It’s National Alfred Hitchcock Day, a day devoted to honoring the extraordinary career of one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema.
It seems like an eternity ago, but when I was a freshman in college, our school had a small movie theater on campus. On weekends, they’d play whatever current movies were out. But during the week, they’d open up for classic cinema.
When the classics played, there was no cover charge. Freshly popped popcorn came in little $1 bags, and they had those boxes of candy like any other movie theater.
From Bergman and Bogart in Casablanca to dancing gangs in West Side Story, Wilder’s cross-dressing in Some Like It Hot, and the seedy machine district of Metropolis: We were treated to all the classics.
But every so often, they’d play an Alfred Hitchcock film, and those were the nights I never missed.
Hitchcock’s Film Legacy
Throughout a career that spanned six decades, Hitchcock managed to direct more than 50 feature films.
Known as the “Master of Suspense,” he was responsible for some of the most outstanding films of the Hollywood Golden Era. Many of his films remain just as successful and influential today as when they were created. He’s absolutely one of the most widely studied filmmakers in the history of cinema.
It’s no surprise that there’s a day to celebrate the life and work of this master filmmaker. And long gone are the days of that tiny on-campus movie theater for me, so I think I’ll spend National Alfred Hitchcock Day binging some of his best works!
Of course, with at least 51 films under his belt, any list of favorites is going to be incomplete. Regardless, I’m going to drop a few of the best Hitchcock films that I’ll be enjoying for Hitchcock Day–and where you can watch them, too.
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Amazon Prime subscribers are in luck. 1938’s The Lady Vanishes is available to stream for free on Prime Video.
One of my favorite Hitchcock films, Rebecca is Hitchcock’s first American film. It’s also a near-perfect adaptation of the great Daphne du Maurier novel of the same name. This movie in all its glory is on YouTube!
Psycho is arguably the most iconic of all of Hitchcock’s films. Who can forget the shocking shower scene? It’s essentially a slasher film… before the slasher genre ever existed. I found this one on Hulu and Peacock.
The Birds (1963)
No list of Hitchcock classics is complete without 1963’s The Birds, featuring Tippi Hendren and flocks of ferocious fowls. Stream this one on Peacock.
The 39 Steps (1935)
This spy thriller about an ordinary man who stumbles upon a conspiracy is the best of Hitchcock’s British-produced films and arguably his first bonafide classic. It’s an early example of the director’s talent for balancing suspense, romance, and humor. Amazon Prime subscribers can watch this one on Prime Video, but it’s also available on YouTube (free with ads).
North By Northwest (1959)
Hitchcock teamed up with Cary Grant again to make this masterpiece. While it might not be the director’s best film ever, it’s probably his most fun. It’s absolutely entertaining — plus, who doesn’t love Cary Grant? Stream this one on Hulu.
Rear Window (1954)
Hands down, this is my favorite Hitchcock flick. And while Hitchcock might be known as the Master of Suspense, he’s also the master of making excellent use of confined spaces — and in Rear Window, he creates an entire world inside one apartment complex. You can stream this one on Peacock.
Hitchcock takes his obsession with abstract imagery to a new level with 1945’s Spellbound. It features a dream sequence designed by surrealist icon Salvador Dali, and an Oscar-winning score from Miklos Rozsa. Hitchcock snagged a Best Director nod for this one. I found the full film on YouTube.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
If you’re going to celebrate Hitchcock Day, your list won’t be complete without this one. Joseph Cotten is brilliant–he manages to be both charming and creepy at the same time. Hitchcock himself often referred to this as the finest film of his career. Check it out on Peacock and see if you agree with the Master of Suspense himself!