Box art for North By Northwest

North By Northwest

drama, thrillers


Cary Grant stars as a Madison Avenue advertising exec who is mistaken for someone else and kidnapped by a group of international spies, headed by James Mason.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
    100%
  • Audience Score
    94%

common sense

ON for kids age 11
Consumerism
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
Language
1 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
Sex
2 out of 5
Violence
2 out of 5

Witty Hitchcock thriller piles on suspense and innuendo.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Hitchcock classic includes suspenseful scenes such as a forced drunken car chase on windy roads and a crop duster chase with shooting and an explosion. Typical of the era, there's drinking of hard liquor and smoking, with a seductive lighting-up featured in one scene. More seductive elements include forward sexual banter and some kissing -- the clothes stay on but there's a mention that the main characters slept together in their train car. It's also worth noting that the main character undergoes a big transformation, from fast-talking and unscrupulous ad exec to a man who risks his own life to find out the truth that will exonerate him.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about the lasting appeal of Hitchcock movies. What makes this film a classic? What are some techniques that he uses that you've seen used in other movies?
  • Talk about who Roger Thornhill is at the beginning and the end of this movie. Has the experience made him a better person? What is the underlying message of the movie?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Certainly an intriguing and well made film that I'd recommend to anyone, despite not being as good as Hitchcock's other films and slightly too long.

- StarCrossedVoyager, Thursday, November 29, 2012

3 stars

Certainly an intriguing and well made film that I'd recommend to anyone, despite not being as good as Hitchcock's other films and slightly too long.

- StarCrossedVoyager, Thursday, November 29, 2012

4 stars

North by Northwest was so much ahead it's time when it was released that even today it makes many other thrillers pale in comparision. Here is a film that is full of tension, action, humour and clever dialogue. Ernest Lehman's fantastic screenplay and Hitchcock's playful direction makes this one a perfect example of masterfully made entertainment. In his long and fruitful career Hitchcock made many films but North by Northwest is easily one of the greatest of them all. This is his best film among his Marnie and Vertigo. It may not be as psychologically complex as those two great films, but what it loses in depth it gains in entertainment. North by Northwest is Hitchcock's definitive set piece film. It is a film full of classic set pieces that has since been a huge influence for many other directors like Brian De Palma, Paul Verhoeven or Martin Scorsese. When it comes to acting great actor Cary Grant never since or before gave us a performance as good as he did in here. Eva Marie Saint is perfect as typically icy Hitchcock leading lady and James Mason and Martin Landau are pitch perfect in their roles too. In the end North by Northwest might not be nothing but extremely well made escapist fun, but what a fun it is. Here is film for anyone who like their films full of nail biting tension and innovative direction. This is Hitchcock at the peak of his powers.

- emilkakko, Wednesday, July 11, 2012