Which 7 Films Did Hitchcock Make That Were “Perfect”?

Alfred Hitchcock

Also note that as the forties became the fifties, Hitchcock’s famous cameo appearance occurred earlier in the movie so as not to distract the viewer.

Only very few directors are lucky enough to have made the perfect film. Alfred Hitchcock, the cinema’s greatest director, made seven. Seven perfect films in which every shot, every camera move, and every editing sequence is, well, perfect. Here they are, listed chronologically. Note that four of the seven star Hitchcock’s favorite leading men Cary Grant and Jimmy Stewart with two films each.

Rebecca (1940)

Rebecca (1940): A+

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by: David O. Selznick
Screenplay by: Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison. Adaptation: Philip MacDonald and Michael Hogan.
Cinematography: George Barnes
Edited by: W. Donn Hayes
Original Score: Franz Waxman
Distributed by: United Artists
Starring: Joan Fontaine, Laurence Olivier, Judith Anderson, George Sanders, Reginald Denny, Gladys Cooper and C. Aubrey Smith.
Hitchcock’s cameo: 2:06:57. The man wearing a bowler and topcoat with upturned collar that walks right to left behind Favell, played by George Sanders and the policeman after Favell calls Mrs. Danvers.

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Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Shadow of a Doubt (1943): A+

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Produced by Jack H. Skirball
Screenplay by: Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson and Alma Reville based on an idea/story by Gordon McDonell
Cinematography: Joseph Valentine
Edited by: Milton Caruth
Original Score: Dimitri Tiomkin (The Merry Widow Waltz by Franz Lehar)
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Starring: Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten, MacDonald Carey, Patricia Collinge, Hume Cronyn, and Henry Travers.
Hitchcock’s cameo: 0:16:27. On the train to Santa Rosa, playing cards, his back to the camera, he has a full hand of spades.

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Notorious (1946). Ingrid Bergman. Cary Grant.

Notorious (1946) A+

Directed and Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock
Original screenplay by: Ben Hecht
Cinematography: Ted Tetzlaff
Edited by: Theron Warth
Original Score: Roy Webb
Distributed by: RKO Pictures
Starring: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern and Leopoldine Konstantin.
Hitchcock’s cameo: 1:04:44. At the party in Claude Rain’s mansion, drinking champagne and then leaves as Cary Grant enters.

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Rear Window (1954) with James Stewart and Grace Kelly.

Rear Window (1954) A+

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock
Original screenplay by: John Michael Hayes
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Edited by: George Tomasini
Original Score: Franz Waxman (opening and closing titles and the piano tune (“Lisa”) written by one of the neighbors). Hitchcock used primarily diegetic sounds throughout the film.
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, and Raymond Burr.
Hitchcock’s cameo: 0:26:12. Winding the clock at the fireplace in the songwriter’s apartment.

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Kin Novack in Vertigo (1958)

Vertigo (1958) A+

Directed and Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by: Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor based on the novel “D’entre les morts” (“From Among the Dead”) by Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Edited by: George Tomasini
Original Score: Bernard Herrmann
Title Sequence: Saul Bass
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Starring: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore and Henry Jones.
Hitchcock’s cameo: 0:11:40. In a grey suit walking across the street with a trumpet case.

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North By Northwest (1959) with Eva Marie Saint and Cary Grant.

North By Northwest (1959) A+

Directed and Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock
Original screenplay by: Ernest Lehman
Cinematography: Robert Burks
Edited by: George Tomasini
Original Score: Bernard Herrmann
Title Sequence: Saul Bass
Distributed by: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Starring: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, and Jessie Royce Landis.
Hitchcock’s cameo: 0:02:09 Missing a bus, just after his credit passes off screen during the opening title sequence.

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Janet Leigh in Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960) A+

Directed and Produced by: Alfred Hitchcock
Screenplay by: Joseph Stefano based on the novel by Robert Bloch
Cinematography: John L. Russell
Edited by: George Tomasini
Original Score: Bernard Herrmann
Title sequence: Saul Bass
Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Starring: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam, and John McIntire
Hitchcock’s cameo: 0:06:59 Seen through an office window wearing a Stetson cowboy hat as Janet Leigh comes through the door.

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