(Credit: Universal Pictures)

Where to stream the 11 best Alfred Hitchcock films online

Alfred Hitchcock is one of the greatest pioneering figures in the art of filmmaking in cinematic history and had changed the course of direction and filmmaking with his brilliance and ingenuity. However, I have a bone to pick with Hitchcock for relentlessly infusing horror in daily situations, making taking a shower a nearly perilous task or nearly difficult to keep the windows open for fresh air under the pretext of the fear of being watched in secret by a Peeping Tom.

Synonymous with horror, suspense and mystery, this masterful filmmaker’s brilliance and ingenuity lay in his ability to manifest physical and psychological horror on-screen with unique camera shots and movements. Having popularised techniques such as the crane shot, dolly zoom as well as the POV, Hitchcock’s brilliant cinematography usually does all the topic, often two accentuating the overall theme of the film. 

Hitchcock’s career spanned over three decades, from the 1930s to the 1960s. His intricately detailed screenplays followed by the unique incorporation of camera shots and moments helped Hitchcock cement his legacy and reign supreme in the lives of cinephiles and film buffs alike for generations to come. Known for incorporating unsettling themes and ideas, Hitchcock’s films have a voice and agency of their own. 

While we wish we could watch this maestro’s films everywhere, only a select few streaming platforms have acquired rights to some of his films. With peacock and HBO Max competing for more Hitchcock films, Netflix really needs to step their game up.

Here is a definitive list of the top 11 Alfred Hitchcock films that are streaming online and can be watched. 

How to watch Alfred Hitchcock movies online:

Psycho (1960)

Streaming on: Peacock

A secretary named Marion Crane elopes after stealing $40000 cash to go and marry her boyfriend Sam and pay off his debts. She stops at the dilapidated Bates Motel for the night where she encounters the proprietor Norman Bates who lives with his mother Norma. Norma suddenly gets brutally stabbed to death while showering and, as the story develops, Norman hides her corpse. However, Marion’s sister Lila, as well as her boyfriend Sam, are convinced that something untoward has happened to Marion and they decide to get to the bottom of the story. 

Marion’s shower scene goes down in cinematic history as one of the best shots where the scene which is three-minute-long had nearly fifty cuts. Bernard Herrmann’s screeching music heightens the atmospheric terror triggered by the Gothic atmosphere. Investigation of Marion’s death leads them all down a psychological rabbit hole where their discovery leaves them astounded. After watching the film, make sure to lock your bathroom doors before hopping into the shower!

“We all go a little mad sometimes.”

North By Northwest (1959)

Streaming on: HBO Max

An intense thriller comprising the thrills of espionage system sees advertising executive Roger Thornhill is mistaken for a certain George Kaplan and then being taken hostage. Thornhill narrowly escapes death numerous times while trying to convince the perpetrators of his real identity. The government organisation that has made the blunder decide to cover up its tracks by implicating him. Meanwhile, he meets the beautiful and mysterious Eve Kendall with whom he starts a relationship and together, try to uncover the truth. 

In this film, Hitchcock appears once again in a short cameo. Entertaining and high on vigour, the film sees exceptional performances, especially from Cary Grant, a regular at Hitchcock’s films, who displays a varied range of emotions while portraying Thornhill, adding the right balance of humour and thrill. 

“One thing we know: You’re no fake; you’re a genuine idiot.”

Dial M For Murder (1954)

Streaming on: Tubi

A retired tennis player Tony Wendice is enraged when he finds out that his affluent socialite wife Margot has been having an illicit affair with crime-fiction writer Mark Halliday. He conspires to murder his wife and live off her means. He traces an old Cambridge acquaintance who is a small-time delinquent, Swann. He blackmails Swann into murdering Margot and devises an elaborate and foolproof plan. However, the plan backfires when Tony’s watch stops working and Swann is killed. Margot is implicated and Mark along with the detective, who both suspect Tony, decide to get to the bottom of this convoluted tale. 

