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The Third Man (1949)

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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 90,801 users  
Reviews: 371 user | 180 critic

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy, postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, black-market opportunist Harry Lime.

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Title: The Third Man (1949)

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Top 250 #100 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Anna Schmidt (as Valli)
...
...
...
Sgt. Paine
Paul Hörbiger ...
Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch ...
'Baron' Kurtz
Siegfried Breuer ...
Popescu
Erich Ponto ...
Dr. Winkel
...
Hedwig Bleibtreu ...
Anna's Old Landlady
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Storyline

An out of work pulp fiction novelist, Holly Martins, arrives in a post war Vienna divided into sectors by the victorious allies, and where a shortage of supplies has lead to a flourishing black market. He arrives at the invitation of an ex-school friend, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job, only to discover that Lime has recently died in a peculiar traffic accident. From talking to Lime's friends and associates Martins soon notices that some of the stories are inconsistent, and determines to discover what really happened to Harry Lime. Written by Mark Thompson <mrt@oasis.icl.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Carol Reed's Classic Thriller See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

31 August 1949 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The 3rd Man  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£17,856 (UK) (16 July 1999)

Gross:

$596,349 (USA) (17 December 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »

Goofs

After Harry's funeral, in the Zentralfriedhof, Anna goes into the straight alley. We see her shadow on the right side on the screen See more »

Quotes

Martins: I guess nobody really knew Harry like he did... like I did.
Calloway: How long ago ?
Martins: Back in school. I was never so lonesome in my life until he showed up.
Calloway: When did you see him last ?
Martins: September, '39.
Calloway: When the business started ?
Martins: Um, hmm.
Calloway: See much of him before that ?
Martins: Once in a while. Best friend I ever had.
Calloway: That sounds like a cheap novelette.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Chuck: Chuck Versus the Broken Heart (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Managua, Nicaragua
(1946) (uncredited)
Music by Irving Fields
Lyrics by Albert Gamse
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A Masterpiece in It's Own Right
25 September 2005 | by (Gulf Breeze, Florida) – See all my reviews

I am not going to rehash what has been said in other comments other than that Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten were at their best. Rather, an aside or two about the film. At the time Welles was trying to make his own films and took the Harry Lime role only for the money. Anton Karras, the zither player, was found in a dingy, cellar cafe in Vienna. Becoming well known for the background music and then his "Third Man Theme" record which was a tremendous hit worldwide, he was talked into opening a nightclub in London. Even though the nightclub was successful, Karas yearned for his former life and packed it in, going back underground to the cellar cafe in Vienna to play his zither. In one scene in the film Cotten has finished a talk on American writers. He runs up the hotel stairs pursued by two assassins and enters an empty hotel room. He exits a window, but not before being bitten on a finger by a parrot. I suspect that this "nip" was not in the script, but it resulted in the only amusing scene in the entire film. When asked by military policeman Trevor Howard why his finger was bandaged, Cotten replies "A parrot bit me", invoking an exasperated reply from Howard. I believe this to be the only funny scene in the film and it was over very quickly. Interestingly there was no novel or play that the film was based on. Graham Green was asked to do a screenplay for a film idea, which he did. Who knows? If this was done more often as opposed to films based on books or plays we might have a better variety of films for our viewing these days.


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