8.4/10
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North by Northwest (1959)

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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Cast

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Storyline

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

Taglines:

It's love and murder at first sight! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Release Date:

26 September 1959 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,101,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| |

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The August 2016 issue of Trains Magazine has a good article that explains the filming of the 20th Century Limited scenes. One tidbit is that the New York Central set out some passenger cars for the LaSalle Street Station scenes, including "Imperial State." The "Imperial State" seen at Grand Central was actually a Southern Pacific car in Los Angeles painted to look like NYC's Imperial State so as to match the LaSalle Street footage. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Roger Thornhill: I don't like the games you play, Professor.
The Professor: War is hell, Mr. Thornhill. Even when it's a cold one.
Roger Thornhill: If you fellows can't lick the VanDamm's of this world without asking girls like her to bed down with them and fly away with them and probably never come back, perhaps you ought to start learning how to lose a few cold wars.
The Professor: I'm afraid we're already doing that.
See more »

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 »

Connections

Referenced in Hail, Caesar! (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

It's a Most Unusual Day
(1948)
(uncredited)
Music by Jimmy McHugh
Lyrics by Harold Adamson
Played as background music at the Plaza Hotel
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

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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