The film is shot proleptically where one already knows who the criminal is. While the audience anxiously waits for the police to get to the bottom of this, the mystery element is retained in the film with Hitchcock’s signature genius as well as an outstanding performance from the ensemble cast which includes Grace Kelly, John Williams, Anthony Dawson, Robert Cummings and Ray Milland. Keep an eye out for the classic Hitchcock cameo. 

“For the same reason that a donkey with a stick behind him and a carrot in front always goes forwards and not backwards.”

The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

Streaming on: Peacock Premium 

An American family comprising Dr Benjamin McKenna, his wife and well-known singer Josephine and their son Hank go for a holiday in French Morocco. A coincidental encounter with Frenchman Bernard changes the course of their lives forever. Despite his amicable nature, Josephine is apprehensive of him. At a Moroccan market, the same man gets killed in front of the McKennas and a heinous assassination plot is revealed. To ensure the complete confidentiality of the same, Hank is kidnapped. Denied help from the police, the desperate parents must find a way out to get their son back to safety.

Once again melodiously ornate by bernard Herrmann’s film scores, the film features the famous song “Que Sera Sera”, the song that Jo sings while signalling hank. The desperation of the parents is palpable and James Stewart and Doris Day do a spectacular job. Despite the length of the film, it is thoroughly entertaining and thrilling. 

“It doesn’t hurt to be kind, does it?”

Rear Window (1954)

Streaming on: Peacock 

One of the key elements of Hitchcock’s films was voyeurism and the use of the male gaze to view the female. In this film, Hitchcock’s use of gaze is the finest as he views the activities of other people via the eyes of professional photographer Jeff who is confined to the wheelchair. One day, Jeff believes to have witnessed a murder firsthand. Although his claims are refuted in the beginning, he is convinced and decides to prove so. 

With four Academy Award nominations, Rear Window is said to be one of Hitchcock’s finest creations. A timeless story with a nail-biting finish, the film boasts of splendid acting and a story that is accentuated by ingenious direction. Starring his usual duo of James Stewart and Grace Kelly, Hitchcock delivers a powerful punch of a tale embedded in the loneliness of the urbanscape which builds up to curiosity and superficiality. The eerie atmosphere of the film is the added bonus that makes it worth watching a hundred times. 

“We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms. What people ought to do is get outside their house and look in for a change.”

Rope (1948)

Streaming on: Peacock Premium 

Brandon and Phillip resort to a twisted intellectual exercise where they want to prove their intellectual superiority by committing the perfect, untraceable crime. They murder their former classmate at Harvard, David, and ghost a dinner party from hell in their apartment where they use the chest containing David’s body as the table. It is also an ode to an old Professor’s seminal lectures which they twisted to suit their own interpretation which said murder helps prove superiority. As the night proceeds and the dinner party grows restless, delusional and disillusioned, remorse starts to kick in yet is rationalised by their false sense of superiority. 

One of Hitchcock’s more experimental and controversial films, Rope is confined to a particular setting. It witnesses the juxtaposition of cold-blooded murder and the idea of intellectual superiority to plain idiocy. With excellent scenes high on intellectual tension involving the terrific trio James Stewart, John Dall and Farley Granger, the storyline is fascinating. One ends up with a real moral dilemma when they cannot help but root for the murderers despite knowing their heinous crime. It is one of Hitchcock’s most underrated flicks. 

“We killed for the sake of danger and the sake of killing.”

Young and Innocent (1937)

Streaming on: HBO Max

The film begins with an ongoing heated exchange between a successful actress and her ex-husband; the former’s corpse is found on the shore the next morning by a certain Robert Tisdall who is incriminated by the police despite his innocence. Convinced that he shall be denied justice, he goes on the run and is soon joined and aided by Chief Constable’s daughter Erica. They eventually fall in love and try to prove Tisdall’s innocence. 

As one of the earlier and shorter Hitchcock films, it strikes the perfect balance between comedy and suspense. The brilliant on-screen camaraderie between the lead pair makes the audience hope for their happy ending as they try and elope, trying to prove Tisdall’s innocence. The film is most noteworthy due to Hitchcock’s phenomenal use of the crane shot to reveal the true identity of the murderer towards the end of the film.  

