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North by Northwest (1959)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 9/10
Reviews Counted: 62
Fresh: 62 | Rotten: 0

Gripping, suspenseful, and visually iconic, this late-period Hitchcock classic laid the groundwork for countless action thrillers to follow.

100

Average Rating: 7.8/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

Gripping, suspenseful, and visually iconic, this late-period Hitchcock classic laid the groundwork for countless action thrillers to follow.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 76,112

My Rating

Movie Info

While having lunch at the Plaza Hotel in New York, advertising executive Roger O. Thornhill (Cary Grant) has the bad luck to call for a messenger just as a page goes out for a "George Kaplan." From that moment, Thornhill finds that he has stepped into a nightmare -- he is quietly abducted by a pair of armed men out of the hotel's famous Oak Room and transported to a Long Island estate; there, he is interrogated by a mysterious man (James Mason) who, believing that Roger is George Kaplan, demands

Unrated,

Mystery & Suspense, Classics

Ernest Lehman

Aug 29, 2000

Turner Entertainment

Watch It Now

Cast

Latest News on North by Northwest

August 31, 2011:
Modern Technology Destroys Classic Movie Plot Points
The Los Angeles Times looks at a list of classic films whose plots wouldn't work today.
August 4, 2010:
Robert F. Boyle: 1909-2010
Robert F. Boyle, the film designer best known for his work on Hitchcock's classics, has passed away...

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All Critics (65) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (62) | Rotten (0) | DVD (32)

Hitchcock breezes through a tongue-in-cheek, nightmarish plot with a lightness of touch that's equalled by a charming performance from Grant.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Smoothly troweled and thoroughly entertaining.

April 23, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A great film, and certainly one of the most entertaining movies ever made, directed by Alfred Hitchcock at his peak.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At times it seems Hitchcock is kidding his own penchant for the bizarre, but this sardonic attitude is so deftly handled it only enhances the thrills.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All in all, an improbable classic.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

... a colorful and exciting route for spies, counterspies and lovers.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...a tenuously engaging thriller that could've used a few more passes through the editing bay...

December 30, 2012 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

The iconic actors give memorable performances, the story is perfectly pitched and fiercely clever and under the astounding directorial eye of Alfred Hitchcock - American Cinematic God - it's nearly flawless.

May 16, 2012 Full Review Source: 2UE That Movie Show
2UE That Movie Show

It has all the classic elements of a Hitchcock film - well timed suspense, an overall mystery, a compelling cast and some brilliantly conceived scenes.

June 27, 2011 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

Witty Hitchcock thriller. Not for little ones.

January 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

ideal introduction to the Master and all his basic fears and craftsmanship

February 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

The picture is hugely pleased with itself, but it's too funny and expertly calibrated to mind in the least.

November 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

One of Hitchcock's most enjoyable and entertaining films is also one of his most quintessential works, dealing with thematic and visual ideas well ahead of their time, as for example the notion of fluid identity.

July 23, 2009 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock's very own adrenalin-fuelled action blockbuster.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Times [UK]
Times [UK]

The romcom suspense caper is a cinematic recipe that Alfred Hitchcock took with him to his grave; certainly I can't imagine anyone now succeeding in blending thrills, spills, caresses and laughs the way he did in this sublime classic from 1959.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Hitchcock succeeded in wanting to give popcorn munchers a movie to smile at. And he was never this playful again.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Sky Movies
Sky Movies

North By Northwest is the quintessential Hitchcock thriller and one of the most exciting movies of all time. So there.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Welcome and much needed proof that great action movies don't have to be meaningless and moronic.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Mail [UK]
Daily Mail [UK]

Cary Grant's suave adman Roger O Thornhill finds himself in mortal peril as the innocent man-on-the-run, yet the tone throughout is buoyantly, almost insolently, comic.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent
Independent

The velvety villainy of James Mason, the crop duster chase and the thrilling finale scrambling around Mount Rushmore are just part of the pleasure in a classic that deserves to be seen on the big screen.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

See it again and you'll come away marvelling.

June 19, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Mail [UK]
Sunday Mail [UK]

Not Hitchcock's most profound work, but a tightly conceived, expertly executed thriller from the master of suspense.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Certifiable classic territory, Hitchcock's glossiest entertainment is the closest the trickster ever came to an action movie.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

The great suspense director was at his most entertaining, creating a helter skelter action film where the hero is propelled from one breathless situation to the next.

March 27, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for North by Northwest

Gave it a go because it's Hitchcock's, add to it the high IMDb rating. Turned out to be highly disappointing. It's poor in almost every department, be it the plot, the dialogues, the casting, the performances..... A chimpanzee might have been more suitable for the role of Thornhill. All in all, just another classic that I should have rather skipped. 0/5.

For the want of rating, 0.5/5. Actual rating: 0/5.
September 19, 2014
imrealgod

Super Reviewer

Awesome spy adventure flick.
June 8, 2013
cchclaw

Super Reviewer

I can see how Hitchcock was such a famed director!
April 8, 2013
Tomassgringo

Super Reviewer

Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest is a well crafted suspense thriller that has an engaging plot, a great cast and immaculate directing from the master of suspense. This is one of Hitchcock's finest works that is engaging from start to finish. Cary Grant is terrific in the role of Roger Thornhill, a man who is plunged in a mysterious situation. The actors that star opposite Grant are wonderful as well; an Eva Marie and James Mason are fine choices and bring a memorable presence to the screen. Hitchcock directs great film and this is among his greater efforts as a director. What makes him so unique as a director is his style in terms of delivering thrills and suspense. Hitchcock is in a class by himself. North by Northwest is an accomplished picture that is confident, thrilling and above all, memorable. The film contains one of the most recognizable scenes in any Hitchcock film, the scene where Cary Grant gets chased by the crop dusting plane ranks as one of the best scenes along with the shower scene in Psycho. This is a great film that will surely please Hitchcock fans. At times the film does have a few weak areas, however the strong performances and effective directing keep things together well enough to make this a worthwhile film to watch. This is a blend great suspense and thriller elements that truly make this one of the standout pictures of the genre. As it stands, North by Northwest is a near flawless film that is aided by a strong cast, an engaging story and effective directing that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you love a well executed suspense film, North by Northwest will surely appeal to you, and is a must see.
January 18, 2013
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. The Professor: Well...she's one of our agents.
    – Submitted by George P (9 months ago)
    1. Eve Kendall: What happened to your first two marriages?
    2. Roger O. Thornhill: My wives divorced me. They said I led too dull a life.
    – Submitted by Richard H (12 months ago)
    1. Roger O. Thornhill: Have you poured any good drunks lately?
    – Submitted by Richard H (12 months ago)
    1. Woman: One thing we know, you're no fake. You're a genuine idiot.
    – Submitted by John L (12 months ago)
    1. Roger O. Thornhill: Hello Mother, this is your son, Roger Thornhill.
    – Submitted by Jerry F (19 months ago)
    1. Man on Road: That fella's dusting crops where there ain't no crops.
    – Submitted by Pete H (2 years ago)
View all quotes (18)

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Foreign Titles

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