North by Northwest is a 1959 American thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The screenplay was by Ernest Lehman, who wanted to write "the Hitchcock picture to end all Hitchcock pictures".
North by Northwest is a tale of mistaken identity, with an innocent man pursued across the United States by agents of a mysterious organization trying to prevent him from blocking their plan to smuggle out microfilm that contains government secrets. This is one of several Hitchcock films that features a music score by Bernard Herrmann and an opening title sequence by graphic designer Saul Bass. This film is generally cited as the first to feature extended use of kinetic typography in its opening credits.
North by Northwest is listed among the canonical Hitchcock films of the 1950s and is often listed as being among the greatest films of all time. It was selected in 1995 for preservation in the National Film Registry by the United States Library of Congress, as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".