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The 10 best Alfred Hitchcock movies, ranked

History's most esteemed director has too many hits!

Paramount Pictures

Sometimes a director’s style and substance become so pervasive in Hollywood that they overshadow the actors. Alfred Hitchcock was one such director. The pioneer of modern horror and suspense films, Hitchcock conveyed emotional and frightening experiences in a variety of genres throughout his many decades of making films. Performers such as Jimmy Stewart and Ingrid Bergman frequently collaborated with Hitchcock, forming dynamic actor/director pairings that went on to change movies forever. With dozens of classics to choose from, it feels nearly impossible to choose which Alfred Hitchcock movies to watch during spooky season. This article is here to help. These are the 10 best Alfred Hitchcock movies of all time, ranked.

10. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

10. Shadow of a Doubt
Genre Thriller, Crime
Stars Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, Macdonald Carey
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Shadow of a Doubt excels in creating one of Hitchcock’s eeriest atmospheres and tones. This film is set in a dinky California town, where Charlotte Newton (Charlie) yearns for more excitement in her life. What Charlie doesn’t expect is that wish would manifest in a murderous way when her psychotic uncle comes to live with her family. The thrill and sense of dread created by Hitchcock is pitch perfect. Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotton turn in awesome performances.

Rebecca (1940)

Genre Mystery, Romance, Thriller, Drama
Stars Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock loved using domestic situations and romance as a basis for many of his best movies. Rebecca is perhaps the pinnacle of his romantic horror films, telling the story of a woman who thinks her marriage to Laurence Olivier’s character, Maxim de Winter, is going swimmingly. She soon learns the creepy and unexpected circumstances that come with marrying a widower like de Winter. This is the only movie Hitchcock directed that won Best Picture at the Academy Awards, although Hitchcock didn’t win Best Director for the film.

8. Rope (1948)

8. Rope
Genre Thriller, Crime, Drama
Stars James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Rope possesses a unique plot that plays out like a board game or a murder mystery party. Two men create a thought experiment murder in which they kill a former classmate in the “perfect” manner. The film famously uses a limited number of shots and was the first of Hitchcock’s movies to use Technicolor. Rope often is cited as one of film critics’ favorite horror movies even if Hitchcock fans prefer other classics on the list more.

7. Strangers on a Train (1951)

7. Strangers on a Train
Genre Crime, Thriller
Stars Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
One of Hitchcock’s best book adaptations, Strangers on a Train gives off Murder on the Orient Express vibes. Set on a train ride through the countryside, a tennis star is the victim of his wife getting murdered by someone he meets on the vehicle. He becomes the prime suspect in the crime, and he’s also asked to perform a murder himself by the psychopath. Farley Granger, Ruth Roman, and Robert Walker are a wonderful trio of performers who bring the movie to life.

6. The Birds (1963)

6. The Birds
Genre Horror
Stars Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Why are birds so creepy to people. Is it because they can fly? Or maybe they seem to serve no purpose other than as human thought fodder. Either way you cut it, Alfred Hitchcock captures the dilemma in The Birds. Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor star as the couple at the center of the drama, one of the best natural disaster films of the 20th century. The ideas presented in The Birds captivate audiences decades later because the movie never outgrows its ambition.

5. North by Northwest (1959)

5. North by Northwest
Genre Mystery, Thriller
Stars Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Cary Grant stars as an ad executive on the run from the bad guys in one of the movies that paved the way for some of the world’s most famous spy and secret agent movies. Unlike many of Hitchcock’s other movies, North by Northwest doesn’t rely on horror elements, instead shifting the genre to action and adventure. Hitchcock’s success with this movie demonstrated his versatility and willingness to step outside of his typical movies while still maintaining thriller tones.

4. Dial M for Murder (1954)

4. Dial M for Murder
Genre Thriller, Crime
Stars Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Dial M for Murder examines what happens when a killer doesn’t successfully execute his plot to take out his wife. While many of Hitchcock’s movie plots revolve around the person escaping a psycho, this one flips the script and puts the screen time on the bad person. Grace Kelly became yet another one of Hitchcock’s famous female muses with films like this one during a time period when men were still the stars of most big movies.

3. Vertigo (1958)

3. Vertigo
Genre Mystery, Romance, Thriller
Stars James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Vertigo combines fan and critic adulation unlike almost any other Hitchcock work. Special effects that had never been seen before help tell the story of a man suffering from the titular disease that disorients and disturbs the main character played by Jimmy Stewert. The film’s brilliance lies in the way it can be complex and simple at the same time.

2. Rear Window (1954)

2. Rear Window
Genre Thriller, Mystery
Stars James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

Rear Window takes Hitchcock’s two most famous actors and combines their talents for a blood-rushing experience. James Stewert plays a paranoid man who thinks he can see a murder taking place in the apartment across the street from him. His obsession becomes a little too real, culminating in one of the best climactic scenes in movie history!

1. Psycho (1960)

1. Psycho
Genre Horror, Drama, Thriller
Stars Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Psycho remains the preeminent Hitchcock movie ever since its release in 1960. Jamie Lee Curtis’s mother, Janet Leigh, stars as one of horror cinema’s most iconic protagonists as she’s haunted by the danger at a remote hotel. Everything comes together in Psycho to make it the scariest Alfred Hitchcock movie, along with the most immersive one. Modern horror directors almost always take something from this film when making their own pictures.

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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