623 user 175 critic

North by Northwest (1959)

3:25 | Trailer
A New York City advertising executive goes on the run after being mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies.


Alfred Hitchcock


Ernest Lehman
1,452 ( 432)
Top Rated Movies #104 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Cary Grant ... Roger Thornhill
Eva Marie Saint ... Eve Kendall
James Mason ... Phillip Vandamm
Jessie Royce Landis ... Clara Thornhill
Leo G. Carroll ... The Professor
Josephine Hutchinson ... Mrs. Townsend
Philip Ober ... Lester Townsend
Martin Landau ... Leonard
Adam Williams ... Valerian
Edward Platt ... Victor Larrabee
Robert Ellenstein ... Licht
Les Tremayne ... Auctioneer
Philip Coolidge ... Dr. Cross
Patrick McVey Patrick McVey ... Sergeant Flamm
Edward Binns ... 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 love and murder at first sight! See more »


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Did You Know?


If the fictional Thornhill had plans, as he stated, to attend the Winter Garden Theatre when the movie opened in the U.S. in July of 1959 (when he was kidnapped from the Oak Room), his tickets would have been for "West Side Story." But Thornhill, possibly, implies it was "My Fair Lady" that he had tickets for when he started to sing, while drunk in the Mercedes, "I've grown accustomed to your bourbon." However, since this is a fictional story, it doesn't matter. See more »


When escaping from the two thugs at the Plaza, Roger jumps into a two-toned yellow and white 1958 Ford cab. The cab pulling up behind him is also a 1958 yellow and white Ford. When the two thugs jump into the cab behind him, it is two-toned red and white. When Roger arrives at the UN, he is in a two-toned yellow and white 1957 Ford cab. When the thugs arrive at the UN behind Roger, their cab is a two-toned orange and white 1957 Ford. But when they get out of it, the cab is again two-toned red and white. When the cab pulls off behind them, it is back to orange and white. See more »


[first lines]
Roger Thornhill: [coming out of the crowded elevator, dictating to his secretary] If you accept the belief that a high Trendex automatically means a rising sales curve...
Eddie: Mr. Thornhill?
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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 »

Alternate Versions

The print originally had an acknowledgement for the cooperation of the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service. But they requested it be removed after MGM violated the agreement that no violence would take place near the Mt. Rushmore monument. Some prints, however, were released with the acknowledgement still in. 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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User Reviews

Alfred Hitchcock top-notch thriller/comedy embroils a a business man in killing and espionage
27 January 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Thrilling flick with funny moments , nice acting , spectacular outdoors and fun dialogue . The tale is ordinary Hitchcock fare that plays and preys the senses , as a hapless New York advertising executive , Roger Thornhill, (Gary Grant got $450,000 -a substantial amount for the time - plus a percentage of the gross profits ; though Yul Brynner and William Holden was suggested to play him) is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies (James Mason , Martin Landau) and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive . Grant is chased by both : the patrolmen who think he's a killer and a spy ring who think he is a double agent . He is helped by a gorgeous train passenger named Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint , though the studio wanted Cyd Charisse or Sophia Loren for the female lead, and she wanted to do it, but contractual problems resulted in her having to turn it down for the part , but Hitchcock insisted upon Eva Marie Saint) .

Enjoyable mystery movie involves a bewildered ad-man who hold numerous tricks in order to escape from his captors and being chased cross country . Entertaining suspense movie packs humor , intrigue and ordinary Hitch touches . This agreeable and often hilarious picture from master of suspense has a memorable scene after another and was the only film Alfred Hitchcock made for MGM . Alfred Hitchcock's films have become famous for a number of elements and iconography : vertiginous height , innocent men wrongfully accused , blonde bombshells , voyeurism, long non-dialogue sequences , a matter of mistaken identity etc. This film has these particularities ; furthermore contains a fun intrigue , amusing situations and keeps the action at feverish pitch . Hitch was famous for making his actors follow the script to the word, and in this movie the characters use their dialogue taken from an interesting as well as fun screenplay by Ernest Lehman . Alfred Hitchcock's movies were known for featuring famous landmarks such as Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco convent in ¨Vertigo¨ and the Statue of Liberty in ¨Sabotage¨ . Here includes Mount Rushmore images and now-legendary scenes such as crop-dusting plane sequences and the train station scene that was shot in New York City's Grand Central Terminal .

Alfred Hitchcock couldn't get permission to film inside the UN, so footage was made of the interior of the building using a hidden camera, and the rooms were later recreated on a soundstage . Very good support cast such as James Mason , Martin Landau , Josephine Hutchinson , Les Tremayne as auctioneer and Jessie Royce Landis as mummy , though she was only 7 years older than Cary Grant, who plays her son . Features two actors who would go on to head spy agencies in their own 1960s television series. Edward Platt would star as "Chief" in ¨Get Smart¨, and Leo G. Carroll would star in ¨The man from U.N.C.L.E . And of course , Alfred Hitchcock cameo , he arrives at a bus stop during the opening credits but gets there a second too late and the door is closed in his face , he misses the bus.

Colorful and glimmer cinematography in Vistavision by Robert Burks , Alfred's ordinary cameraman , showing nice outdoors . Rousing score by Bernard Herrmann , he arranged his whimsical themes from Fandango music. Bernard and Hitch had a long as well as fruitful professional relationship . Rating : 8.5/10 . Essential and indispensable seeing , being perfectly directed by the master himself . Worthwhile watching , one of all-time amusement . Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery"

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English | French

Release Date:

8 September 1959 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest See more »


Box Office


$3,101,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)| Dolby SR | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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