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The Third Man (1949)

Not Rated | | 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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(by), (screen play)
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3,179 ( 14)
Top Rated Movies #116 | 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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...
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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:

$449,191 (USA) (20 November 2015)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Carol Reed had three separate film units working most days of production: a daytime unit, a nighttime unit and a sewer unit. Reed insisted upon directing each unit, resulting in him working 20 hour days. 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

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

Connections

Referenced in An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn (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

The real mccoy when you want to talk serious screen legends!
29 March 2002 | by (Longmont, Colorado) – See all my reviews

What IS it makes THE THIRD MAN the classic most everyone agrees it is? (And lets face it, voted no 35 in the top all-time films gives it MORE than just some passing credibility!) Is it Orson Welles' menace? The whiff of corruption in occupied post-war Vienna? the cuckoo-clock speech atop the big wheel? even Anton Karras' zither? Perhaps ALL these things? If however, you had to nominate just a single influence within the whole production that elevates it to greatness I suggest that would be Robert Krasker's cinematography.

The finished product innovatively, was years ahead of its birthright. Time and time again the viewer is bailed up by stunning camera angles and back-lighting. The eerie shadows around the deserted streets and of course the unforgettable first glimpse of Harry Lime (Welles) himself as he skulks like the rat he is, in the corner of the building, lit in close-up suddenly from the light in an adjacent apartment. Offhand I cannot think of a character's more dramatic entrance to a film.

Welles in fact has minimal screen time, though his dark presence and influence infiltrate proceedings like an insidious disease. Yet somehow his ultimate demise in the sewers brings into play an incredible sadness and compassion that has absolutely no right being there. It remains for me one of my top five film favorites. I have always given it a "10" personally but hey, to be voted an "8.6" universally is a pretty fair vindication of my words here.


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Message Boards

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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
I enjoy repeated viewings of this more than Citizen Kane peterduray-bito
Similarities with He Walked By Night (1948) Peterlh
Was Tana Welles' answer to Anna? zhu_bernard
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