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North by Northwest (1959)

8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 181,007 users  
Reviews: 483 user | 195 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 #62 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 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

Taglines:

It's a deadly game of "tag" and Cary Grant is "it"! See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the autos used in the early scenes (the NY taxi, the Glen Cove police car and the county detectives car) are 1958 Ford sedans. See more »

Goofs

At Cary Grant's character's table in the Mount Rushmore cafeteria the salt and pepper shakers move around constantly from shot to shot, yet neither character ever touch them. See more »

Quotes

Eve Kendall: [Hanging by their fingers from Mount Rushmore] What happened with your first two marriages?
Roger Thornhill: My wives divorced me.
Eve Kendall: Why?
Roger Thornhill: They said I led too dull a life.
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 Jarhead (2005) 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

Terrific Entertainment From the Master
21 September 2001 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

With everything you expect from Hitchcock and more, "North By Northwest" is terrific entertainment from the master. There are interesting characters, an exciting story with intrigue and suspense, lots of fine photography, and some of Hitchcock's best-known set pieces. It's capped off by a fine Bernard Herrmann score that is almost as good as the one he wrote later for "Psycho".

Cary Grant may be the ideal Hitchcock actor, and he is a big part of making this such great fun. As one of the man-on-the-run characters that Hitchcock loved to make movies about, Grant is entertaining and believable, maintaining good humor even as he tries to work his way out of a series of desperate situations. The other stars, James Mason and Eva Marie Saint, also are very good, and the supporting roles are all filled by good character actors.

The story is one of Hitchcock's most exciting. It's slightly longer than usual, and it occasionally stretches credibility, but it all goes by quickly because there is always something interesting going on, and there is also plenty to look at. Whether using the famous landmarks or using more everyday settings, there is always lots of good detail, and the settings complement the story nicely. At times the plot becomes somewhat fanciful, but probably deliberately so, for it only emphasizes Hitchcock's mastery of technique that he can have his characters do almost anything and make you believe it at the time.

With everything that characterizes Hitchcock at his very best, this fully deserves its reputation as one of the finest films by him or any other director. You can watch it several times and still find it just as entertaining.


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James Stewart as Roger Thornhill nelson95
Eva Marie Saint! DarkBat1939
Red Caps mheckman-1
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