Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Alfred Hitchcock Presents / The Alfred Hitchcock Hour TV series, 1955-1965, 4 stars

Ranking Hitch

The top 80 episodes

Exclusive to MeierMovies, April 28, 2022

Goood eeeveeening. And welcome to my list of the best 80 episodes of one of the most revered shows in the history of television, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and its successor, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Why 80? With 268 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and another 93 of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, the anthology show (which originally aired on CBS in 1955 and then alternated between CBS and NBC until its run ended in 1965) simply doesn’t lend itself to a neat and tidy top 25, or even 50. Eighty seems about right, especially considering that’s the age at which the Master of Suspense departed this realm, in, fittingly, 1980.

Still, that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken a crack at narrowing the 80 down to a top 10. Indeed, episodes in bold are lucky enough to gain that distinction. Further, episodes in BOLD AND ALL CAPS are in the top five. And the episode in BOLD, ALL CAPS AND RED is my pick for the best episode ever. I have avoided a discussion of the specific episodes and have instead linked each to its IMDB article. (The Hitchcock Zone is also a great source.)

“The Glass Eye” (1957), directed by Robert Stevens, is one of the most frightening episodes and the only one to win an Emmy.

Picking the best director is easy. It’s isn’t Hitch himself, though he does land four in my top 80, and one in the top 10. (He created and produced the show while serving as its host.) Instead, that honor goes to Robert Stevens, with a whopping 16 episodes in my top 80. John Brahm has six, though he’s perhaps more famous as the director of 12 Twilight Zone episodes, including my favorite, “Judgment Night,” from 1959. He also directed a couple of episodes of The Outer Limits, the third part of the holy trinity of suspense/mystery shows from the golden age of television. (Interestingly, even after The Twilight Zone premiered in 1959, Alfred Hitchcock Presents mostly avoided the supernatural, with fewer than 10 episodes engaging in the metaphysical or science-fiction-based alternate realities.)

Paul Henreid also has six episodes on the list. Joseph M. Newman lands five, including my pick for #1. (Scroll down to discover that gem.) Herschel Daugherty has five, too.

Norman Lloyd gets four, but his greater contribution to the show was his work as associate producer, not to mention some fine performances. Arthur Hiller and Alan Crosland Jr. also have four. Alf Kjellin has three. And though he’s trailing the pack with just two, Robert Altman’s name is an eye-catcher. For a complete breakdown of all 361 episodes’ directors, visit Wikipedia, which also has great analysis about the show in general.

“An Unlocked Window” (1965), which used the Psycho house as its exterior setting, was scored by Psycho‘s composer, Bernard Herrmann (as were many other episodes), and directed by Joseph M. Newman.

One of the joys of watching the show today is seeing famous actors near the beginning of their careers (Robert Redford, Steven McQueen, Ed Asner, John Cassavetes, Bruce Dern, Walter Matthau, Gena Rowlands, Cloris Leachman and Katharine Ross, to name just a few) and occasionally near the end (Bette Davis, Claude Rains, Everett Sloane, John Williams and Jane Darwell). Then there were a few giants whom Hitch managed to snag in their prime, such as James Mason and Peter Falk.

Selecting which actors to honor is difficult, but if you scroll to the bottom of this page, you will see my best attempt at presenting the four traditional awards, plus many honorable mentions.

Lists are well and good, but you’re probably wondering how you can watch these episodes. With the show rarely seen on TV anymore, that can get tricky. Unfortunately, tracking down high-quality versions — or any watchable versions, as evidenced by the two years it took me to watch all these episodes — is difficult. As I was writing this article, all episodes were available on DVD, but you might have to spend more time Googling than you’re accustomed to. Be careful to pick the correct region, as region two (Europe) is often easier to find than region one (North America). And be aware that the quality of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour DVDs might be far worse than those for Alfred Hitchcock Presents. (The ones I found seemed to be bootlegs, ripped off cable television in the 1980s.) You might even be able find some on YouTube and other websites and/or streaming services, but, again, beware poor quality. (Netflix offers seasons one and two on discs but not streaming.)

I hope this article allows you appreciate anew the show that, for an entire decade, brought a unique combination of horror, suspense, mystery, intrigue and (mostly) high-quality storytelling into American living rooms, all lovingly bookended by its legendary host’s macabre humor.

Episodes are listed below in chronological order. Enjoy! And get ready to sleep with the lights on for a while.

I leave you with the full version of Funeral March of a Marionette, the 1872 tune by Charles Gounod that Hitchcock selected as his show’s theme music. Listen here. (Somehow this version is even creepier than Hitch’s.)


Season 1
The Long Shot (E9, 11/27/55)
The Case of Mr. Pelham (E10, 12/4/55)
Shopping for Death (E18, 1/29/56)
Help Wanted (E27, 4/1/56)
The Gentleman from America (E31, 4/29/56)


Season 2
DeMortuis (E3, 10/14/56)
Crack of Doom (E9, 11/25/56)
The Manacled (E18, 1/27/57)
A Bottle of Wine (E19, 2/3/57)
The Cream of the Jest (E24, 3/10/57)
The Hands of Mr. Ottermole (E32, 5/5/57)


Season 3
THE GLASS EYE (E1, 10/6/57)
Heart of Gold (E4, 10/27/57)
The Young One (E9, 12/1/57)
Together (E15, 1/12/58)
The Return of the Hero (E22, 3/2/58)
The Right Kind of House (E23, 3/9/58)
Lamb to the Slaughter (E28, 4/13/58)
The Crocodile Case (E34, 5/25/58)
Little White Frock (E39, 6/29/58)


