5 Phenomenal Hitchcock Scenes (that aren’t from “Psycho”)

PHENOM 5

Alfred Hitchcock was a cinematic master. We can all agree on that. Look back on his incredible filmography and you’re sure to find a number of classic films and unforgettable scenes. That’s what today’s Phenomenal 5 is examining – great Hitchcock scenes. Now when starting this talk there is one that will automatically come to everyone’s mind – the shower scene from “Psycho”. For that reason I’m leaving it off. There are still so many superb scenes to choose from so I wouldn’t call this the definitive list. But there is no denying these five Hitchcock scenes are certainly phenomenal. Oh, and be warned, since these are scenes within the movies there are POTENTIAL SPOILERS.

#5 – The Gas Station Scene – “The Birds”

You could probably pick out five or six scenes from Hitchcock’s 1963 horror thriller “The Birds” and each would deserve a spot on this list. I’m going to stay away from a couple of obvious choices and go with the spectacular gas station scene. Let me just put it this way, birds attack gas station, gas pours out of nozzle, man lights match near gas, BOOM!

#4 – The Murder? – “Dial M for Murder”

Why would anyone want to murder Grace Kelly – the beautiful, elegant, entrancing Grace Kelly? Ray Milland wanted to in Hitch’s 1954 crime thriller “Dial M for Murder”. There are so many dramatic threads that lead to this incredible murder scene. Hitchcock’s camera and Rudi Fehr’s strategic editing makes it one of the director’s most intense and satisfying sequences.

#3 – Intersection & Cropduster – “North By Northwest”

This particular scene from 1959’s “North By Northwest” could be broken down into two different but equally glorious parts. The first features Cary Grant alone at an isolated crossroads with farmland all around. The mystery behind the scene is enhanced by Hitchcock’s superb camera work. But then it transitions into one of Hitch’s most famous scenes – the cropduster attack. It’s equally brilliant.

#2 – The Carousel – “Strangers on a Train”

Hitchcock’s 1951 psychological thriller “Strangers on a Train” is a testament to the filmmaker’s incredible talent at creating tension and carrying it through his entire film. In this particular case it all comes to a head when our two main characters have a showdown on (of all things) a merry-go-round. The scene offers one of Hitchcock’s most visually thrilling moments.

#1 – Thorwald Returns – “Rear Window”

Here we are again, talking about great tension and Grace Kelly in trouble. Such is the case in this superb scene from 1954’s “Rear Window”, my favorite of Hitchcock’s films. You know it’s not going to go well the very moment Kelly breaks into the mysterious Mr. Thorwald’s apartment. A wheelchair bound Jimmy Stewart can only watch from his apartment window as Thorwald returns to find Kelly snooping where she doesn’t belong. And that glance Raymond Burr gives. Priceless.

So there are my choices for the best Hitchcock scenes that didn’t come from “Psycho”. See any you disagree with? How about ones that would have made your list? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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33 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Hitchcock Scenes (that aren’t from “Psycho”)

  1. Some excellent choices. I’d have a couple scenes from Rope and Lifeboat as honorable mentions. Inspired choice on including Strangers on a Train as that film is to me on masterpiece level with Psycho and North by Northwest or Rear Window. Yet it’s overlooked at times.

    • You’re right. It is often overlooked which is a real shame. I love Strangers. I haven’t seen Rope in a long time and Lifeboat is one I still need to see. Pretty shameful, right?

  2. Great choices. There are so many Hitchcock films (and scenes within them) that I could watch over and over again. Here’s one I like that is maybe less well-known. This is from Frenzy and I think it’s one of the creepiest things he ever did with a camera.

    I also love the wordless scene set in the Royal Albert Hall in The Man Who Knew Too Much – the 12 minute one set to music where the gun peeks out from behind the curtain and Doris Day finally ends it with a scream. Genius! Not sure whether that scene is the same in the original, as I’ve only seen the American remake.

  3. I love all of Hitchcock’s stuff; the dude really was a brilliant filmmaker. Just like you, my favorite of his films is Rear Window and the scene you mentioned is absolutely perfect.

  4. This is very hard, because I think PSYCHO is Alfred’s best. I also think REAR WINDOW is his worst, so I can’t pick a favorite scene. My favorites from the other movies in the list (that I’ve seen) are the birds crashing the phone booth in THE BIRDS, and TOWNSEND’s death (where everyone in the room assume THORNHILL did it) in NORTH BY NORTHWEST. I also would’ve added the group teaming up against GUS in LIFEBOAT.

    • Oh man, I couldn’t disagree more about Rear Window. I adore that film. I like the Townsend murder scene but have always found it a little silly. Why grab the knife like that? Why hold it in such an obvious pose? I just recently rewatched it with my kids and my son asked the same things. But that doesn’t mean I dislike the scene. The Bird’s scene you mention is actually part of the gas station scene. The explosion triggers the chaos leading to Tippi Hedren trapped in the phone booth. It is a phenomenal scene for sure.

  5. Nice picks, I definitely agree with Rear Window, North by Northwest, Strangers on a Train, and The Birds. I’d also add the church sequence from Vertigo, that film for me is Hitchcock’s most perfect picture (though Rear Window is the one I most enjoy).

  6. This reminds me I need to see “Dial M for Murder” and “Strangers on a Train” soon, but I love three of your picks from those I’ve seen. I think the dream sequence in ‘Spellbound’ is quite memorable too!

  7. Pingback: February 2016 Favourites | FILM GRIMOIRE

  8. I can’t even narrow down which one I like more. Thorwald’s return is so good.Jimmy’s panic when Kelly’s discovered is chilling. Finally his snooping becomes surreal when someone is truly in danger – even if it’s only until the police shows up. Great list!

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