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« Yes No Maybe So: Greta Gerwig's "Little Women" | Main | Review: Dora and the Lost City of Gold »
Tuesday
Aug132019

Top Ten: Alfred Hitchcock Movies

What are your favourite Hitchcock films? For the Master of Suspense's 120th birthday today, we ought to share them. He's been dead for 39 years but we don't think he'd mind the grave-digging each birthday because his films are immortal.

Mine would go like so:

  1. Psycho (1960)
  2. Notorious (1946)
  3. Rear Window (1954)
  4. Vertigo (1958)
    Those are the four that are unthinkably indecently perfect...

     
  5. Rope (1948)
  6. Shadow of a Doubt (1942)
  7. Strangers on a Train (1951)
  8. North by Northwest (1959)
  9. To Catch a Thief (1955)
  10. The Birds (1963)

 

It's true I'm not as crazy about Rebecca as other cinephiles are... though I like it plenty. I have a few Hitchcock left to see (the two most important ones being Lifeboat and...I'm dumbfounded/mystified as to why but I've never seen this one given my Monty Clift obsession but I Confess), and a few I really need to see again since they're such distant memories I can barely recall them (Spellbound, The Trouble with Harry, and The Man Who Knew Too Much) but pretty sure I saw them as a kid in some circumstance or other.

You?

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Reader Comments (53)

So many great films in his filmography.

Here are my Top 10:
1. Vertigo (1958)
2. Psycho (1960)
3. Rear Window (1954)
4. Rebecca (1940)
5. North by Northwest (1959)
6. Life Boat (1944)
7. The 39 Steps (1935)
8. The Trouble With Harry (1955)
9. The Birds (1963)
10. Dial M for Murder (1954)

Love them all. So much.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

The Wrong Man is absolutely perfection. I love how it is very very grounded and sober, like Hitchcock was under Bresson's influence. I am not saying it's his best - it's Psycho - but it's the unsung hero of his career.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I adore this topic! Pulled up my Top 500 films Excel sheet (yes, I'm that nerdy) and here's where they land:

1. Psycho (#9 on my personal list of all time)
2. North By Northwest (56)
3. Rope (79)
4. Notorious (108)
5. Rear Window (122)
6. Strangers on a Train (238)
7. Vertigo (252)
8. Suspicion (264)
9. Lifeboat (365)
10. The Birds (404)

...which means Rebecca just misses at #434. Love his movies! The definition of a master!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

Psycho and Rebecca are Masterpieces.

I enjoyed Frenzy most of the others are fine films too,never seen Vertigo.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Nat I was surprised Kristin Scott Thomas's casting as Mrs Danvers in next years Rebecca adaptation/remake was not mentioned when it happened in June,.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

1- Vertigo
2- Lifeboat
3- Psycho
4- The Lady Vanishes
5- The Birds
6- Rebecca
7- Frenzy
8- Rear Window
9- Dial M For Murder
10- Suspicion

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTom G.

Psycho, The Birds, Rear Window, Rebecca, Strangers on a Train, Lifeboat, Notorious, The Wrong Man, Suspicion, The Lady Vanishes

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

@eurocheese

Your aren't the only one. I have one list, per decade, with my favorite films (since 1991 is per year).

My favorite Hitchcock films:

1- Birds
2- Vertigo
3- Psycho
4- To Catch a Thief
5- Rope
6- Rear Window
7- North by Northwest
8- Strangers on a Train
9- Dial M for Murder
10- Frenesi
11- Foreign Correspondent

add infinitum

One of rare case of directors who have 10/15 masterpieces in his resume.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGeor

1 Notorious
2 Psycho
3 Vertigo
4 The Lady Vanishes
5 North by Northwest
6 Rear Wndow
7 Strangers on a Train
8 The Birds
9 The 39 Steps
10 Rebecca

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScott

There are also a few I kind of hate:
Saboteur
The Man Who Knew Too Much 1956
Family Plot
Spellbound
Mr and Mrs Smith

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScott

1. Notorious
2. Vertigo
3. Psycho
4. The Lady Vanishes
5. North by Northwest
6. Sabotage
7. The 39 Steps
8. Family Plot
9. Marnie
10. Rebecca

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbutton holed

1. The Lady Vanishes
2. Psycho
3. North by Northwest
4. Strangers on a Train
5. Sabotage
6. Stage Fright
7. The Wrong Man
8. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
9. Shadow of a Doubt
10. Rope

