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The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated  |   |  Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller  |  31 August 1949 (UK)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 99,150 users  
Reviews: 385 user | 186 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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(by), (screen play), 3 more credits »
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Title: The Third Man (1949)

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Top 250 #106 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Anna Schmidt (as Valli)
...
...
...
...
Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch ...
'Baron' Kurtz
...
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:

HUNTED...By a thousand men! Haunted...By a lovely girl! 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:

$13,576 (USA) (7 May 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

Noel Coward was David O. Selznick 's first choice to play Harry Lime. See more »

Goofs

When Holly Martins first encounters Harry Lime across the street in a darkened doorway, he doesn't know who it is and he yells out, "What kind of a spy do you think you are satchel foot?" When he says this line, you can clearly see that he is not saying anything at all. See more »

Quotes

Calloway: I told you to go away, Martins. This isn't Santa Fe. I'm not a sheriff and you aren't a cowboy. You've been blundering around with the worst bunch of racketeers in Vienna, your precious Harry's friends, and now you're wanted for murder.
Martins: Put down drunk and disorderly too.
Calloway: I have.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Frogs for Snakes (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Third Man Theme
(1949) (uncredited)
Written by Anton Karas
Performed by Anton Karas on a zither
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
You may need a cuckoo clock to wake you up
8 September 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Author Joseph Cotten (Holly) is invited to Vienna by his friend Orson Welles (Harry Lime). There is a major problem with this set-up from the outset as it is revealed that Welles has just been killed. Cotton attends the burial but sticks around in Vienna as there seems to be a great deal of suspicion surrounding the death of his buddy.

The film has an interesting setting and idea for a story but I'm afraid that it just drags - it's drawn-out and never gets moving. Cotten is dreary in the lead role but Welles is the best thing in the film and delivers his amusing famous quote comparing Italy with Switzerland. The scene on the Ferris wheel is a standout scene as the audience experiences the only real moment of tension as the carriage door is opened at the top of the ride. Uh-oh – is anybody going over the edge?

A mention must be made of the music – it's all zithery throughout. To further clarify, it sounds like a mixture between Greek music and French café accordion music. And it provides moments of over-exaggerated melodrama that just ends up comical. It is also just basically out-of-place belonging more in an art film or 1960s camp comedy horror.

The story is not bad and the film could have been so much more interesting – we are given about 30 minutes of plot stretched out to nearly 2 hours. Definitely not the classic that everyone blindly labels it as – it is vastly over-rated right up to the final chase scene in the sewers – a plot device that was done a year before in the better film "He Walked By Night" (1948) which provided far more tension and a better sewer chase.


14 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Great movie, horrible music! oxhan
Favorite scene of the Third Man richsass
WHY do you love this film SO MUCH? ali8970
Several things I don't understand or can't be convinced mablecheng1981
I enjoy repeated viewings of this more than Citizen Kane peterduray-bito
Hospital scene peterduray-bito
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