Special Report

Alfred Hitchcock’s Best and Worst Movies

Universally known as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock is one of history’s most skilled directors, known for his expert abilities in the mystery and thriller genres. Hitchcock was extremely prolific, directing more than 50 feature films over a career that spanned over half a century.

But not all of Hitchcock’s movies are critically acclaimed. Having begun his career in England, Hitchcock did his best work once he relocated to Hollywood. His American film, “Rebecca,” won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1941 and is the only Hitchcock movie to have won the prestigious category. Hitchcock has been nominated for five Oscars in the Best Director category but never won.

In the mid- and late-1950s he would direct some of his best-known and most critically acclaimed films, including “Vertigo,” “North by Northwest,” and “Rear Window.” These films are still popular with audiences today, often appearing on television and screened in theaters.

Many of the films that are considered Hitchcock’s worst were made in his early years as a director. One could argue — as some critics have — that the reason for this is that he had yet to master his craft. The few Hitchcock movies released in the late ’60s and ’70s — including “Torn Curtain,” “Topaz,” and “Family Plot” — are also considered to be lesser works. By then, Hitchcock, who was born in 1899, was himself in his 60s and 70s and may have had trouble adjusting to a changing Hollywood that was giving up-and-coming actors more creative control over their work.

Though Hitchcock had directed a few romantic comedies and dramas, he was at his best when directing suspense flicks. Almost all of the highest ranked films on this list take the viewer on an intense ride, with excitement, surprise, and anxiety spilling out of nearly every frame.

Click here to see Hitchcock’s films, ranked from worst to best

To determine the best and worst films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, 24/7 Tempo created an index of Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer score, or average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes’ average audience rating, and Internet Movie Database’s average user rating measuring the relative combined rating for each of Hitchock’s 53 full-length feature films that had data in all three categories. 

Of the 71 films Alfred Hitchcock directed, 54 are full-length feature films. One of the 54, “The Mountain Eagle,” was not considered because of missing data. The year each film was released, starring actors, and awards won came from IMDb.

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