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Top 100 Noir

Posted by martinteller on December 1, 2012

I urge everyone not to take the rankings too literally. I basically took the list I slapped together last year and reslapped it based on my current Criticker scores, which are very slippery and arbitrary. While it’s safe to say that I like Double Indemnity more than The Locket, the numbers themselves are pretty fluid. I’d say it was hard to cut some off the list, but it wasn’t because I’m not taking this too seriously. This is simply a list of 100 noirs that I’m happy to call my “favorites”, with the understanding that there’s probably about 25-30 more I’d also be happy to call “favorites”, another 40-ish I’d say that I love, and likely another 100 that I enjoyed watching. As I continue to watch and rewatch, the list will undoubtedly change, perhaps even drastically. But for this moment, here’s a nice round number of noir goodies that I recommend.

1. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)

2. Sweet Smell of Success (Alexander Mackendrick, 1957)

3. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)

4. The Lineup (Don Siegel, 1958)

5. The Burglar (Paul Wendkos, 1957)

6. Nightmare Alley (Edmund Goulding, 1947)

7. Odds Against Tomorrow (Robert Wise, 1959)

8. Beyond the Forest (King Vidor, 1949)

9. Blast of Silence (Allen Baron, 1961)

10. They Made Me a Fugitive (Alberto Cavalcanti, 1947)

11. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)

12. The Asphalt Jungle (John Huston, 1950)

13. Murder By Contract (Irving Lerner, 1958)

14. Sudden Fear (David Miller, 1952)

15. The Phenix City Story (Phil Karlson, 1955)

16. Storm Fear (Cornel Wilde, 1952)

17. Raw Deal (Anthony Mann, 1948)

18. Night and the City (Jules Dassin, 1950)

19. Betrayed a.k.a. When Strangers Marry (William Castle, 1944)

20. The Third Man (Carol Reed, 1949)

21. Secret Beyond the Door (Fritz Lang, 1948)

22. Cry of the City (Robert Siodmak, 1948)

23. Human Desire (Fritz Lang, 1954)

24. Moonrise (Frank Borzage, 1948)

25. Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery, 1947)

26. Thieves’ Highway (Jules Dassin, 1949)

27. Pickup on South Street (Sam Fuller, 1953)

28. Plunder Road (Hubert Cornfield, 1957)

29. The Set-Up (Robert Wise, 1949)

30. One Way Street (Hugo Fregonese, 1950)

31. Cape Fear (J. Lee Thompson, 1961)

32. They Live By Night (Nicholas Ray, 1948)

33. Shadow of a Doubt (Alfred Hitchcock, 1943)

34. The Hitch-Hiker (Ida Lupino, 1953)

35. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)

36. Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949)

37. Where the Sidewalk Ends (Otto Preminger, 1950)

38. Gaslight (George Cukor, 1944)

39. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (Lewis Milestone, 1946)

40. The Threat (Felix Feist, 1949)

41. Quicksand (Irving Pichel, 1950)

42. Female on the Beach (Joseph Pevney, 1955)

43. Cry Vengeance (Mark Stevens, 1954)

44. Out of the Past (Jacques Tourneur, 1947)

45. Leave Her to Heaven (John M. Stahl, 1945)

46. The Gangster (Gordon Wiles, 1947)

47. The Crimson Kimono (Sam Fuller, 1959)

48. Journey Into Fear (Norman Foster, 1942)

49. Edge of Doom (Mark Robson, 1950)

50. No Way Out (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1950)

51. Without Warning! (Arnold Laven, 1952)

52. The Big Night (Joseph Losey, 1951)

53. Force of Evil (Abraham Polonsky, 1948)

54. Shield for Murder (Howard W. Koch & Edmond O’Brien, 1954)

55. Act of Violence (Fred Zinnemann, 1948)

56. The Two Mrs. Carrolls (Peter Godfrey, 1947)

57. The Killing (Stanley Kubrick, 1956)

58. 99 River Street (Phil Karlson, 1953)

