MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 419 this week

North by Northwest (1959)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Mystery, Thriller  |  26 September 1959 (Japan)
8.4
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.4/10 from 200,567 users  
Reviews: 495 user | 196 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.

Director:

Writer:

Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

Family Entertainment Guide

Check out IMDb's comprehensive Family Entertainment Guide for recommendations for movies and TV series for every age and every viewing platform.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 34 titles
created 28 Jan 2012
 
a list of 44 titles
created 9 months ago
 
a list of 34 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 1 month ago
 
a list of 25 titles
created 1 week ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: North by Northwest (1959)

North by Northwest (1959) on IMDb 8.4/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of North by Northwest.

User Polls

Top 250 Movies #67 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Vertigo (1958)
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A retired San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes
Rear Window (1954)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A wheelchair bound photographer spies on his neighbours from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey
Psycho (1960)
Horror | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A Phoenix secretary steals $40,000 from her employer's client, goes on the run and checks into a remote motel run by a young man under the domination of his mother.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings
The Birds (1963)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Rod Taylor, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette
Citizen Kane (1941)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Following the death of a publishing tycoon, news reporters scramble to discover the meaning of his final utterance.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Dorothy Comingore
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
Rope (1948)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger
Crime | Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder...a theory that he plans to implement.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A hack screenwriter writes a screenplay for a former silent-film star who has faded into Hollywood obscurity.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stroheim
Mystery | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a reformed jewel thief is suspected of returning to his former occupation, he must ferret out the real thief in order to prove his innocence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Jessie Royce Landis
Rebecca (1940)
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Josephine Hutchinson ...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Philip Coolidge ...
Patrick McVey ...
...
Edit

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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

MGM wanted Alfred Hitchcock to cast Cyd Charisse for the part of Eve Kendall, but Hitchcock insisted upon Eva Marie Saint. See more »

Goofs

When Thornhill is photographed at the United Nations with the knife in his left hand, Thornhill holds a picture of Vandamm in his right hand. Later, this incriminating photo of Thornhill is seen in the possession of the the ticket seller, with Thornhill holding the knife in his left hand but with his right hand empty. See more »

Quotes

Judge Anson B. Flynn: How long have you known your client?
Victor Larrabee: Seven years, Your Honor.
Judge Anson B. Flynn: Do you know him to be a reasonable man?
Victor Larrabee: Absolutely.
Clara Thornhill: Ha!
Roger Thornhill: Mother.
Judge Anson B. Flynn: And you believe there is some...
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

Spoofed in Stuart Little 2 (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
(1956)
(uncredited)
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Portion sung by Cary Grant (as "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Bourbon") as he's being seated behind the wheel of the Mercedes while drunk
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Wonderful comedy thriller, not Hitchcock's best but his most sheerly enjoyable
30 September 2004 | by See all my reviews

North By Northwest is not an artistic masterpiece like Rear Window and Vertigo, but it is probably the most purely entertaining picture Hitchcock ever made. It's essentially a rehash of many of his earlier films, with a plot partially derived from The Thirty Nine Steps and the very similar Saboteur, while there are borrowings from Foreign Correspondent and Notorious, among others. However, it is all done with such style and confidence that it doesn't matter if it's essentially just a greatest hits package.

Very few other films of this kind attain the near perfect tone of this one, precariously balanced between seriousness and silliness. Sometimes this film manages the very difficult trick of being both suspenseful and comical at the same time, as in the auction house scene, or the wonderful scene in the lift when the hero's mother turns to two heavies in a lift looking menacingly at the hero and says "you gentlemen are not REALLY trying to kill my son, are you?".

Of course the famous crop dusting plane scene and the Mount Rushmore chase are terrific. The former is really more notable for the amount of time taken to build up to the action than the action itself, while the technical work on the latter still looks pretty good. In a totally different vein is the astonishingly frank seduction sequence on the train. Hitchcock takes his time here as with many of the other scenes, but the film is so crammed with memorable passages that one hardly notices it's 136 mins long.

Ernest Lehman's script is full of wonderful lines, many of them delivered so well by chief villain James Mason that at times we almost want to root for him. "Has any one ever told you tend to overplay your various roles Mr Kaplan....it seems to me you fellows could stand a little less training from the FBI and a little more from the Actor's Studio". Cary Grant is so smooth one almost forgets he's over 50, and of course there's also Bernard Herrmann's vibrant score.

Endlessly enjoyable even with repeated viewings. How many of today's thrillers will be such fun in 25 years time?


122 of 167 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The cropduster scene georgijeg1
James Stewart as Roger Thornhill nelson95
Gaffes? Erniesam
Roger T. and his Mother's ages, in real life! soozin2
Why the deaf? radarchisels
Paging Mr. Kaplan mike-osullivan3
Discuss North by Northwest (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page