Film noir is a genre of dark and serious film. It typically features crime, violence and the threat of death or other calamity.

The protagonist is an anti-hero who becomes embroiled in a web of crime and intrigue.

Film Noir was popularized by Hollywood during the 1940’s to 1950’s with films like Double Indemnity (1944), Murder My Sweet (1944) and The Big Sleep (1946).

These were all directed by greats such as Billy Wilder, Howard Hawkes, John Huston, Fritz Lang, Otto Preminger, and many more.

What Is Film Noir?

Film Noir is a genre of film that has been around since the 1940s.

A film noir usually tells about a detective, private investigator or someone who has committed a crime and tries to find out who they are and why they did it.

Film noir films typically have dark themes, including crime, betrayal, and paranoia.

Best Film Noir Movies

Film Noir is a genre of movies that are typically black and white. They’re gritty, hard-boiled, cynical films with an underlying sense of fatalism.

The suspenseful and emotionally charged films of film noir are some of the most captivating in cinematic history.

The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941)

The Maltese Falcon is a classic film noir that has become a defining example of the genre.

Directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart as the iconic private detective Sam Spade, the film is a tightly plotted mystery filled with twists, turns, and unforgettable characters.

The film revolves around the search for a priceless statue known as the Maltese Falcon, which is sought after by a group of shady characters, each with their own hidden agenda.

As Spade navigates this labyrinthine web of deceit and double-crosses, he finds himself drawn deeper and deeper into a dangerous underworld of crime and corruption.

Bogart is at his absolute best as Spade, delivering a performance that is both tough and vulnerable, cynical and romantic.

His chemistry with co-star Mary Astor is electric, and their scenes together crackle with tension and sexual energy.


But what really sets The Maltese Falcon apart is its impeccable screenplay, adapted by Huston himself from the novel by Dashiell Hammett.

The dialogue is sharp and witty, with each line perfectly crafted to reveal character and advance the plot.

The film’s climax, in which Spade confronts the various villains and reveals the truth behind the Falcon, is a masterclass in suspense and storytelling.


Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)

Sunset Boulevard is a haunting and unforgettable film that explores the dark underbelly of Hollywood fame and fortune.

Directed by Billy Wilder and starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson, the film is a searing indictment of the film industry’s obsession with youth and beauty.

The story follows struggling screenwriter Joe Gillis (Holden), who stumbles upon the decaying mansion of former silent film star Norma Desmond (Swanson).

Desmond, living in a delusional world where she is still a major star, hires Gillis to help her write a comeback screenplay. As the two become increasingly entwined, Gillis finds himself trapped in a web of deception and madness.

Swanson’s performance as Desmond is nothing short of iconic, capturing both the glamour and the tragedy of the fading star.

Holden is equally impressive as the cynical Gillis, whose own ambitions and desires ultimately lead to his downfall.

But what truly sets Sunset Boulevard apart is its incisive critique of Hollywood and its treatment of aging actresses.

Wilder’s direction is masterful, using shadow and light to create a mood of unease and foreboding.

The film’s final scenes, which reveal the full extent of Desmond’s madness, are chilling and unforgettable.

In short, Sunset Boulevard is a masterpiece of American cinema, a film that still resonates with audiences today for its exploration of fame, obsession, and the dark side of the American Dream.


With its fully realized characters, stunning performances, and expert direction, it’s a must-see for anyone interested in the art of filmmaking.


Sunset Boulevard
  • Anna Q. Nilsson, Buster Keaton, Charles Dayton (Actors)
  • Billy Wilder (Director)
  • English, Portuguese, Spanish, French (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)



What Are Film Noir Movies?

Film noir is a type of movie that was popular during the 1940s and 1950s. The term “film noir” comes from French words for “black film.”

These movies usually have dark, moody shots and are often filled with violence.

What makes film noirs so intriguing is that they’re not just about good guys vs bad guys or even heroes vs villains.

They can be as complex as any other genre of film, but they also have this dark edge to them which really sets them apart from other types of movies.




The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)

The Big Sleep is a cinematic masterpiece that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Howard Hawks’ direction is flawless, and the chemistry between Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall is simply electric.

The film’s plot, based on Raymond Chandler’s novel, is intricate and full of twists and turns that will keep you guessing until the very end.

Bogart’s portrayal of private detective Philip Marlowe is nothing short of iconic, and Bacall’s performance as the seductive and mysterious Vivian Rutledge is equally impressive.

