Choosing a Favorite Alfred Hitchcock Movie: Is it Even Possible?

Alfred Hitchcock

What makes a great director? I’m almost embarrassed to say I don’t really know. I’d love to be more knowledgeable about the role of a director and more specifically what qualities make one great, but I don’t exactly know what to look for to make that determination.

So I certainly would never make the claim that Alfred Hitchcock is the best director ever, but just based on how many of his movies I really like/love, I can definitely say he is my favorite.

Alfred Hitchcock Movies on the Big Screen

I recently had the chance to see the Hitchcock directed movie The 39 Steps (1935) at a local theater. Well, if you can call a 2 1/2 hour round trip drive, local. :-) The theater was running a special promotion that day where if you wrote the name of your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie on a card, admission was free.

Notorious (1946) Cary Grant & Ingrid BergmanThe theater also mentioned that they will consider showing another of Hitchcock’s movies in the future from the titles they collected. So when it came time to choose a movie, I realized I could either pick my true favorite or instead go with one that I thought would be more impressive to see on the big screen.

For example, even though it’s not one of my top favorites, I considered writing down North by Northwest (1959) just because I think it would be awesome to see in a theater. Crop dusting scene anyone? :-)

My Top Five Favorite Alfred Hitchcock Movies – Or Are They?

I ended up writing down what I think is my true favorite, Notorious (1946), but before I did I expressed on Twitter that I wasn’t sure if I could even choose a favorite. When prompted by a follower to narrow it down to a top five, I deliberated quickly and came up with the following:

     

  1. Notorious (1946)
  2. Vertigo (1958)
  3. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
  4. Foreign Correspondent (1940)
  5. Rebecca (1940)

The top three were fairly easy to decide upon, but the last two were a bit tougher and could easily be interchanged with a few others including Rear Window (1954), Marnie (1964) or possibly even The 39 Steps, which I just saw and thought was a great movie. Obviously there is no right or wrong answer and this list can and probably will change over time, but it was still fun to look through Hitchcock’s filmography and realize just how many of his movies I love.

What is your favorite Alfred Hitchcock movie? If like me, it’s too difficult to choose just one, go ahead and list your top 5, top 10. And hey, if you’re not a fan of Hitchcock, let me know that as well. It’s always interesting to hear differing opinions.

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P.S. I’m super excited that I get to see Rear Window on the big screen tonight, thanks to Turner Classic Movies and Fathom Events! Were you able to attend one of these screenings?

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7 comments

  1. I made this list of top 10 Hitchcock favourites a few years ago:

    The 39 Steps
    The Lady Vanishes
    Foreign Correspondent
    Shadow of a Doubt
    Notorious
    Dial M for Murder
    Rear Window
    The Trouble With Harry
    North by Northwest
    Psycho

    I’ve decided that my “true” favourite Hitchcock movie is whichever one I have just watched, or whichever one I am planning on watching next!

  2. Rick says:

    When I started my blog in 2009, my first post was my 10 favorite Hitch pics. They haven’t changed:

    1. Vertigo
    2. Rear Window
    3. Marnie (glad to see it was an honorable mention for you)
    4. The Birds
    5. Strangers on a Train
    6. Shadow of a Doubt
    7. Rebecca
    8. North By Northwest
    9. Psycho
    10. Stage Fright

  3. The Lady Eve says:

    I always have trouble listing out favorites in order. In this case it’s easy for me to name Vertigo as my #1 favorite Hitchcock, but to line up the others in precise order is trickier. Here’s a fairly indecisive attempt:
    1. Vertigo
    2. Rear Window
    3. Notorious
    4. Shadow of a Doubt
    5. Strangers on a Train
    6. Rebecca
    7. North by Northwest
    8. Psycho
    9. Dial M for Murder
    10. To Catch a Thief

    Honorable mentions: The 39 Steps, Foreign Correspondent and Stage Fright.

  4. Ginny says:

    Thanks for sharing your lists everyone! It looks like we all have a lot of overlap. The only Hitchcock movie I’ve ever seen that I did not like was Rope. Believe it or not, I have never seen The Birds, but I think I might hold out for a while yet to see if I can watch it somewhere on the big screen for my first time.

  5. MGM_Lover says:

    Hi, I’m new to this blog, and I know this has nothing to do with this post but I just had to ask……….
    …….
    HAVE YOU SEEN A RAISIN IN THE SUN??????????????????????????????????????

  6. MGM_Lover says:

    I understand I may come off as a doltish character, and you may not even wish to reply, considering I put an underscore in my username despite obviously not having to do so, but I had to ask such a question on a random blog post. I mean, I love A Raisin in the Sun and if you have not seen it, which you obviously haven’t then you must. You must! You MUST!

  7. Nicholas says:

    Notorious. Notorious is one of my all time favorite movies. The Cary Grant character is so distant and aloof, and you just want to smack him. Of course, we get to see him away from Alicia, and we can see that he really does value her, but he hides it from her when they are together, adding tension to the relationship. How creepy being sent off to bed the oily Sebastian. But when the chips are down Devlin is all in. While his boss is sitting in bed eating crackers he knows the time is now to act if they are going to save her. His perception, readiness to act and coolness under pressure all come to the fore, and it is clear why he would be a valued agent for the government. What a roller coaster. After all you’ve been through you just love Alicia Huberman! So happy to see her saved, and happy, with the man she loved all along. Great movie.
    As to what other Hitchcock movies are favorites, the river is deep and wide. North by Northwest is another great story well told. The 39 Steps was wonderful (P.S. Don’t wear loose clothing when you climb inside a Danish windmill). To Catch a Thief I think should be on the list. I liked Suspicion quite a bit (What was that guy up to? I still am not sure.) Rebecca (twisted). Strangers on a Train. Shadow of Doubt. The Paradine Case (who would expect to see Gregory Peck making an ill considered move? And Louis Jordan? I did not realize what a handsome young man he had been.) Saboteur. Lifeboat is said to be very good (I have only seen parts).
    Hitchcock was all about the telling of a story, and he liked to keep his audience on edge. It is remarkable how much anxiety he generates in telling a story with so very little shed blood.
    Excellent, fun little movie blog. All the best!