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North by Northwest (1959)

8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 182,617 users  
Reviews: 484 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 #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:

A 2000 MILE CHASE . . . That blazes a trail of TERROR to a gripping, spine-chilling climax ! 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Technically, there is no compass direction named "North by Northwest." In the process of "boxing the compass" - naming the 32 points of the compass by their direction -- the points from West to North run: West, West by North, West-Northwest, Northwest by West, Northwest, Northwest by North, North-Northwest, North by West, North. There is a "North-Northwest," but not a "North by Northwest." See more »

Goofs

When Thornhill escapes from the Mt. Rushmore house and runs over to the black Ford, he is shown opening the car door and just starting to get in while on the soundtrack the sounds of the door being closed and the ignition being turned on are heard. See more »

Quotes

[Escaping captivity, Roger Thornhill slips in through the window of a darkened hospital room. Immediately the light is snapped on. A woman patient sits up in the bed, reaching for her glasses]
Hospital Patient: STOP!
Roger Thornhill: [stops] Oh. Excuse me.
[resumes moving towards the door]
Roger Thornhill: [She has put on her glasses and gets a good look at him]
Hospital Patient: [plaintively] Stop.
[Thornhill pauses, turns briefly to warn her off with a raised finger, then rushes out the door]
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 The Pandora Directive (1996) 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

A perfect film for a rainy, cold October day
3 March 2003 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

I saw this film for the first time when I was a freshman in college as part of an english class I took entitled "writing and the movies". Little did I realize that I would be seeing a film that would stay with me to this day and in essence become one of my all time favorites. Then, a few years ago, I caught it on the big screen at the Fine Arts theater in downtown Chicago. I remember that it was a rainy, cold October day. Perfect weather for a Hitchcock film I thought to myself.

For me, half of the fun of North by Northwest is its incredible story. This film has something for everyone within it: a little comedy, a little romance, great snappy dialogue and more action than any Bruce Willis Die Hard film combined. Hitchcock was a master at this and in North by Northwest he lets his genius shine through totally. It seems to me that whenever I watch it, everyone who made this film from Cary Grant on down had nothing but sheer fun making it. Perhaps my two favorite scenes are the infamous "crop-duster" sequence and the last twenty minutes or so at Mount Rushmore.

I must give special mention to Ernest Lehman who yet again managed to write a screenplay that totally knocks your socks off. How he came up with the idea, I've not a clue, but what an idea it is. The screenplay itself was nominated for an Academy Award that year, but lost to Pillow Talk. North by Northwest was also nominated for Best Set Decoration and Best Film Editing, but lost to Ben-Hur in both categories.

All in all, what a film. If you haven't seein it, do so ASAP. North by Northwest just reinforces my belief that Alfred Hitchcock was one of the greatest directors of all time. Period.

My rating: 4 stars


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James Stewart as Roger Thornhill nelson95
Red Caps mheckman-1
Eva Marie Saint! DarkBat1939
Paging Mr. Kaplan mike-osullivan3
Really would like to understand what is so special about this film marax-4
Cary Grant's accent while drunk catcreswell
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