The 50 Greatest Movies Ever Made

Ranking half a century of the finest films in cinematic history

41. North by Northwest (1959)

The 50 Greatest Movies Ever Made 14

Alfred Hitchcock was talented enough to turn his hand to anything and produce greatness, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are few better spy thrillers than North by Northwest. Cary Grant’s ad executive is pursued by a ruthless spy in a case of mistaken identity, which adds a most welcome action element onto Hitchcock’s typically assured mastery of suspense.

Action thrillers are still borrowing heavily from it over half a century later, and North by Northwest’s most iconic moments are recognized by audiences that have never even seen it.