On August 13, 1899, perhaps the greatest director of the century was born: the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. In honor of Mr. Hitchcock, The Essential Films the 20 Essential Hitchcock classics that you should watch right now!
DIAL M FOR MURDER (1954)
Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
People don't commit murder on credit.
When an ex-Tennis player's plot to murder his wife goes wrong, he must go to Plan B to save himself.
Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman
Apparently the mind is never too sick to make jokes about psychoanalysis.
Dr. Edwardes arrives at Green Manors psychiatric hospital and falls in love with the cold but beautiful Dr. Petersen. Edwardes is actually paranoid amnesiac impostor on the run from danger, and Petersen is determined to find out why.
THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (1956)
James Stewart, Doris Day
A man... a statesman... is to be killed... assassinated in London. Soon... very soon.
The McKenna family vacationing in Morocoo stumbles upon an assassination plot with international ramifications. Fearing they could potentially interrupt their plan, the conspirators try to stop the McKennas from informing the authorities.
Sylvia Sidney, Oskar Homolka, John Loder
sa-botage sà-bo-tarj. Wilful destruction of buildings or machinery with the object of alarming a group of persons or inspiring public uneasiness.
Karl Verloc is a movie theater owner suspected by Scotland Yard to be part of a gang of saboteur spies. Detective Ted Spencer is dispatched to work undercover and uncover his plot. When Verloc discovers Spencer's true intentions, his entire plan begins to fall apart.
FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT (1940)
Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, George Sanders
My dear captain, when you've been shot down in a British plane by a German destroyer, 300 miles off the coast of England, latitude 45, and have been hanging on to a half-submerged wing for hours, waiting to drown, with half a dozen other stricken human beings, you're liable to forget you're a newspaperman for a moment or two!
Johnny Jones is a New York reporter looking for a change of pace from the boring stories he's forced to cover. He's appointed as the European correspondent on the eve of World War II. He gets more than he bargains for when he and the beautiful Carol Fisher trackdown a group of Nazi spies.
THE 39 STEPS (1935)
Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle
I know what it is to feel lonely and helpless and to have the whole world against me, and those are things that no men or women ought to feel.
Richard Hannay is a London man is wrongly accused of killing a double agent and must go on the run to both clear his name and uncover the truth. Meanwhile a spy organization is trying to steal top secret documents and only Hannay has the means to stop them.
THE BIRDS (1963)
Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette, Rod Taylor, Jessica Tandy
Why are they doing this? Why are they doing this? They said when you got here the whole thing started. Who are you? What are you? Where did you come from? I think you're the cause of all of this. I think you're evil. EVIL!
Melanie Daniels is a wealthy California socialite who is romantically pursuing Mitch Brenner by following him to his small coastal hometown. Soon here romantic pursuits are overshadowed by bizarre occurrences involving the local bird population. The occurrences turn deadly as the birds turn increasingly murderous.
Tallulah Bankhead, William Bendix, Walter Slezak
Dying together's even more personal than living together.
In the midst of World War II, passengers on a ship survive a deadly sinking by a German U-Boat and become adrift at sea on a lifeboat. The survivors pull a man out of the water who happens to be one of the only surviving German from the battle at sea. Can these survivors coexist on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?
Cary Grant, Joan Fontaine, Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce
If you're going to kill someone, do it simply.
Joan Fontaine, in an Academy Award-winning performance, plays Lina, a shy, young English woman who falls in love with the irresistibly charming Johnnie (Cary Grant.) After the two are secretly married, Lina discovers that Johnnie is nothing short of a conman, and a broke one at that. She becomes increasingly suspicious that Johnnie's money-making schemes are crossing the line into illegality and soon starts to fear that Johnnie may kill her to tie up loose ends.
THE LADY VANISHES (1938)
Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, Dame May Whitty
I'm about as popular as a dose of strychnine.
While traveling throughout Continental Europe, Iris Henderson befriends an elderly woman named Miss Froy by sharing a train compartment with her. After having tea with her, Miss Froy goes missing and Iris searches the train desperately for her. No one on the train acknowledges her existence, so Iris is forced to accept help from an Englishman named Gilbert (with whom she had an unpleasant experience the night before) to uncover the mystery.
