Films By Alfred Hitchcock
directed 55 features throughout his 51 years as a featured director. He made movies with and without sound, and in black-and-white and in color. They are, in order:
- Pleasure Garden (1925) – His feature debut. About two chorus girls whose husbands leave for the colonies and how all of them react to being away from each other.
- The Mountain Eagle (1926) – Set in Kentucky. A shop keeper tries to marry a schoolteacher, but she marries a hermit and Tragedy ensues. A lost film.
- The Lodger (1927) – His first thriller. About a Jack the Ripper-esque murder spree in London and how one man is accused of being the murderer. Also has Hitchcock’s first cameo.
- The Ring (1927) – A love triangle between a boxer, his girlfriend, and another fighter. The only movie where the writing is credited entirely to Hitchcock himself.
- Downhill (1927) – A schoolboy takes the blame for a friend’s theft, and his life falls apart after he is expelled.
- The Farmer’s Wife (1928) – An old farmer tries to marry again with the help of his housekeeper, who's secretly in love with him.
- Easy Virtue (1928) – Loosely adapted from the Noël Coward play of the same name. A divorced woman tries to hide her past from her husband and his family.
- Champagne (1928) – A comedy about a spoiled young woman trying to find work after her father lies to her and says he has no more money left.
- The Manxman (1929) – Two childhood friends, a fisherman and a lawyer, fall in love with the same girl.
- Blackmail (1929) – The first sound feature ever made in the UK. In fact, it was already in production as a silent movie when the producers decided to make it a sound picture. So there are two versions available. A young woman kills an attempted rapist in self defense, and a petty thief discovers evidence that suggests it was murder. He tries to blackmail her, but unwittingly winds up implicating himself.
- Juno and the Paycock (1929) – In Revolution-era Ireland, a family finds out that they will earn a huge inheritance and quickly forget their old values.
- Murder! (1930) – When an actress is convicted for killing her friend, one of the jury members is determined to prove her innocence.
- Elstree Calling (1930) – Hitchcock was one of multiple directors working on this. About the television broadcast of a musical revue.
- The Skin Game (1931) – About the feud between two rival families, one old wealth and one new wealth.
- Mary (1931) – German-language remake of Murder! .
- Rich and Strange (1931) – A poor young couple receive a big inheritance and go on a cruise, but the money starts to destroy their relationship.
- Number Seventeen (1932) – Jewel thieves hide an expensive necklace in an old abandoned house, but a detective is hot on their trails and the neighbors find out about their plot. Hilarity Ensues.
- Waltzes from Vienna (1934) – A musical about Strauss writing The Blue Danube. Hitchcock only made it for money and called it the low-point of his career.
- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) – His first spy thriller. A British couple learn about an assassination plot, and the assassins kidnap their daughter to keep them quiet. Hitchcock’s breakthrough movie internationally, it was his first big hit in America. (Later remade in color by Hitch himself; see below.)
- The 39 Steps (1935) – A Canadian man in London is wrongfully accused of murdering a female spy who was killed in his house, and he is chased across the country by police while he tries to piece together the clues she left him. Eventually, he is apprehended and handcuffed to a woman he met earlier, but he escapes while he is still handcuffed to her. Often called the best of his British movies, and one of his first movies that balances humor and thrills equally. Source of the quote for Anonymous Ringer.
- Secret Agent (1936) – A famous British writer fakes his death during World War I and is sent by the British intelligence to kill a German agent.
- Sabotage (1936) – An American woman in London suspects her husband, a foreigner who runs a local cinema, is part of a bombing plot. Roiled audiences with its aversion of Infant Immortality. Includes a piece of the Silly Symphony short Who Killed Cock Robin?. A clip from this was briefly shown in the scene in Inglourious Basterds where the narrator explains how easy it was for old film to cause fires.
- Young and Innocent (1937) – A famous movie star is killed by her husband for having several affairs. One of her boyfriends finds the body but gets arrested on suspicions of being the murderer. He escapes with a police constable’s daughter to try to prove his innocence. Has a famous tracking shot.
- The Lady Vanishes (1938) – A young playgirl befriends an old woman on a train in an unnamed country on the continent. However, she wakes up from a long nap to find the old woman missing, and all of the other passengers all swear that the woman was never there. She is determined to prove they are lying, and eventually uncovers a massive conspiracy plot.
