks the last time Hitch used John Williams (out of three) and the first time he employed Jesse Royce Landis (funny, both times).

cameo - next to Cary Grant on a bus

Awards - Best Cinematography (Color) Academy Award plus two other nominations


The Trouble With Harry (1956) - the quintessential "black" humor film by the director. With a storyline later copied (poorly, I might add), the "trouble with Harry" is that he's dead and yet his body keeps turning up everywhere regardless of the actions of the principal actors - Edmund Gwenn (his fourth & last Hitchcock film), John Forsythe, Mildred Natwick, Royal Dano, Shirley MacLaine (her first film) and Jerry Mathers (the "Beaver" plays Ms. MacLaine's son) - which include burying him! This was a labor of love for Hitchcock who particularly enjoyed the nonchalance with which the characters deal with the body. Unfortunately, it was not well received despite the popularity of his TV show at the time.

on TCM - 7/18 @ 6:15 AM ET; 8/25 @ 8 PM ET

cameo - walks past John Forsythe's outdoor exhibition

Awards - Directors Guild of American nomination


The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) - This remake by Hitchcock of his 1934 film employs James Stewart, Doris Day, Bernard Miles, Brenda de Banzie, and Reggie Maldar (playing the Peter Lorre character from the first). Stewart and Day are "married with child", learn a secret on vacation, causing their child to be kidnapped. The many memorable scenes include Stewart's character being approached by a man who's just been stuck with a knife in a Marrakesh marketplace, the clue given by this man and the ensuing confusion over what it means, a taxidermy shop, the Albert Hall scene (much like the first film though), and the second scene in which Ms. Day sings "Que Sera, Sera" to help locate her son. Which is your favorite version?

on TCM - 7/15 @ 4:15 PM ET; 8/13 @ 12 AM ET

cameo - in the Morocco market place

Awards - Best Music (Original Song) Academy Award for the song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)"; Directors Guild of American nomination; "Que Sera, Sera" is #48 on AFI's top 100 Songs


Vertigo (1958) - meaning dizziness, or describing a confused state of mind, is a film about that and obsessive love which many critics say was Hitchcock's best, though retrospectively since it wasn't initially very well received. It was the last of the four collaborations between the director and James Stewart. The blonde, this time, was played by Kim Novak (because Vera Miles was pregnant and unavailable), with supporting acting provided by Barbara Bel Geddes (of Dallas fame). The many memorable scenes include Stewart chasing a man across a rooftop and then hanging from a gutter, a leap into the San Francisco Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge, and the climactic chase up the stairs in a Mission's tower.

on TCM - 8/21 @ 2:15 PM ET; 9/27 @ 5:30 PM ET

cameo - crosses a street

Awards - two Academy Award nominations; Directors Guild of America nomination; added to the National Film Registry in 1989; #61 on AFI's top 100 Movies; #18 on AFI's top 100 Thrills


North By Northwest (1959) - certainly my favorite among his many movies, and probably the ultimate Alfred Hitchcock film, I think. It employs all the successful elements of his previous films including the use of Cary Grant as "the innocent man, unjustly accused, being chased cross-country while trying to prove his innocence" and yet still manages to excite, surprise, and amaze us with incredible imaging and suspense which is thankfully punctuated with humorous relief (some provided by Jesse Royce Landis, as his mother). Eve Marie Saint plays the cool blonde excellently, but not quite as well as James Mason and Martin Landau perfect the villains. So many memorable scenes, but to list just a few: the drunken drive by Grant, the return to the (now changed) mansion with the police, the murder of the U.N. diplomat, the auction scene, scenes on the train(s) especially at the end, the crop dusting chase sequence, those at the Frank Lloyd Wright house, and (of course) the ones at Mount Rushmore.

on TCM - 8/27 @ 2 PM ET; 9/4 @ 5:30 PM ET

cameo - runs to bus which slams door in his face

Awards - three Academy Award nominations; Directors Guild of America nomination; added to the National Film Registry in 1995; #40 on AFI's top 100 Movies; #4 on AFI's top 100 Thrills


Psycho (1960) - what kind of director kills off his star (played by Janet Leigh) less than half way into his film? Only the Master could (get away with it), of course. And what a killing too! You won't turn your back on the door to the bathroom when showering for a while after watching this shocker. From the stinging violin music to the murder itself, this much copied masterpiece has no peer. It's imagery was/is so memorable that it typecast Anthony Perkins for life. It's also impossible to forget the look of the house on the hill, the scene with Martin Balsam on the stairway, or the ending view of Norman in the padded room. What begins as a "woman on the run from the law" film becomes a darkly humorous film about an unstable man.

on TCM - 7/6 @ 10:15 AM ET; 7/16 @ 4 AM ET; 9/27 @ 3:30 PM ET

cameo - stands outside realty office

Awards - four Academy Award nominations including Best Director; Directors Guild of America nomination; added to the National Film Registry in 1992; #18 on AFI's top 100 Movies; #1 on AFI's top 100 Thrills; Norman Bates is #2 of AFI's top 50 Villains


