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The Third Man (1949)

Approved | | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller | 31 August 1949 (UK)
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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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Top Rated Movies #126 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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Anna Schmidt (as Valli)
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Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
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'Baron' Kurtz
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Popescu
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Dr. Winkel
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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 led 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:

You've never met anyone like him! (from reissue print ad) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

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Release Date:

31 August 1949 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The 3rd Man  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,576 (USA) (9 May 1999)

Gross:

$449,191 (USA) (22 November 2015)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the shooting of the film, the final scene was the subject of a dispute between Graham Greene, who wanted the happy ending of the novella, and Carol Reed and David O. Selznick, who stubbornly refused to end the film on what they felt was an artificially happy note. Greene later wrote: "One of the very few major disputes between Carol Reed and myself concerned the ending, and he has been proved triumphantly right." See more »

Goofs

After Calloway has shown Martins the evidence against Lime, Calloway picks up the phone. We hear his line, "Get me police headquarters," but we don't see his lips move. See more »

Quotes

Opening narrator: I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. Constantinople suited me better.
[Scenes of black market goods changing hands]
Opening narrator: I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough and had the money to pay. Of course a situation like that does tempt amateurs
[Dead body seen floating in the river]
Opening narrator: but, well, you know, they can't stay the course like a professional.
Opening narrator: Now the city is divided into ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: V I E N N A See more »

Connections

Featured in River's Edge (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Managua, Nicaragua
(1946) (uncredited)
Music by Irving Fields
Lyrics by Albert Gamse
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Time for Lime
18 June 2004 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Who was Harry Lime (Orson Welles)? An evil man, devil in the flesh who was responsible for the unspeakable crimes, yet brilliant, cheerful and charismatic. His most famous words, a short speech written by Welles himself, say a lot about his character and motivations:

"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgies they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."

No wonder, we like him, even though we know what he'd done…

It has been said thousands of times about the greatest movie entrance ever – but what about his 'exit' – the fingers on the street? I think it is one of the greatest, too…

A beautiful mysterious girl with tragic past was in love with him and the unforgettable ending, so anti–Hollywood, so true to the film - was about her love that goes beyond the grave. I read that both Selznick (the producer) and author Graham Greene had initially argued for something more upbeat (Holly and Anna walking off arm-in-arm), but Reed disagreed. I am so happy that Reed won (I am sure millions of fans are, too). That was the way to finish the movie and make it much more than just typical noir. Makes the viewer think about love, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, the price one pays for them.

Amazing film - perfectly shot; almost flawless. It looks and feels like Welles himself could've made it. The influence of Citizen Kane is undeniable. The only problem I had – the music. I like it but it was very strange to hear it in the film like The Third Man. Maybe that was a purpose – instead of somber, moody, and ominous music that would be expected for the noir film, something completely different and out of place – cheerful but melancholy in the same time…

Criterion DVD is wonderful – the restored version of the film shines. There are two openings of the film available – British and American, and a lot of extras.


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