Pioneering director Alfred Hitchcock is responsible for some of the best films ever created. With dozens of classics filled with murder and mystery, it can be hard to pick which are the greatest. Here are just ten:
Hitchcock’s first Hollywood movie, Rebecca, follows a self-conscious bride tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife, Rebecca. Based on the book by Daphne du Maurier, the film was nominated for 11 Oscars and won Best Picture.
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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Hitchcock often called this film his own personal favourite. It exposes the dark undertones of small-town America, following teenager Charlie Newton, who realises her uncle is a serial killer.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Adapted from Patricia Highsmith’s novel of the same name, two strangers meet on a train and make a dark bargain to carry out murder on behalf of one another. When one of them goes ahead and kills the other man's wife, he is expected to return the favour.
The Birds (1963)
Adapted from Daphne Du Maurier’s novella, The Birds is a masterful horror about flocks of birds that attack humans. Hitchcock leaves the reasoning up to the viewer. In a bold move, Hitchcock did not use any music in the film, leaving the terrifying sound of the birds as the only soundtrack.
The Thirty-Nine Steps (1935)
John Buchan’s novel of the same name had no female characters and an anti-climactic ending, so Hitchcock decided to reimagine it. The result is “one of the greatest British films of all time and Hitchcock’s first true classic”, according to The Independent.
Rear Window (1954)
Rear Window follows a wheelchair-bound photographer, James Stewart, who spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder. In a genius move from the director, the camera never leaves Stewart’s apartment, making all the viewers as helpless to the situation as his character.
North by Northwest (1959)
This comedy-thriller follows a New York advertising executive pursued across the country by a group of foreign spies in a case of mistaken identity. The tongue-in-cheek film is arguably one of Hitchcock’s most playful movies.
This film follows US government agent T.R. Delvin who, in order to help bring Nazis to justice, enlists Alicia Huberman, the American daughter of a convicted German war criminal, as a spy.
This legendary and influential horror film follows a young woman who checks into the Bates Motel and meets Norman Bates, a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother. Accompanied by an iconic score and cast, Psycho still inspires to this day, emphasised by the fact that it cost just $800,000 to make, and has now grossed $32m in its lifetime.
Originally met with little praise, Vertigo has since taken a critical turnaround, topping Sight and Sound’s greatest movie list in 2012. It follows a San Francisco detective, suffering from an extreme fear of heights, who investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. The Independent says it is “Hitchcock’s most enigmatic and haunting film” and “demands multiple viewings to appreciate its many nuances”.
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