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804 voters

The Greatest Classic Noir Movies, Ranked

Updated August 8, 2020 6.9k votes 804 voters 12.2k views36 items

List RulesVote up the slickest, most stylish, most entertaining noirs.

Sex, murder, and mystery come together in classic noir films. The top old noir movies feature an unsuspecting protagonist getting swept up in a world of intrigue. This is a list of the greatest famous noir movies, including everything from The Maltese Falcon to Sweet Smell of Success to House by the River.

What films will you find on this list of the best noir movies in the genre? In Sunset Boulevard, a writer gets lost in a forgotten star's life of fantasy. William Holden and Gloria Swanson captivate in this 1950 film. The Third Man is another one of the best classic noir films ever made. Barbara Stanwyck stars as a murderous housewife in the 1944 noir masterpiece Double Indemnity. Other good movies featured on this list include Port of Shadows, The Killers, and Touch of Evil.

Which old noir movie do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Vote your favorites up to number one, and please add any classic films that are missing.

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    Out of the Past

    Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum

    Released1947

    Directed byJacques Tourneur

    Out of the Past is a 1947 film noir directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. The film was adapted by Daniel Mainwaring, with uncredited revisions by...  more
  • 2
    388
    62

    In A Lonely Place

    Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame

    Released1950

    Directed byNicholas Ray

    In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, and starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame, produced for Bogart's Santana Productions. The script was adapted by Edmund North from...  more

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  • 3
    271
    30

    The Maltese Falcon

    Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

    Released1941

    Directed byJohn Huston

    The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade...  more

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  • 4
    260
    32

    The Third Man

    Orson Welles, Trevor Howard

    Released1949

    Directed byCarol Reed

    The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli, Orson Welles, and Trevor Howard. It is considered one of the greatest films of all time,...  more

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  • 5
    315
    57

    Sunset Boulevard

    William Holden, Buster Keaton

    Released1950

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    Sunset Boulevard—stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.—is a 1950 American film noir directed and co-written by Billy Wilder, and produced and co-written by Charles Brackett. It was named after the...  more

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  • 6
    279
    46

    The Asphalt Jungle

    Marilyn Monroe, Jack Warden

    Released1950

    Directed byJohn Huston

    The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. The caper film is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by W. R. Burnett and stars an ensemble cast including Sterling Hayden, Jean...  more
  • 7
    225
    32

    The Big Sleep

    Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1946

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir directed by Howard Hawks, the first film version of Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel of the same name. The movie stars Humphrey Bogart as detective Philip Marlowe and...  more
  • 8
    213
    30

    Strangers on a Train

    Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger

    Released1951

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot...  more
  • 9
    239
    43

    Criss Cross

    Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis

    Released1949

    Directed byRobert Siodmak

    Criss Cross is a 1949 film noir starring Burt Lancaster, directed by Robert Siodmak from Don Tracy's novel of the same name. This black-and-white film was shot partly on location in the Bunker Hill...  more
  • 10
    220
    37

    Laura

    Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb

    Released1944

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb along with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. The screenplay by Jay...  more
  • 11
    225
    43

    The Killing

    Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray

    Released1956

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    This film is a 1956 film noir produced by James B. Harris and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was written by Kubrick and Jim Thompson and based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White. The drama...  more

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  • 12
    239
    51

    Gun Crazy

    Russ Tamblyn, Peggy Cummins

    Released1950

    Directed byJoseph H. Lewis

    Gun Crazy is a 1950 film noir feature film directed by Joseph H. Lewis, and produced by Frank King and Maurice King. The production features Peggy Cummins and John Dall in a story about the...  more
  • 13
    220
    46

    Kiss Me Deadly

    Cloris Leachman, Nat King Cole

    Released1955

    Directed byRobert Aldrich

    This film is a 1955 film noir drama produced and directed by Robert Aldrich starring Ralph Meeker. The screenplay was written by A.I. Bezzerides, based on the Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer mystery...  more
  • 14
    186
    37

    Detour

    Ann Savage, Tom Neal

    Released1945

    Directed byEdgar G. Ulmer

    Detour is a 1945 film noir thriller that stars Tom Neal and Ann Savage. The film was adapted by Martin Goldsmith and Martin Mooney from Goldsmith's novel of the same name and was directed by Edgar G....  more
  • 15
    173
    33

    Murder, My Sweet

    Claire Trevor, Dick Powell

    Released1944

    Directed byEdward Dmytryk

    Murder, My Sweet is a 1944 American film noir, directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, and Anne Shirley. The film is based on Raymond Chandler's 1940 novel Farewell, My...  more
  • 16
    173
    34

    The Big Heat

    Lee Marvin, Glenn Ford

    Released1953

    Directed byFritz Lang

    The Big Heat is a 1953 film noir directed by Fritz Lang, starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin. The film was written by former reporter Sydney Boehm, based on a serial by William P....  more

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  • 17
    163
    39

    Touch Of Evil

    Charlton Heston, Orson Welles

    Released1958

    Directed byOrson Welles

    Touch of Evil is a 1958 American thriller film, written, directed by, and co-starring Orson Welles. The screenplay was loosely based on the novel Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson. Along with Welles,...  more

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  • 18
    194
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    Double Indemnity

    Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck

    Released1944

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by Wilder and Raymond Chandler, based on James M. Cain's 1943 novella of the same name, which originally appeared...  more
  • 19
    147
    36

    Nightmare Alley

    Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell

    Released1947

    Directed byEdmund Goulding

    Nightmare Alley is a 1947 film noir starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell, and directed by Edmund Goulding. The film is based on the 1946 novel of the same name, written by William Lindsay...  more
  • 20
    115
    41

    The Narrow Margin

    Charles McGraw, George Chandler

    Released1952

    Directed byRichard Fleischer

    The Narrow Margin is a 1952 American film noir directed by Richard Fleischer and written by Earl Felton, based on an unpublished story written by Martin Goldsmith and Jack Leonard. The screenplay by...  more
  • 21
    96
    30

    This Gun for Hire

    Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd

    Released1942

    Directed byFrank Tuttle

    This Gun for Hire is a 1942 film noir, directed by Frank Tuttle and based on the novel A Gun for Sale by Graham Greene. The film stars Veronica Lake, Robert Preston, Laird Cregar, and Alan Ladd....  more
  • 22
    92
    27

    White Heat

    James Cagney, Edmond O'Brien

    Released1949

    Directed byRaoul Walsh

    White Heat is a 1949 film noir starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo and Edmond O'Brien and featuring Margaret Wycherly and Steve Cochran. Directed by Raoul Walsh from the Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts...  more

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  • 23
    112
    44

    D.O.A.

    Edmond O'Brien, Pamela Britton

    Released1950

    Directed byRudolph Maté

    D.O.A., a film noir drama film directed by Rudolph Maté, is considered a classic of the genre. The frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man's quest to find out who has poisoned him, and...  more
  • 24
    78
    21

    The Postman Always Rings Twice

    Lana Turner, Hume Cronyn

    Released1946

    Directed byTay Garnett

    The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 drama-film noir based on the 1934 novel of the same name by James M. Cain. This adaptation of the novel features Lana Turner, John Garfield, Cecil Kellaway,...  more
  • 25
    97
    39

    Dark Passage

    Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1947

    Directed byDelmer Daves

    Dark Passage is a Warner Bros. film noir directed by Delmer Daves and starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The film is based on the novel of the same name by David Goodis. It was the third of...  more