Good evening. This is not Alfred Hitchcock, but it is one who takes great pleasure in observing his masterpieces. As we are upon the 35th anniversary of the great director’s death, I felt it was for the best that we commemorate his legacy to some extent. A morbid proposition, much? Well, we are talking about the king of suspense, mystery, and murder. Why not celebrate the legend on the date of his biggest obsession?
With this in mind, let us now sit back and try our very best to rank the Top 10 Hitchcock films. Lucky for you, we have with us a full proof list of epic proportions. It has been tested and critiqued by the best in the business; specifically by me, thus its reliability. Now, without further ado, let us check out the best scares, plot twists, and dark humor presented to us by one of the greatest film makers of all time.
Hitchcock is no stranger to unique and elaborate sets. The setting in Lifeboat, however, is one of his most bizarre and intriguing. In enters the Lifeboat, the star of our film. From which the entire set of actors appears on the entire film. The film is an interesting character study led by the brilliant performance of Tallulah Bankhead. While it may not be his most exciting film, his ambitions and the uncertainty of his plot is beyond admirable.
- The Man Who Knew Too Much
My first Hitchcock film. I suppose it will always hold a special place in my heart for that very reason. I still go back to my childhood fear of assassins and kidnappers when I see Reggie Nalder’s character (the creepy guy throughout) knock on the door in his first scene. Full disclosure; you will hear my break out in “’Que Sera Sera” every once and a while. You have been warned. . .
The thought of this film recently being called “The Greatest Film of All Time” is almost laugh worthy in my opinion. That is not to say the film was not masterfully filmed. While this film has always been a bit overrated in my view, I cannot deny its subtle suspense building up throughout. In fact, my favorite scenes are where Stewart’s character is following Kim Novak’s character (who gives a brilliant multidimensional performance) around as she is almost mystically searching the city.
- Strangers on a Train
Robert Walker plays the ultimate spoiled boy stalker, pure and simple. The murder scene in this flick is one of Hitchcock’s most edge of your seat scene’s, in my humble opinion. In fact, anytime Robert Walker is on screen, his annoying manipulation and menace keeps me completely glued to the screen. It would not be hard for me to assume this could move up the list over time. . .
- The Birds
Granted, the first time I saw The Bird’s, I turned it off because of its sheer stupidity…at first. Coming back to it years later, however, I realized it was some of the most fun I’ve had watching one of his flicks. The Bay Area setting, the somewhat nonsense premise of a girl pulling a bit of a lame prank to meet a guy, and of course, the birds. It actually all works out rather well, and I have come to love it more each time I observe it!
- Shadow of a Doubt
This was the one I saw when I started realizing Hitchock and I were going to be good friends. The suspense and intrigue displayed in this little thriller about a girl and her highly suspect uncle. Granted, the uncle/niece relationship is a bit awkward, but it still is one of Alfred Hitchcock’s most “Presents” feeling films!
- Rear Window (viewed with Clearplay)
Probably my favorite set up of all Hitchcock films. A crippled man sitting in front of all his neighbors windows. He just sits there and looks, and looks, and looks. But this is Hitchcock, so something must be brewing. As he starts watching, he starts suspecting his neighbor of some dastardly business, and it may not be as wrong of an assumption as everyone is assuring him. Rear Window takes its rightful reign as one of Hitchcock’s most iconic films in his archives.
Now, this one is a bit out of place when comparing to other Hitchcock lists. Yet, the simplicity and suspense shown in this film (based off of one of my favorite “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” episodes) totally transfixes me every time I see it. Hitchcock is at some of his best as he makes both a compelling thriller of murder, and giving an important social study for those who hold to deadly and dangerous philosophies. Add all this up with one of Jimmy Stewart’s finest performances (even as a supporting character), and you have a gem!
Another one that may not be considered this high on most lists, but I cannot help it, Rebecca is a supreme. What I love about Rebecca over other Hitchcock films is that the constant dread seeping from the moving pictures is largely unknown. That is largely thanks to the beautiful gothic black and white cinematography which just screams “run!” As well as Joan Fontaine’s masterful performance as an average girl thrown into the epitome of culture shock. Granted, this mystery is not as menacing as other Hitchcock films, but it is one of his most stellar made flicks (plus Judith Anderson is quite terrifying).
- Psycho (viewed with Clearplay)
Cliché much? Well, I tried my best not to, but there is no way to avoid the sheer iconic status of Psycho! Even knowing many of the plot twists before watching it the first time, I was still so engrossed and on the edge of my seat, it didn’t even matter. That’s when you know you have something special. In fact, what could I say about it that has not been stated? Its taping; perfect! Its music; perfect! Its suspense; perfect! Its setting/hotel; perfect! Anthony Perkin’s performance as both an everyday young man and psychopath; beyond perfect! The king of suspense had truly outdone himself whenever it came to this little gem. Not only is it the best horror/suspense film of all time, it is one of the best films to have ever been created!
So, how did I do? Have I failed to mention one of your favorite Hitchcock classics (like the so-so North By Northwest)? If you feel that I have done a poor job, please let me know in the comment section. At the very least, I hope we can appreciate the Master of Suspense together as we remember some of his greatest works. And if you are a poor soul who has not yet ventured out into the world of Alfred Hitchcock, I hope I may have peaked your interest just enough to try a little.
P.S. Nate Ruess’ new song “AhHa” is bizzare, but pretty awesome at the same time! Check it out, and enjoy the nod to “Some Nights.”