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The Third Man (1949)

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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 #129 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Holly Martins
... Anna Schmidt (as Valli)
... Harry Lime
... Maj. Calloway
... Sgt. Paine
... Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch ... 'Baron' Kurtz
... Popescu
... Dr. Winkel
... Crabbin
... 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:

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:

12 October 1949 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The 3rd Man  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£17,856 (United Kingdom), 18 July 1999, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$13,576, 9 May 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$449,191, 22 November 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

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

Whilst the film boasts no less than two future M's in the James Bond films (Bernard Lee and Robert Brown), it also includes the brief appearance of Geoffrey Keen as a British Military Policeman. He was later to play the Minister for Defence in the films of the Roger Moore era. The production staff also contains two future Bond directors, John Glen and Guy Hamilton. 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

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

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Remington Steele: Maltese Steele (1984) 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

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User Reviews

The real mccoy when you want to talk serious screen legends!
29 March 2002 | by 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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