The supporting cast, including Martha Vickers as Carmen Sternwood and Elisha Cook Jr. as Harry Jones, are also exceptional.

The film’s visual style is stunning, with beautifully composed shots and a moody, noir-inspired atmosphere that perfectly captures the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles.

The dialogue is sharp and witty, and the film’s pacing is spot-on.

The Big Sleep
  • Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Ridgely (Actors)
  • Howard Hawks (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

Double Indemnity is a classic film noir masterpiece that stands the test of time. Billy Wilder’s direction is masterful, bringing to life the dark and seedy underbelly of 1940s Los Angeles. The film follows insurance salesman Walter Neff, played brilliantly by Fred MacMurray, as he becomes embroiled in a dangerous plot to murder his client’s husband for the insurance payout.

Barbara Stanwyck delivers a captivating performance as Phyllis Dietrichson, the femme fatale who seduces Neff into committing the crime.

The chemistry between MacMurray and Stanwyck is electric, adding to the tension and suspense of the film.

The twists and turns of the plot keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

Double Indemnity is a must-see for fans of film noir and anyone who appreciates great storytelling and captivating performances.

Double Indemnity [Blu-ray]
  • Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson (Actors)
  • Billy Wilder (Director) - Billy Wilder (Writer) - Joseph Sistrom (Producer)
  • French, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Kiss Me Deadly (Robert Aldrich, 1955)

Kiss Me Deadly is a film noir classic that is a must-watch for fans of the genre.

Director Robert Aldrich creates a tense and dark atmosphere that keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.

The plot follows private investigator Mike Hammer (Ralph Meeker) as he gets caught up in a dangerous game of deception and murder.

The film’s opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the movie, with a mysterious woman running barefoot down the highway in the middle of the night.

From there, the plot twists and turns, with Hammer uncovering a conspiracy involving nuclear secrets and a deadly suitcase.

The film’s climax is truly unforgettable, with a shocking reveal that will leave you speechless.

Meeker’s performance as Hammer is gritty and intense, and the supporting cast, including Maxine Cooper and Cloris Leachman, give strong performances as well.

The film’s use of lighting and shadow adds to the ominous atmosphere, and the soundtrack is hauntingly beautiful.

Kiss Me Deadly (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Ralph Meeker, Cloris Leachman, Gaby Rodgers (Actors)
  • Robert Aldrich (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953)

The Big Heat is a classic film noir directed by Fritz that delivers everything you could want from the genre.

From the opening scene to the final frame, the film is tense, gripping, and full of surprises.

The film centers around a tough cop, Dave Bannion (played brilliantly by Glenn Ford), who is investigating the death of a fellow officer.

As he delves deeper into the case, he discovers a web of corruption and violence that goes all the way to the top of the city’s criminal underworld.

The performances in this film are outstanding, with Ford’s portrayal of Bannion being a standout. He brings a sense of gravity and determination to the role that makes you root for him from start to finish.

Lee Marvin also shines as the sadistic gangster Vince Stone, delivering a performance that is both terrifying and mesmerizing.

But what sets The Big Heat apart from other films in the genre is its powerful themes of justice and revenge.

Bannion’s relentless pursuit of the truth and his willingness to take on the corrupt powers that be make him a hero worth rooting for.

The Big Heat [Blu-ray]
  • The disk has English audio.
  • Glenn Ford, Sydney Boehm, Gloria Grahame (Actors)
  • Fritz Lang (Director) - Brian Butler (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

The Big Combo (Joseph H Lewis, 1955)

The Big Combo is a quintessential film noir that delivers all the suspense, grit, and style expected from the genre.

Director Joseph H Lewis masterfully captures the dark and seedy underbelly of the criminal world, as detective Leonard Diamond (Cornel Wilde) works to bring down the ruthless gangster Mr. Brown (Richard Conte) and his henchmen.

The film boasts an impressive cast, with Conte delivering a standout performance as the cold and calculating Mr. Brown, and Wilde bringing a compelling intensity to his role as Diamond. The chemistry between the two is palpable, as they engage in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

But what truly sets The Big Combo apart is its stunning visuals.

The film is a feast for the eyes, with striking black and white cinematography that perfectly captures the shadowy and atmospheric world of film noir.

From the dimly lit alleys to the sleek and stylish interiors, every shot is beautifully composed and evocative.

The Big Combo [Blu-ray] [Region A & B & C]
  • Cornel Wilde, Richard Conte, Brian Donlevy (Actors)
  • English (Publication Language)

Detour (Edgar G Ulmer, 1945)

Detour is a dark and haunting film noir masterpiece from director Edgar G. Ulmer.

