Top 10 Best Alfred Hitchcock Movies
Alfred Hitchcock’s (1899-1980) own perception was that his best movies were the ones that have been embraced by the audience. Although in the Top 10 list below you can find some of his greatest box-office successes, more Psychosexologist criteria have been included such as the acting, script, influence and innovation. Well, here we go:
10) The 39 Steps (1935)
One of Hitchcock finest movies he directed in the U.K. before he left for the U.S. In the very tightly plotted “innocent man on the run” -tale (Hitchcock used this format also in Young and Innocent, Sabotage and North by Northwest), the protagonist Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) gets involved in a murder mystery in which he’s unjustly the prime suspect. From that moment he’s haunted by the police and the real culprits and therefore is subjected to some suspenseful and hilarious events. Besides the nicely timed plot twists, the performances from Donat and Madeleine Carroll (the resentful heroine) really standout.
9) The Wrong Man (1956)
The Wrong Man probably Hitchcock’s least characteristic movie. Not a playful and suspenseful thriller but a grim urban tale, presented in grainy B & W camerawork, about the wrongfully accused (robbery) jazz musician Manny Balestrero (Henry Fonda). The movie is a rarity in Hitchcock’s oeuvre with its customary sense of mischief entirely absent. Hitchcock and his film crew went to extraordinary lengths to tell Balestrero’s story accurately. Although Hitch didn’t feel that strong about it, the result is a stark and chilling film with impressive performances by Fonda and Vera Miles, as his feverish and anguishing looking wife.
8) Shadow of a Doubt (1942)
Without a doubt Hitchcock’s most personal film (and one of his favorites). Joseph Cotten the beloved uncle Charlie, who’s adored by his niece (Teresa Wright) but turns out to be a murderer. He’s trailed by the police and seeks refuge with the small-town family of his sister. The focus is on the gradual realisation of the niece that her uncle has “two faces” but on a subliminal level it also is a satyrical analysis of middle-American life. Together with Psycho, this is the only Hitchcock picture in which the central figure is a villain.
7) Notorious (1946)
The espionage plot in Notorious, of Nazis seeking refuge in South-America is merely a MacGuffin*. The real focus is on the sadistic relationship between a US agent T.R. Devlin (Cary Grant), the alcoholic Alicia Huberman (Ingrid Bergman) and the Nazi with a mother complex Alexander Sebastian (Claude Rains) who’s trying to poison her. In his famous interview with Hitchcock Francois Truffaut remarked: “…in Notorious you have at once a maximum of stylization and a maximum of simplicity”. It remains one of his finest movies of the Forties with top-notch performances.