TO CATCH A THIEF (1955)
Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis, John Williams
You want a leg or a breast?
John Robie is a retired cat burglar living the life of luxury on the Riviera when suddenly a copycat using his trademark style has popped up on his radar. Robie is high on the list of suspects, so he must try and catch the copycat from stealing again and clear his name. Delaying him in this endeavor are the romantic affections of Frances Stevens, the daughter of a wealthy American who is a prime victim for the jewel thief.
James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Cedric Hardwicke
Good and evil, right and wrong were invented for the ordinary average man, the inferior man, because he needs them.
Two arrogant young men kill their fellow classmate, whom they find inferior, and hide him in their apartment. Their agenda? They feel they have committed the perfect crime, so they invite guests over for a dinner party to prove their plan worked after all. No one suspects a thing, that is until an old mentor of theirs shows up at the party...
SHADOW OF A DOUBT (1943)
Joseph Cotten, Teresa Wright, MacDonald Carey, Patricia Collinge
We're not talking about killing people. Herb's talking about killing me and I'm talking about killing him.
Charlotte, or "Charlie" (Teresa Wright) loves her namesake, the charming Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten.) But ever since he's come back into town for a visit, Charlotte has noticed that her beloved uncle may not be the man he seems to be. Is it just Charlotte's imagination and her desire to have a more exciting life, or is Uncle Charlie really harboring deadly secrets?
Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Claude Rains
There's nothing like a love song to give you a good laugh.
Alicia Huberman, the daughter of a traitor guilty of crimes against the US, who is partying, drinking and sleeping around in South America. A government agent (Cary Grant) enlists her help in spying on a group of Nazis living in the country following the war. How far is Alicia willing to go absolve the sins of her father?
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN (1951)
Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll
My theory is that everyone is a potential murderer.
When Bruno Anthony encounters professional tennis player Guy Haines on a train, he tells him about a theory where one could get away with murder. This theory involves two parties that each need someone out of their lives and they simply swap murders. Haines writes it off as a sick joke. What he doesn't know is Bruno is psychotic and deadly serious...
Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.
The only Hitchcock film with the distinction of winning the Academy Award for "Best Picture." After falling in love with the wealthy Maxim de Winter, the second Mrs. de Winter is tormented by the memory of the first, the titular Rebecca. Rebecca is everywhere Mrs. de Winter turns in the beautiful mansion known as Manderlay. Max is still clearly dealing with her untimely death and the conniving housemaid Mrs. Danvers refuses to let her memory rest.
Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Janet Leigh, Martin Balsam
A boy's best friend is his mother.
Psycho is a horror film without monsters, ghosts or gore, yet it will never cease to terrify audiences. It challenges expectations and its ending will drive you crazy. But that's ok... we all go a little mad sometimes.
NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Martin Landau
You gentlemen aren't REALLY trying to kill my son, are you?
A group of foreign spies mistake a clueless New York advertising executive as a jet-setting international government agent and attempt to kill him. After narrowly escaping near death, Roger Thornhill seeks to uncover the truth as to why these men are trying to kill him. But the more he discovers, the more dangerous his situation really becomes.
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddess
Here I was born, and there I died. It was only a moment for you; you took no notice.
James Stewart is Scottie Ferguson, a police detective forced to retire due to his crippling fear of heights. He's contacted by an old friend to investigate his much younger wife, whom he fears is going insane. Throughout the course of the investigation, Scottie becomes dangerously obsessed with the beautiful Madeleine... obsessed to the point of insanity.
REAR WINDOW (1954)
James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr
Intelligence. Nothing has caused the human race so much trouble as intelligence.
The greatest thriller ever filmed. Rear Window is as suspenseful in 2013 as it was in1954. When world-traveling photographer LB Jeffries is wheelchair-bound due to a broken leg, he is stuck as a voyeuristic observer of the people's lives in the surrounding apartments by watching them through his rear window. He soon becomes convinced that his neighbor across the way, Lars Thorwald, has murdered his wife and is planning a cover-up. "Jeff" urges his girlfriend, his maid and his detective friend to help him uncover the truth, but will they believe him or will Thorwald get away with murder?