Nail-Biting Film Noirs

by GeneralUrsus | created - 20 Mar 2011 | updated - 18 Jun 2019 | Public
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1. Kiss Me Deadly (1955)

Not Rated | 106 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

A doomed female hitchhiker pulls Mike Hammer into a deadly whirlpool of intrigue, revolving around a mysterious "great whatsit".

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Ralph Meeker, Albert Dekker, Paul Stewart, Juano Hernandez

Votes: 20,831

2. The Narrow Margin (1952)

Approved | 71 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, William Cameron Menzies | Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White, Queenie Leonard

Votes: 8,009

3. Cornered (1945)

Approved | 102 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

Canadian flyer Laurence Gerard finds that his wife has been murdered by a French collaborator. His quest for justice leads him to Switzerland and Argentina.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Dick Powell, Walter Slezak, Micheline Cheirel, Nina Vale

Votes: 2,358

4. Desperate (1947)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

A young married couple flee both police and a gangster out for revenge.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Steve Brodie, Audrey Long, Raymond Burr, Douglas Fowley

Votes: 2,278

5. The Woman in the Window (1944)

Passed | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A conservative middle aged professor engages in a relationship with a femme fatale, he's plunged into a nightmarish world of blackmail and murder.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey, Edmund Breon

Votes: 16,392

6. Chinatown (1974)

R | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

92 Metascore

A private detective hired to expose an adulterer in 1930s Los Angeles finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez

Votes: 327,540 | Gross: $8.49M

7. Thieves' Highway (1949)

Passed | 94 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

A war veteran turned truck driver attempts to avenge the crippling and robbing of his father at the hands of an amoral produce scofflaw.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Richard Conte, Valentina Cortese, Lee J. Cobb, Barbara Lawrence

Votes: 6,276

8. Illegal (1955)

Approved | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

After an overly aggressive district attorney unknowingly sends an innocent man to the chair, he resigns, turns to drinking, and acquires a criminal clientèle.

Director: Lewis Allen | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Nina Foch, Hugh Marlowe, Jayne Mansfield

Votes: 2,084

9. The Late Show (1977)

PG | 93 min | Comedy, Mystery, Thriller

A grumpy semi-retired private investigator partners with a quirky female client to catch the people who murdered his partner.

Director: Robert Benton | Stars: Art Carney, Lily Tomlin, Bill Macy, Eugene Roche

Votes: 2,899

10. Point Blank (2010)

R | 84 min | Action, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

Samuel, a male nurse, saves the life of a thief whose henchmen take Samuel's wife hostage and force him to spring their boss.

Director: Fred Cavayé | Stars: Gilles Lellouche, Roschdy Zem, Gérard Lanvin, Elena Anaya

Votes: 14,180 | Gross: $0.71M

11. The Big Steal (1949)

Approved | 71 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Romance

An army lieutenant accused of robbery pursues the real thief on a frantic chase through Mexico aided by the thief's fiancee.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, William Bendix, Patric Knowles

Votes: 4,989

12. Rififi (1955)

Not Rated | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

97 Metascore

Four men plan a technically perfect crime, but the human element intervenes...

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Jean Servais, Carl Möhner, Robert Manuel, Janine Darcey

Votes: 34,757 | Gross: $0.06M

13. The Big Sleep (1978)

R | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Grizzled American private detective in England investigates a complicated case of blackmail turned murder involving a rich but honest elderly general, his two loose socialite daughters, a pornographer and a gangster.

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Sarah Miles, Richard Boone, Candy Clark

Votes: 4,971

14. They Live by Night (1948)

Passed | 95 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Romance

82 Metascore

An escaped convict injured during a robbery falls in love with the woman who nurses him back to health, but their relationship seems doomed from the beginning.

Director: Nicholas Ray | Stars: Cathy O'Donnell, Farley Granger, Howard Da Silva, Jay C. Flippen

Votes: 8,532

15. Good Time (2017)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

80 Metascore

After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Connie Nikas embarks on a twisted odyssey through New York City's underworld to get his brother Nick out of jail.

Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie | Stars: Robert Pattinson, Benny Safdie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Buddy Duress

Votes: 125,188 | Gross: $2.03M

16. Side Street (1950)

Passed | 83 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A struggling young father-to-be gives in to temptation and impulsively steals money from the office of a shady lawyer--with catastrophic consequences.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Farley Granger, Cathy O'Donnell, James Craig, Paul Kelly

Votes: 3,100

17. Crime Wave (1953)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Reformed parolee Steve Lacey is caught in the middle when a wounded former cellmate seeks him out for shelter.

Director: André De Toth | Stars: Gene Nelson, Sterling Hayden, Phyllis Kirk, Ted de Corsia

Votes: 4,092

18. L.A. Confidential (1997)

R | 138 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

90 Metascore

As corruption grows in 1950s Los Angeles, three policemen - one strait-laced, one brutal, and one sleazy - investigate a series of murders with their own brand of justice.

Director: Curtis Hanson | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger

Votes: 583,495 | Gross: $64.62M

19. Decoy (1946)

Approved | 76 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A mortally wounded female gangster recounts how she and her gang revived an executed killer from the gas chamber, to try and find out where he buried a fortune in cash.

Director: Jack Bernhard | Stars: Jean Gillie, Edward Norris, Robert Armstrong, Herbert Rudley

Votes: 1,819

20. Le Samouraï (1967)

GP | 101 min | Crime, Drama

After professional hitman Jef Costello is seen by witnesses his efforts to provide himself an alibi drive him further into a corner.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Alain Delon, François Périer, Nathalie Delon, Cathy Rosier

Votes: 52,194 | Gross: $0.04M

21. Nightfall (1956)

78 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Through a series of bizarre coincidences, an artist finds himself falsely accused of bank robbery and murder and is pursued by the authorities and the real killers.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Aldo Ray, Anne Bancroft, Brian Keith, Jocelyn Brando

Votes: 4,143

22. Dark Passage (1947)

Passed | 106 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

68 Metascore

A man convicted of murdering his wife escapes from prison and works with a woman to try to prove his innocence.

Director: Delmer Daves | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Bruce Bennett, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 20,336

23. Scandal Sheet (1952)

Passed | 82 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The editor of an exploitation newspaper commits a murder and assigns his protégé to investigate hoping to divert attention away from himself.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: John Derek, Donna Reed, Broderick Crawford, Rosemary DeCamp

Votes: 2,902

24. The Phenix City Story (1955)

Passed | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A crime-busting lawyer and his initially reluctant attorney father take on the forces that run gambling and prostitution in their small Southern town.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: John McIntire, Richard Kiley, Kathryn Grant, Edward Andrews

Votes: 2,957

25. Drive (I) (2011)

R | 100 min | Action, Drama

78 Metascore

A mysterious Hollywood action film stuntman gets in trouble with gangsters when he tries to help his neighbor's husband rob a pawn shop while serving as his getaway driver,

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks

Votes: 640,257 | Gross: $35.06M

26. Nightcrawler (2014)

R | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

When Louis Bloom, a con man desperate for work, muscles into the world of L.A. crime journalism, he blurs the line between observer and participant to become the star of his own story.

Director: Dan Gilroy | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton, Riz Ahmed

Votes: 547,170 | Gross: $32.38M

27. Dead Reckoning (1947)

Passed | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A soldier runs away rather than receive the Medal of Honor, so his buddy gets permission to investigate, and love and death soon follow.

