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The Third Man (1949)
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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 102,592 users  
Reviews: 394 user | 202 critic

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

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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:

He'll have you in a dither with his zither! (from reissue print) 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:

$407,198 (USA) (21 August 2015)
 »

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

David O. Selznick wanted Robert Mitchum to star as Holly Martins, but the actor's arrest for marijuana possession made this impossible. See more »

Goofs

When Anna is taken into custody in Lime's apartment she is sleeping with the large bedroom windows wide open even though the scene is set in the middle of winter. The police that come to arrest her are all wearing heavy winter coats indicating very cold weather. See more »

Quotes

Martins: I was going to stay with him, but he died Thursday.
Crabbin: Goodness, that's awkward.
Martins: Is that what you say to people after death? "Goodness, that's awkward"?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Millennium: Jose Chung's 'Doomsday Defense' (1997) 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

Another overrated "masterpiece"

I've always thought "The Third Man" (**1/2 out of ****) one of the most overrated movies I've ever seen 4 or 5 times. Setting aside the admittedly dazzling photography and editing, we have a plot that's as difficult to follow and riddled with holes and loose ends as the one for "The Big Sleep." If we assume that Harry Lime is the "third man" who drove the truck that killed the medical orderly that was informing on him to the police (in fact, this is never made clear), wouldn't it have been a simple matter for the authorities (or anyone else) to identify the body and discover that it was not Harry Lime? Didn't the police interview the driver of the truck? How could Lime and his cohorts have possibly gotten away with the faking of his death when he was the most notorious and sought after racketeer in Vienna? The pretext for Holly Martins (Joseph Cotton) being in the city at all is awfully weak. (The narration mentions a vague "some sort of a job.") Why would Harry want a friend from America that he hasn't seen for 10 years to come to Vienna to write about his operations? The less publicity the better it would seem to me. It's also extremely ambiguous whether or not his mistress (Alida Valli) knew that Harry was dead. The first time that Martins sees Lime he's lingering outside her apartment house as if waiting to go in, and then she does everything she can to make sure that Harry eludes the authorities. In fact, her obtuse behavior throughout the film is baffling. (I'm inclined to believe that she was in on the whole deception.) Perhaps Carol Reed and co. needed audacious cinematic razzle-dazzle and oblique dialogue to cover up the fact that their story makes minimal sense. And that jangling zither music! Time and again it intrudes upon scenes that were meant to evoke tension and atmosphere and dissipates both. After the 4th or 5th repetition of the "Third Man Theme", I was ready to turn on the "mute" button! (These comments are based on the original 104 minute version.)


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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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