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North by Northwest (1959)

8.5
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Ratings: 8.5/10 from 176,071 users  
Reviews: 475 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 #63 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 9 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:

It's love and murder at first sight! 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

If the fictional Thornhill had plans, as he stated, to attend the Winter Garden Theatre when the movie opened in the U.S. in July of 1959 (when he was kidnapped from the Oak Room), his tickets would have been for "West Side Story." But Thornhill, possibly, implies it was "My Fair Lady" that he had tickets for when he started to sing, while drunk in the Mercedes, "I've grown accustomed to your bourbon..." See more »

Goofs

The location of the "United States Intelligence Agency" building in Washington contains several errors. First, there is no building of any kind on the Mall opposite the Capitol. Second, when the Professor walks by the window in his office, the traffic seen driving past on the street immediately to the left of and beside the building is so close that the side of the building would have to run through the far side of the office to comport with the location of the street and the angles shown (the office door would either not exist or open into mid-air above the street). See more »

Quotes

Eve Kendall: Roger O. Thornhill. What does the O stand for?
Roger Thornhill: Nothing.
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 Heroes Unmasked: Travelling in Style (2008) 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

Classic thriller - I love it!
27 July 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Roger Thornhill is an advertising man. However when he is kidnapped it is clear that he has been mistaken for someone else. When he tries to find out what's going he is framed for murder and sets out on a cross country run to survive. Along the way he meets danger, adventure and beauty in the shape of the mysterious Eve Kendall. However when he finds the truth he is drawn towards a final showdown with the dangerous Vandamm.

Rightly regarded as a classic and can more than compete with today's thrillers that too often rely on special effects to make up for the lack of genuine suspense. Here the plot requires a great deal of faith, but it is brought off with such style and energy that it is totally absorbing. The action is great and the several main scenes have become part of popular culture and are regularly spoofed on TV etc. The romance works as well and Thornhill and Kendall exchange plenty of good scenes.

The dialogue is great and the direction is faultless from Hitchcock. Many thrillers run over 2 hours - but only the good ones can stand up to repeated viewings. Northwest can take back to back viewings it is so good. The plot may have been put together as shooting went (as was the case with at least

one key scene) but it all stands together well. The acting is also perfect, Grant's rebirth as a thriller man is brilliant and is one of Hitchcock's best everyman characters. Marie-Saint is yet another dangerous blonde but is very good. James `The Voice' Mason is excellent, while Landau adds great homosexual subtext to his character. The ever present Leo G Carroll IS Mr Waverly but is still enjoyable and even support roles like Landis as Thornhill's mother is perfection!

Over 40 years on this film has barely dated. Hearing the music is enough to make me want to see it again, while the direction, set pieces, dialogue and performances are all pitch perfect. A wonderful thriller for young and old

  • no sex, no swearing, all thrills.



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Red Caps mheckman-1
Paging Mr. Kaplan mike-osullivan3
Really would like to understand what is so special about this film marax-4
Hard of hearing? ssmithmid
Cary Grant's accent while drunk catcreswell
Eve Kendall Betty Draper? CornelisdeVos
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