May 16, 2020

In addition to ranking among the greatest American films of all time – on both the original list and the 10th Anniversary edition –NORTHBY NORTHWESTappears at #4 on AFI’s list of the art form’s greatest thrills.NORTHBY NORTHWESTcomes from the master of suspense, AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Alfred Hitchco*ck (1979).

Movie Trivia about NORTH BY NORTHWEST

DID YOU KNOWAlfred Hitchco*ck considered Jimmy Stewart for the role of Roger Thornhill but concluded that his demeanor was too serious? He ultimately cast Cary Grant in the part.

DID YOU KNOWCyd Charisse was considered for the character of Eve Kendall, butHitchco*ck preferred Eva Marie Saint, who ultimately won the role?

DID YOU KNOWthe famous crop-dusting scene originated from Hitchco*ck wanting the opposite of standard espionage dramas? Typically, the hero in jeopardy is on a dark city street with danger behind every corner – but the character Roger Thornhill was instead placed in a completely open field, in broad daylight, with no avenue of escape or cover.

DID YOU KNOWAlfred Hitchco*ck used hidden cameras to photograph Cary Grant and Adam Williams walking up the steps to the entrance of the U.N. building? The production designerwas allowed totour and sketch the inside of the building, but filming was prohibited in and outside of the U.N.

DID YOU KNOWCary Grant expressed confusion about the film’s plot, saying he found it unclear and implausible? He worried that the film was going to be a flop, but that changed when he saw the audience’s reaction to the movie.

DID YOU KNOWthe U.S. Department of the Interior was not pleased with the scenes of violence that take place at and around Mount Rushmore? They complained to MGM and the MPAA that the scenes were a violation of their agreement and requested that any acknowledgment of cooperation by the U.S. Department of the Interior or the National Park Service for these scenes be removed.

DID YOU KNOWAlfred Hitchco*ck wanted a scene in which Roger Thornhill is hiding inside Abraham Lincoln’s nose on Mount Rushmore and is found out when he has a sneezing fit? Due to the objections of the U.S. government, they were not allowed to have anyone over the faces of Mount Rushmore, and the characters had to slide down the side of the heads.

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.

The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

Where does the titleNORTHBY NORTHWEST originate from?

Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? What happened?

Have you experienced a situation where no one will believe you, even when you were telling the truth?

Roger had been divorced twice. Do you think his relationship with Eve will be more permanent?

We are never told what is on the microfilm – what do you think is on it?

Do you know what a MacGuffin is?

What influences do you think thatNORTHBY NORTHWEST may have had on subsequent thrillers and action movies?

What is it about films from Alfred Hitchco*ck that continue to resonate with audiences still today?

How would you rateNORTHBY NORTHWEST?

In this exclusive AFI Archive video, director Alfred Hitchco*ck talks about making NORTH BY NORTHWEST:

New to AFI Movie Club? Want to learn more?

In this time when we are reminded “There’s no place like home,” AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

Learn more in our FAQ section.

How to Watch NORTH BY NORTHWEST: View Options

Comments (2)


June 4, 2020 at 4:36 pm

–Have you ever been mistaken for someone else? What happened?

Yes. I had the bizarre experience of being mistaken for a nuclear accident inspector when I was simply trying to meet someone for a tutorial. I’d been given the wrong address and walked in at the same time the real inspector was expected; also a foreigner (in a foreign land). I kept being interrupted when trying to explain; the official wouldn’t pay attention so I had to take a step back and draw attention to myself and the situation. He reacted with horror as he’d spilled the beans on a recent radiation leak within a plant before it made it to the mainstream media. He feigned interest in me to get my number but I obliged as I saw the colour drain from his face.

Then I was on my merry way.


David Blevins

June 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm

How come Cary Grant has no AFI lifetime achievement award?


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