Last modified on June 4, 2023, at 16:34

North by Northwest

North by Northwest is a 1959 mystery film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. It is a conservative Cold War classic, with some parody of the Deep State. The title is from a verse in Hamlet, as is some of its plot.[1] This movie is notable for filming many of its scenes at real landmarks that can be visited to this day.

In a Worst Liberal Snub, this phenomenal movie was a box office success but received only 3 minor Academy Award nominations and no wins. After incurring production expenditures of $4.3 million, its box office receipts were $9.8 million.

This movie inspired the James Bond series of movies that began three years later.[2]

The film is a tale of espionage and mistaken identity. Star Cary Grant is mistaken for an mysterious spy and is pursued across America by sinister agents of a rival organization. The film features several American landmarks, including the United Nations and Mount Rushmore, which is the setting for the film's climax. It also features one of the best-known chase scenes in film history where Cary Grant is pursued through a cornfield by a crop duster, which is ranked as the 29th greatest moment of all-time in film.[3]

In 1995, the Library of Congress selected North by Northwest for preservation in the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." In 2008, the American Film Institute named it one of the best mystery films of all time.

Precedent-Setting Architecture

North by Northwest was precedent-setting in its use of actual modern architecture, by associating a modernist home with the lead villain in the movie.[4] The home was a movie set and not real.

After this successful use of an actual modernist home, many other movies imitated it.


Filming occurred in 1958 from late August until mid-September.

The most famous scene -- the intersection amid farms and a crop duster -- was filmed near Bakersfield, California. The other scenes were filmed on or near location in the sequence in which they appear in the movie: first New York City, then Chicago and finally Rapid City, South Dakota.

See also