Classic Movies:

The Third Man

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The Third Man on DVD
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"A B/W classic"
5 stars"
Purchased on Mighty Ape

The story-line, the B/W medium and the resulting clever effects with shadows reinforces this as an all-time classic of its day. The sound quality was somewhat variable but the vision was first rate. Brian James, South Australia


Hunted by men…Sought by WOMEN!

This classic noir mystery, from the team of Carol Reed and Graham Greene, is generally considered to be the best filmwork of both of these estimable talents. THE THIRD MAN features Joseph Cotten as Holly Martins, a pulp novelist who has come to post-WWII Vienna with the promise of work from his friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles). When he finds that Lime has just been killed in a questionable car accident, he decides to remain in the city to investigate his friend's demise.


There have been few better movies in the history of the planet than The Third Man, and fewer still as brilliantly directed from second to second. Orson Welles played the title role, and his legend has tended to engulf the film. But it was directed by Carol Reed and written--except for a Wellesian riff on the Borgias--by Graham Greene, and the credit for this masterpiece is properly theirs. Theirs and Joseph Cotten's; for awesome as Welles is, his Citizen Kane second banana is onscreen about six times as much, and Cotten uses every minute to create one of the most distinctive--if also forlorn--of modern heroes.
You know the story. Holly Martins (Cotten), a writer of pulp Westerns and one of life's congenital third-raters, arrives in post-WWII Vienna only to learn that his old pal Harry Lime, the guy who sent him his plane ticket, is being buried. Everybody, from a cynical British cop named Calloway (Trevor Howard) to Harry's Continental knockout of a girlfriend (AlidaValli) and his sundry absurd/Euro-sinister business associates, feels that Holly should get on another plane and go home. He doesn't. Things come to light. Other deaths follow. The world lies in utter ruin.

The Third Man completed a sublime hat trick--an international critical and popular smash following upon the success of Reed's Odd Man Out ('47) and The Fallen Idol ('48). Although other filmmakers had begun to use war-ravaged Europe as a great movie set, The Third Man is so vivid in its canny mix of gray semidocumentary and insanely angular, Expressionist/Surrealist chiaroscuro that it seems to have imagined not only the postwar thriller but also postwar Europe itself singlehandedly.

What great movie moments: The throwaway details like a mourner who forgets to drop his wreath on a newly dug grave. The sly editing whereby thick-headed Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee, once and future "M" to 007) goes on leafing through a magazine, knowing just the moment he must rise and subdue the nervy Yank who would take a punch at his boss. The way Anton Karas's legendary zither score seems to jangle in the very guy-lines of a bridge where, far below Robert Krasker's Oscar-winning camera, the Third Man calls a war council. The shadow of a dead man towering, big as Europe, over the nighttime streets of Vienna. --Richard T. Jameson

Special Features:

  • Theatrical Trailers
  • US Opening Sequence
  • The Third Man on the Radio
  • Lux Radio Theatre Presents 'The Third Man'
  • Radio Play 'A Ticket To Tangiers'
  • Photo Gallery
  • Sewer Footage
  • Anton Karas Newsreel Footage
Re-released on
February 25th, 2003
Movie Format
  • DVD
DVD Region
  • Region 4
  • Standard Edition
Aspect Ratio
  • 1.33 : 1
Length (Minutes)
Supported Audio
  • Dolby Digital Mono
Original Release Year
All-time sales rank
Top 5000
Product ID

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