best movie genres The Best Film Noir Movies  

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A list of the best film noir movies. While not every film noir is on this list, the best film noir titles are here. If you believe we missed one of the film noir classics, though, feel free to add it to the list of the best film noir titles yourself. Film Noir began in the 1940's and continued into the 1950's. Today we have neo-noir.

What are the best film noir movies? Borrowing high contrast cinematography from Germany, film noir based its storytelling on characters who were ultimately doomed. Film noir filmmakers were also masters of skirting the Hays Code (censorship in the name of decency) through the use of implication, subtext, and suggestive dialogue in their film noir classics. Today, Film Noir is easily one of the most resilient genres to survive the Hays Code, with films that still stand up to today's modern films.
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Double indemnity Released: 1944

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The Maltese Falcon Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor Released: 1941 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 ...more

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The Third Man Orson Welles, Trevor Howard, Joseph Cotten Released: 1949 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 ...more

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Sunset Boulevard William Holden, Buster Keaton, Gloria Swanson Released: 1950 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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Strangers on a Train Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger, Leo G. Carroll Released: 1951 Strangers on a Train is an American psychological crime thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot ...more

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Greg Stopera added Chinatown Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the ...more

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Touch of Evil Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich Released: 1958 Touch of Evil is a 1958 American crime 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 ...more

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Out of the Past Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum, Rhonda Fleming Released: 1947 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

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Shadow of a Doubt Alfred Hitchcock, Teresa Wright, Joseph Cotten Released: 1943 Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Teresa Wright and Joseph Cotten. Written by Thornton Wilder, Sally Benson, and Alma ...more

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Laura Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Judith Anderson Released: 1944 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 ...more

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The Night of the Hunter Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish Released: 1955 The Night of the Hunter is an American thriller film directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. Based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis ...more

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Key Largo Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson Released: 1948 Key Largo is a 1948 film noir directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Edward G. Robinson and Lauren Bacall and featuring Lionel Barrymore and Claire Trevor. The movie was adapted ...more

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Vertigo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Film Noir Movies
Vertigo James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was ...more

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The Postman Always Rings Twice Lana Turner, Hume Cronyn, John Garfield 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 ...more

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M Peter Lorre, Theo Lingen, Georg John M is a 1931 German drama-thriller film directed by Fritz Lang and starring Peter Lorre. It was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou and was the director's first sound film. Now ...more

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The Big Sleep James Stewart, Joan Collins, Robert Mitchum Released: 1946 The Big Sleep is a 1978 film, the second film version of Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel of the same name. The picture was directed by Michael Winner and stars Robert Mitchum in his second feature ...more

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L.A. Confidential is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Film Noir Movies
LaurieM added L.A. Confidential Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger L.A. Confidential is a 1997 neo-noir crime film based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same title, the third book in his L.A. Quartet series. Like the book, the film tells the story of a ...more

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Notorious Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock Released: 1946 Notorious is a 1946 American spy thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately ...more

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In a Lonely Place Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy Released: 1950 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 ...more

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The Asphalt Jungle Marilyn Monroe, Jack Warden, James Whitmore Released: 1950 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, ...more

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Gilda Rita Hayworth, Glenn Ford, George Macready Released: 1946 Gilda is a 1946 American black-and-white film noir directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale and Glenn Ford as a young thug. The ...more

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The Killing Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards Released: 1956 The Killing 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 ...more

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White Heat James Cagney, Edmond O'Brien, Virginia Mayo Released: 1949 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 ...more

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Mildred Pierce Joan Crawford, Eve Arden, Butterfly McQueen Released: 1945 Mildred Pierce is a 1945 American drama film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring Joan Crawford, Jack Carson and Zachary Scott and featuring Eve Arden, Ann Blyth and Bruce Bennett, in a film ...more

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The Big Heat Lee Marvin, Glenn Ford, Carolyn Jones Released: 1953 The Big Heat is a 1953 film noir directed by Fritz Lang, starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin. It is about a cop who takes on the crime syndicate that controls his city, after the ...more

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The Big Sleep Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Dorothy Malone 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 ...more

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To Have and Have Not Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan To Have and Have Not is a 1944 American romance-war-adventure film directed by Howard Hawks, and starring Humphrey Bogart, Walter Brennan and Lauren Bacall in her film debut. Although it is ...more

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The Manchurian Candidate Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John Frankenheimer that stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh and co-stars Angela Lansbury, ...more

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Lon Harris added Detour Ann Savage, Tom Neal, Tim Ryan 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 ...more

