->''"I killed him for money, and for a woman. Well, I didn't get the money, and I didn't get the woman. Pretty, isn't it?"''
-->-- '''Walter Neff'''
A 1944 FilmNoir, directed by Creator/BillyWilder, written by him and Creator/RaymondChandler, adapted from Creator/JamesMCain's earlier novel of the same title. Considered by many to be ''the'' definitive FilmNoir, and [[TropeCodifier popularizer of many of its tropes.]]
Walter Neff (Fred [=MacMurray=]) is a successful but bored insurance salesman who encounters Phyllis Dietrichson (Creator/BarbaraStanwyck) when he comes to her house to discuss automobile insurance. After the two have traded some innuendo-laden banter, Phyllis reveals that her marriage is not a particularly happy one and the pair end up conspiring to trick her husband into taking out an accident insurance policy -- and ensure that he then meets a tragic "accidental" end.
Neff, who has eleven years' experience in the insurance business, believes that he has the brains to pull off ThePerfectCrime. The only obstacle is his colleague and friend Barton Keyes ([[Creator/EdwardGRobinson Edward G. Robinson]]), the brilliant claims manager who can spot a phony insurance claim a mile away.
The story is told in flashback and narrated by Neff, who is [[ForegoneConclusion making a confession into his office Dictaphone]].
!!Provides examples of:
* AdaptationDistillation: Mildly. The film hews very close to the book for the most part (though it eliminates some revelations about Phyllis), but the ending is both spatially and temporally more compact. Its main differences are in the dialogue (Chandler believed Cain's dialogue [[PragmaticAdaptation wouldn't translate well]] to the screen) and the use of the FramingDevice of Neff recounting the story into the dictaphone.
* AdaptationalHeroism: Sort of. Basically, it was Chandler's idea to make Keyes the lovably passionate SympatheticInspectorAntagonist he is in the film. He doesn't have ''nearly'' as much characterization in the book.
* AdaptationNameChange: The novel's Walter Huff becomes Walter Neff in the film, for some reason. Mr. and Mrs. Dietrichson were Mr. and Mrs. Nordlinger in the novel; the latter choice was specifically because Chandler and Wilder thought that [[InherentlyFunnyWord Nordlinger]] was too silly a name for such a serious story.
* AntiHero: Walter Neff.
* ApocalypticLog: Neff's Dictaphone recording, and his diary entries in the original novel.
** Played with Mr. Dietrichson. While certainly loudmouthed and obnoxious, it's hinted that a great deal of what Phyllis tells Neff about him is exaggerated or made up in order to get him to go along with her plan.
** Also Phyllis herself.
* BattleaxeNurse: Three guesses on who was the nurse taking care of the late first Mrs. Dietrichson.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: [[spoiler:Walter]] and [[spoiler:Phyllis]] commit suicide at the end of the book, rather than face prison and execution for their crime.
* BlackAndGreyMorality: The one pure character (Dietrichson's daughter) seems to be the story's TheWoobie.
* BlackWidow: Phyllis, a poster girl.
* BlondesAreEvil: Phyllis.
* ChekhovsGunman: Nino.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Phyllis. Dear God, Phyllis.
* CigarChomper: Keyes
* ContrivedCoincidence: Dietrichson just so happening to injure his leg (and subsequently failing to file a claim under the insurance policy he didn't know he had) is what leads to Keyes SpottingTheThread.
* CreatorCameo: The film's co-screenwriter, Creator/RaymondChandler, appears briefly in one scene.
* DangerTakesABackseat: Justified in that Phyllis, the driver, is part of the murder plot and Walter is hiding back there to kill the passenger.
* DeadlyHug: How Phyllis meets her end.
* DeadPersonImpersonation: Used as part of the murder scheme.
* DeadpanSnarker: Neff and Keyes both do plenty of snarking.
* DoubleEntendre: Walter and Phyllis exchange many of these.
* DownerEnding: Obviously.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Keyes' introductory scene, in which he tears apart a guy trying to claim insurance on his truck by revealing that the man had set fire to it himself. The scene is irrelevant to the plot, but it serves to thoroughly introduce Keyes, his methods, his quirks, and his relationship to Neff
* FemmeFatale: Literally; Phyllis not only kills her husband and his first wife, but shoots Walter.
* FramingDevice: Neff's recounting of the story into the dictaphone.
* GoryDiscretionShot: When Walter kills Phyllis, he does so in a way that avoids showing any blood (with his back to the camera).
** Also, the camera pans to Phyllis's face while Neff kills Dietrichson.
* GrandStaircaseEntrance: Our first look at Phyllis, wearing nothing but a towel.
* GutFeeling: Keyes' "little man" who alerts him to any attempted InsuranceFraud.
* HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: Neff to Lola; an unusual case in that the character [[HeKnowsTooMuch who knows something]] is not immediately killed for it.
* HeelRealization: Walter has one at the end of the film that [[HeelFaceTurn prompts him to turn himself in.]]
** Foreshadowed by Phyllis
--->'''Phyllis:''' Because you don't want the money anymore even though you could have it because she's made you feel like a heel all of a sudden?
* HeroAntagonist: Arguably Keyes, depending on whether you see him as more of a force for LawfulGood or LawfulNeutral.
* HowMuchDidYouHear: Neff to Keyes when the latter walks in on his confession at the end.
* HowWeGotHere:The narrator gets shot prior to the movie's start, and retells everything before dying. In other words, he slowly bleeds to death for ''the whole movie'', not kicking it until the end. The book begins with him on a ship, also suffering from a gunshot wound, shortly before his SuicidePact with Phyllis.
* InsuranceFraud: The plot of the film revolves around Phyllis' attempt to arrange her husband's murder and collect his insurance money, which pays double in the event of accidental death (i.e. [[TitleDrop double indemnity]]).
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Barton Keyes (according to Neff, anyway).
* LadyMacbeth: Phyllis is it not to her husband but to Walter.
* LongList: Keyes' list of suicide methods.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: A necessary component of the InsuranceFraud scheme.
* MercyLead: Subverted at the end, when Neff asks Keyes for a couple of hours to get away and Keyes points out, quite rightly, that with that bullet wound he won't get very far ("You'll never make the border, you'll never even make the elevator.")
* MoralityPet: Lola, to Walter.
* MyCarHatesMe: One of the most tense scenes is when Walter and Phyllis attempt to make a getaway from the murder scene ... and the car stalls. Apparently this wasn't in the script but [[ThrowItIn left in anyway because it works so well.]]
* NeckSnap: How Walter kills Dietrichson.
* NeverSuicide: Averted - this is Norton's initial theory about Dietrichson's death. Keyes promptly points out the impracticality of the method in question for deliberately killing oneself.
* NeverTellMeTheOdds: Keyes is fond of quoting statistics. After all, it's his job.
* OnlyAFleshWound: Averted. Neff receives a (visually-downplayed) gunshot wound in the shoulder, and [[spoiler:apparently dies from it at the end]].
* OOCIsSeriousBusiness: In the final sequence, Keyes's composed and reserved demeanor is quite a jarring contrast to his wildly passionate and supremely confident attitude throughout the film. It really conveys how emotionally crushed he is upon discovering that his best friend and colleague was the murderer all along.
* PetTheDog: Walter's friendliness to Nino and Lola.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Subverted. Neff is sure that Keyes is going to hit him with one of these, full of "twenty-dollar words," but Keyes just looks at him with his eyes full of sorrow and betrayal and says:
-->"Walter...you're all washed up."
* RevisedEnding: One of the main areas in which the film differs from the book.
* RunningGag: Keyes ends all his conversations by pulling out a cigar and patting all his pockets for a light. He never has one at hand, so Neff has to come to his rescue with a quickly-lit match. In the last scene, their roles are reversed: Neff, dying from his bullet wound, is too weak to light a match for his own cigarette; Keyes has to light it for him.
* SchmuckBait: The titular Double Indemnity clauses are clearly described as this by Walter. [[WhatAnIdiot They go for it anyway]].
* SeriouslyScruffy: Keyes, with his rolled up sleeves, overflowing pockets and his tie worn over his waistcoat is shorthand for how obsessive and overworked he is.
* ShoutOut: Phyllis Dietrichson's surname is most likely a ShoutOut to classic femme fatale actress Marlene Dietrich.
-->'''Phyllis:''' We're not the same anymore. We did it so we could be together but instead of that it's pulling us apart, isn't it, Walter?
-->'''Walter:''' What are you talking about?
-->'''Phyllis:''' You don't really care whether we see each other or not!
-->'''Walter:''' Shut up, baby. [kisses her]
* SympatheticInspectorAntagonist: Keyes.
* TitleDrop: As Neff explains the clause in accident insurance policies that would result in even more money, if it's "the kind that almost never happens": "Little thing called 'double indemnity'...."
* TheVamp: Phyllis Dietrichson.
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Based on the 1927 Snyder-Gray murder, which also inspired ''BodyHeat'' and ''Literature/ThePostmanAlwaysRingsTwice''
* VillainProtagonist: Neff may be a sap who falls prey to Phyllis' manipulation; but he's also a murderer.
* VitriolicBestBuds: Keyes and Neff have shades of this... and sometimes a [[HoYay bit]] ''more'' than this.
-->'''Keyes:''' Now that's enough out of you, Walter. Now get outta here before I throw my desk at you.
-->'''Neff:''' [[DeadpanSnarker I love you, too.]]