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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 205,818 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


It's a deadly game of "tag" and Cary Grant is "it"! 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?


Glen Cove, NY, is on the north shore of Long Island. The body of water visible during the night driving scene is Long Island Sound. See more »


Thornhill sees the car with Eve and the others arrive and stop on the same level as him while he's on the observation deck outside the cafeteria at Mt. Rushmore. The parking lot is actually a couple hundred feet below. See more »


Clara Thornhill: Roger... Pay the two dollars.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Right after his credit as director during the opening credits, Alfred Hitchcock is running toward the door of the city bus just as it slams shut on him! See more »


Featured in Smashing UK Top 10: Top 10 American Films (2013) 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

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User Reviews

From The Master of Suspense Came the Daddy of the Modern Adventure Thrillers
7 February 2004 | by (Whitehall, PA) – See all my reviews

Many feel this is Alfred Hitchcock's greatest American movie, and I agree! NORTH BY NORTHWEST is the Hitchcock film to end all Hitch films, with all his pet themes covered with maximum wit, panache, and suspense, as well as a romance between Cary Grant and a soignée Eva Marie Saint that's as tender as it is sexy. Grant has never been more engaging and dashing (literally and figuratively :-), though the smoothly villainous James Mason nearly out-suaves him. My husband and I have joked that if Mason had played Thornhill, the film would have been over in mere moments. With all due respect to Grant, if the imperious, unshakably confident Mason asked the Glen Cove police, "Do you honestly believe that this happened the way you think it did?" they would immediately reply, "No, sir, you must be right, you're free to go, sorry we bothered you." :-) Also boasts a great early performance by a reptilian young Martin Landau as Mason's possessive henchman, as well as one of Oscar nominee Ernest Lehman's best screenplays (in fact, he borrowed liberally from it for his script for the film version of THE PRIZE starring Paul Newman) and one of Bernard Herrmann's finest scores. Anybody who wants to write or direct a chase thriller should watch NORTH BY NORTHWEST first to see how it's done!

39 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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