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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.

Director:

Carol Reed

Writers:

Graham Greene (by), Graham Greene (screen play)
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Popularity
3,265 ( 193)
Top Rated Movies #136 | Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Joseph Cotten ... Holly Martins
Alida Valli ... Anna Schmidt (as Valli)
Orson Welles ... Harry Lime
Trevor Howard ... Maj. Calloway
Bernard Lee ... Sgt. Paine
Paul Hörbiger ... Karl - Harry's Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)
Ernst Deutsch Ernst Deutsch ... 'Baron' Kurtz
Siegfried Breuer ... Popescu
Erich Ponto ... Dr. Winkel
Wilfrid Hyde-White ... Crabbin
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 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | German | Russian

Release Date:

12 October 1949 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The 3rd Man See more »

Filming Locations:

Austria See more »

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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, 31 December 2015
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Creator and executive producer of Breaking Bad (2008) and Better Call Saul (2015), Vince Gilligan, has stated this is his favorite film. The film's theme is used in an episode of Better Call Saul See more »

Goofs

Upon arriving in Vienna, Martins says that he will be staying with Lime at Stiftgasse 15, which is in the Josefstadt section of the city. Lime's apartment, though, is located at Josefplatz 5 in the city's central district, directly across the street from the statue of Emperor Joseph II and about a mile away from Stiftgasse 15. See more »

Quotes

Harry Lime: Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful. Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

The film was dubbed in German for the first time in 1949 with Wolfgang Lukschy for Joseph Cotten and Friedrich Joloff for Orson Welles. Additionally, all German speaking actors dubbed themselves. In 1963 the film was redubbed (presumably for legal reasons) by Atlas Film (with Horst Niendorf for Cotten and Werner Peters for Welles). This version also replaces the opening credits. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Business as Usual (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 »

User Reviews

 
Classic and immortal thriller-mystery set in Vienna during the Cold war
3 October 2008 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The motion picture concerns on an American writer of pulp Western named Holy Martin(Joseph Cotten), he arrives in a post-war devastating Vienna to see his old friend Harry Lime(Orson Welles), but he discovers he has been killed. In the funeral knows a gorgeous scene actress(haunting Alida Valli). Manipulative Harry is a known delinquent drug-dealer, smuggling adulterated penicillin in black-market and master-criminal at large in a Vienna of nightmare divided in four zones, the city is plenty of ruins, trash,devastation,rubbish and debris. Lime is allegedly dead , but is finally pursued throughout the sewers by authorities(Trevor Howard, Bernard Lee, Geoffrey Keen).

Based on Grahame novel's , this classic movie noir thriller is an excellent story lavishly produced by the great American producer David O Selznick and Hungarian producer Alexander Korda. This is a deeply satisfying and intelligent picture for not be missed, using a considerable talent in acting as main cast as secondaries actors formed mostly by foreigners players of various countries and utilizing the cream of British experts in writing and technical departments. With a plethora of anthological images and dialogs such as the scenes about conversation in the fairs between Harry Lime and Martin and the underground-sewers pursuits. Magnificent Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten, great friends in real life; Welles reportedly intervened in direction principally on his scenes, though in an interview he explained that Carol Reed directed totally this outstanding movie.Extraordinary Anton Karas'musical score , though insistent and sometimes irritant zither which hooked itself into the people of the world.Robert Krasker's gorgeous cinematography , reflecting splendidly the shapes, lights, shadows with sophisticated, elegant use of camera angles and deservedly winning an Oscar and nomination for film-making and edition. The film is perfectly directed by Carol Reed in his second adaptation about Grahame Greene novel, the first was 'The fallen idol(1948)' and later 'Our man in Havana(1959)'.


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