North by Northwest Quotes


“How can he be mistaken for George Kaplan when George Kaplan doesn’t even exist?”

Board Member

This line reveals to the audience that the George Kaplan, for whom both Roger and Vandamm have been searching, is an entirely fictitious character. This line is unique in that it provides for a revelation ( that George Kaplan is so elusive because he does not exist) as well as an enigma (that if George Kaplan does not exist, why does Vandamm want to kill him?).

“Goodbye Mr. Thornhill, wherever you are.”

Board Member

This ominous line reveals to the audience that although there are people who have the power to help Roger, they plan to do nothing to interfere. Roger’s isolation is intensified, rather than minimized by the realization that the very people who seem to know the most about what is going on have already written off Roger as dead.

  “That’s funny. That plane’s dusting crops where there aint no crops.”

Man at bus stop

This fairly innocent sounding line foreshadows Roger’s attempted assassination at the hands of the crop-duster’s pilot. The purpose of the line is to clue the audience in that even in this deserted and banal environment, all is not as it should be.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if my problems and your plans were somehow connected?”

Roger Thornhill

At this point in the movie, Roger has learned of Eve’s deception and is essentially testing her, as he already knows that their meeting was not coincidental. It is a rather poignant line, sounding like the innocent wish of a man who doesn’t want to lose connection with someone, but is, in reality, a pointed question.

“The only role you want me to play is to play dead.”

“Your very next role. You’ll be quite convincing, I assure you.”

Roger Thornhill/Vandamm

Throughout the movie, Vandamm repeatedly accuses “Kaplan” of overplaying his role. In this quote, Roger plays along with him, expressing the fact that he knows Vandamm wants him dead. Vandamm responds by assuring him that his demise is imminent.

“My wives divorced me. They said I led to dull a life.”

Roger Thornhill

This well placed bit of humorous irony occurs as Roger and Eve literally cling for their lives on the edge of Mount Rushmore. Hitchcock was a great believer in the insertion of humor at tense moments, and this is perhaps one of the more memorable examples.

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