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North by Northwest (1959)

Approved  |   |  Adventure, Mystery, Thriller  |  26 September 1959 (Japan)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 205,726 users  
Reviews: 499 user | 199 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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Top Rated Movies #66 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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


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


A 2000 MILE CHASE . . . That blazes a trail of TERROR to a gripping, spine-chilling climax ! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 September 1959 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest  »

Box Office


$3,101,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


While on location at Mt. Rushmore, Eva Marie Saint discovered that Cary Grant would charge fans 15 cents for an autograph. See more »


After Eve leaves her room at the Ambassador Hotel, Thornhill emerges from the bathroom, where he has been pretending to take a shower, and notices a notepad on the night stand. He picks up a pencil and uses the old "rub a pencil over the impression to reveal the note that was written on the sheet above it" trick. He begins rubbing using a horizontal motion form left-to-right, however when the camera switches to an extreme close-up, the pencil is being used in a vertical up-and-down motion. See more »


Clara Thornhill: Roger, I think we should go.
Roger Thornhill: Don't be nervous.
Clara Thornhill: I'm not nervous, I'll be late for the bridge club.
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 »


Referenced in Tango (1993) See more »


It's a Most Unusual Day
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Played as background music at the Plaza Hotel
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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