FILM NOIR (1940-1959)by kuzzn | created - 11 months ago | updated - 2 months ago | Public
Much more so than with any other film type, there has been quite a bit of disagreement about which movies fit into this category of cinema. Many do not view film noir as a genre in itself but instead as a dark film STYLE and often a period-specific one. Motion pictures that may be considered noir by some, others describe as noirish or noir-like, as having characteristic elements but not enough to qualify them fully as films noir. There are also the related designations of proto-noir and neo-noir, applied to stylistically film noir motion pictures preceding and following classic film noir. While neo means new, what was new at an earlier time is taken into consideration under this description of neo-noir, just as what is new now otherwise would not be considered neo years from now.
The time range for what is called classic film noir has also been debated. But this film style was most prolific and pictures were most clearly noir (in how they were presented by filmmakers and also very likely how they were received by the audiences that originally viewed them, in turn reinforcing filmmaking of this kind) during a period of particular uncertainty and pessimism in the world. This was especially true about the 1940s and 1950s, when World War II plus post-war events (notably during the earlier years of the Cold War) had so profoundly affected the everyday lives of people around the globe. And even though some fans and critics limit film noir pictures to ones shot in black and white and despite the fact that the words film noir were first widely used about certain American movies, this list of feature length film noir movies additionally includes color films as well as motion pictures made outside the United States.
Not just about film noir: "foreign" films did not seem to have moral constraints that were as excessive as the ones imposed upon U.S. movies during this period in cinematic history, further shaping the character of motion pictures at that time. The Production Code (also known as the Hays Code) had made its mark on American films back then, where filmmakers found creative ways around these guidelines, including the use of a greater degree of symbolism and innuendo.
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1. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Not Rated | 100 min | Film-Noir, Mystery
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.
Votes: 140,110 | Gross: $2.11M
2. Castle on the Hudson (1940)
Approved | 77 min | Crime, Drama
Mobster Tommy Gordon isn't worried about being sentenced to Sing Sing prison because his political pals have promised him a quick parole. A troublesome prisoner, he finally concedes that ... See full summary »
4. Rebecca (1940)
Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.
Votes: 110,519 | Gross: $4.36M
5. Gang War (1940)
Approved | 63 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Two mobs fight for control of the jukebox racket.
Gang War [a.k.a. Crime Street]
6. They Drive by Night (1940)
Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
When one of 2 truck driving brothers loses an arm, they both join a transport company where later, the other is falsely charged as an accessory in the murder of the owner.
8. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940)
Approved | 64 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
An aspiring reporter is the key witness at the murder trial of a young man accused of cutting a café owner's throat and is soon accused of a similar crime himself.
9. The Letter (1940)
Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.
11. High Sierra (1941)
Passed | 100 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
After being released from prison, notorious thief Roy Earle is hired by his old boss to help a group of inexperienced criminals plan and carry out the robbery of a California resort.
12. Flight from Destiny (1941)
Approved | 75 min | Drama, Film-Noir
After philosophy Professor Todhunter is told he has 6 months left to live, he is barred from teaching by his college so there won't be a scandal if he drops dead in class. Discussing a ... See full summary »
13. Rage in Heaven (1941)
Approved | 85 min | Drama, Thriller
Old friends Ward and Phillip both become smitten with Phillip's mother's attractive young secretary Stella. But Stella marries Phillip and stands by him as his behavior becomes more and ... See full summary »
14. A Woman's Face (1941)
Passed | 106 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
A female blackmailer with a disfiguring facial scar meets a plastic surgeon who offers her the possibility of looking like a normal woman.
15. Paper Bullets (1941)
Approved | 72 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Circumstances force naive Dorothy Adams into serving an unjust prison term, but she emerges from it a cynical criminal who rises to power in the local crime organization.
Paper Bullets [a.k.a. Gangs, Inc.]
