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10 All-Time Favorite Film Noirs (1 Viewer)

filmnoirguy

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I know this thread is mainly on post-1970 film noir, but if it's allowed I'd be interested to hear from filmnoirguy and anyone else what their top ten or so favorite film noirs are from the classic era from the early 40s to the late 50s.
Sunset Blvd is my "all-timer" film noir. In fact, it's my favorite movie, bar none. Other favorites from the Golden Age (in order of release): The Maltese Falcon, I Wake Up Screaming, Double Indemnity, Laura, Leave Her to Heaven (color), Mildred Pierce, Gilda, Strangers on a Train, Ace in the Hole, Sudden Fear, Niagara (color), Pickup on South Street.
 

Robert Crawford

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I'm going to need some time to rank my favorite ten film noirs.
I couldn't get it down to my favorite ten film noirs. The best I could do was name my favorite 25 film noirs. This list isn't what I think are the best film noirs, but which film noirs I enjoy watching more than any other such film. Furthermore, this isn't in any type of rank order, but as they came to my "pea" brain during this process. Even so, I still have a feeling like I left some movie out.:D

  1. Force of Evil
  2. The Breaking Point
  3. Cry of the City
  4. Kiss of Death (1947)
  5. The Big Heat
  6. Pickup on South Street
  7. White Heat
  8. The Naked City
  9. The Killers (1946)
  10. Laura
  11. Double Indemnity
  12. Crossfire
  13. Detective Story
  14. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
  15. The Set-Up
  16. This Gun for Hire
  17. The Spiral Staircase
  18. Phantom Lady
  19. He Walked by Night
  20. The Maltese Falcon
  21. The Big Sleep
  22. Ride the Pink Horse
  23. Lady in the Lake
  24. Body and Soul (1947)
  25. The Night of the Hunter
 

Robert Crawford

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*cough* Out of the Past *cough* :)

Still thinking about my list, but I have a pretty good idea about a few of them. Robert's list is a pretty good starting point to work off of for those so inclined.

- Walter.
No, I considered it, but I enjoy those other 25 movies more so. However, if I had to come up with the best 25 film noirs ever made then "Out of the Past" would be on that list along with a title like "The Third Man".
 

Walter Kittel

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Do you guys consider The Third Man a noir?

It feels a bit different than my standard ideas of what comprises a noir film due to its mystery / suspense / thriller elements and its silent film influences, to name two factors. The distinctive score also tends to set the film apart. But the cinematography, the betrayal at the heart of the film, and the resolution of the film all help categorize it as noir. So to answer the question, yes.

It is undoubtedly a great film, but it won't make my 'favorites' list as I tend to prefer more traditional noir tropes. (The betrayal does not involve a femme fatale, another way the film differentiates itself from more traditional noir fare.)

- Walter.
 

filmnoirguy

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A Few more that definitely belong on my films noir list: The Narrow Margin, The Asphalt Jungle, Nightmare Alley (1947) and how could I possibly forget Out of the Past!
 

Walter Kittel

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With the caveat that there are some classics which to this day I still have not viewed. (Only so many hours in the day)

Roughly in order of preference...

The Big Heat
Kiss Me Deadly
Force of Evil
Out of the Past
Night of the Hunter
In A Lonely Place
Kiss of Death
The Woman In The Window
Detour
The Set-Up


- Walter.
 

benbess

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These are great lists. Thanks.

Two of my favorite people to watch movies with are my Mom and my daughter. They are both perceptive and feeling movie-goers, although with very different tastes, who have still not seen that many classic movies.

Anyway, in another thread, before this one existed, I described introducing my 20-year old daughter recently to one of my favorite film noirs, Vertigo. We were only able to watch the first half of it before she went on a trip, but the day before yesterday we watched the second half.

Something getting in the way of my full appreciation of the movie the first time I watched it, which I mentioned to my daughter, was that I was at first a bit too tied up in focusing on the physical Vertigo effect, that dizzy and queasy feeling someone can get from heights, and so didn't fully feel on my first viewing long ago that really the Vertigo is just as much a moral dizziness and fall.

I was born in Berkeley, California, grew up mostly in the LA area, but went to college at Santa Cruz. Since I was a kid I've visited San Francisco sometimes, and so the loving portrayal of that city in the late 50s is one of the pleasures for me of Vertigo. I've also been to the redwoods since young, and even long ago saw a tree with dates at a National Park like found in the movie. One thing permeating the movie, both visually and in the screenplay, is that the "portals of the past"—real, made-up, and historical, affect our lives. This gives the movie a larger dimension, beyond its plot.

Anyway, my daughter and I both agreed that Midge is in some ways our favorite character, and in a way the only sane main character in the picture. My daughter said the next day after we finished watching, after thinking about it a bit, that she felt sorry for both of the other main characters, who we agreed were really broken people throughout. We both agreed that Scotty's make-over of Judy was creepy.

The new 4K UHD presentation is outstanding, and I was glad to be able to introduce it to my daughter in the best quality. Clearly the music by Bernard Herrmann is a key part of this movie.

vertigo tree rings.jpeg
vertigo redwoods.jpeg
 
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Beckford

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1. Gun Crazy
2. Criss Cross
3. The Asphalt Jungle
4. Pitfall
5. This Gun for Hire
6. Murder By Contract
7. The Lady from Shanghai
8. Pool of London
9. The Prowler
10. Suspense

The Night of the Hunter
and The Third Man are both very great films but don't - I think - fit quite as perfectly into the noir categorization as the titles above.
Hated to leave off High Sierra, The Stranger. The Big Heat, The Killing and They Live By Night.
 

EricSchulz

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Just in time for this if you're in the Chicago area! If nothing else, I'm going to see Sorry, Wrong Number!


It doesn't show up as a regular link...it's the schedule for Noir City Film Festival at Chicago's Music Box Theater!
 

French Creek

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Picking only 10 noirs is murder. I had to leave out far too many great films. In no particular order:

The Big Heat
The Big Sleep
Detour
Double Indemnity
Kiss Me Deadly
Laura
The Maltese Falcon
Murder, My sweet
Pickup on South Street
Touch of Evil
 

StephenKS

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On the Home Theater Forum, I normally just enjoy reading the discussion, but upon finding no mention made of the original (1949) version of D.O.A. among favorite film noirs, I have succumbed to the list-making side of my personality.
I have tried to copy no previously named films, though, as a huge fan of the genre (In a Lonely Place, Laura, Big Heat, etc.), I wholeheartedly endorse those selections previously made, by others. My list, alphabetically:
Big Clock, the;
Christmas Holiday (no BluRay);
D.O.A. (no BluRay);
Fourteen Hours;
Garment Jungle;
I Wake Up Screaming;
Long Goodbye, the;
Notorious;
Suddenly: and
Sweet Smell of Success, the.
For an 11th, I'd add the original version (1962) of Manchurian Candidate. It seems to meet all the noir criteria and serves as a hybrid connection to the later noir favorites, like Body Heat and Chinatown.
 

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