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Packed with twists and turns, this essential early Alfred Hitchcock feature hints at the dazzling heights he'd reach later in his career. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

While on vacation in London, Canadian Richard Hannay (Robert Donat) becomes embroiled in an international spy ring related to the mysterious "39 steps." Then he meets agent Annabella Smith (Lucie Mannheim), who is soon killed in his apartment. He must elude the police, who are hunting him for murder, while he tries to stop Professor Jordan (Godfrey Tearle) from sending secrets out of the country. Hannay is assisted by Pamela (Madeleine Carroll), an unwilling accomplice who discovers the truth.

Cast & Crew

Robert Donat
Richard Hannay, Mr. Hammond, Capt. Fraser, Henry Hopkinson
Godfrey Tearle
Professor Jordan
Lucie Mannheim
Miss Annabella Smith
Peggy Ashcroft
Margaret, crofter's wife
Wylie Watson
Mr. Memory
Helen Haye
Mrs. Jordan
John Buchan
Writer
Ian Hay
Writer
Jack Beaver
Original Music
Hubert Bath
Original Music
Bernard Knowles
Cinematographer
D. N. Twist
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for The 39 Steps

Critic Reviews for The 39 Steps

All Critics (52) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (50) | Rotten (2)

  • The 39 Steps is a masterclass in propulsive narrative cinema that even today's so-called blockbuster auteurs should study.

    September 9, 2015 | Full Review…
  • The scene in which Mr Memory is asked at the London Palladium "What are the 39 Steps?" remains one of 20th-century cinema's most gripping moments.

    December 30, 2014 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • The Thirty-Nine Steps neatly converts its essential implausihility into an asset by stressing the difficulties which confront its hero when he tries to tell outsiders about the predicament he is in.

    August 5, 2014 | Full Review…
  • In Hitchcock's hands, however, this well-known espionage adventure provided the basis for a new sort of thriller and a new sort of comedy.

    September 4, 2008 | Full Review…
  • It's melodrama and at times far-fetched and improbable, but the story twists and spins artfully from one high-powered sequence to another while the entertainment holds like steel cable from start to finish.

    August 18, 2008 | Full Review…
  • Hitchcock at his very best.

    April 11, 2008 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The 39 Steps

  • Jan 23, 2021
    Near perfectly executed entertainment elevated by Hitchcock's craft. The last 5 minutes are just astounding.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 15, 2016
    The 39 Steps, in many ways, shows how much Hitchcock improves as a filmmaker in mastering cinematic techniques. However, The 39 Steps also is the embodiment of the highs that his films would reach in the future, as this tightly structured, highly entertaining thriller includes many of his signature suspenseful set pieces and twists, while also maintaining a consistent sense of humor. The 39 Steps isn't incredibly complex or life-changing, but then again, it isn't trying to be. For what it is trying to be, an intelligent and entertaining thriller, it is one of the best in its genre. If you enjoy Hitchcock at all, you owe it to yourself to check this one out.
    Joey T Super Reviewer
  • Mar 25, 2016
    There are few things like a good thriller with a nice sense of humor, even though the humor doesn't always work here; and while it is well directed and has some clever twists, it relies on too many coincidences and gets weakened by a silly semi-romance that feels always forced.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 27, 2015
    39 Steps is fun movie from prewar Britain, though really not on par with the Hitchcock classics. It does not deliver in terms of pacing, suspense, and thrills. I found myself more interested in how the leading man and lady would get on, amused by the comedic elements, and enjoyed how the main character keeps a wry sense of humor throughout the wild ride. 39 Steps is not another North By Northwest but is fine as it is.
    Robert B Super Reviewer

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