The story follows a down-on-his-luck musician named Al Roberts, played brilliantly by Tom Neal, as he hitchhikes his way across the country to reunite with his girlfriend.

However, things take a sinister turn when he hitches a ride with the mysterious and manipulative Vera, played by Ann Savage.

The film’s low-budget production adds to its gritty and oppressive atmosphere, with shadowy interiors and stark, menacing landscapes.

The performances by Neal and Savage are raw and intense, with their interactions crackling with tension and danger.

Detour is a film that lingers in the mind long after viewing, leaving a haunting impression of the dark side of human nature.

It’s a must-see for fans of classic film noir and a testament to the power of great storytelling and filmmaking.

Detour (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Tom Neal, Ann Savage (Actors)
  • Edgar G. Ulmer (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Murder My Sweet (Edward Dmytryk, 1944)

“Murder My Sweet” is a masterclass in film noir. The film follows private detective Philip Marlowe (Dick Powell) as he investigates the disappearance of a wealthy businessman’s wife.

Along the way, he gets tangled up in a web of deceit and danger, encountering a cast of colorful characters that keep the audience guessing until the very end.

Director Edward Dmytryk’s use of shadow and light creates a haunting atmosphere that perfectly captures the mood of the story.

The film’s standout performance comes from Powell, who transforms from a charming protagonist to a gritty anti-hero as the plot thickens.

The plot is complex and engaging, with plenty of twists and turns to keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

The dialogue is sharp and witty, adding to the overall sense of intrigue.

Murder, My Sweet [Blu-ray]
  • Dick Powell, Claire Trevor, Anne Shirley (Actors)
  • Edward Dmytryk (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944)

Laura is a film noir masterpiece that keeps you hooked till the very end.

The film tells the story of the murder investigation of the beautiful and successful advertising executive Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney). Detective Mark McPherson (Dana Andrews) is assigned to the case but finds himself becoming increasingly obsessed with the victim, so much so that he falls in love with her.

Otto Preminger’s direction is impeccable, with the use of shadows and light adding to the haunting atmosphere of the film.

The iconic theme song, “Laura”, adds to the film’s allure and has become synonymous with the genre.

The performances are top-notch, with Gene Tierney’s portrayal of Laura being both captivating and enigmatic.

Dana Andrews is equally impressive as the detective who is driven to solve the case and unravel the mystery behind Laura’s death.

The Killers (Robert Siodmak, 1946)

The Killers is a classic film noir that remains as thrilling and captivating as it was over 70 years ago. Directed by Robert Siodmak, the movie tells the story of two hitmen who arrive in a small town looking for a former boxer named Ole Andreson (Burt Lancaster), who has a mysterious past.

The film is based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway and features an all-star cast, including Ava Gardner and Edmond O’Brien.

The cinematography in The Killers is exceptional, with striking lighting and camera angles that heighten the tension of the story.

The film’s pacing is also noteworthy, as it shifts seamlessly between present-day events and flashbacks that reveal the secrets of Ole’s past.

The performances in the film are outstanding, particularly from Lancaster, who delivers a restrained and nuanced performance as the enigmatic Ole.

Gardner is also excellent as Kitty Collins, a femme fatale who becomes intertwined in Ole’s story.


The Killers (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Burt Lancaster, Ava Gardner, Lee Marvin (Actors)
  • Robert Siodmak (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Night and the City (Jules Dassin, 1950)

Night and the City is a masterful film noir that oozes with atmosphere and tension from start to finish.

Jules Dassin’s direction is impeccable, drawing the viewer into the seedy underworld of London’s wrestling scene with a sense of urgency and unease.

Richard Widmark delivers a standout performance as Harry Fabian, a small-time hustler with big dreams of making it in the wrestling world.

His desperation and greed are palpable, and the audience can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding as he becomes increasingly tangled in his own web of lies and deceit.

The supporting cast is equally impressive, with Gene Tierney’s portrayal of Fabian’s long-suffering girlfriend Mary and Herbert Lom’s turn as the menacing and powerful underworld boss Kristo standing out in particular.

The black and white cinematography is stunning, with the dark alleyways and smoky wrestling arenas perfectly capturing the film’s bleak and gritty tone.

The score by Franz Waxman adds an extra layer of tension and drama to the proceedings.

Night and the City [Blu-ray]
  • Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers (Actors)
  • Jules Dassin (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

Touch of Evil is a classic film noir that showcases Orson Welles’ mastery of filmmaking.

