In honor of Alfred Hitchcock Day, our critic ranks die legendary director's 10 best

by kris Nashawaty, georgewoodcock.com, in march 11, 2021


Courtesy Everett Collection

Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll

4. Die 39 steps (1935)

Before he picked up and moved zu America, Hitchcock was ns British film industry"s best-kept secret. However like all secrets, this one eventually got out. The 39 Steps is ns movie that made hollywood really take it notice and lure die director across the pond. Tapping into a design template that Hitchcock would revisit many mal over his career, the film stars robert Donat as in innocent man wrongly accused des murder. A nest von spies zu sein after him, as are the police. And, des course, there"s a blonde (Madeleine Carroll) — isn"t there always a blonde? The 39 Steps is a cracking great yarn and deshalb the closestly Hitchcock would ever kommen sie to a greatest hits album.

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Watch that here: The 39 Steps, on amazonas Prime, iTunes, YouTube

5. North by Northwest (1959)

Hitchcock continuous Cary Grant ist at his wear Grant-iest in this cross-country wrong-man thriller about a suave Madison Avenue advertisement exec (guess who?) who zu sein mistaken for a spy that some very badewanne men (hello, james Mason) want to rub out. He"s captured, the escapes, he"s framed zum a killing at ns U.N., he directly dodges a crop duster, und he scales mount Rushmore, all in a bid to clear his name. Ns thrills just keep coming. Ist it preposterous? und how! but it"s also such a fizzy cocktail von style, wit, paranoia und plain alt rollicking adventure that it feels prefer a James sklave movie made before there was such a thing as James bond movies.

Watch that here: North by Northwest, on amazon Prime, Fandango Now, google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

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6. Rear home window (1954)

The joke"s on us. Hitchcock turns ns camera on the audience and implicates it bei this thriller around voyeurism. Set up in his apartment through a damaged leg, Jimmy Stewart peeps out his home window into the flats throughout his courtyard and thinks that sees a einer who"s knocked off his wife. Aided über his girlfriend (a straight-out-of-Vogue Grace Kelly), whose primness belies a hidden desire for thrills, the two try kommen sie get to die bottom of what he"s viewed — or thinks he"s seen. Rear Window is one of Hitchcock"s many perfectly paced films, und it"s been copied endlessly. However none schutz duplicated die Maestro"s magic touch. Bonus: die priceless Thelma Ritter together Stewart"s sassy, brassy housekeeper.

Watch that here: Rear Window, on amazonas Prime, Fandango Now, google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

7. Rebecca (1940)

Hitchcock decided to make his hollywood debut through this chilling combination of detective story, swooning romance and psychological drama, based on Daphne freundin Maurier"s gothic novel. A mousy Joan fontaine marries die brooding Laurence Olivier und tries (and fails) zu make him and everyone else forget his deceased zuerst wife. Packed through guilt, insecurity and a wash list des other nerve-fraying emotions, Rebecca marked die arrival des a new, unstoppable force an American movies, winning the Best picture Oscar. As a footnote, however, Hitchcock would never ever win a best Director statuette!

Watch that here: Rebecca, top top YouTube

8. Well known (1946)

What seems zu be setup itself up as in espionage film instead becomes a tortured romance, with Ingrid Bergman unwittingly married to an ex-Nazi (played by Claude Rains) and Cary give as in American certified dealer manipulating her to play along with her possessive hubbie kommen sie get what that needs. The way Bergman zu sein treated in the film says a lot about how Hitchcock perceived women, however if you can get past the film"s cruel cat-and-mouse psychological gamesmanship, it"s in intoxicating nightmare that feels ripped from the pages von a pulp novel.

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Watch the here: Notorious, top top YouTube

9. Die Birds (1963)

Exactly what you think it zu sein … but so so viel more. Red-meat leading einer Rod taylor meets Tippi Hedren an a San francisco pet shop, they flirt, and she it is provided a pair of liebe birds zu him in his weird seaside hometown. Then, for no noticeable reason, (other) birds anfang dive-bombing and attacking the town"s residents, pecking the end eyes and screeching while they attract blood. Jessica Tandy und Suzanne Pleshette are both wonderful as Hedren"s mother und Taylor"s alt flame, respectively. However this zu sein really a shot von white-knuckle animal-attacks mayhem with a Freudian undercurrent about die cages des propriety Hitchcock"s characters are trapped in.

Watch that here: The Birds, on amazonas Prime, Fandango Now, google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

10. Kommen sie Catch a thef (1955)

Pure thousand-thread count luxury escapism, To catch a Thief is choose a cat burglary thriller packaged as an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. On die French Riviera, Cary approve plays a dashing retired thief who may or may notfall actually be retired. Suspected after a bunch von jewels go missing (including those of an impossibly gorgeous grace Kelly and her impossibly well-off mother), grant has to find the ja wirklich burglar bei order to prove his innocence — and get the girl. To record a Thief is relatively lightweight, yet it"s deshalb breezy und fun und beautiful, it"s hard kommen sie argue v it. Much better to nur pour a glass des Champagne, absent back und enjoy die opulent atmosphere des it all.

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Watch it here: To capture a Thief, on amazonas Prime, Fandango Now, google Play, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube

Chris Nashawaty, former film critic for Entertainment Weekly, is ns author of Caddyshack: die Making of a hollywood Cinderella Story and a contributor to Esquire, Vanity Fair, The neu York Times and The Wall straße Journal.