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North By Northwest

  NR HD Closed Captioning

Alfred Hitchcock

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Plot Summary

Selected as one of the top 50 American films of all time by the prestigious American Film Institute, and considered by many critics to be Hitchcock's greatest film, this fast-paced thriller stars Oscar-winner Cary Grant ("Notorious," "The Philadelphia Story") as a Madison Avenue advertising exec who is mistaken for someone else and kidnapped by a group of international spies, headed by James Mason ("A Star Is Born," "Lolita"). After a hair-raising escape, he is framed for a murder he didn't commit and goes on the run with the lovely Eva Marie Saint ("Superman Returns," "On the Waterfront"). Famous for a wild plane attack and a harrowing chase across the faces of Mount Rushmore, this is quintessential Hitchcock ("Psycho," "The Birds"). With Academy Award-winner Martin Landau ("Ed Wood," "The Majestic") as Mason's evil henchman, this film is the rare combination of action, suspense and humor.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews

TOMATOMETER

100%
  • Reviews Counted: 62
  • Fresh: 62
  • Rotten: 0
  • Average Rating: 9.0/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: ... a colorful and exciting route for spies, counterspies and lovers. – A.H. Weiler, New York Times, Jul 16, 2008

Fresh: Smoothly troweled and thoroughly entertaining. – TIME Magazine, Jun 24, 2010

Fresh: 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. – Variety Staff, Variety, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: Hitchcock's ultimate wrong-man comedy. – J. Hoberman, Village Voice, Jun 24, 2010

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Hitchcock Out-Hitchcock’s... Well, Himself

North By Northwest is by far the most upbeat, fun and accessible of all of Hitch’s many suspense films. Hitchcock’s perfect, frothy concoction begins with the classic Saul Bass titles on the side of a Madison Avenue skyscraper (which inspired the opening titles of Mad Men) then across the midwest to that Frank Lloyd Wright inspired house, and ends at the top of Mt. Rushmore. All the classic Hitchcock themes and patterns are used to maximum effect: mistaken identity of everyday ad-man Cary Grant, the icy blond, the MacGuffin, the cold war’s amorality, Freudian symbolism, and evil threatening America's most sacred icons.

While the crop duster sequence is probably the most famous sequence in the history of cinema, North By Northwest also became the template for all the James Bond films, starting with Dr. No. This is the perfect film for newcomers to the master of suspense, although many Hitchcock enthusiasts do consider Rear Window or Vertigo as his very best.

A True Classic

My father (a film professor) always has movies for us to see, and not too long ago we watched this together. He had recommended it and I was not disappointed. Cary Grant stars as an advertiser (Roger O. Thornhill) who gets caught up with a criminal named Van Damm (James Mason) and becomes framed for murder. On the run, he boards a train where Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) helps him hide from the police. Thornhill and Kendall are almost immediately attracted to one another, but there will be many difficulties for them along the way. This movie has a little of everything: comedy, romance, action, and of course (Being a Hitchcock film) suspense. Grant performs fantastically: he is likeable and convincing as the determined yet slightly naive hero, Saint is perfect as the seductive femme fatale (but is she really a femme fatale? You'll have to watch it to find out.) and Mason is brilliant as the aristocratic yet cold-blooded villian Van Damm. Martin Landau also delivers a excellent performance as Van Damm's sinister right hand man, Lenoard. To top it all off, the music is quite compelling.

The Best Thriller Ever!

If there is a person on this planet who doesn't like this movie, they need to be removed from the universe. Every aspect of this film is amazing! Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, Alfred Hitchcock and Ernest Lehman - put those people together and it has to be a classic (and it doesn't hurt to have the talents of James Mson and a young Martin Landau.) The movie really needs to be watched on the big screen though. Too bad they don't put it back in the theaters for a limited time.