Often referred to as the “Master of Suspense,” Alfred Hitchcock is one of the most iconic and influential filmmakers who ever lived. Along with Akira Kurosawa and Jean-Luc Godard, Hitchcock is one of the forefathers of modern escapist cinema. He defined many of the tropes and conventions that fans of the thriller genre are now familiar with.
Almost all of Hitchcock’s films have stood the test of time, from classic capers like The 39 Steps and North by Northwest to tense thrillers like Psycho and rear window. Some of them are cinematic monuments that hold up to countless rewatches.
10 The 39 Steps (1935)
One of the earliest Hitchcock movies to feel truly Hitchcockian, The 39 Steps arguably laid the groundwork for all escapist entertainment. A wrongfully accused man goes on the run from a shady organization.
Built around an ominous conspiracy and a MacGuffin that only reveals itself in the finale, this was one of the first movies that earned Hitchcock the title of “Master of Suspense.”
9 Rope (1948)
Hitchcock’s films tend to focus more on plot than character, but rope is a great character piece. The movie plays out in real time, edited to look like a single continuous take.
Watching rope is like watching a stage play (like the one by Patrick Hamilton that the film was based on) as two academics plan and execute the perfect crime.
8 frenzy (1972)
Hitchcock’s penultimate movie, frenzy, leans more heavily into genre tropes than most of his other movies. It’s a gruesome serial killer thriller; essentially a Hitchcockian slasher. It’s grislier than most of Hitchcock’s other works, but that’s what makes it so entertaining.
The haunting antagonist of frenzy – Bob Rusk, better known as “The Necktie Strangler” – is one of the most fearsome villains in the Hitchcock canon.
7 Shadow Of A Doubt (1943)
Hitchcock delivered one of his most effective rug-pull plot twists in Shadow of a Doubt. A young woman is excited to host her uncle for a visit. However, she comes to the ominous realization that Uncle Charlie is a notorious serial killer.
Teresa Wright is a quintessential everywoman faced with a unique dilemma opposite Joseph Cotten’s sinister turn as a murderer.
6 The Birds (1963)
One of the earliest “nature thrillers,” The Birds created the template for high concept horror movies. The first act introduces the characters and the supernatural threat they face, the second act follows a group of survivors banding together to stay safe, and the third act brings the terror to a head.
The effects in The Birds haven’t aged particularly gracefully, but the creepy atmosphere certainly has, and the iconic ending always leaves the audience feeling suitably unsettled.
5 Rear Window (1954)
One of Hitchcock’s most familiar trademarks is using his camera to turn the audience into voyeurs. The most obvious example is rear windowabout an adventurous photographer with a broken leg who escapes the boredom of being stuck at home by spying on his neighbors through a powerful lens.
Eventually, he stumbles upon what he believes is a murder scene. rear window is one of the most intriguing, captivating thrillers ever made. It holds up to endless rewatches because it’s a purely visual experience.
4 Strangers On A Train (1951)
Hitchcock’s gripping two-hander Strangers on a Train has been homaged more than almost any other movie. It’s a timeless crime thriller about motives and consequences.
But the stories influenced by Strangers on a Train tend to miss the most compelling aspect of this tale of two people committing murders for each other. In the Hitchcock original, only one person is on board with the plan.
3 Vertigo (1958)
Often listed as one of the greatest movies ever made, vertigo is a pitch-perfect blend of film noir and psychological thriller. An acrophobic detective is hired by an old friend to follow his suspicious wife around and ends up falling for her.
Like all movies predicated on a twist, vertigo can be enjoyed countless times. It holds up as an even better viewing experience when the audience knows what’s coming so they can look out for the signs.
2 North By North West (1959)
Revolving around a classic case of mistaken identity, North by Northwest is the closest thing to a James Bond movie directed by Hitchcock. The movie’s sly self-awareness borders on a parody of its own genre. Cary Grant leans into this tone hilariously, playing all the ridiculous scenarios totally straight.
North by Northwest is one of the director’s most fun movies. Iconic set-pieces like the crop duster attack and the Mount Rushmore chase can be enjoyed over and over again.
1 Psycho (1960)
like vertigo, Psycho‘s twisty storytelling makes it endlessly rewatchable. Psycho is predicated on two twists: the midpoint twist with the iconic shower murder and the final twist with the truth about Norman Bates. Both halves of the movie are more thrilling when the viewer knows the inevitable terrors that await the characters, keeping them on the edge of their seats.
Everything in this movie comes together perfectly, from the performances to the masterfully crafted jump scares to Bernard Herrmann’s tense musical score to John L. Russell’s haunting black-and-white cinematography.
NEXT: 10 Most Rewatchable Martin Scorsese Movies
Harry Potter: 10 Niche Memes Only True Fans Will Get
About The Author