Director: John Cromwell | Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Lizabeth Scott, Morris Carnovsky, Charles Cane

Votes: 8,010

28. Mystery Street (1950)

Passed | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A small-town policeman is assisted by a Harvard professor after the discovery of a human skeleton on a Massachusetts beach.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Ricardo Montalban, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 3,164

29. Act of Violence (1948)

Passed | 82 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

An embittered, vengeful POW stalks his former commanding officer who betrayed his men's planned escape attempt from a Nazi prison camp.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Van Heflin, Robert Ryan, Janet Leigh, Mary Astor

Votes: 5,297

30. Call Northside 777 (1948)

Approved | 112 min | Drama, Film-Noir

Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal re-opens a decade-old murder case.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: James Stewart, Richard Conte, Lee J. Cobb, Helen Walker

Votes: 9,277

31. The Big Heat (1953)

Passed | 89 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

Tough cop Dave Bannion takes on a politically powerful crime syndicate.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame, Jocelyn Brando, Alexander Scourby

Votes: 27,106

32. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Not Rated | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

94 Metascore

A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin

Votes: 26,192 | Gross: $0.11M

33. The House on 92nd Street (1945)

Approved | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Bill Dietrich becomes a double agent for the F.B.I. in a Nazi spy ring.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: William Eythe, Lloyd Nolan, Signe Hasso, Gene Lockhart

Votes: 3,042

34. Whirlpool (1950)

Approved | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A woman suffering from kleptomania is hypnotized in an attempt to cure her. Soon afterwards, she's found at the scene of a murder with no memory of how she got there, and seemingly no way to prove her innocence.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Gene Tierney, Richard Conte, José Ferrer, Charles Bickford

Votes: 4,369

35. Le Trou (1960)

Not Rated | 131 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Distrust and uncertainty arise when four long-term inmates cautiously induct a new prisoner into their elaborate prison-break scheme.

Director: Jacques Becker | Stars: André Bervil, Jean Keraudy, Michel Constantin, Philippe Leroy

Votes: 18,507 | Gross: $0.03M

36. The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973)

R | 102 min | Crime, Drama

84 Metascore

After his last crime has him looking at a long prison sentence for repeat offenses, a low level Boston gangster decides to snitch on his friends to avoid jail time.

Director: Peter Yates | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Peter Boyle, Richard Jordan, Steven Keats

Votes: 11,034

37. Dial M for Murder (1954)

PG | 105 min | Crime, Thriller

75 Metascore

A former tennis star arranges the murder of his adulterous wife.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams

Votes: 176,822 | Gross: $0.01M

38. Kansas City Confidential (1952)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An ex-con trying to go straight is framed for a million dollar armored car robbery and must go to Mexico in order to unmask the real culprits.

Director: Phil Karlson | Stars: John Payne, Coleen Gray, Preston Foster, Neville Brand

Votes: 7,398

39. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid the $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 90,232 | Gross: $0.65M

40. Impact (1949)

Approved | 111 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A unfaithful wife plots with her lover to kill her husband, but the lover is accidentally killed instead. The husband stays in hiding and lets his wife be charged with conspiracy.

Director: Arthur Lubin | Stars: Brian Donlevy, Ella Raines, Charles Coburn, Helen Walker

Votes: 4,078

41. Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

Not Rated | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

After leaving prison, master thief Corey crosses paths with a notorious escapee and an alcoholic former policeman. The trio proceed to plot an elaborate heist.

Director: Jean-Pierre Melville | Stars: Alain Delon, Bourvil, Gian Maria Volontè, Yves Montand

Votes: 25,840 | Gross: $0.37M

42. The Killing (1956)

Approved | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

91 Metascore

Crook Johnny Clay assembles a five-man team to plan and execute a daring racetrack robbery.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards, Jay C. Flippen

Votes: 90,638

43. No Man of Her Own (1950)

Passed | 98 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

A pregnant woman adopts the identity of a railroad-crash victim and starts a new life with the woman's wealthy in-laws, but is soon blackmailed by her devious ex.

Director: Mitchell Leisen | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, John Lund, Jane Cowl, Phyllis Thaxter

Votes: 2,657

44. Backfire (1950)

Passed | 91 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

While recuperating from wartime back injuries at a hospital, veteran Bob Corey is visited on Christmas Eve by a beautiful stranger with an even stranger message.

Director: Vincent Sherman | Stars: Viveca Lindfors, Dane Clark, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien

Votes: 1,418

45. Dial 1119 (1950)

Passed | 75 min | Film-Noir, Thriller