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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Townsend
Patrick McVey ...
Captain Junket


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 »


Not Rated | 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)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?


The date on the newspaper shown being read at the United States Intelligence Agency is shown as Tuesday, November 25, 1958. This would place at least some of the film's action on Thanksgiving Day (which was Thursday, November 27 that year), although no mention of the holiday is ever made. See more »


When Thornhill and his secretary are in a cab in front of the Plaza Hotel, a 1958 Ford cab is parked behind them. But when Thornhill exits the taxi, the car behind them has changed to a 1957 Dodge. See more »


Eve Kendall: It's going to be a long night.
Roger Thornhill: True.
Eve Kendall: And I don't particularly like the book I've started.
Roger Thornhill: Ah.
Eve Kendall: You know what I mean?
Roger Thornhill: Ah, let me think. Yes, I know exactly what you mean.
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 »


Referenced in Me, Myself & Irene (2000) See more »


I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face
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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Classic thriller - I love it!
27 July 2002 | by 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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