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7 Best Alfred Hitchcock Movies

Tanya Mardirossian |
October 13, 2014 | 11:52 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

(Twitter/ @AdviceToWriters)
(Twitter/ @AdviceToWriters)
Alfred Hitchcock, the British director, did it all in the name of horror. He directed thrillers for the big screen and successfully wrote short TV shows in "Alfred Hitchcock Presents." James Stewart, major actor of the early to mid-1900s starred in many of Hitchcock’s films, so there’s no surprise seeing his name in some of Hitchcock’s best works. Though most of his works are romantic thriller classics, these are the top-rated Hitchcock movies (and they weren’t easy to rank): 

Rear Window (1954)

Written by John Michael Hayes

Are you familiar with the movie “Disturbia” starring Shia Labeouf? Well, that movie is an adaptation of “Rear Window” (with some differences). Photojournalist Jeff Jefferies (James Stewart) is stuck in his New York City apartment after breaking his leg in a racetrack accident. Confined to a wheelchair for the summer, he suspects his neighbor in the apartment building across from him of murdering his wife. Jefferies has a love interest of his own, Lisa Freemont (Grace Kelly), an aristocrat unlike Jefferies. “Rear Window” doesn’t completely focus on Jefferies’ theory about his neighbor, but also on the different social statuses between the couple. Instead of using a binocular like Labeouf’s character did in “Disturbia,” Jefferies uses his camera.

The Birds (1963)

Written by Daphne Du Maurier and Evan Hunter 

This thriller has no music to cue the suspense. Instead, the soundtrack consists of birds chirping—or crying and flapping their wings. Melanie Daniels (Tippi Hedren) is a young socialite whose father owns a newspaper in San Franscisco. She herself seems to appear in newspapers and tabloids getting into trouble. She meets Mitch Brenner (Rod Taylor) at a pet shop. He is looking for birds to gift to his younger sister. Daniels follows him across the bay to his isolated home away from the city with two lovebirds. From there on, it’s trouble, and no one knows why.

To Catch a Thief (1955)

Written by John Michael Hayes and David Dodge

John Robie (Cary Grant) is a retired jewel thief nicknamed “The Cat.” He lives in the French Riviera where he is accused of stealing jewels. He seeks refuge where he finds himself in romantic tension with Frances Stevens (Grace Kelly), an elite who owns some of the finest jewels. She later accuses him of stealing her jewels. The film is like a game of cat and mouse, with the romance adding to the suspense. 

Vertigo (1958)

Written by Alec Coppel and Samuel A. Taylor

This thriller, which is both directed and produced by Hitchcock, is based on a novel written by Boileau-Narcejac. John Ferguson, also called Scottie (James Stewart), is a retired police detective. He developed acrophobia (fear of heights) and vertigo (sensation of false movement) while on duty. He gets a call from his friend who hires Ferguson as a private investigator to follow his wife because of suspicious behavior. While chasing her around San Francisco, Ferguson begins to have flashbacks and feel his vertigo kick in. 

North by Northwest (1959)

Written by Ernest Lehman

Cary Grant plays Roger O. Thornhill, an advertising executive who is mistaken as George Kaplan, a spy. His life becomes an action-packed adventure when he is accused of murder. He boards a train to Chicago where he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint). Once again, we see a Hitchcock romantic thriller.  

READ MORE: Top 5 Halloween Movies To Watch 

Psycho (1960)

Written by Joseph Stefano and Robert Block 

Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) wants to marry to her boyfriend, Sam Loomis (John Gavin), but she's having money trouble. She leaves town with stolen money, hoping to move to California. She spends a night at Bates Motel, owned by Norman Bates. Bates seems to be drawn to Crane. We can’t give away too much for those who haven’t seen the film, but “Psycho” is known for its shower scene with the suspenseful music. 

The Trouble with Harry (1955)

Written by John Michael Hayes (“To Catch a Thief”) and Jack Trevor Story 

Harry Worp’s (Phillip Truex) body appears on a hillside in Highwater, Vermont. Townspeople are troubled when they discover the body and wonder how he died. Many characters—Captain Wiled (Edmund Gwenn), Jennifer Rogers, Harry’s wife (Shirley MacLaine), Arnie, his son (Jerry Mathers)—believe they are the cause of Harry’s death. 

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