Season 4
Poison (E1, 10/5/58)
The Jokester (E3, 10/19/58)
The Crooked Road (E4, 10/26/58)
Design for Loving (E6, 11/9/58)
A Man with a Problem (E7, 11/16/58)
Tea Time (E10, 12/14/58)
The Morning of the Bride (E19, 2/15/59)
THE WAXWORK (E27, 4/12/59)
Banquo’s Chair (E29, 5/3/59)
A True Account (E34, 6/7/59)


Season 5
Dry Run (E7, 11/8/59)
Road Hog (E11, 12/6/59)
Specialty of the House (E12, 12/13/59)
The Man from the South (E15, 1/3/60)
Across the Threshold (E22, 2/28/60)
Insomnia (E30, 5/8/60)
One Grave Too Many (E32, 5/22/60)
Letter of Credit  (E36, 6/19/60)


Season 6
Pen Pal (E6, 11/1/60)
The Changing Heart (E14, 1/3/61)
The Last Escape (E17, 1/31/61)
The Landlady (E19, 2/21/61)
Incident in a Small Jail (E23, 3/21/61)
The Gloating Place (E31, 5/16/61)
Coming Home (E35, 6/13/61)


Season 7
Cop for a Day (E4, 10/31/61)
The Right Kind of Medicine (E11, 12/19/61)
The Case of MJH (E16, 1/23/62)
The Kerry Blue (E28, 4/17/62)
The Matched Pearl (E29, 4/24/62)
Where Beauty Lies (E38, 6/26/62)
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (E39, unaired)


Hour Season 1
Don’t Look Behind You (E2, 9/27/62)
Night of the Owl (E3, 10/4/62)
Captive Audience (E5, 10/18/62)
Day of Reckoning (E10, 11/22/62)
Bonfire (E13, 12/13/62)
A Tangled Web (E18, 1/25/63)
The Dark Pool (E29, 5/3/63)
Dear Uncle George (E30, 5/10/63)


Hour Season 2
A Home Away From Home (E1, 9/27/63)
Terror at Northfield (E3, 10/11/63)
Blood Bargain (E5, 10/25/63)
Starring the Defense (E7, 11/15/63)
The Dividing Wall (E9, 12/6/63)
The Magic Shop (E13, 1/10/64)
The Jar (E17, 2/14/64)
Final Escape (E18, 2/21/64)
Murder Case (E19, 3/6/64)
Beast in View (E21, 3/20/64)
Who Needs an Enemy?  (E28, 5/15/64)
The Second Verdict (E30, 5/29/64)


Hour Season 3
The Life Work of Juan Diaz (E4, 10/26/64)
Consider Her Ways (E11, 12/28/64)
Final Performance (E14, 1/18/65)
Power of Attorney (E24, 4/5/64)
The Second Wife (E27, 4/26/65)


Best Actor: T.C. Jones, AN UNLOCKED WINDOW (HS 3, E 17)
Honorable Mentions (in chronological order):
Claude Rains, The Cream of the Jest (S2, E24)
Crahan Denton, Coming Home (S6, E35)
Robert Redford, The Right Kind of Medicine (S7, E11)
Jeffrey Hunter, Don’t Look Behind You (HS1, E2)
Brian Keith, Night of the Owl (HS1, E3)
James Mason, Captive Audience (HS1, E5)
Peter Falk, Bonfire (HS1, E13)
Bruce Dern, Night Caller (HS2, E15)
John Cassavetes, Murder Case (HS2, E19)
Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., SEE THE MONKEY DANCE (HS3, E5)
Roddy McDowall, SEE THE MONKEY DANCE (HS3, E5)


Best Actress: Jo Van Fleet, Shopping for Death (S 1, E 18)
Honorable Mentions:
Jessica Tandy, THE GLASS EYE (S3, E1)
Cloris Leachman, Where Beauty Lies (S7, E38)
Zohra Lampert, A Tangled Web (HS1, E18)
Lois Nettleton, The Dark Pool (HS1, E29)
Diana Hyland, Beyond the Sea of Death (HS2, E14)
Gena Rowlands, Murder Case (HS2, E19)
Joan Hackett, Beast in View (HS2, E21)
Joanna Moore, Who Needs an Enemy? (HS2, E28)
Barbara Barrie, Consider Her Ways (HS3, E11)


Best Supporting Actor: Kenneth Haigh, Banquo’s Chair (S4, E29)
Honorable Mentions:
John Baragrey, PORTRAIT OF JOCEYLN (S1, E28)
Nehemiah Persoff, Heart of Gold (S3, E4)
Everett Sloane, THE WAXWORK (S4, E27)
Clu Gulager, Pen Pal (S6, E6)
Barry Morse, A Tangled Web (HS1, E18)
Ed Asner, To Catch a Butterfly (HS1, E19)
Lou Jacobi, Dear Uncle George (HS1, E30)
R.G. Armstrong, Terror at Northfield (HS2, E3)
Frank Gorshin, The Second Verdict (HS2, E30)


Best Supporting Actress: Collin Wilcox, The Jar (HS2, E17)
Honorable Mentions:
Barbara Baxley, Across the Threshold (S5, E22)
Vivian Nathan, Final Arrangements (S6, E36)
Madeleine Sherwood, Make My Death Bed (S6, E37)
Joanna Moore, Most Likely to Succeed (S7, E31)
Madlyn Rhue, The Dark Pool (HS1, E29)
Katharine Ross, The Dividing Wall (HS2, E9)
Louise Latham, AN UNLOCKED WINDOW (HS3, E17)


Best Ensemble Cast: The Jar (HS2, E17)


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