English film director Alfred Hitchcock made cameo appearances in 40 of his 53 surviving major films (his second film, The Mountain Eagle, is lost). For the films in which he appeared, he would be seen for a brief moment in a non-speaking part as an extra, such as boarding a bus, crossing in front of a building, standing in an apartment across the courtyard, or even appearing in a newspaper photograph (as seen in the film Lifeboat, which otherwise provided no other opportunity for him to appear).
During the filming of The Lodger: A Story of the London Fog, Hitchcock later said his cameo came about at the last minute. The actor who was supposed to play the bit part of a telephone operator failed to show up, so Hitchcock filled in for him. This playful gesture became one of Hitchcock's trademark signatures, with fans making a sport of trying to spot his cameos. As a recurring theme, he would carry a musical instrument – especially memorable was the double bass case that he wrestles onto the train at the beginning of Strangers on a Train. In his earliest appearances, he filled in as an obscure extra in crowds or walking through scenes in long camera shots. His later appearances became more prominent, such as when he turns to see Jane Wyman's disguise as she passes him in Stage Fright, and in stark silhouette in his final film Family Plot.
His appearances became so popular that he began to make them earlier in his films so as not to distract the audience from the plot. Hitchcock confirms this in extended interviews with François Truffaut, and indeed the majority of his appearances occur within the first half-hour of his films, with over half in the first 15 minutes.
Hitchcock's longest cameo appearances are in his British films Blackmail and Young and Innocent. He appears in all 30 features from Rebecca (his first American film) onward; before his move to Hollywood, he only occasionally performed cameos.
This is an alphabetical list of Hitchcock's cameo appearances in films that he directed.
|Leaving the pet shop with two of his own Sealyham terriers, Geoffrey and Stanley, as Tippi Hedren enters.
|Being bothered by a small boy as he reads a book on the London Underground. This cameo is 19 seconds long.
|Dial M for Murder
|On the left side in the class-reunion photo sitting at the same table near Swan and Wendice.
|Walking past a tennis court carrying a walking stick.
|In silhouette through the door of the Registrar of Births and Deaths.
|After Joel McCrea leaves his hotel, he is seen wearing a coat and hat and reading a newspaper.
|At the very end of the aerial shot of the opening credits, wearing a bowler hat and leaning on the riverside wall at the bottom left of the concluding long shot. About a minute later, in the centre of a crowd, the only one not applauding the speaker; and another minute later, right after the victim washes ashore, standing next to a grey-haired bearded man.
|Crossing the top of a flight of steps.
|The Lady Vanishes
|In Victoria Station, wearing a black coat, smoking a cigarette, and making a strange movement with his head.
|In the "before" and "after" pictures in the newspaper ad for "Reduco Obesity Slayer".
|Sitting with his back to the camera at a desk in the newsroom.
|In the mob scene next to Detective Joe, who is bearing the lodger's weight on the fence by holding his arms. (Disputed)
|The Man Who Knew Too Much
|Walking across a road in a dark trench coat as a bus passes.
|The Man Who Knew Too Much
|As the McKennas watch the acrobats in the marketplace, Hitchcock appears at the left in a suit and puts his hands in his pockets.
|Entering from the left of the hotel corridor after Tippi Hedren passes by.
|Mr. & Mrs. Smith
|Passing Robert Montgomery in front of his building.
|Walking past the house where the murder was committed with a female companion, at the end of Sir John's visit to the scene with Markham and his wife Lucy.
|North by Northwest
|Missing a bus, just after his credit passes off screen during the opening title sequence.
|At the big party in Claude Rains's mansion, drinking champagne and then quickly departing as Cary Grant enters.
|On the bus amongst other passengers, in a dark coat and hat, facing away, he bounces up and down; approx. four seconds.
|The Paradine Case
|Leaving the train at a railway station, carrying a cello case.
|Seen through an office window wearing a Stetson cowboy hat as Janet Leigh comes through the door.
|Winding the clock at the fireplace in the songwriter's apartment.
|The man wearing a bowler and topcoat with upturned collar that walks right to left behind Favell, played by George Sanders, and the policeman after Favell calls Mrs. Danvers.
|Just after Hitchcock's credit towards the end of the opening sequence, walking alongside a woman.
|In the background as a red flashing neon sign of his trademark profile.
|Just after the lights come back on in front of the Bijou, looking up as he crosses in front of the crowd.
|Standing in front of "Cut Rate Drugs" as the saboteurs' car stops.
|Shadow of a Doubt
|On the train to Santa Rosa, playing cards, his back to the camera; he has a full hand of spades.
|Coming out of an elevator at the Empire State Hotel, carrying a violin case and smoking a cigarette.
|Turning to look back at Jane Wyman in her disguise as Marlene Dietrich's maid as she is rehearsing her cover.
|Strangers on a Train
|On the cover of the book Farley Granger is reading.
|Boarding a train with a double bass as Farley Granger gets off in his hometown.
|Walking a horse across the screen at the hunt meet.
|Mailing a letter at the village postbox (long shot).
|The 39 Steps
|The man littering by tossing a white cigarette box while the bus pulls up for Robert Donat and Lucie Mannheim to leave the theatre.
|To Catch a Thief
|Sitting next to Cary Grant on the bus.
|Being pushed in a wheelchair at the airport by a nurse. Hitchcock gets up from the chair, shakes hands with a man, and walks off to the right.
|Sitting in the Hotel d'Angleterre lobby with a baby on his knee. The music playing at this point is an adaptation of Funeral March of a Marionette, the theme for Alfred Hitchcock Presents
|The Trouble with Harry
|Seen outside of the window—the man walking past the parked limousine of an old man who is looking at paintings.
|In the town square during new governor's speech with his back to the camera, wearing a blue coat and brown top hat.
|One of three men on the steps of the Government House.
|In a grey suit walking across a street with a trumpet case.
|The Wrong Man
|Seen in silhouette narrating the film's prologue. Donald Spoto's biography says that Hitchcock chose to make an explicit appearance in this film (rather than a cameo) to emphasize that, unlike his other movies, The Wrong Man was a true story about an actual person.
|Young and Innocent
|Outside the courthouse main entrance as one of several reporters and journalists (he is holding a camera) as Robert Tisdall (Derrick De Marney) walks out.