Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Future Of Film
The 100 Greatest Video Games
Robin Williams: The Big Interview
Kevin Feige:
My Movie Life

The Marvel supremo's pick of the flicks
Want To Be An Empire Journalist?
Find out how here
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
PG
Cast
Joseph Cotten
Alida Valli
Orson Welles
Trevor Howard.
Directors
Screenwriters
Graham Greene.
Running Time
100 minutes

LATEST DVD REVIEWS
Grey Owl
1 Star Empire Rating
Glengarry Glen Ross
5 Star Empire Rating
Ghost In The Shell
4 Star Empire Rating
Child's Play
3 Star Empire Rating
Westworld
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Glengarry Glen Ross
5 Star Empire Rating
Goldfinger
5 Star Empire Rating
Calvary
5 Star Empire Rating
Ipcress File, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Jules Et Jim
5 Star Empire Rating

The Third Man
Vienna calling


submit to reddit


Plot
A writer heads to Vienna to clear his dead friends name. But not all is as it seems...


Review
Carol Reed's cult 40's thriller continues to unnerve audiences over 50 years later. It is a masterclass in atmosphere and style but also manages to haunt on many levels.

Down-on-his-luck pulp writer Holly Martins (Cotten) arrives broke in Allied-occupied Vienna at the invitation of his dear old pal Harry Lime (Welles), only to find Harry has been killed in an accident. When brisk British policeman Major Calloway (Howard) informs him that Harry was a notorious racketeer, the indignant Holly decides to clear his friend's name. As soon as he starts questioning Harry's weasly associates and hopeless refugee lover Anna (Valli), he's struck by some baffling inconsistencies in their stories. So he undertakes a quest through the seedy post-war city seeking the unknown "third man" at the scene of Harry's accident.

Holly is a character of naive persistence, unprepared for Greene's bleak trail of false identities, foul deeds and poisoned penicillin, so you fear with him as he's chasing and being chased through cobbled streets, bomb rubble and, most stunningly, the city's cavernous sewers. Welles appears just three times (and speaks only in the classic fairground scene) but his presence dominates - Reed acknowledged the charismatic Welles influenced the film's saturnine tone.

For his part, Reed's talent for catching detail and character subtleties found its richest expression, abetted by Robert Krasker's brilliant photography, and immortalised in the appearance of Harry in a doorway, fleetingly caught in the light from an upstairs window.


Extras

Third Man, The Third Man, The
Released: 01 February 2002
A snippet of Austrian newsreel location footage, a couple of trailers, a (slightly) alternate opening sequence, a bizarre interlude with composer Anton Karras in a Viennese restaurant and a couple of radio plays add up to charming but hardly indispensable extras.


Verdict
This will haunt you. The style, the plot, the character and of course ...that tune...


Reviewed by


Related Reviews
Books
Shepperton Studios
 

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.

Your Reviews

Average user rating for The Third Man
Empire Star Rating

One of those perfect movies

Not only one of the very best film noirs, one of the greatest movies, period. Also has my favourite movie moment of all time. You know what bit I'm talking about. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Mr Gittes at 23:45, 10 February 2013 | Report This Post


A stunning, surreal film noir with some of cinema's most classic scenes ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheNapalmKid at 09:09, 12 October 2009 | Report This Post


A stunning, surreal film noir with some of cinema's most classic scenes ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheNapalmKid at 09:09, 12 October 2009 | Report This Post


L'age D'or

What strkes the sudience at the intial viewing of this dark and atmospheric masterpiece, is the movie's inherent stylishness and fulfllment of all that has become standard in fim noir. The direction is perfect, the acting flawless (particularly the ever brilliant Orson Welle's) and the music can be best described as haunting. The word perfection is used all too often in reviewing the classics, but this, arguably, comes the closest to earning it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Deanstuff at 04:05, 18 July 2007 | Report This Post


Perfection

note perfect acting, direction, cinematography and writing ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by amateur ghostbuster at 12:01, 10 December 2006 | Report This Post


Perfection

note perfect acting, direction, cinematography and writing ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by amateur ghostbuster at 12:01, 10 December 2006 | Report This Post


... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by father_jack at 21:50, 01 September 2006 | Report This Post


SPECIAL FEATURE
The 301 Greatest Movies Of All Time EMPIRE READERS' POLL: THE 301 GREATEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME
You turned out in your hundreds and thousands, and here are the results... Browse the full list


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
The Empire Podcast #129: Liam Neeson Interview
Plus Max Irons, Sam Claflin, Douglas Booth, Holliday Grainger and Jessica Brown Findlay drop by to talk The Riot Club

The Future Of Film: We'll Be Watching Films In Virtual Reality
Immerse cinema aims to become the must-have experience for the filmgoers of the future

The Future Of Film: Cinema Will Cross The Uncanny Valley
The future of VFX, from believable digital humans to underwater mocap

The Future Of Film: There Will Be Another Indie Golden Age
Independent producers are growing from micro-budgets to something a lot bigger

Empire's Epic Interstellar Subscribers' Cover
The countdown begins to Christopher Nolan's sci-fi masterpiece

The Future Of Film: Your Favourite Movie WIll Be Crowdfunded
Click here to donate

Shut Up, World! Gary Busey Is Talking!
Strap yourselves in and meet a true Hollywood original.

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Get 6 Issues Of Empire For Only £15!

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save maney on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Get 6 issues of Empire for just £15!
Get the world's greatest movie magazine delivered straight to your door! Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire iPad Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  iPad  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)