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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:

Hunted by men...Sought by WOMEN! See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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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

When the film was initially distributed in America, David O. Selznick replaced the narration at the beginning (a necessity to explain the very unusual status of Vienna in the aftermath of World War II, when the film was set), originally done by Carol Reed himself, with a narration read by Joseph Cotten, in character as Holly Martins. Nearly eleven minutes of film was cut out in Selznick's version, including all references in the original cut to Cotten's Holly Martins being an implied alcoholic and anything else that portrayed him as a less than heroic figure. See more »

Goofs

In the sewer, before putting his fingers through the grate, Harry Lime holds the stair's supporting pole with his right hand, but the gun should be in his hand, as displayed before and after this shot. See more »

Quotes

Crabbin: [inviting Holly Martins to give a lecture at the local Cultural Reeducation Society] We do a little show each week. Last week we had "Hamlet." The week before we had... something.
Sgt. Paine: The striptease, sir.
Crabbin: Yes, the Hindu dancers. Thank you, sergeant.
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Crazy Credits

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


Soundtracks

Managua, Nicaragua
(1946) (uncredited)
Music by Irving Fields
Lyrics by Albert Gamse
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Time for Lime
18 June 2004 | by See all my reviews

Who was Harry Lime (Orson Welles)? An evil man, devil in the flesh who was responsible for the unspeakable crimes, yet brilliant, cheerful and charismatic. His most famous words, a short speech written by Welles himself, say a lot about his character and motivations:

"In Italy for 30 years under the Borgies 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."

No wonder, we like him, even though we know what he'd done…

It has been said thousands of times about the greatest movie entrance ever – but what about his 'exit' – the fingers on the street? I think it is one of the greatest, too…

A beautiful mysterious girl with tragic past was in love with him and the unforgettable ending, so anti–Hollywood, so true to the film - was about her love that goes beyond the grave. I read that both Selznick (the producer) and author Graham Greene had initially argued for something more upbeat (Holly and Anna walking off arm-in-arm), but Reed disagreed. I am so happy that Reed won (I am sure millions of fans are, too). That was the way to finish the movie and make it much more than just typical noir. Makes the viewer think about love, friendship, betrayal, loyalty, the price one pays for them.

Amazing film - perfectly shot; almost flawless. It looks and feels like Welles himself could've made it. The influence of Citizen Kane is undeniable. The only problem I had – the music. I like it but it was very strange to hear it in the film like The Third Man. Maybe that was a purpose – instead of somber, moody, and ominous music that would be expected for the noir film, something completely different and out of place – cheerful but melancholy in the same time…

Criterion DVD is wonderful – the restored version of the film shines. There are two openings of the film available – British and American, and a lot of extras.


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