The Third Man (1949)

  • Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • 1h 33m

Voted the greatest British film of all times by the British Film Institute, The Third Man is one of the very few perfect movies. Of course, you would expect a film written by Graham Greene and starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotton and Trevor Howard to be good. However, what makes the film truly great is director Carol Reed’s refusal to play it safe.

The stunning noir photography was achieved on the bombed-out streets of post-war Vienna, not in a studio, and is all the more atmospheric for it; Welles does not show up until the second half, but this only adds to the suspense; all the music is performed by a local Viennese zither player, and it still ranks as one of the great film scores; and then there’s the extraordinary, uncompromising ending, which may be the finest in all cinema.


Carol Reed





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