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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


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
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Did You Know?


Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008. See more »


During the climactic Mt. Rushmore scene at the end of the film, the top of the mountain set, and equipment, are clearly visible for a number of seconds. See more »


Roger Thornhill: I'm beginning to think I'm underpaid.
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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 »


Singin' in the Rain
Music by Nacio Herb Brown
Lyrics Arthur Freed
Whistled by Cary Grant in Eva's apartment
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Worth it just to see the the crop duster chase
4 April 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I can't quite understand how anyone can dislike Alfred Hitchcock's films. Personally, he's one of the few old school talents I find interesting and watchable, even if his work is dated and set in its era (the era when most sets were hopelessly phony). I guess you have to appreciate his themes - dysfunctional relationships between a man and his mother, flawed by essentially innocent men caught up in a web of intrigue, beautiful blonds, comments of authority figures, black humor, etc - to really appreciate Hitchcock.

Interestingly, James Stewart was Hitchcock's original choice for the role of Roger Thornhill, the hapless ad man who is mistaken for a spy who doesn't even exist to begin with and is chased half way across the country by villains and authorities for a murder he didn't commit. For one reason or another, Stewart was unavailable and the part went to Cary Grant instead. Grant seems better suited to the character and the situation than Stewart would have been, but I can easily picture Stewart being chased in the cornfield by the crop duster.

Like all Hitchcock films, there are hundreds of things that aren't realistic though set in the real world and lots of highly improbable stuff going on everywhere, but if you give it a chance you'll enjoy it and won't care. Don't miss Eva Marie Saint having to dub over a then lewd line about love, a full stomach and sex. The use of a crop duster may not be the most practical way to kill a man, but it's a great visual representation of the great Hitchcockian examination of "nowhere to run, nowhere to hide". The music and clinging to Mount Rushmore is also memorable. Did I mention the innuendo?

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The simple question that he never asked Florestan51
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Sexual symbolism of the final shot... barcham_99
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James Stewart as Roger Thornhill nelson95
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