59. Gilda (Charles Vidor, 1946)

60. Fallen Angel (Otto Preminger, 1945)

61. The Breaking Point (Michael Curtiz, 1950)

62. Kansas City Confidential (Phil Karlson, 1952)

63. Sleep, My Love (Douglas Sirk, 1948)

64. Too Late for Tears (Byron Haskin, 1949)

65. Side Street (Anthony Mann, 1950)

66. Scandal Sheet (Phil Karlson, 1952)

67. Split Second (Dick Powell, 1953)

68. The Red House (Delmer Daves, 1947)

69. Border Incident (Anthony Mann, 1949)

70. Time Table (Mark Stevens, 1956)

71. Mystery Street (John Sturges, 1950)

72. High Wall (Curtis Bernhardt, 1947)

73. T-Men (Anthony Mann, 1947)

74. The Scar a.k.a. Hollow Triumph (Steve Sekely, 1948)

75. The Big Combo (Joseph H. Lewis, 1955)

76. The Wrong Man (Alfred Hitchcock, 1956)

77. Another Man’s Poison (Irving Rapper, 1951)

78. The Devil Thumbs a Ride (Felix Feist, 1947)

79. The Underworld Story (Cy Endfield, 1950)

80. Union Station (Rudolph Maté, 1950)

81. Dark Waters (Andre De Toth, 1944)

82. The Maltese Falcon (John Huston, 1941)

83. The Lady from Shanghai (Orson Welles, 1948)

84. The Lodger (John Brahm, 1944)

85. The Narrow Margin (Richard Fleischer, 1952)

86. Woman on the Run (Norman Foster, 1950)

87. Stranger on the Third Floor (Boris Ingster, 1940)

88. Hangover Square (John Brahm, 1945)

89. Dead Reckoning (John Cromwell, 1947)

90. The Desperate Hours (William Wyler, 1955)

91. The 13th Letter (Otto Preminger, 1951)

92. The Guilty (John Reinhardt, 1947)

93. Detour (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1945)

94. Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1949)

95. The Chase (Arthur Ripley, 1946)

96. I Walk Alone (Byron Haskin, 1947)

97. Crashout (Lewis R. Foster, 1955)

98. Sunset Blvd. (Billy Wilder, 1950)

99. Don’t Bother to Knock (Roy Ward Baker, 1952)

100. Chicago Calling (John Reinhardt, 1951)


8 Responses to “Top 100 Noir”

  1. Teddy said

    Fantastic list! I have seen very few of these films (most likely 1/3), but my favorites from the list are: Sunset Boulevard, Double Indemnity, Touch Of Evil, The Lady From Shanghai, The Asphalt Jungle, Don’t Bother To Knock, Out Of The Past, Leave Her To Heaven and The Third Man. Funnily enough, Notorious and Shadow Of A Doubt (besides Rebecca) are my two least favorite Hitchcocks. I also found The Night Of The Hunter completely silly. I hated it. But, I’m sad that The Big Heat did not make the list, though I hope it is amongst the other film noirs that you love! Great job assembling this list.

    • Thanks Teddy! Glad to hear from a reader, especially a fan of Don’t Bother to Knock! If you’ve only seen it once, give Night of the Hunter another go. It grows on you. The Big Heat is one I like but not love. But who knows, it could click with me on the third viewing. I hope you explore some of the other noirs on this list, and let me know how they work out for you!

  2. david hartzog said

    Great list, nice to see The Burgler rank high.

  3. insermini said

    I agree with most of them and it’s great to see some personal faves like Sudden fear, Raw Deal and Murder by Contract.. I’ll check the ones I have not seen

  4. steve shuttleworth said

    I’ve seen them all and agree with most of your choices. I am somewhat surprised (shocked, to be honest) by the absence of my particular favorite, “I Wake Up Screaming” as well as “They Won’t Believe Me.” If you haven’t seen ’em, do so. They’re swell.

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