Set on the US-Mexico border, the film follows the investigation of a murder that leads to a web of corruption and deceit.

Welles’ performance as the bloated and corrupt police captain Hank Quinlan is unforgettable, while Charlton Heston shines as the Mexican drug enforcement officer who is determined to solve the case.

The film’s opening shot is a masterclass in camera work, as Welles’ unbroken tracking shot sets the stage for the gritty and dangerous world of the characters.

The film’s use of shadows and light adds to the film’s atmosphere of suspense and danger, while the music by Henry Mancini perfectly captures the film’s mood.

Touch of Evil is a film that delves into the darkness of the human soul and the corrupt nature of power.

It’s a must-see for fans of film noir and those interested in exploring the complexities of the human psyche.

Welles’ direction is masterful, and the film remains a classic to this day.

Touch of Evil (1958) (Masters of Cinema) [Blu-ray]
  • Touch of Evil - 2-Disc Set
  • Touch of Evil - 2-Disc Set
  • Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Akim Tamiroff (Actors)
  • Orson Welles (Director) - Touch of Evil - 2-Disc Set (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)

Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)

Sweet Smell of Success is a film that oozes with the sleaze and corruption of New York City’s media and entertainment industries.

Burt Lancaster delivers a performance that is both charming and chilling as powerful gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker, who will stop at nothing to maintain his control over the lives of those around him.

Tony Curtis shines as the sycophantic press agent Sidney Falco, who is desperate to climb the ladder of success but finds himself at Hunsecker’s mercy.

The film’s black-and-white cinematography perfectly captures the gritty and dangerous world of the characters, while the jazzy score by Elmer Bernstein adds to the film’s atmosphere of intrigue and tension.

The dialogue is sharp and biting, with every word carrying weight and importance.

Sweet Smell of Success (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Susan Harrison (Actors)
  • Alexander Mackendrick (Director)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)

The Killing (1956), directed by Stanley Kubrick, is a gripping heist film that showcases Kubrick’s masterful storytelling and cinematic style.

The film follows a group of men who plan a meticulously detailed racetrack robbery, but as the heist unfolds, things quickly spiral out of control.

Kubrick’s use of non-linear storytelling adds a layer of complexity to the film, highlighting the intricacies of the heist and the characters involved.

The film is also notable for its stark black and white cinematography, which adds to the film’s gritty and tense atmosphere.

The ensemble cast, led by Sterling Hayden as the mastermind behind the heist, delivers strong performances that bring the characters to life.

The film also features a standout performance from Marie Windsor as Hayden’s conniving wife, who adds an extra layer of tension to the heist.

The Killing (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • The Killing - Blu-ray Brand New
  • Sterling Hayden, Vince Edwards, Elisha Cook Jr. (Actors)
  • Stanley Kubrick (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

Criss Cross (Robert Siodomak, 1949)

Criss Cross  is a film noir masterpiece directed by Robert Siodomak that boasts an intricate plot, unforgettable characters, and breathtaking cinematography.

The story revolves around Steve Thompson (Burt Lancaster), a man who returns to his hometown in Los Angeles to win back his ex-wife, Anna (Yvonne De Carlo), despite her current relationship with gangster Slim Dundee (Dan Duryea).

The film’s non-linear narrative keeps you on the edge of your seat, as you try to piece together the events that led to Steve’s doomed love triangle.

The tense and suspenseful atmosphere is heightened by the film’s stunning black and white visuals, which capture the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles in all its gritty glory.

The performances are top-notch, with Lancaster bringing a brooding intensity to his role as the conflicted Steve, and De Carlo delivering a nuanced portrayal of a woman torn between her past and present.

Duryea is also excellent as the charismatic but dangerous Slim, who adds an extra layer of tension to an already combustible situation.

Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947)

Nightmare Alley, directed by Edmund Goulding in 1947, is a dark and twisted film noir that will leave you on the edge of your seat. From the opening scene, the film sets a mood of unease and foreboding that never lets up.

The story follows the rise and fall of a carnival con artist named Stan Carlisle, played brilliantly by Tyrone Power.

He starts out as a lowly carnival worker, but through cunning and manipulation, he rises to become a successful mentalist.

However, his greed and ambition lead him down a path of self-destruction.

The film’s cinematography is breathtaking, with its use of shadows and light adding to the film’s eerie atmosphere.

The performances are also top-notch, with Power delivering a standout performance as the conniving Stan Carlisle.

