Watch Alfred Hitchcock Make Cameo Appearances in 37 of His Films

It may sound redun­dant, but to many peo­ple a Hitch­cock film would not be a Hitch­cock film with­out Hitch­cock. By this I mean not only Hitchcock’s mas­ter­ful com­mand of light and shad­ow, cam­era move­ment, and edit­ing, but also the brief, wit­ty appear­ances of the man him­self, in front of the cam­era.

Of course we have the droll intro of the great direc­tor’s own TV show, with his sil­hou­ette slid­ing into a car­toon of his jow­ly pro­file. We also have the chance to spot him near­ly every­where else in his body of work since he appears—as a bystander or as some form of com­ic relief—in 37 of his films: from 1927’s The Lodger to 1976’s Fam­i­ly Plot. In this last cameo, as you can see below, he appears again in sil­hou­ette.


At the top of the post, you can watch a super­cut of all 37 of these cameos. And see a com­plete list, with descrip­tions, at Wikipedia. AMC’s Tim Dirks tells us of “two recur­ring themes” in Hitchcock’s film appear­ances: “(1) Hitch­cock often car­ried a musi­cal instru­ment, and (2) Hitch­cock often used pub­lic trans­porta­tion (bus­es, trains, etc.), and was seen as a casu­al pass­er-by in the crowd in the pub­lic place (train sta­tions, at an air­port, etc.). Most of the cameos appeared ear­ly in the film, and often there was a bit of mild humor in the appear­ance.” Though they may seem nar­cis­sis­tic, Hitch­cock promised the cameos were for the sake of his fans, who cer­tain­ly appre­ci­at­ed the recur­ring trade­mark. “I always give a lit­tle thought to my appear­ances,” said the direc­tor in a 1966 inter­view, “and come on as ear­ly as possible—don’t want to hold them in sus­pense!”


The Hitch­cock cameos began by acci­dent, writes Mys­teryNet, when, “short an actor in one of his first films, Hitch­cock took it upon him­self to play the small part.” In this movie, The Lodger (watch it online), Hitch­cock actu­al­ly appears twice—as a news­room clerk and again lat­er in a crowd. He would make two appear­ances in three more films: Sus­pi­cion, Rope, and Under Capri­corn. Most of his cameos are very brief, some shot at a dis­tance, and oth­ers with his back to the cam­era. To spot Hitch­cock in your favorite of his films [you can watch 23 for free in our col­lec­tion of Free Hitch­cock films], see AMC’s com­plete list, which fea­tures thumb­nails and approx­i­ma­tions of how many min­utes into the film he appears. Also don’t miss The Tele­graph’s com­pre­hen­sive gallery of stills of Hitchcock’s cameos, like that of his Rear Win­dow appear­ance above.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

23 Free Hitch­cock Movies Online 

1000 Frames of Hitch­cock: See Each of Alfred Hitchcock’s 52 Films Reduced to 1,000 Artis­tic Frames

Alfred Hitchcock’s Rules for Watch­ing Psy­cho (1960)

Josh Jones is a writer and musi­cian based in Durham, NC. Fol­low him at @jdmagness

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Comments (3)
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  • K. Lipps says:

    Thank you…he was the mas­ter, this was a fun romp. For years I’ve enter­tained myself search­ing for his cameos! This inter­net is stranger than sci­ence fic­tion!!!!

  • Christopher Lowery says:

    Can’t say I am a fan of Hitch­cock but I love the cameos.

    There is a typo in the cap­tion for “To Catch a Thief”. It reads “To Catch a Theif”)

  • Robert Andrews says:

    Your title, “To Catch A Thief” con­tains a mis­spelled word. Can you find it?

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