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North by Northwest (1959)

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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 #70 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
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


Alfred Hitchcock takes you.... North by Northwest! See more »


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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
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Did You Know?


This is the only film Alfred Hitchcock made for MGM. See more »


The right side mirror on the bus that picked up the other man along the Indiana highway is in two different positions. As the bus approaches, it is adjusted correctly. When the man gets on and the bus pulls away, the mirror is turned and pointing toward the front of the bus, where it would be useless to the driver. See more »


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

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 »


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

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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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