This Was Alfred Hitchcock's Best Movie, According To Our Poll

(Welcome to Survey Says, a feature where we conduct a movie-related survey for a random group of people and explain why they're completely right, completely wrong, or somewhere in-between.)

There are few directors who have ever lived or will ever live that can claim the same level of influence over the art form as Alfred Hitchcock. The man was one of the best to ever do it and has influenced not only hundreds of filmmakers since, but the way that films are made — with entire subgenres traced back directly to his films. There is nobody quite like Hitchcock and it's hard to imagine that there ever will be again. But which of his films stands above the rest?

We decided to ask some film fans that very question to see what modern movie lovers feel about the man who made such classics as "Strangers On a Train" and "Dial M for Murder." So let's go over the results and have a reasoned discussion about what the numbers tell us, shall we?

And the survey says...

Coming in handily at the very top of our poll was the all-time genre classic "Psycho," which landed just shy of 34% of the vote. The next closest entry was another Hitchcock horror endeavor in "The Birds," which tallied close to 22% of the vote. From there, we see a pretty big drop-off with "North By Northwest" taking just shy of 11%, barely edging out "Strangers On a Train," which took in a little more than 10% of the vote. Rounding out the top five was "Rear Window" which took a little more than 9% of the vote.

In perhaps the most interesting entry on the list, "Vertigo" finished with a little less than 8% of the total vote which demonstrates the unscientific nature of a random, online survey, as many consider this to be one of the greatest movies ever made — if not the single greatest movie ever made, right up there with "Citizen Kane." Last but not least, the final two entries were "Notorious" with a little more than 5% of the vote, and with a "hey we made it" number of votes at just a touch over 1% was "Shadow of a Doubt."

The results are telling

What is interesting about polling a random section of film fans on the internet is that, even if the results are not necessarily what one might call good science, they do reveal something. In this case, the big takeaway appears to be that the most well-known movie of the bunch ran away with it. "Psycho" is without a doubt the most high-profile movie of Hitchcock's legendary career. And there is a very good reason for that — it is arguably a perfect piece of filmmaking that helped birth the slasher genre. Be that as its may, its popularity dominated the results of this survey.

That also explains why an absolute all-timer like "Vertigo" (which ranks number one of BFI's all-time best movies list) nabbed less than 10% of the vote. The movie just doesn't have the same cultural penetration that "Psycho" or "The Birds" does. That also might explain why "North By Northwest" managed to grab the number three spot even though it didn't get nearly the same number of votes as the top two entries: it does have a pretty notable profile in pop culture all these years later. It also explains why a truly great film like "Rebecca" failed to make the list at all. It seems to be a matter of what films manage to stick around the zeitgeist.

Sometimes the obvious choice is the best choice

All of that having been said, there is a damn good reason that "Psycho" has lasted in the cultural consciousness for more than 60 years and a damn good reason it topped this list. Plain and simple, it is an excellent movie filled with great performances, filmmaking that holds up to this very day, and a compelling story that keeps the audience guessing. It works like gangbusters for fresh eyes with no qualifiers. There are no outdated special effects and hardly any "good for it's time" conversation that need be had, as is so often the case with classics that are relics of the era they were made in.

There is a reason that the shower scene alone from this movie can inspire an entire feature-length documentary. This is moviegoing for the masses at its very finest. Time has been extremely kind to "Psycho" and, while the results of this poll open an interesting discussion about the kinds of classics that may (or may not) endure, this is certainly one that is worthy of its reputation and worth keeping in the conversation for future generations of cinephiles.