Temporarily housebound with a broken leg, photographer James Stewart passes the time by spying on his neighbours – and soon suspects one of them (Raymond Burr) of doing away with his nagging wife.
Alfred Hitchcock’s meticulously designed thriller stays inside Stewart’s apartment and shares his point of view for almost all its length. In effect, that turns the audience into a set of Peeping Toms, too, and the ensuing game Hitchcock plays with both his star and with the audience makes for a model of humour-soaked suspense – not least when Grace Kelly and Thelma Ritter enter the picture.
Hitch’s trademark cameo is after about half an hour, winding the clock in the songwriter’s apartment. In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this as the 48th Greatest Movie of All Time, though Internet users voted it 14th best. Remade in 1998 with Christopher Reeve and again (loosely) in 2007 as Disturbia.