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The Best Film Noir Movies

Updated March 4, 2020 16.5k votes 1.4k voters 81.1k views142 items

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.

  • 1

    Out of the Past

    Kirk Douglas, Robert Mitchum
    Released: 1947
    Out of the Past is a 1947 film noir directed by Jacques Tourneur and starring Robert Mitchum,...  more
  • 2

    The Maltese Falcon

    Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre
    Released: 1941
    The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by...  more

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  • 3

    The Big Sleep

    Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart
    The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir directed by Howard Hawks, the first film version of Raymond...  more

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  • 4


    Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb
    Released: 1944
    Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene...  more

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  • 5

    The Asphalt Jungle

    Marilyn Monroe, Jack Warden
    Released: 1950
    The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. The caper film is based on the...  more
  • 6

    The Killers

    Ava Gardner, Burt Lancaster
    Released: 1946
    The Killers is a 1946 American film noir directed by Robert Siodmak and based in part on the...  more
  • 7

    In a Lonely Place

    Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame
    Released: 1950
    In a Lonely Place is a 1950 film noir directed by Nicholas Ray, and starring Humphrey Bogart...  more

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  • 8

    Kiss Me Deadly

    Cloris Leachman, Nat King Cole
    Released: 1955
    This film is a 1955 film noir drama produced and directed by Robert Aldrich starring Ralph...  more
  • 9

    The Killing

    Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray
    Released: 1956
    This film is a 1956 film noir produced by James B. Harris and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It...  more

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  • 10

    Murder, My Sweet

    Claire Trevor, Dick Powell
    Murder, My Sweet is a 1944 American film noir, directed by Edward Dmytryk and starring Dick...  more
  • 11


    Ann Savage, Tom Neal
    Detour is a 1945 film noir thriller that stars Tom Neal and Ann Savage. The film was adapted...  more
  • 12

    The Third Man

    Orson Welles, Trevor Howard
    Released: 1949
    The Third Man is a 1949 British film noir, directed by Carol Reed and starring Joseph Cotten,...  more

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  • 13

    Strangers on a Train

    Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger
    Released: 1951
    Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed...  more

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  • 14

    Gun Crazy

    Russ Tamblyn, Peggy Cummins
    Released: 1950
    Gun Crazy is a 1950 film noir feature film directed by Joseph H. Lewis, and produced by Frank...  more
  • 15


    Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway
    Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a...  more

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  • 16

    Touch of Evil

    Charlton Heston, Orson Welles
    Released: 1958
    Touch of Evil is a 1958 American thriller film, written, directed by, and co-starring Orson...  more

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  • 17


    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred...  more

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  • 18

    The Big Clock

    Charles Laughton, Ray Milland
    Released: 1948
    The Big Clock is a 1948 film noir thriller directed by John Farrow, and adapted by renowned...  more
  • 19

    Double Indemnity

    Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck
    Released: 1944
    Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by...  more

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  • 20

    The Postman Always Rings Twice

    Lana Turner, Hume Cronyn
    The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1946 drama-film noir based on the 1934 novel of the same...  more
  • 21

    Sunset Boulevard

    William Holden, Buster Keaton
    Released: 1950
    Sunset Boulevard—stylized onscreen as SUNSET BLVD.—is a 1950 American film noir directed and...  more

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  • 22

    The Big Heat

    Lee Marvin, Glenn Ford
    Released: 1953
    The Big Heat is a 1953 film noir directed by Fritz Lang, starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame...  more

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  • 23

    Leave Her to Heaven

    Gene Tierney, Vincent Price
    Released: 1945
    Leave Her to Heaven is a 1945 American Technicolor film noir starring Gene Tierney, Cornel...  more
  • 24

    Nightmare Alley

    Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell
    Released: 1947
    Nightmare Alley is a 1947 film noir starring Tyrone Power and Joan Blondell, and directed by...  more
  • 25

    Shadow of a Doubt

    Alfred Hitchcock, Teresa Wright
    Released: 1943
    Shadow of a Doubt is a 1943 American psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and...  more

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