The Third Man

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The Third Man Overview

Set in postwar Vienna, Austria, "The Third Man" stars Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a writer of pulp Westerns, who arrives penniless as a guest of his childhood chum Harry Lime, only to find him dead. Martins develops a conspiracy theory after learning of a "third man" present at the time of Harry's death, running into interference from British officer Maj. Calloway and falling head-over-heels for Harry's grief-stricken lover, Anna.

Who Stars in The Third Man

Joseph Cotten
Holly Martins

Joseph Cotten

Alida Valli
Anna Schmidt (as Valli)

Alida Valli

Orson Welles
Harry Lime

Orson Welles

Trevor Howard
Major Calloway

Trevor Howard

Bernard Lee
Sergeant Paine

Bernard Lee

Paul Hörbiger
Karl the Porter (as Paul Hoerbiger)

Paul Hörbiger


The Maltese Falcon
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Double Indemnity
Touch of Evil
Strangers on a Train
The Big Sleep
On the Waterfront
Witness for the Prosecution
The Night of the Hunter
The Apartment
Cool Hand Luke
The Grapes of Wrath
Sunset Boulevard
It Happened One Night
Anatomy of a Murder

Review for The Third Man

Author: CharlesTheBold

Holly Martens (Joseph Cotten) receives a job offer from his friend Harry Lime (Orson Welles) in postwar occupied Vienna. He arrives there only to find that Lime is dead and every witness has a different story. Being a pulp writer, Holly thinks he can solve the mystery. But this is a Graham Greene story, and the mystery is not just a whodunit but an exploration of evil. Tangling with a nihilistic band of black marketers exploiting the corruption and ruin of a great city after the war, Holly is told that he is in way over his head. The movie has many unusual touches. Expressionist camerawork increases the feeling of dread. The traditional orchestral accompaniment is eliminated, replaced by a single folk musician playing an eerie tune on a zither. Several scenes of the movie are in un-subtitled Austrian-German, leaving the audience feeling as bewildered as Holly as he tries to communicate with the locals. Holly's amateur sleuthing is frequently comic, in a story that is deadly serious. One of the masterpieces of noir cinema.

Images related to The Third Man


London Film Productions

British Lion Films



Release Date

Original Language

1 hr 44 mins

$ 596,349.00 (USA)

Thriller Mystery

austria cemetery black market grave soviet troops prater british army staged death investigation cover-up foot chase sewer post world war ii ferris wheel film noir vienna evasion missing man penicillin forged passport

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