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

1. The Lady Vanishes
2. Notorious
3. Vertigo
4. Psycho
5. Shadow of a Doubt
6. Strangers on a Train
7. Rebecca
8. Rear Window
9. Marnie
10. The Birds

The beautiful thing is that I wouldn’t grade a single one of these lower than an A-. Hitchcock’s oeuvre is filled with masterworks.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManny

My top 10:

1. Saboteur
2. Rear Window
3. Lifeboat
4. The Birds
5. Strangers on a Train
6. North by Northwest
7. Notorious
8 .Shadow of a Doubt
9. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
10. Sabotage

Nathaniel-Lifeboat is essential with a tremendous performance from Tallulah Bankhead, everyone in the film is first rate she’s just a bit more memorable than the rest.

I Confess isn’t bad but definitely not top tier. It’s missing a certain edgy zip that his best work has.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Love love love Hitchcock films.

Hated The Birds and Vertigo wasn't for me.

Here's my top 10. Great question btw Nat.

10. Torn Curtain
9. Marnie
8. Rear Window
7. The Man who knew too much
6. Frenzy
5. The Lady Vanishes
4. Strangers on a Train
3. Dial M for Murder
2. Psycho
1. North by Northwest

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew UK

1. Rear Window
2. Psycho
3. Rebecca
4. The Birds
5. North by Northwest
6. Vertigo
7. The Man Who Knew Too Much (56)
8. Spellbound
9. Foreign Correspondent
10. Dial M for Murder

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTheDrMistery

Here's my list of the 15 films I've seen from him so far...

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

I’m surprised about Rebecca. It’s my personal favourite Hitchcock and it seems very much like your taste.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBrad

1. Vertigo
2. Psycho
3. Notorious
4. Shadow of a Doubt
5. Rear Window
6. Strangers on a Train
7. Rebecca
8. North by Northwest
9. The 39 Steps
10. Marnie

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRayLewis1997

The Wrong Man should have been Fonda's Oscar role.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRosa Moline

1. Vertigo
2. North by Northwest
3. Strangers on a Train
4. Rear Window
5. Notorious
6. Rope
7. Stage Fright
8. Shadow of a Doubt
9. Rebecca
10. Marnie

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

1. North by Northwest
2. Notorious
3. Shadow of a Doubt
4. Vertigo
5. Trouble With Harry
6. Rear Window
7. Strangers on a Train
8. The Birds
9. Dial 'M' for Murder
10. To Catch a Thief

North by Northwest is my ultimate comfort food film; deep down I may think Notorious and Shadow of a Doubt are a little better. I like almost all of his films that I've seen, except that I find Rope just really tedious. And I can't be the only one who can't think about Strangers on a Train without singing it to the tune of Dolly Parton's "Islands in the Stream," right?

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

1) Rebecca
2) Young and Innocent
3) Vertigo
4) The Lady Vanishes
5) The Birds
6) Rear Window
7) Psycho
8) Rope
9) North by Northwest
10) Notorious

Rebecca is one of my all time faves...probably seen it 50+ times. I quite enjoy the silliness "Young and Innocent" for some reason.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAddie Ross

Arrrrrghh! Too painful. So many great films and my own personal favorite director (most days, give or take Billy Wilder and Robert Altman).

1. Rear Window
2. Vertigo (I could watch it everyday...)
3. Shadow of a Doubt
4. Notorious
5. Psycho
6. Rebecca
7. Rope
8. North by Northwest
9. Strangers on a Train
10. Frenzy (love inversely proportional to hate my hubby has for it!)

Just missed the top 10: The Lady Vanishes, Lifeboat, and Saboteur (Priscilla Lane and Robert Cummings, not to be confused with Sabotage)
Bad movie, but I love it sooooo much: Family Plot
Never Seen: Topaz, I Confess, Stage Fright, and most of his films prior to The 39 Steps
Cold compared to most people: The Birds, Dial M, Marnie, and To Catch a Thief
Loved it as a kid/teenager, mystified by the appeal after revisiting as an adult: The Trouble with Harry (The sloggy pacing!)

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterTravis

1. Psycho
2. Notorious
3. Rear Window
4. Vertigo
5. The birds
6. North by Northwest
7. Marnie
8. Rebecca
9. Strangers in a train
10. Shadow of a doubt

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterFrenchToast

01. North by Northwest
02. Vertigo
03. Strangers on a train
04. Psycho
05. Rear Window
06. Rebecca
07. The Lady Vanishes
08. The Birds
09. To Catch a Thief
10. Notorious

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterManuel

1. North By Northwest
2. The Lady Vanishes
3. Rear Window
4. The Birds
5. Psycho (would be higher on the list but for all that exposition at the end of the film}
6. Stage Fright
7. Strangers on a Train
8. The 39 Steps
9. Rebecca
10.Notorious

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe (UK)

The Birds
Rear Window
Psycho
Vertigo
North by Northwest
Notorious
Rebecca
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Strangers on a Train

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Marsha-- lol. btw i met your namesake this week!