- Jamaica Inn (1939) – A pirate drama, of all things. Stars Charles Laughton.
- Rebecca (1940) – His first American movie. Producer David O. Selznick (of Gone With The Wind fame) convinced Hitchcock to move to America because Hollywood offered more money and better production values. Based off the famous book of the same name. A naïve young woman (Joan Fontaine) marries a wealthy widower (Laurence Olivier), but the legacy of his former wife, Rebecca, haunts everyone, including her. The only Hitchcock movie to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Best Director nomination.
- Foreign Correspondent (1940) – A journalist is sent to Europe on the eve of World War II and becomes involved in international espionage. A very funny thriller that has some great set pieces, including an assassination in the rain. Nominated for Best Picture, but lost to Rebecca.
- Mr. & Mrs. Smith (1941) – A Screwball Comedy (his first American attempt at a pure comedy) about a couple learning their marriage wasn't valid. Earlier that day, the husband confessed that, if given the chance again, he wouldn’t have married her. After finding out, he changed his mind… but so has she. Not to be confused with the 2005 Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie film.
- Suspicion (1941) – A woman (Joan Fontaine) suspects that her new husband is planning to murder her. The first of four Hitchcock films starring Cary Grant. Nominated for Best Picture, and Joan Fontaine won Best Actress.
- Saboteur (1942) – A Nazi starts a fire at a plane factory and an innocent man gets framed. Imagine a World War II-era combination of The 39 Steps and North by Northwest, and you have a good fuzzy concept of what this is like. It ends with a set piece on the Statue of Liberty.
- Shadow of a Doubt (1943) – The first time Hitchcock really indulged in his love of psychologically examining criminals. An intelligent murderer (Joseph Cotten) flees from the police and hides with his family in a small California town. He charms everyone, but his teenaged niece begins to suspect that something is up. This was Hitchcock’s favorite out of all of his movies.
- Lifeboat (1944) – Hitchcock’s first experiment with what is known as a “limited set.” After a battle between an Allied ship and a German U-Boat, the nine survivors (including one German) cling to a small lifeboat and tensions start to develop between all of them. Based on a novella by John Steinbeck. Has one of his most creative cameos. Bombed at the box office because the positive portrayal of the German was considered Too Soon. Nominated for Best Director.
- Spellbound (1945) – Ingrid Bergman plays a psychiatrist who falls in love with her hospital’s new director, Gregory Peck, but it turns out that he has a few secrets of his own. Has a famous dream sequence designed by Salvador Dali. Nominated for Best Picture and Best Director.
- Notorious (1946) – A convicted Nazi's American daughter is recruited by government agents to spy on his old friends who are hiding in Brazil. Noted for having what is called “the longest kiss scene in movie history.” One scene where the camera swoops through a crowded party to a close-up of a key is one of his most famous shots. With Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant.
- The Paradine Case (1947) – An English barrister (Gregory Peck) falls in love with the defendant in a murder trial.
- Rope (1948) – Another one of his “limited set” movies, and his first movie in color. This one is set almost entirely in a small apartment, and is shot to look like it was filmed in one continuous take. Two young men murder a friend, hide his body in a trunk, and have a party in their apartment while the body is there the entire time. Based on the infamous real-life Leopold and Loeb murder. Has grown in esteem over the years. The first of four movies he made with Jimmy Stewart.
- Under Capricorn (1949) – A Costume Drama with tragic undertones. Set in 1831-1832 Australia. Stars Ingrid Bergman.
- Stage Fright (1950) – Charlotte Inwood (Marlene Dietrich), a well-known actress and singer, loses her husband to a murder. Suspicion falls on her supposed lover Jonathan Cooper. Eve Gill, an acting student, sets out to prove his innocence and find out whether Charlotte herself performed the murder. But everything is not what it seems. His first British movie since he moved to America.
- Strangers on a Train (1951) – Two strangers on a train strike up a conversation about the people in their lives they want dead. One suggests that they trade murders so they won't get caught. The other one laughs it off. The first guy was serious. Stars his own daughter, Patricia Hitchcock, in a supporting role.
- I Confess (1953) – A priest hears a confession of murder from one of his church workers and is then accused of the crime himself. He refuses to say what he knows because of his religious convictions, but can he prove his innocence by other means?