16. Out of the Fog (1941)
Approved | 85 min | Crime, Drama
In Brooklyn, fishing is the hobby of the workers Jonah Goodwin and Olaf Johnson and they use to fish every night in their old boat. Jonah's daughter is the twenty-one year-old telephone ... See full summary »
17. Dressed to Kill (1941)
Approved | 74 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery
Detective Michael Shayne and his girlfriend Joanne are on their way to be married when a scream from a nearby hotel room draws his attention to a pair of theatrical murders.
18. Ladies in Retirement (1941)
Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
The housekeeper to a retired actress tries at the same time to look after her own two emotionally disturbed sisters, with dramatic results.
19. I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Passed | 82 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Why is Inspector Ed Cornell trying to railroad Frankie Christopher for the murder of model Vicky Lynn?
I Wake Up Screaming [a.k.a. Hot Spot]
21. Blues in the Night (1941)
Passed | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
"Jigger' Lane forms a band that includes singer Ginger 'Character' Powell, wife of the trumpeter Leo Powell, and Nickie Haroyen and Peppi. All of them dedicate themselves to work as a unit ... See full summary »
23. Among the Living (1941)
Approved | 67 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
A mentally unstable man, who has been kept in isolation for years, escapes and causes trouble for his identical twin brother.
24. The Shanghai Gesture (1941)
Approved | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
In Shanghai, dragon-lady 'Mother' Gin Sling operates a gambling house for wealthy patrons but she clashes with influential land developer Sir Guy Charteris who wants to put her out-of-business.
26. Lady Gangster (1942)
Passed | 62 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Dot Burton (Faye Emerson) has acted as a decoy in a bank robbery and fails to get away. Her arrest attracts the attention of Ken Phillips (Frank Wilcox), a former childhood sweetheart who ... See full summary »
27. Kid Glove Killer (1942)
Passed | 74 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Crime lab expert Gordon McKay uses the latest forensic techniques to solve murders in a city plagued by political corruption and mob rackets.
29. This Gun for Hire (1942)
Passed | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
When assassin Philip Raven shoots a blackmailer and his beautiful female companion dead, he is paid off in marked bills by his treasonous employer who is working with foreign spies.
30. Moontide (1942)
Approved | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
After a drunken binge on the San Pablo waterfront, longshoreman Bobo fears he may have killed a man. In his uncertainty, he takes a job on an isolated bait barge. That night, he rescues ... See full summary »
31. Grand Central Murder (1942)
Passed | 73 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Classic whodunit mystery film about a gold-digging variety show actress who has many enemies and is found dead in her private railroad car at Grand Central Station in New York.
32. The Night Has Eyes (1942)
62 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
Two teachers, man-hungry Doris and restrained Marian, visit the Yorkshire moors a year after friend Evelyn disappeared there. On a stormy night, they take refuge in the isolated cottage of ... See full summary »
33. The Big Shot (1942)
Approved | 82 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Fearing life in prison for a third offense, convict Duke Berne pulls out of an armored car robbery, planned by his crooked lawyer, but he is framed for the robbery anyway.
35. The Glass Key (1942)
Not Rated | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
A crooked politician finds himself being accused of murder by a gangster from whom he refused help during a re-election campaign.
37. Street of Chance (1942)
Approved | 74 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery
After an accident, a New York man with amnesia finds out the ugly truth about his real identity and past by interacting with people who seem to know him well.
39. Quiet Please: Murder (1942)
Approved | 70 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Book thief/forger sells a fake book to a Nazi through a female agent. A detective tries to uncover who the forger is and gets in the middle of a three way struggle for rare books and revenge in a public library.
40. Journey Into Fear (1943)
Approved | 68 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
An American ballistics expert in Turkey finds himself targeted by Nazi agents. Safe passage home by ship is arranged for him, but he soon discovers that his pursuers are also on board.
43. Hangmen Also Die! (1943)
Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller
After the Nazi administrator of Czechoslovakia is shot, his assassin tries to elude the Gestapo and struggles with his impulse to give himself up as hostages are executed.
44. Ossessione (1943)
TV-14 | 140 min | Crime, Drama, Romance