Joan Blondell also gives a memorable performance as Zeena, Stan’s mentor and partner in crime.

The film’s supporting cast is equally impressive, with Coleen Gray and Helen Walker both delivering strong performances.

The film is a cautionary tale about the dangers of ambition and the corrupting influence of power.

It’s a fascinating exploration of the human psyche and the lengths people will go to achieve their goals.

It’s a gripping and suspenseful film that will leave you thinking long after the credits roll.

Nightmare Alley (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray (Actors)
  • Edmund Goulding (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)

Out of the Past is a stunning film noir masterpiece that captivates the audience from start to finish.

Jacques Tourneur’s direction is impeccable, creating a moody and atmospheric world that oozes with tension and danger.

Robert Mitchum delivers one of his finest performances as Jeff Bailey, a man trying to escape his past but inevitably drawn back into a web of deceit and betrayal.

Jane Greer is equally mesmerizing as Kathie Moffat, the femme fatale who ensnares Jeff in her web of lies.

The plot twists and turns in unexpected ways, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats.

The cinematography is gorgeous, with beautiful shots of the California coastline and the dark, shadowy interiors of the film’s various locations.

Out of the Past is a classic of the film noir genre, and it’s easy to see why.

It’s a must-watch for fans of the genre, and for anyone who appreciates masterful filmmaking.

Out of the Past
  • Out Of The Past - Blu-ray Used Like New
  • Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer, Kirk Douglas (Actors)
  • Jacques Tourneur (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston, 1950)

The Asphalt Jungle is a quintessential film noir that showcases John Huston’s masterful direction and an outstanding ensemble cast.

The film follows a group of criminals as they plan and execute a heist, but as with any great noir, things quickly spiral out of control.

The characters are complex and well-drawn, from Sam Jaffe’s brilliant but aging mastermind to Sterling Hayden’s tough-talking, horse-loving crook.

The film also features standout performances from Louis Calhern as the corrupt lawyer and Jean Hagen as the femme fatale.

Huston’s direction is superb, capturing the gritty underworld of the city with stunning black and white cinematography.

The tension builds steadily throughout the film, leading to a thrilling and unforgettable climax.

The Asphalt Jungle (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Sterling Hayden, Marilyn Monroe (Actors)
  • John Huston (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1951)

In a Lonely Place (1951) is a haunting and thought-provoking film noir directed by Nicholas Ray and starring Humphrey Bogart and Gloria Grahame.

The film tells the story of Dixon Steele (Bogart), a troubled screenwriter who becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation.

Ray’s direction is masterful, creating a tense and oppressive atmosphere that perfectly captures the darkness and desperation of the story.

Bogart delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as the troubled and emotionally unstable Dixon, while Grahame is equally impressive as the actress who falls for him.

The film’s exploration of themes such as alienation, loneliness, and the destructive power of jealousy is both compelling and thought-provoking.

The screenplay, co-written by Ray, is full of sharp and insightful dialogue that adds to the film’s emotional depth and complexity.

The film’s use of shadow and light, coupled with the moody and atmospheric score, create a sense of unease and tension that lingers long after the credits roll.

The final scene is particularly powerful, leaving the viewer with a sense of ambiguity and uncertainty that adds to the film’s haunting quality.

In a Lonely Place (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Humphrey Bogart, Gloria Grahame, Frank Lovejoy (Actors)
  • Nicholas Ray (Director)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

Common Motifs Of Classic Film Noir Films

The style of film noir is a cinematic one, characterized by its distinctive lighting and the use of dark shadows to produce deep chiaroscuro effects.

Film noir also employs many themes found in hardboiled detective novels, such as femmes fatales, corrupt city officials, private investigators with rough edges, and flawed heroes.

It typically includes a reversal of idealized justice or happy endings for the good guy.

The term “film noir” means “dark movie” in French; it was coined by film critics who noticed that most films released after World War II were darker than their predecessors.

Noir films are a genre of film that is characterized by darkness, moral ambiguity, and a general sense of pessimism.

Noir films take this idea to new heights with their dark and moody atmosphere which makes audiences feel like they’re being sucked into another world altogether.

These movies often feature characters who are unable to escape their fate or find redemption for past sins – a hopelessness that reflects the era in which these

These types of movies are characterized by their cynical tone and downbeat moods.

They usually feature antiheroes – morally ambiguous protagonists who are not above committing crimes themselves in order to get what they want or stop someone else from doing so.

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