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11,854 Ratings

The Third Man

Directed by Carol Reed
United Kingdom, 1949
Film noir, Mystery, Thriller


With his pulp fiction career on the wane, Holly has plenty of time on his hands. So when his old school friend Harry invites him to postwar Vienna, Holly is curious and goes. But when Harry, a known black-marketeer, is killed in a suspicious traffic accident, Holly enters a world of intrigue.

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The Third Man Directed by Carol Reed

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1949 | Winner: Grand Prize of the Festival

Academy Awards

1951 | Winner: Best Cinematography, Black-and-White

1951 | 2 nominations including: Best Director

National Board of Review

1950 | Winner: Top Foreign Films

I read an interview years ago with Pedro Almodovar in which he said that when a film is really working, it seems to be dancing across the screen. “The Third Man” is a great dancer… When you think about it later… you think about the way it sounds and moves—the look and feel and rhythm of it, the way it shimmies and glides. It is, to borrow a phrase from the script, a magic lantern show, set to music.
June 29, 2015
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Pristinely restored and re-released in the UK, Carol Reed’s crepuscular 1949 masterwork only matures with age, its themes becoming more fragile and illusive the closer we get to it. Like Orson Welles’ own Touch of Evil, to come in 1958, this is a film which does away with such cretinous inanity as offering up goodies and baddies, instead presenting its cast of characters as doing things which they believe to be good, but are not seen as such through the eyes of observers.
June 26, 2015
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Reed’s direction and Graham Greene’s screenplay reach a summit of perfection: a balloon man, a sewer chase, and an inimitable Ferris wheel confrontation—all to the sounds of the unrelenting zither.
June 24, 2015
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