“I feel like Bonnie Prince Charlie. You must be Flora MacDonald.”

Sabotage (1936)

Streaming on: Tubi

Karl Verloc and his wife Mrs Verloc owns a cinema hall that might run out of business due to the frequent power cuts resulting from sand being put into the bearings of an electrical generator. The wife suspects foul play on the part of her husband, who she believes is associated with a dangerous terrorist group. The Scotland Yard suspects Karl’s notoriety and assigns the case to a detective named Ted Spencer who in turn is smitten by the lovely Mrs Verloc. 

One of Hitchcock’s earlier works, the film is a testament to the filmmaker’s masterful genius in crafting suspense. A riveting plot keeps the audience on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Derived loosely from Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent, the film has an intense buildup and a satisfactory climax with an ingenious twist unique to Hitchcock alone. 

“He reads about them. He says gangsters are not nearly so frightening as you’d think. Some of them are quite ordinary looking, like you and me and Mr Verloc. Perhaps he’s right. After all, if gangsters look like gangsters, the police would soon get after them, wouldn’t they, I mean?”

Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Streaming on: HBO Max

In the wake of the Second World War, the editor of the New York Morning Globe is dissatisfied with tough and professional crime reporter John Jones who functions under the alias of Huntley Haverstock. When Jones arrives in England, hoping for the change of scenery to work wonders for him, he feels lost. However, he soon stumbles upon a dangerous ring of espionage and understands that he is somewhat crippled to uncover the whole truth. Enlisting the help of Carol Fisher as well as an English journalist, he decides to expose the truth. 

Nominated for six Academy Awards, including the Best Picture Award, this film was Hitchcock’s second full-length film in the United States after Rebecca. It was popularised as a propaganda film and has heavy undertones corresponding to the contemporary events in the world with subtle references to Hitler.

“All that noise you hear isn’t static – it’s death, coming to London. Yes, they’re coming here now. You can hear the bombs falling on the streets and the homes.”

The Birds (1963)

Streaming on: Peacock

Adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s eponymous novel, the film ends on a far less pessimistic tone. The film sees the blossoming love between Melanie and Mitch when Melanie drives to his farm to gift his sister Cathy a pair of lovebirds for her birthday. She also encounters his ex-lover, Annie, and his controlling mother Lydia. Soon unexpected events begin to unfold as swarms of angry and vicious birds start attacking the townsfolk mysteriously, even resorting to murder. Hitchcock was said to have been attracted to the novel due to its element of suspense; however, it is not known if it would have managed to appeal to the modern audience. 

The film worked out well for Hitchcock due to the wonderful performances delivered by Tippi Hedren, Rod Taylor and Jessica Tandy among others. Some critics have read the film as an implosion of female sexuality where Mitch’s life, defined by the three women in his life, is disrupted by the arrival of Melanie, signified by the lovebirds. However, the film bears a dark behind the scenes story where the seemingly nice Hitchcock had sexually assaulted Tippi Hedren on multiple occasions. The lack of reason behind the birds suddenly turning against the humans is what adds an element of terror to the film. 

“I hardly think a few birds are going to bring about the end of the world.”

Vertigo (1958)

Streaming on: Peacock

After being unable to save his colleague from death due to his irrational fear of height and vertigo, Scottie retires. He is soon contacted by his friend to be a private investigator for his wife who, he thinks, is cheating on him. As he keeps following her, she gradually grows closer to him, providing psychological solace in difficult times. When she falls to her death, Scottie continues believing in her being alive and continues her impulse even today. 

One of Hitchcock’s finest works of art, the film abounds in psychological rife increased by the use of murder, doppelgangers, obsession and sexuality. The psychological obsession with the idea of a woman leads to further descent and disintegration of one’s moral self. The film which stars James Stewart and Kim Novak also features Stewart being manipulated by society; his acrophobia is brilliantly represented in the film by using dolly zooms that unsettle the overall atmosphere of the film and bring visual discomfort to the reader. 

“Only one is a wanderer; Two together are always going somewhere.”

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