24 Responses

  1. Micha12
    Micha12 at |

    I 'm so glad you picked this topic. This is absolutely my favorite film genre. I haven't seen all the films on this list, so you've given me some new titles to put on my netflix queue–thank you 🙂

  2. TriviaFan
    TriviaFan at |

    Great list.

    Would 'Night of the Hunter' and 'Touch of Evil' be considered film noir? Those two are some of my favorites.

  3. zylpher
    zylpher at |

    What about 'The Third Man'

    Best Orsen Welles Film I have seen.

  4. Micha12
    Micha12 at |


    Yes, according to both imdb and netflix, both of the movies you asked about are film noir. They're also highly rated, so you've given me a couple more to add to my queue.

    1. TriviaFan
      TriviaFan at |

      Thanks Micha12 I thought they might be film noir's.

  5. Terry Bigham
    Terry Bigham at |

    There are many more noirs to add to the list. Some examples: Jules Dassin's exemplary adaptation of Gerald Kersh's "Night and the City" (filmed in London when Dassin left America in the early days of the HUAC witch hunts) and his gritty prison drama "Brute Force" (penned by Richard Brooks), Edward Dmytryk's "Murder My Sweet" (the first filming of Chandler's "Farewell, My Lovely", and far more noir than Huston's "Falcon") and Anti-Semitism drama "Crossfire" (from a novel by Brooks), Robert Siodmak's "Criss Cross", Kubrick's early noir "The Killing", and Robert Aldrich's cult version of Spillane's "Kiss Me, Deadly".

  6. katefan
    katefan at |

    Awesome list! My knee-jerk reaction would have been to have The Maltese Falcon higher (mostly because I love the film so much), but while it is possibly the first film noir it is not the grittiest or most intense and compared to some utter bastards shown in the genre Sam Spade is almost a saint. So I think your ranking was fair.

    I haven't seen half these movies, now I desperately want to.

    1. Nathanael Hood
      Nathanael Hood at |

      Well actually, I think I forgot to mention that these films are listed in chronological order from when they were released. That's why "The Maltese Falcon" was the first on the list. It wasn't because it was inferior in any way. It's just that it came out first.

      I'm glad that you all seem to like this list. I would be happy to do a follow up of "Another Top Ten Film Noir" if you want.

      Leave a comment if you do.

      1. katefan
        katefan at |

        Ah, I hadn't noticed that was how the list was structured.

        I just saw Out of The Past. My library had it and I checked it out, and it is a stunning film. In a big way it is superior to The Big Sleep in that you can actually follow the plot. 🙂

  7. Wayne
    Wayne at |

    No Casablanca, The Third Man, or Chinatown? Are you writing about your "favorites" from film noir, or the "Top 10" because those, it seems, are two very different things.

    1. Nathanael Hood
      Nathanael Hood at |

      Casablanca is really up for debate on whether or not it is a true film noir.

      Chinatown is a neo-noir. The purpose of this list was to examine classic noir.

      And The Third Man…

      Well, I was saving that for another list…

      1. Joao
        Joao at |

        Being a huge film noir fan myself (I nearly watch nothing else). I have to say that this list is exceptionally good. I have seen no better one at the whole internet. Ranking them in chronological order is the only right choice. Making a top ten after preference is nearly impossible. I tried it once. I got a top 15 or something like that and in chronological order, too ;-).

        The only weaknesses I see are #3 and #1. I think that there are film noirs, that are far superior than those two. The build-up of Pickup is perfect, that's true. But then it gets very, very weak. The ending must be one of the worst in the history of film noir ever. I can not say much to Sweet Smell, because I hardly remember it, which is not a good sign at all. Maybe I'll give it another chance one day.

        1. Nathanael Hood
          Nathanael Hood at |

          Thank you for the compliments. I worked really hard on this list. But I would like to address your complaints about numbers 1 and 3.

          By the way, the below contains spoilers.

          I think that the ending of "Pickup on South Street" is a perfect film noir ending. Yes, it is a happy one, but the way that he achieved it was classic film noir. He didn't defeat the bad guys because he wanted to do the right thing. He did it because the bad guys hurt people that he loved and cared for. They killed Moe and beat up his lover. That was why he turned them into the cops. He was operating according to his own personal code, not society's expectations. Not to mention that he was motivated by wishes of revenge, not goodness. And the end clearly signifies that he hasn't given up his criminal ways. I know that a happy ending at the end of a film noir seems unusual. But the fact remains that the only thing that changed about the main character was that he decided to open his heart to the prostitute.

          As for "The Sweet Smell of Success," I don't know what to say. It is universally beloved as one of the essential film noir. Everything about it from the characters to the cinematography to the plot is quintessential film noir. Not to mention that it has one of the greatest screenplays ever written.

          But thank you again for your compliments. I'm going to write a sequel list at some point and I would love it if you would tell me what you think about it.

          By the way, I would love to hear what you think about my film blog. I have reviewed a couple of film noir that weren't on this list on it. The link is:


          Thanks again!

  8. pete
    pete at |

    The movie "The Third Man" should make number one on the list imo. (I am aware its british but film noir is not realy us movies only and the term is more of a concept)

    besides this the list is cool 🙂

  9. fanatik
    fanatik at |

    My faves –
    The Postman Always Rings Twice”
    The original (1946) starring Lana Turner and John Garfield was the best. The remake (1981) with Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson was good, too.

    “Body Heat” (1982) Kathleen Turner, William Hurt, Richard Crenna

  10. Vardos
    Vardos at |

    This is a great list but probably the best noir film ever made isn’t on this list and that is The Asphalt Jungle. The movie is almost the text book definition of noir and quite possibly the greatest heist picture ever made.

  11. Caleb
    Caleb at |

    I can’t believe that no one has mentioned Sunset Boulevard. I’ve always considered it a noir juggernaut.

  12. Peter Boucher
    Peter Boucher at |

    What about the French movie “Man Bites Dog”

  13. Doctor
    Doctor at |

    What happened with Rififi? Isn’t this movie a noir film? Or just because it’s french doesnt belong to this list?

  14. LaraP
    LaraP at |

    ‘The Third Man’ is without question the best noir movie of all time. I know ‘Chinatown’ is neo but I really hate seeing any list of great noir that doesn’t include it (though I understand why you didn’t). Excellent list with some amazing films — for noir fans, ALL of these are must-see. Again though, I’d seriously consider adding ‘Third Man.’ Amazing stuff.

  15. Lee Dunton
    Lee Dunton at |

    good list , although I would haesubbedv #1 and #3 for Sunset Blvd. and Lady from Shanghai myself. Long live film noir!

  16. Sergey
    Sergey at |

    Thanks, Nathanael!
    My quest is over – finally, I’ve seen all the films from this list as well as from “Another top ten film noir movies”. I DO need another 10 noirs to watch! Please, help!

    1. TopTenz Master
      TopTenz Master at |

      Here you go, also from Nathanael – http://www.toptenz.net/another-top-10-film-noir-movies.php

  17. Gerry Kachmarski
    Gerry Kachmarski at |

    One problem with creating a short list like this is that you have to decide whether a film is interesting because it features what are considered to be a typical noir style and noir themes or because it does so in an especially compelling way. Is it somehow representative of the genre or is it good? I could never include Detour on an abbreviated list like this or recommend it to a friend as a must-see although it is absolutely distilled essence of noir. But I certainly would include (as some of the other commentators would) Asphalt Jungle and The Third Man because of their excellence.


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