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              North by Northwest (1959)

              3:13 | Trailer

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              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
              1,210 ( 1,165)
              Top Rated Movies #76 | Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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              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


              A 2000 MILE CHASE . . . That blazes a trail of TERROR to a gripping, spine-chilling climax ! See more »


              Not Rated | See all certifications »

              Parents Guide:

              View content advisory »





              English | French

              Release Date:

              26 September 1959 (Japan) See more »

              Also Known As:

              Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest See more »


              Box Office


              $3,101,000 (estimated)

              Gross USA:


              Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

              See more on IMDbPro »

              Company Credits

              Show more on IMDbPro »

              Technical Specs


              Sound Mix:

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


              Color (Technicolor)

              Aspect Ratio:

              1.85 : 1
              See full technical specs »

              Did You Know?


              In a Turner Classic Movies interview, according to screenwriter Ernest Lehman (who worked in close collaboration with Sir Alfred Hitchcock), the working title was "In A Northwesterly Direction". The head of the story department at MGM said "Why don't you call it 'North by Northwest'?" Lehman says that he and Hitchcock adopted that as the new working title, always assuming that they'd come up with something better. Hitchcock also jokingly wanted to call it "The Man in Lincoln's Nose", but claimed the idea was vetoed by the Park Commissioner. Other working titles included "Breathless", "In a North West Direction", and "The C.I.A. Story". 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 »


              Roger Thornhill: I don't think I caught your name.
              The Professor: I don't think I pitched it.
              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 »

              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 »


              Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Space Children (1998) 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

              See more »

              User Reviews

              Worth it just to see the the crop duster chase
              4 April 2004 | by DarthBillSee 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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