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North by Northwest (1959)


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

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

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

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


Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 76,149



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 … More

Mystery & Suspense , Classics
Directed By:
Written By:
Ernest Lehman
In Theaters:
Aug 29, 2000
Turner Entertainment



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Critic Reviews for North by Northwest

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.

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

Smoothly troweled and thoroughly entertaining.

Full Review… | April 23, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top 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.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

All in all, an improbable classic.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | December 30, 2012
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.

Full Review… | May 16, 2012
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.

Full Review… | June 27, 2011
7M Pictures

Witty Hitchcock thriller. Not for little ones.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

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

Full Review… | February 27, 2010
Old School Reviews

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

Full Review… | November 8, 2009
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.

Full Review… | July 23, 2009

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

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
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.

Full Review… | June 19, 2009

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

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
Sky Movies

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

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
Total Film

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

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
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.

Full Review… | June 19, 2009

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.

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
Daily Express

See it again and you'll come away marvelling.

Full Review… | June 19, 2009
Sunday Mail [UK]

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

Full Review… | March 27, 2009

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

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
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.

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
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.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

Awesome spy adventure flick.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

I can see how Hitchcock was such a famed director!

Thomas Johnston

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.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

North by Northwest Quotes

The Professor: Well...she's one of our agents.
– Submitted by George P (10 months ago)
Eve Kendall: What happened to your first two marriages? Roger O. Thornhill: My wives divorced me. They said I led too dull a life.
– Submitted by Richard H (12 months ago)
Roger O. Thornhill: Have you poured any good drunks lately?
– Submitted by Richard H (12 months ago)
Woman: One thing we know, you're no fake. You're a genuine idiot.
– Submitted by John L (12 months ago)
Roger O. Thornhill: Hello Mother, this is your son, Roger Thornhill.
– Submitted by Jerry F (19 months ago)
Man on Road: That fella's dusting crops where there ain't no crops.
– Submitted by Pete H (2 years ago)

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