Films by Alfred Hitchcock: The highlights of the doyen director

Alfred Hitchcock was one of the most influential film directors of all time. You can find out here which highlights of his filmography you should definitely see.

It is probably no exaggeration to say that hardly any director has shaped cinema history like the old master Alfred Hitchcock. The Briton, who lived from 1899 to 1980, had a lasting influence on the thriller and crime genre in particular. His filmography includes more than 50 films for which he was behind the camera. Many of them are considered classics today and are still quoted, scientifically researched and passionately watched years later. In addition to remakes such as Gus van Sant’s “Psycho” from 1998, there are also films about Hitchcock himself, such as “Hitchcock” from 2012. Known as the “Master of Suspense”, which in German means something like “master of suspense”, Hitchcock has also cinematically shaped the cinema in a lasting way. For example, the type of film editing and camera work is designed to look almost like a person’s gaze. Hitchcock’s small guest appearances in the background of his films are also legendary. Almost all of his films are still exciting entertainment today. In our list of the best, we tell you which Hitchcock films you should definitely have seen at least once.

“The 39 Steps” (1935)

Richard (Robert Donat) tries to escape the 39 Steps espionage network. (© Allstar/Gaumont/Sportsphoto Ltd)

Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) accidentally meets a counterintelligence agent who is murdered shortly thereafter. This puts Richard himself in the sights of the 39 Steps espionage network, who are now targeting him as well. Based on John Buchan’s novel of the same name, “The 39 Steps” is not Alfred Hitchcock’s first film, but it is the first solid classic in his repertoire.

“Rebecca” (1940)

The marriage between Maxim (Laurence Olivier) and his new wife (Joan Fontaine) is complicated. (© 20th Century Fox)

Widowed aristocrat Maxim de Winter (Laurence Olivier) remarries. However, his younger wife, the new Mrs. de Winter (Joan Fontaine), is tormented by mysterious memories of Maxim’s first wife, the eponymous “Rebecca”. The psychological thriller is Hitchcock’s first Hollywood-produced film and received eleven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, where it won.

  • You can’t stream “Rebecca” from any provider at the moment, but you can buy it on DVD.

“In the Shadow of Doubt” (1943)

Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is seen through by his niece (Teresa Wright). (© Universal Pictures)

Charlie (Joseph Cotten) is charming and good looking. But he’s also a killer on the run. He seeks shelter with his family in sleepy Santa Rosa. But his niece (Teresa Wright) finds out about him and creates unexpected difficulties for the wanted murderer. According to Hitchcock, “In the Shadow of Doubt” is his favorite film from the large catalog of his work and for that reason alone it is worth a film evening.

  • You can find “In the Shadow of Doubt” on Prime Video or Apple TV as a purchase or rental version.

“Notorious” (1946)

Alicia (Ingrid Bergman) and TR Devlin (Cary Grant) must work together. (© Walt Disney Studios)

Alicia (Ingrid Bergman) is the daughter of an American man convicted of espionage in Nazi-era Germany. At a party, she meets government agent TR Devlin (Cary Grant). She agrees to spy on the conspiracy group her father once belonged to for Devlin. A risky undertaking, as it soon turns out. With “Notorious”, Hitchcock reinvents himself after a series of extremely successful films with a romantic spy thriller and, with Grant and Bergman, wins the most well-known stars of the time for the title roles.

  • Notorious is not currently available to stream, but is available on DVD.

“The Window to the Yard” (1954)

Jeff (James Stewart) and his girlfriend (Grace Kelly) are on the trail of their mysterious neighbor. (© Paramount Pictures / Getty Images)

Jeff (James Stewart) actually earns his money as a press photographer. But in an accident he breaks his leg and is initially confined to a wheelchair in his apartment. Out of boredom, he starts observing the neighborhood in the backyard. After initial resistance, his girlfriend Lisa (Grace Kelly) allows herself to be drawn into her boyfriend’s new hobby. But then the two notice some strange inconsistencies with the mysterious neighbor. Courtyard Window earned Hitchcock another Best Director nomination and is considered not only one of his best films, but one of the greatest films of all time.

Vertigo (1958)

Detective Scottie Ferguson (James Stewart) is hired to protect a suicidal Madeleine (Kim Novak) from herself. He soon develops personal feelings for the mysterious woman. When Madeleine finally dies and Scottie thinks he’ll see her on the street again shortly afterwards, events take a turn for the worse. “Vertigo” is best known today for Hitchcock’s very special camera tricks, which impressively weave Scottie’s fear of heights into the film.

“The Invisible Third” (1959)

Roger (Cary Grant) is on the run. (© Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc.)

Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is actually a New York advertising executive. But then he accidentally falls into the crosshairs of a dangerous spy ring. Roger is now being hunted across America by professional killers and must fight to survive. “The Invisible Third” is considered one of the groundbreaking films in the thriller genre due to its rapid pace and the continuous build-up of tension.

Psycho (1960)

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) is an office worker who has just landed the coup of her life: she flees with $40,000 that she embezzled. She meets Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) in a mysterious motel where she seeks refuge, and her promising escape takes a dramatic turn. “Psycho” is by far Alfred Hitchcock’s best-known film and features one of the most iconic scenes in film history. The film not only inspired the genre and several other films, but is also the basis for the series “Bates Motel”. Hitchcock also received an Oscar nomination for best director for “Psycho”, but this time he also went away empty-handed.

“The Birds” (1963)

Melanie (Tippi Hedren) and Mitch (Rod Taylor) grow closer. (© Universal Studios)

Melanie (Tippi Hedren), a spoiled millionaire’s daughter, follows Mitch (Rod Taylor) to his hometown of Bodega Bay after they met at a San Francisco pet store. But on the spot, Melanie is attacked by a seagull for inexplicable reasons. More attacks soon follow, as countless birds descend on the small town, attacking anyone who ventures outside. The horror thriller “The Birds” was nominated at the Oscars for its special effects, among other things, and impresses with its haunting settings, with which Hitchcock stages supposedly harmless birds as frightening creatures.

Take the quiz to prove whether you can only recognize the films based on famous quotes:

Movie quotes quiz: From which movies do the sayings of the movie heroes come from?

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