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North by Northwest (1959)

8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 172,219 users  
Reviews: 472 user | 194 critic

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

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Title: North by Northwest (1959)

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Top 250 #61 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

Madison Avenue advertising man Roger Thornhill finds himself thrust into the world of spies when he is mistaken for a man by the name of George Kaplan. Foreign spy Philip Vandamm and his henchman Leonard try to eliminate him but when Thornhill tries to make sense of the case, he is framed for murder. Now on the run from the police, he manages to board the 20th Century Limited bound for Chicago where he meets a beautiful blond, Eve Kendall, who helps him to evade the authorities. His world is turned upside down yet again when he learns that Eve isn't the innocent bystander he thought she was. Not all is as it seems however, leading to a dramatic rescue and escape at the top of Mt. Rushmore. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

spy | advertising | agent | escape | murder | See more »

Taglines:

The Master of Suspense presents a 2000-mile chase across America! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 September 1959 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,101,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Rather than go to the expense of shooting in a South Dakota woodland, Alfred Hitchcock planted 100 ponderosa pines on an MGM soundstage. See more »

Goofs

During the plane chase scene the plane flies over and then the bullets hit the ground. Bullets fired from the plane would be traveling a lot faster than the airplane and would hit the ground before the plane flies past. However, a later headline indicates two were killed in the crash, the second being someone with a machine gun who could easily shoot down or behind the plane. See more »

Quotes

Phillip Vandamm: Mr. Kaplan, you are quite the performer. First you're the outraged Madison Avenue advertising executive who claims that he has been mistaken for someone else. Next, you play the fugitive from justice supposedly trying to clear himself of a crime he knows he didn't commit. And now, you're the jealous lover spurned by love and betrayal.
Roger Thornhill: Apparently the only performance that will satisfy you is when I play dead.
Phillip Vandamm: Your very next role, and you'll be quite convincing, I assure you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Leo the Lion/MGM trademark preceding the credits is on a green field, to match the green field used in the credits proper. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Charley Varrick (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Singin' in the Rain
(1929)
(uncredited)
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Whistled by Cary Grant in Eva's apartment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"That wasn't very sporting, using real bullets."

Cary Grant handles the twisted expressions of his face, his astonished look, his impulsive smile with professional self-assurance and charm while taking us right in the middle of confusion on a breathless 2000-mile cross-country chase which has its gripping showdown across the giant faces of the presidents sculptured on Mount Rushmore high above Rapid City, South Dakota…

Grant plays Roger Thornhill, a stylish publicist, mistaken for a fictitious Federal agent, plunged into a world of crime and intrigue, hunted down by villains who want to eliminate him because he seems to be on their dishonest dealings…

When questioned by bland Phillip Vandamm (James Mason), Thornhill is unable to convince him that he is a victim of a mistaken identity… His three thugs fill him with bourbon, and place him in a stolen car expecting him to have a drunken accident… After narrowly escaping death, no one believes his story including, obviously, his skeptical mother (Jessie Royce Landis).

In an effort to discover the agent he is being confused with, and using the clues he collected, Thornhill returns to the United Nations Headquarter looking for George Kaplan… There, somebody falls into his arms and unthinkingly, Thornhill draws the blade out of the victim's back and is photographed holding the weapon in mid-air… And thus became a fugitive from justice, pursued by the cops and had to skip by boarding a train to Chicago…

While on the run, he is caught by a provocative platinum blonde (Eva Marie Saint), who comes out as a glamorous woman and a delightful charmer…

James Mason, a polished mastermind spy showed too well to be threatening... His menacing henchman, Martin Landau is also convincingly hurtful...

In his fifth Hitchcock picture, Leo G. Carroll is suave and calm as the devoted intelligence chief…

Directed by a genius behind the camera, "North By Northwest" remains a genuinely exciting film for the dangerous world of spies and counterspies…


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