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The Third Man (1949)

Approved | | Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller | 31 August 1949 (UK)
1:30 | Trailer

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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.



(by), (screen play)
3,109 ( 211)
Top Rated Movies #115 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
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Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
'Baron' Kurtz
Erich Ponto ...
Dr. Winkel
Hedwig Bleibtreu ...
Anna's Old Landlady


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


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


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

31 August 1949 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The 3rd Man  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$13,576 (USA) (7 May 1999)


$449,191 (USA) (20 November 2015)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The first British production to be largely shot on location. With its preference for real locations and real local people as extras, it's also Britain's first attempt at the neo-realistic style that Italian directors like Luchino Visconti and Roberto Rossellini were making so popular at the time. See more »


When Calloway and the police stand waiting for Harry to arrive at the station, an elderly balloon man tries to sell them a balloon. His balloons have designs printed on them. Calloway has his sergeant buy one to get rid of the old man, but the balloon has no printing on it, as the shot of the police was filmed later in London. See more »


Calloway: It had meningitis. They gave it some of Lime's penicillin. Terrible pity isn't it.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in The Fugitive (1993) See more »


Das Alte Lied
(1931) (uncredited)
Music by Henry Love
Lyrics by Fritz Löhner-Beda
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

cinematic art work
17 January 2016 | by See all my reviews

Pulp western writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives in post-war Vienna to work for old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) but is told that Harry is dead. The city is divided under the control of the Allies. British Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) tells him that Harry was a criminal. He decides to investigate Harry's death. Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli) is Harry's girlfriend. Harry's friends Baron Kurtz and Popescu describe the accident but Holly is told by another that there was a third man.

The best part of this movie is director Carol Reed. His camera work is amazing. The best scene for me is the balloon man. When he walks around the corner, it is the funniest and most shocking moment in the movie. Orson Welles is so tied into this movie but I don't find him threatening enough. He's more of a trickster. I would like Harry Lime to be scarier. Also Anna is an infuriating character. Overall, the story is fine. Joseph Cotten is great. The movie is a cinematic art work.

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Great movie, horrible music! oxhan
WHY do you love this film SO MUCH? ali8970
I enjoy repeated viewings of this more than Citizen Kane peterduray-bito
question halomababy
Similarities with He Walked By Night (1948) Peterlh
Was Tana Welles' answer to Anna? zhu_bernard
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