August 13, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

My favourites are Notorious, Strangers on a Train, Rear Window and Psycho. I like a lot of others very much, but these four are excellent. Strangers on a Train is a little bit less excellent than the other three, but it has the superlative Robert Walker ("Criss cross!"). Psycho is a great film that turns into a great show - well worth reading Raymond Durgnat and David Thomson's books on the film. Notorious has three excellent stars at the top of their game - Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains - and a wonderful wine cellar sequence! Rear Window has James Stewart and Grace Kelly, Raymond Burr and his glinting glasses, and Thelma Ritter coming in to dish out back rubs. Bliss!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

1, The Paradine Case
Never understood why this one's so undervalued.It seduced me completely the first time I saw it and does so again with each revisit Alida Valli's marvelous. I'd probably love it more with Laurence Olivier in the Gregory Peck role. But I still love it.
2. The Birds
3. Vertigo
4. Foreign Correspondent
5. Young and Innocent
(Derrick De Marney should've become a big movie star. Possibly my favorite Hitchcock hero)
6. The Lodger (especially with the Nitin Sawhney score on the British Blu-ray)
7. Saboteur
8. Lifeboat
9. Notorious (though Cary Grant's unpleasantly caustic and abrasive in it)
10. Jamaica Inn
The Cohen Media restoration really brought this one to life for me. Years of encountering wretched prints had convinced me it was a loser. Now I''m totally into it.

No "Psycho" on my list. Yes, it's sensational till Janet Leigh makes her exit. Then things go south. I'm an Anthony Perkins admirer and he's marvelous while Leigh's still in the picture. But after that the script turns heavy-handed and lets him down. For me, Perkins' greatest performance was in Welles' "The Trial".

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKen

No particular order;

Psycho
Strangers on a Train
The Birds
North by Northwest
Shadow of a Doubt
Rope
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
Lifeboat
Notorious
Rear Window

Vertigo is a gorgeous film, and I think I understand the psychology, but it is soooo sloooowwww, and Kim Novak just is not a good actress.
Family Plot I've tried several times to get into, but just can't.
Suspicion would have been better with the original ending. Stupid Studio System!

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

I've tried to watch I Confess more than once but it always shows up on TCM and elsewhere in a terrible print. Montgomery Clift deserves better and I'm not going to try again until the movie is restored/fixed!

Ken, Jamaica Inn, really? I can't get through that one. I've never even heard of The Paradine Case or Young and Innocent, so I'm excited.

I guess my list would contain the below.

Rebecca (the one I've seen the most)
Notorious (the height of Hollywood)
North By Northwest (the one I recommend to Hitchcock virgins)
Rear Window (see it on a big screen if you can)
Vertigo (I love it for everything but the plot really)
The Lady Vanishes (such promise!)
The 39 Steps (the best of his early British movies)

The rest are runners up. I can't really recall if I've fully seen Topaz or Torn Curtain.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Nathaniel -- OMG! did you tell her she's been cloned and comments regularly on this site?

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

Watch Lifeboat and I Confess immediately young man! If you have not by the next change of season, all your Oscar wishes for the next ceremony will fail. You have been forewarned and are officially hexed.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWicked

Here's mine:

1.) Vertigo
2.) North by Northwest
3.) Rear Window
4.) Shadow of a Doubt
5.) Notorious
6.) The Birds
7.) .The Man Who Knew too Much (1956)
8.) Rebecca
9.) Marnie
10.) To Catch a Thief

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWilliam G

1. Psycho
2. Strangers On a Train
3. Vertigo
4. Rear Window
5, Dial 'M' For Murder
6. The Birds
7. Marnie

Others I've seen most and and don't care for much.