- Dial M for Murder (1954) – A man hires a hitman to bump off his cheating wife (Grace Kelly, in her first of three Hitchcock films). However, the hitman ends up being killed by the wife in self-defense, so the man decides to kill her through the judicial system and frames her for murder. Based on a play, it's one of Hitch's best known and an example of a movie Bottle Episode.
- Rear Window (1954) – His last “limited set” movie. Jimmy Stewart plays a photographer with a broken leg and nothing better to do but spy on his neighbors... and do some amateur sleuthing (with the help of Grace Kelly) when he suspects one of them of murder. All of it is shot either in his apartment or from his point of view when he looks out his window. Nominated for Best Director.
- To Catch a Thief (1955) – A reformed Gentleman Thief has to clear his name when he's framed for a new spate of burglaries. Stars the French Riviera, with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly in supporting roles.
- The Trouble with Harry (1955) – His second attempt at a pure comedy after he moved to America. A man dies in a Vermont forest. We discover just how many times you can bury and dig up the same corpse when all of the villagers each have different plans for his body.
- The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) – A remake of the original. This time stars Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day, who sings the hit song “Que Sera, Sera. “ Hitchcock considered this to be better than the original.
- The Wrong Man (1956) – Henry Fonda gets falsely accused of robbery. Based on a true story. The stress of the case affects him and his family very badly as they try to prove his innocence. Critic-turned-director Jean-Luc Godard wrote his longest piece of criticism about this movie.
- Vertigo (1958) – A San Francisco policeman (Jimmy Stewart) who is afraid of heights is asked by an old college buddy to watch the man's wife, who is just not herself lately... and finds himself falling, in ways other than the one he fears. Widely panned when it came out, it is now considered one of the greatest movies ever made and maybe even Hitchcock’s masterpiece.
- North by Northwest (1959) – A spy thriller involving a man who doesn't exist, a crop duster, a murder in the UN, and a climax on top of Mount Rushmore. And, once again, Cary Grant, playing, once again, an innocent man wrongfully accused. Was a huge influence on the James Bond movies, which started production a few years later.
- Psycho (1960) – Janet Leigh tries to steal some money and winds up having a fatal encounter in a shower. Anthony Perkins steals the show as a troubled mama’s boy. Famous for having two very, VERY shocking plot twists that audiences did not see coming, but have today fallen to spoilers. Or at least one of them has. Nominated for Best Director.
- The Birds (1963) – Impossible to describe without it sounding like a B horror film, especially since its premise is one of the classic B horror plots, but it's okay, because everyone already knows what it is about. Basically, it starts off pretending to be a romantic comedy before it turns out to be about killer birds attacking a village on the California coast. MUCH better than it sounds.
- Marnie (1964) – A psychological thriller starring Sean Connery (who filmed this the same time he was filming Goldfinger) married to the titular kleptomaniac. After a string of huge hits, this was his first outright bomb at the box office in a while. Has been re-evaluated by modern critics and is now considered by many to be one of his most complex movies.
- Torn Curtain (1966) – Michael Armstrong (Paul Newman), an esteemed American rocket scientist, defects to East Germany. Sarah Sherman (Julie Andrews), his assistant and fiancée, reluctantly follows him. Armstrong is actually a Fake Defector, but the Stasi is determined to keep him within the East German borders. Has a scene that realistically proves how difficult it actually is to murder someone.
- Topaz (1969) – In Copenhagen, a high-ranking Soviet intelligence officer defects to the West with his wife and daughter. He informs the CIA that the Soviets are positioning missiles in Cuba. André Devereaux, a French agent, is assigned to further investigate the matter. His mission leads him first to New York City, then to Cuba. While events lead up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Devereaux' personal life takes several turns for the worse.
- Frenzy (1972) – One of the most graphic of Hitch's films, this involves a man being framed for a series of sex murders. Meanwhile, the real murderer targets the man’s girlfriend. His first British movie since Stage Fright.
- Family Plot (1976) – A dark comedy about a phony medium and her boyfriend getting hired to find an elderly woman’s long-lost nephew, who was given up for adoption. It turns out he’s a diamond smuggler now. Features William Devane (Secretary Heller from 24). Contains loads of references to many of his previous movies.