The Third Man
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In this Cold War spy classic, Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a third-rate American pulp novelist, arrives in postwar Vienna, where he has been promised a job by his old friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles). Upon his arrival, Martins discovers that Lime has been killed in a traffic accident, and that his funeral is taking place immediately. At the graveside, Martins meets outwardly affable Major Calloway (Trevor Howard) and actress Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli), who is weeping copiously. When Calloway tells Martins that the late Harry Lime was a thief and murderer, the loyal Martins is at first… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"It transformed the way I looked at the world."
‑ David Ansen, Newsweek
"Top credit must go to Mr. Reed for molding all possible elements into a thriller of superconsequence."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"The movie's verve comes from the abstract use of a jangling zither and from squirting Orson Welles into the plot piece-meal with a tricky, facetious eyedropper."
‑ Manny Farber, The Nation
"One of British cinema's most enduring and atmospheric thrillers. A genuine and endlessly rewatchable classic."
‑ , Film4
"If The Third Man is a tragedy, it isn't just the tragedy of a hobbled city, scribbled with ruins and parsed into zones of occupation that can't communicate and don't cooperate."
‑ Nick Davis, Nick's Flick Picks
"Welles gives Harry a mask of irony that turns all moral judgment back on itself. He turns a mass murderer into a wry rogue, and makes his villainy all the more horrifying because we rather like him."
‑ Jeff Millar, Houston Chronicle
"For lovers of film noir, The Third Man is unquestionably a must-see -- one of the masterpieces of a genre that has contained everything from milestone motion pictures to low-budget potboilers."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"The truth is often what one least expects it to be, and the ability to cope with the seemingly unbelievable is a dividing line between Reed's characters."
‑ Michael Nordine, Not Coming to a Theater Near You
"Directors like Reed and Wilder created an environment of spatial and moral confusion in which their pulpy narratives could take on the ethical weight of a Biblical proverb."
‑ Matt Noller, Slant Magazine
"As you watch the film, you feel as though the screen is tilted higher, glowering over you as you wince in its devastating presence, which is probably how Martins felt scurrying through the Vienna darkness."
‑ Phil Villarreal, Arizona Daily Star
"Seen today, The Third Man ... can be appreciated as a prophetic statement on the eventual moral bankruptcy of the one-world euphoria that clouded men's minds immediately after the second 'war to end all wars.'"
‑ Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"The Third Man is like the exhausted aftermath of Casablanca."
‑ Susan Stark, Detroit News
"As powerful and original now as it was in 1949."
‑ Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media
"Greene's story and screenplay, which he accurately described as "a comic thriller," is a gift that keeps on giving, with patter that's never less than brilliant. [Criterion Blu-ray]"
‑ Peter Canavese, Groucho Reviews
"It's a suspense-thriller-romance steeped in Hollywood's best influences and 'gimmicks,' yet it's crafted with enough looming European 'art-house' style to topple Fritz Lang into an existential funk."
‑ Mark Bourne,
More reviews for The Third Man on Rotten Tomatoes

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