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The Third Man (1949)

8.4
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 86,790 users  
Reviews: 365 user | 176 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 #97 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 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
Edit

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:

You've never met anyone like him! (from reissue print ad) 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 original script included a return appearance by Charters and Caldicott, the two English cricket enthusiasts who first appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes (1938), and later in Carol Reed's Night Train to Munich (1940). However, the two characters were streamlined into the role of Mr. Crabbin, played by Wilfrid Hyde-White. See more »

Goofs

Harry Lime's sewer scenes were shot in two locations (in UK studios and on location in Vienna's sewer). In the Vienna sewer location scenes you can see Harry's breath.In the sewer shots done in UK you cannot see his breath. See more »

Quotes

Porter: He is now
[points up]
Porter: in hell, or
[points down]
Porter: in heaven.
See more »

Connections

Featured in A Sense of Carol Reed (2006) 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

 
Astounding Visuals Make It A Treasure
20 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Story - pretty good.

Cinematographry - amazing!

If you want to enjoy the camera-work, please see this on the Criterion DVD. That's not a plug for the company. It's just that no one else has ever offered a cleaner version of this film. After suffering for years with lousy VHS transfers of this gem, it was nice to see it given justice.

To me, the visuals here make this DVD worth owning because the story is okay, but nothing super. To an average first-time viewer, the first hour of this film can drag. I found that to be the case on my first viewing, but the more I watch this, the better the story seems to have gotten for some reason. Despite his billing, Orson Welles has a small role in here. He doesn't even appear until after 65 of the film's 104 minutes have elapsed. Meanwhile, Joseph Cotten dominates the story, along with Alida Valli, sort of a poor man's Ingrid Bergman. Those two are okay but the story picks up dramatically after Wells finally appears.

In addition to the fabulous cinematography, an unique feature of this movie is the music, which is very strange for a film noir. It's lighthearted music from a zither, almost circus-like in its sound and melody....but I liked it. It helps make this movie different.

The visuals involve a lot of nighttime photography, lots of shadows and cobblestone streets. The tilted camera angles and the closeups - all traits of Wells the director, are here to enjoy


34 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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