2. Psycho (1960)
A woman on the run hides out at the Bates Motel run by Norman and his domineering mother.
The most iconic, most sensationalist work from the Master of Suspense still makes you wonder how he got away with this way back in 1960. If showing a toilet flushing had the censors sweating, the just-off-screen sensuality and the film’s centerpiece shower stabbing that brutally offed the apparent main character halfway through was practically goading them.
It was the biggest hit of Hitch’s long and illustrious career, not to mention starting a revolution in film marketing. At its most fundamental level though, Psycho is a really well crafted horror-thriller with twists aplenty and a standout performance of charm and concealed derangement personified from Anthony Perkins.
1. Rear Window (1954)
A photographer confined to a wheelchair by a broken leg observes his neighbours from his window and thinks he witnesses a grisly murder.
The perfect Hitchcock thriller. Simple, contained yet deceptively layered and designed for repeat viewing. One of the best film sets in history contains a first-class mystery and ceaseless tension. Our protagonist has the best seat in the house to observe something horrible happen in the apartment opposite but is powerless to prevent it. Crucially he and the viewer are lacking essential pieces of the puzzle.
It’s hard to imagine a project quite like Rear Window being released today. Similar plots and characters, perhaps, but to trust in your use of film language to communicate just enough but not too much information to your audience is a Hitchcock specialty. Speaking of Hitchcock specialities, he flips accusing eye on the viewer for being drawn in by James Stewart’s (in one of his best roles) voyeurism, an invasion of privacy which ultimately saves the day. He was a tricky one, that Hitch.
Recommended for you: Danny Boyle Films Ranked
A filmmaker as respected and talented as he was prolific and iconic, Alfred Hitchcock was a filmmaker who left an indelible mark on English language cinema, but what’s your favourite Hitchcock movie? Let us know in the comments.