Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Five Best Hitchcock Cameo Appearances

Hitchcock has appeared briefly in each of his films since 1926's The Lodger, in which his appearance was simply to "fill the screen." Often, he can be glimpsed as a passer-by, usually showing up near the beginning of a film (so viewers don't get distracted looking for him). It was tough to single just five cameos, but here goes:

1. Lifeboat - Easily Hitchcock's most famous cameo, this one featured him in a before-and-after newspaper advertisement for a fictional weight-reducing drug called Reduco. The film's setting (in a lifeboat, of course) called for some creativity. Hitchcock initially considered playing the part of a floating body ("I was afraid I'd sink," he told Francois Truffaut). Since he was dieting at that time, he decided to immortalize his real-life weight loss with a fictional ad. He actually received fan letters asking where to buy Reduco.

Dial M for Murder
2. Dial M for Murder - Hitchcock appears in a Cambridge class reunion photograph, seated at a banquet table (second from the left) with Ray Milland and others.

3. Rear Window - In the apartment with the composer, Hitchcock can be glimpsed winding a clock.

To Catch a Thief
4. To Catch a Thief - Cary Grant catches a bus and plops down between Hitchcock and a cage of birds. Cary shoots the famous director a quizzical glance.

5. Family Plot - His famous silhouette appears behind the glass door of the Registrar of Births and Deaths.

Honorable Mentions: The Birds (walking two dogs as he exits the pet shop); Shadow of a Doubt (playing bridge on the train, but only shown from behind); and Notorious (downing a glass of champagne at a party).

Here's an entertaining compilation of every Hitchcock cameo appearance:


  1. Ha! "North by Northwest" and "Torn Curtain" - been there, done that.

  2. Rick, great video. Some of these I'd never noticed. Hitchcock seemed to like carrying musical instruments as props in his cameos. My own favorite has to be "To Catch a Thief."

  3. Mine is Lifeboat, because I had to watch it several times before I saw it..

  4. This is a fun post! Like Dawn and Rick I found the ad in "Lifeboat" to be quite a creative way to make an appearance.

  5. Waiting to see Hitchcock's cameo was always a great part of watching a Hitchcock movie, but--hands down--the best one has always been "Lifeboat." VERY CLEVER!

  6. My favorite cameo appears in "Vertigo" as Hitchcock strolls through a construction site carry a musical instrument case (a flugelhorn?). I like it simply because it is so incongruous to the director and the plot.