August 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGerald

1) Notorious

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

1. Strangers on a Train (perfection)
2. Vertigo (obsessed by it)
3. Rear Window (why I fell in love with Grace Kelly)
4. Psycho (bold and brilliant)
5. Notorious (his best macguffin film)
6. Foreign correspondent (such an underrated gem)
7. Shadow of a Doubt (black humour bliss)
8. North by Northwest (Bond before Bond)
9. The Lodger (the Hitchcock prototype perfected)
10. Spellbound (the title says it all)

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDieter

Oh my - Hitch is my guilty pleasure preferably late at night ! Everything I loved about movies, looks, camera angles, psychological take on things, since I was a kid - he represented & perfected for me. I always wonderd how he got such fantastic, wanna say nearly intimate performances from his actors, if he was such a prick ... ? Love him - thanks Nathaniel !

1. Psycho (I still want to know how he shot the beginning sequence in that time ? Janets bra !!)
2. The Birds (rewatch once a year - it's perfect ... Rod & Tippi are sex on legs)
3. To Catch a Thief (Sunday movie - THIS is my childhood)
4. The Man Who Knew Too Much (Day's breakdown scene really chokes me, but I'm a fan ;-)
5. Rear Window (should be #1 also why I fell in love with Grace Kelly)

these are all in my Top 50 movies I would take out of a burning house or to a lonely island - presuming they got a DVD set up there)

6. North by Northwest
7. Strangers on a Train
8. Notorious
9. Rope
10. The Lady Vanishes

Vertigo - I need to give it another try... the plot always left me cold despite the gorgeous look.

Haven't seen in AGES: Wrong Man, Spellbound, Rebecca, Shadow of a Doubt, Saboteur & some of the earlier once, so I left them out.
I know I was disappointed in: Topaz, Frenzy & Family Plot
Rewatched this year: I Confess & Stage Fright - both an absolute delight !

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commentermartin

TOP 3 in order:
1) Rear Window (where the guys are stuck while Kelly&Ritter do all the work)
2) Vertigo (two words: Bernard Herrmann)
3) Psycho (Norman Bates looking at the camera, scariest moment in all film history)

The other 7 in chronolical order
4) The 39 steps
5) The Lady Vanishes
(His English fils are SO funny... I could have included Young and Innocent too)
6) Shadow of a Doubt (Joseph Cotten!)
7) Notorious (is there a better tragic villain that poor Claude Rains?)
8) North by Northwest
9) The Birds
10) Frenzy

I think you should organize a vote about the best Hitchcock's villains, because his rogue's gallery is simply terrific.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterWimsey

Some films MUST NEVER be remade. Psycho shouldn't have been and Rebecca definitely shouldn't be remade either. Having said that - could this be Scott Thomas's chance at a much overdue Oscar?

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Mine:

1. Vertigo
2. Psycho
3. Rebecca
4. Notorious
5. The Birds
6. Rear Window
7. North by Northwest
8. Strangers on a Train
9. Lifeboat
10. Spellbound

Most Looking Forward To: Rope, Dial M for Murder, The Wrong Man

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

1. Notorious
2. Vertigo
3. Psycho
4. Rebecca
5. Shadow of a Doubt
6. To Catch a Thief
7. Strangers on a Train
8. The Birds
9. Suspicion
10. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Lipp

1. Psycho
2. North By Northwest
3. Vertigo
4. Rear Window
5. To Catch a Thief
6. Notorious
7. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)
8. The Lady Vanishes
9. Shadow of a Doubt
10. Sabotage

Of course, my list of his BEST would be slightly different from this list of my FAVOURITES.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

I've seen 18. My top ten:

1) Foreign Correspondent (showcases Hitch in such command of style and tone, mixing genres with ease; plus Joel McCrea is the perfect Hitchcock everyman)
2) Lifeboat (for many reasons, but Tallulah Bankhead is certainly near the top of the list)
3) Rear Window
4) Psycho
5) Rope
6) Notorious
7) North by Northwest
8) The Birds
9) Suspicion
10) Vertigo

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterGuestguestguest

I would fit Dial M for Murder in there. I'm also a fan of Spellbound and Torn Curtain, but I could see them just missing the top ten. Notorious is a gem.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKarl

1. Psycho
2. The 39 Steps
3. The Birds
4. Spellbound
5. Shadow of a Doubt
6. Rebecca
7. Frenzy
8. Dial M for Murder
9. Notorious
10. North by Northwest

I have tried so many times with Vertigo, but it just leaves me cold. Also, Family Plot is very underrated.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

My favorite is probably Rear Window, but Notorious has one of the best movie endings of all time.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterCash

I totally get what others have said about Vertigo. The first time I saw I was really disappointed in it. But rewatching it, I appreciated it's slow, methodical, almost dreamy quality. It's tough material to bring to life but Hitchcock nailed it. I like it a lot now.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

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