North by Northwest movie review - Aussieboyreviews


The director is certainly known for some exceptionally good movies, but North by Northwest is definitely one of, if not his first best. Film buffs will find that this 1959 mistaken-identity story is one of the best films of all time.


Advertising executive Roger Thornhill becomes involved in a cross-country chase after he is mistaken for a government agent named George Kaplan, resulting in the police and a group of spies tracking him down. He also falls for a beautiful woman who he begins to doubt.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Cast: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis, Leo G. Carroll, Philip Ober, Martin Landau
Writer: Ernest Lehman
Release Date (Australia): 8 September 1959
Runtime: 136 minutes/2h 16m
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adventure
Country: USA
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (PG)

The film contains themes of mistaken identity, as well as thematic material including acts of violence, murder, crime, kidnapping and lengthy sequences of peril peril. A crop duster plane is depicted crashing into a tank truck and exploding.

Violence (PG)

Violent content in the film includes people being shot and punched, as well as a man being stabbed in the back by a knife thrown at him.

Coarse Language (G)

The word “damn” is used infrequently throughout the film.

Sex (PG)

The film includes sexual innuendo, mild references to sex and a lengthy scene in which a man and woman kiss passionately.

mpaa rating

NR (Not Rated)

Aussie boy's thoughts

A suspenseful chase story transformed into a highly entertaining movie heightened in perfection by the work of director Alfred Hitchcock, music composer Bernard Herrmann, and actor Cary Grant. The 1959 film features a brilliant cast of Grant, as well as Eva Marie Saint, Jessie Royce Landis, Martin Landau and James Mason, telling the story of an advertising executive who becomes involved in a cross-country chase after he is mistaken for a government agent, in which he must deal with spies, the police and a beautiful woman.

Is there such thing as a bad Hitchcock movie? Despite the quality not being as lifelike as the new movies audiences see today, North by Northwest is one of the old (but gold) classics that movie-lovers and just everyone who watches movies in general should never miss. For the time, it’s a magnificently-shot and spectacularly-edited motion picture with a runtime of over 2 hours. The screenwriting is absolutely fantastic, the dialogue is clear and never boring, and even for today’s standards, the pacing is still incredibly smooth; often better than most of the recent action-thrillers we’ve seen. It’s also worth mentioning that every single event and location throughout the film is entirely unforgettable, with some even being some of the most iconic you’ll ever remember.

Even if Alfred Hitchcock’s directing style doesn’t do anything for you, the acting, set designs, action stunts and music certainly will. Cary Grant delivers one of the most memorable Hitchcock characters through his convincing skills on screen. He appears as a straight-forward businessman, but he’s also extremely funny on multiple occasions. Eva Marie Saint is also electrifying as a helpful woman that Grant encounters, but the actors who play the antagonists of the story deserve major credit, too. There are tons of gripping moments throughout the film that are worth the price for viewing by themselves. The music is also stunning, but it doesn’t interrupt the scenes that are better off without background score, such as the lengthy sequence involving the crop duster plane.

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