The Birds (1963) - perhaps the first Hitchcock film I ever remember seeing; some friends and I thought we were getting away with something sneaking to watch it on TV late one night during a sleepover (only to have nightmares once we were finally able to fall asleep;-) This thriller is the first of two consecutive films he used blonde "actress" Tippi Hedron; Rod Taylor also stars with support from Jessica Tandy, Suzanne Pleshette, Veronica Cartright, and Ethel Griffies. Most of the memorable scenes were created with 370 effect shots primarily involving crows and/or seagulls inexplicably attacking people (the plot of the film?).

cameo - walking two dogs out of pet shop

Awards - one Academy Award nomination; #7 on AFI's top 100 Thrills


Marnie (1964) - Hitchcock had to use Tippi Hedron again, when he couldn't coax Princess Grace Kelly out of retirement, in this psychological thriller much like Spellbound This one involves a woman's repressed memory that caused her to be frigid, which was pretty funny since Sean Connery (after two James Bond films) was cast as her husband and he almost rapes her on their wedding night. Oh yeah, and Hedron's character is a thief, which had to be blackmailed into marrying him in the first place! Needless to say, this isn't a very good film. The most memorable scene is probably the revelation of the memory itself (which involves a sailor played by Bruce Dern).

on TCM - 7/11 @ 9:30 PM ET

cameo - leaving room in hotel


Topaz (1969) - A worse movie than Marnie, and apparently Torn Curtain which chronologically followed it (though I can't remember ever seeing it), this one has John Vernon playing a Castro like character (and, for the most part, a bunch of other actors & actresses you've never heard of in it as well). Not much to remember about this one, I can only barely think of parts of it myself (and I don't feel compelled to watch it "again" this September either;- ) The theme of betrayal is used throughout the film. Two different endings were shot and are included on the laserdisc reissue.

on TCM - 9/23 @ 12:15 AM ET

cameo - in wheelchair at airport


Frenzy (1972) - this terrific comeback for the great director is also in my top 10. Barry Foster plays a strangler (who uses his tie) in this film which contains several chilling scenes, but also many with some comic relief (especially the scenes with the Scotland Yard inspector and his wife). The whole potato truck ("lost my monogrammed tie pin") scene is as unforgettable as the somewhat comic expression left on one of "his" victim's faces. There is also the memorable scene in which the camera tracks down the stairs, out the door, and onto the noisy street which keeps anyone from hearing the murder that's taking place upstairs inside. This was the first Hitchcock film to receive an R rating.

cameo - spectator at opening rally


Family Plot (1976) - Hitchcock's final film was not as good as Frenzy, nor as bad as Marnie. It stars William Devane and Karen Black as a couple of kidnappers whose paths cross another couple (Bruce Dern and Barbara Harris) that defrauds people with a fortune teller/clairvoyant setup. The most memorable scenes are those featuring Ms. Harris's faux "channeling", though the discovery of where the kidnappers' extorted jewels are kept (and the rest of their home) is something to see as well.

on TCM - 7/17 @ 4 AM ET

cameo - in silhouette at the office of vital statistics


Also on TCM soon:


The Lodger (1927) - an early silent which I understand is very good but have yet to see.

on TCM - 7/18 @ 12 AM ET

cameo - his back is to us in an office scene; one of the crowd at the arrest.


Murder (1930) - an early talkie starring Herbert Marshall, which I've also not seen.

on TCM - 7/13 @ 3:30 AM ET

cameo - on a street.


sources: The Films of Alfred Hitchcock by Harris & Lasky; imdb.com; afi.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kudos to you path for this wonderful summary of the films of the master Alfred Hitchcock. Well done.

Of course my top 10 Hitchcock films are included here since you didn't leave an essential pearl unturned.

In any event my top 5 Hitch films are:

1. "Psycho"2. "Shadow of a Doubt"

3. "Notorious"4. "Strangers on a Train"5. "Frenzy"


Is there any particular reason you left off "Lifeboat"?



Link to post
Share on other sites

Path, fantastic job here! Very well organized and presented, too! But, like Mongo asked...what happened to "Lifeboat"? This is the one and only Hitchcock movie where I was able to spot Hitch's cameo in the first viewing, and before I later learned that he always did this, and to keep looking for him. I'll let you tell everyone where he can be seen in "Lifeboat". ;)ML

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the feedback! Believe it or not, I've not seen ALL of "Lifeboat", though I did catch the last 30-45 minutes of it once.


My top 10 would probably be viewed as rather odd, given the films I'd leave off it, but here they are:


1. North by Northwest, 2. Notorious, 3. To Catch a Thief, 4. Psycho, 5. Foreign Correspondent, 6. Dial M for Murder, 7. The 39 Steps, 8. The Lady Vanishes, 9. Frenzy, 10. The Man Who Knew Too Much (2 for the price of 1!)


That's right, no Rebecca, nor Vertigo, nor Rear Window, and not Strangers on a Train either. These choices are certainly difficult, of course ... and to each his own;-)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
  • Create New...