I have trouble stopping at 40 on this Forty Essential Film Noir Classics. I will continue to update the list as more movies are added.
I wanted to add a definition for Film noir, so I went to the great movie critic Roger Ebert. I have shortened his definitions but included the link below so you can read the complete original.
1. A French term meaning “black film,” or film of the night.
2. Doesn’t mislead you into thinking there will be a happy ending.
3. Locations that reek of the night, of shadows, of alleys, of the back doors of fancy places.
5. Women who would just as soon kill you as love you, and vice versa. This is priceless JEC.
6. For women: low necklines, floppy hats, mascara, lipstick, boudoirs, calling the doorman by his first name, high heels, red dresses, having gangsters as boyfriends, having soft spots for alcoholic private eyes, and sprawling dead on the floor with every limb meticulously arranged and every hair in place.
7. For men: fedoras, suits and ties, shabby residential hotels with a neon sign blinking through the window, buying yourself a drink out of the office bottle, cars with running boards, all-night diners, on first-name terms with homicide cops, knowing a lot of people whose descriptions end in “ies,” such as bookies, newsies, junkies, alkys, jockeys and cabbies.
8. Movies either shot in black and white, or feeling like they were.
9. Relationships in which love is only the final flop card in the poker game of death.
10. The most American film genre, because no society could have created a world so filled with doom, fate, fear and betrayal, unless it were essentially naive and optimistic.
|1||The Maltese Falcon||1941||The best of ALL the film noir. Humphrey Bogart is amazing so is everyone else. JEC|
|2||Touch of Evil||1958||Orson Welles directed this masterpieces that starred Charleton Heston as Mexican detective. JEC|
|3||Out of the Past||1947||The best femme fatale ever. JEC|
|4||Double Indemnity||1944||Foolish insurance man meets one of the best femme fatale in this must see drama. JEC|
|5||Ace in the Hole||1952||A savage critique of corrupt mass media. Kirk Douglas is on fire. JEC|
|6||D.O.A.||1950||A "who done it" like you have never seen before. JEC|
|7||The Big Sleep||1946||Detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart) is hired by a wealthy client. By the end of the case, there is murder, blackmail, and maybe love. JEC|
|8||The Asphalt Jungle||1950||Gritty heist drama as everything falls apart. JEC|
|9||The Postman Always Rings Twice||1946||Infidelity and murder. JEC|
|10||The Killers||1946||Burt Lancaster in his file debut is amazing. JEC|
|11||Brute Force||1947||Prisoners obsessed with a pin-up tell their tale as they wait to escape. Burt Lancaster leads a fantastic cast with Hume Cronin as a sadistic guard. JEC|
|12||Notorious||1946||Spies with Carey Grant and Ingrid Bergman. JEC|
|13||All the King's Men||1949||Southern politics the real way. JEC|
|14||Laura||1944||Gene Tierney is an iridescent angel and Dana Andrews a stolid cop who nails the killer after falling for a dead dame. JEC|
|15||Dead Reckoning||1947||A soldier flees rather than receive the Medal of Honor, his war buddy, played by Humphrey Bogart goes to his buddy's hometown where love and murder follow. JEC|
|16||The Killing||1956||Burt Lancaster's first film and it's a winner. JEC|
|17||Key Largo||1948||Gangsters and a hurricane in the Florida Keys. Plus Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. JEC|
|18||Sweet Smell of Success||1957||Ambition and betrayal stripped of all pretense. JEC|
|19||The Naked City||1948||Two New York City detectives investigating a suicide that turns out to be murder. JEC|
|20||High Sierra||1941||A thief, after being released from prison, is hired by his old boss to learn an inept group in the robbery of a mountain resort. JEC|
|21||The Lady From Shanghai||1947||Orson Welles’ brilliant jigsaw with a femme fatale that is one of the greatest. JEC|
|22||Gilda||1946||A small-time hood goes to work in a casino only to find his new boss is married to his ex-lover. JEC|
|23||The Big Heat||1953||A tough cop, played by Glenn Ford takes on a well-connected mob. Gloria Grahame is great in this film. JEC|
|24||Caged||1950||This film has a great female cast. Set in a woman's prison this film has a very dark ending. JEC|
|25||Dark Passage||1947||An excaped prisoner and her helper starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. JEC|
|27||M||1931||Fritz Lang directed the story of a German child killer. When the police can't find the murderer other criminals join in the hunt. JEC|
|28||The Big Combo||1955||Obsessed cop hunts down a psychotic crime boss. JEC|
|29||The Stranger||1946||Orson Welles directs and stars as a War Crimes Commission investigator travels to New England in search of Nazis. t to find an infamous Nazi. JEC|
|30||They Live by Night||1948||An injured convict falls for a woman that nursed him back to health. Their relationship doesn't seem to have a chance. JEC|
|31||White Heat||1949||Cagney plays a psychopathic con with a mother complex trying to break out of prison to rejoin his old gang. The ending goes off with a bang. JEC|
|32||The Set-Up||1949||Robert Ryan is great as washed-up boxer in Robert Wise’ sharp expose of the fight game. Brooding and intense noir classic. JEC|
|33||I Want to Live!||1958||I Want to Live! (1958) is a gritty film noir that focuses on the femme side of the story. Susan Hayward is amazing as the condemned woman. JEC|
|34||Murder, My Sweet||1944||(Aka Farewell, my Lovely). The most noir fun you will ever have. Raymond Chandler’s prose crackles with moody noir direction from Edward Dmytryk. JEC|
|35||The Third Man||1949||Orson Welles is amazing in this hard to follw film. JEC|
|36||Criss-Cross||1949||An armored truck driver and his ex-wife work with a gang to pull off an insider robbery of the truck. JEC|
|37||Pitfall||1948||An insurance man falls for a femme fatale who's boyfriend is in jail. Things turn dark. JEC|
|38||99 River Street||1953||An ex-boxer falls into a trap and is accused on murder. JEC|
|39||Requiem For A Heavyweight||1962||A washed-up boxer. JEC|
|40||The Hitch-Hiker||1953||Two buddies on a vacation pick up a murderous escaped convict who plans to kill them when the trip is over. JEC|
|41||Scarlet Street||1946||A lonely man and an evil couple. JEC|
|42||Call Northside 777||1948||JEC|
|43||The Phenix City Story||1955||The entire town is corrupt. Alabama! JEC|
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