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The Killers Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster, Edmond O'Brien Released: 1946 The Killers is a 1946 American film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and based in part on the short story of the same name by Ernest Hemingway. It stars Burt Lancaster in his film debut, Ava ...more

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HeroicRebellion added Dark Passage Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Agnes Moorehead 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 ...more

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Night and the City Gene Tierney, Richard Widmark, Herbert Lom Released: 1950 Night and the City is a 1950 British film noir directed by Jules Dassin and starring Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney and Googie Withers. It is based on the novel of the same name by Gerald Kersh. ...more

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Murder, My Sweet Claire Trevor, Dick Powell, Mike Mazurki 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, ...more

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Kiss Me Deadly Cloris Leachman, Nat King Cole, Jack Elam Released: 1955 Kiss Me Deadly 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 ...more

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Sweet Smell of Success Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Nick Adams Released: 1957 Sweet Smell of Success is a 1957 American film noir/drama film made by Hill-Hecht-Lancaster Productions and released by United Artists. It was directed by Alexander Mackendrick and stars Burt ...more

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The Woman in the Window Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Raymond Massey Released: 1944 The Woman in the Window is a 1944 film noir directed by Fritz Lang that tells the story of psychology professor Richard Wanley who meets and becomes enamored of a young femme fatale. Based on J. ...more

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The Naked City Barry Fitzgerald, Howard Duff, Don Taylor Released: 1948 The Naked City is a black-and-white film noir directed by Jules Dassin. Based on a story by Malvin Wald, the film depicts the police investigation that follows the murder of a young model. A ...more

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Ace in the Hole Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Iron Eyes Cody Released: 1951 Ace in the Hole is a 1951 American film noir starring Kirk Douglas as a cynical, disgraced reporter who stops at nothing to try to regain a job on a major newspaper. It marked a series of firsts ...more

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Scarlet Street Edward G. Robinson, Joan Bennett, Dan Duryea Released: 1945 Scarlet Street is a 1945 American film noir directed by Fritz Lang about a middle-aged painter who is seduced by a woman and paints her a portrait, only to come across that she's using him for ...more

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The Man Who Knew Too Much James Stewart, Doris Day, Alfred Hitchcock The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 suspense thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a somewhat altered remake in widescreen VistaVision and ...more

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Angels with Dirty Faces Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Ann Sheridan Released: 1938 Angels with Dirty Faces is a 1938 American gangster film directed by Michael Curtiz and starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, the Dead End Kids and Humphrey Bogart, along with Ann Sheridan and ...more

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The Blue Dahlia Veronica Lake, Alan Ladd, William Bendix The Blue Dahlia is a 1946 film noir, directed by George Marshall and written by Raymond Chandler. The film marks the third pairing of stars Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake.

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Arsenic and Old Lace Cary Grant, Peter Lorre, Raymond Massey Arsenic and Old Lace is a 1944 American dark comedy film directed by Frank Capra, starring Cary Grant, and based on Joseph Kesselring's play Arsenic and Old Lace. The script adaptation was by ...more

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Harry Greenstuff added The Hitch-Hiker Edmond O'Brien, Frank Lovejoy, José Torvay Two fishermen pick up a psychotic escaped convict who tells them that he intends to murder them when the ride is over.

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Pickup on South Street Richard Widmark, Thelma Ritter, Jean Peters Released: 1953 Pickup on South Street is a Cold War spy film noir written and directed by Samuel Fuller and released by the 20th Century Fox studio. The film stars Richard Widmark, Jean Peters and Thelma ...more

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The Big Clock Charles Laughton, Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan Released: 1948 The Big Clock is a 1948 film noir thriller directed by John Farrow, and adapted by renowned novelist-screenwriter Jonathan Latimer from the novel of the same name by Kenneth Fearing. The ...more

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The Lady from Shanghai Rita Hayworth, Orson Welles, Errol Flynn Released: 1947 The Lady from Shanghai is a 1947 film noir directed by Orson Welles and starring Welles, his estranged wife Rita Hayworth and Everett Sloane. It is based on the novel If I Die Before I Wake by ...more

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They Drive by Night Humphrey Bogart, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino They Drive by Night is a 1940 black-and-white film noir starring George Raft, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, and Humphrey Bogart, and directed by Raoul Walsh. The picture involves a pair of embattled ...more

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And Then There Were None Walter Huston, Judith Anderson, Barry Fitzgerald And Then There Were None is a 1945 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's best-selling mystery novel of the same name and is directed by René Clair. In the UK it had the title "Ten ...more

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Suspicion Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame ...more