[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/untitl_(2).jpg]]
->''"Don't be so gloomy. After all, it's not that awful. You know what the fellow said: in Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock."'' [[note]]Cuckoo clocks were actually invented in the Black Forest (now in Baden-Württemberg, Germany). Sorry, Switzerland.[[/note]]

1949 British FilmNoir set in post-war Vienna, directed by Carol Reed from a story by Creator/GrahamGreene and starring Creator/JosephCotten, Alida Valli, Creator/TrevorHoward, and Creator/OrsonWelles.

Down-on-his-luck American writer Holly Martins (Cotten) arrives in postwar Vienna to meet with an old friend, Harry Lime (Welles), who has offered him a job. Unfortunately, the day Martins arrives, he finds out that Lime is dead.

Martins becomes entangled in a web of stories that make his pulp {{Western}}s seem quaint in comparison. Investigating the death of his friend in order to clear his name from the selling of stolen and diluted penicillin he meets Lime's former love interest, a seemingly crooked cop, and a porter who has seen far too much. Martin's quest to clear the name of his friend drags him into dangerous territory and challenges his [[BlackAndWhiteMorality preconceived notions of good and evil]].

The story takes many of the tropes commonly associated with FilmNoir and plays with them. The film is also famous for its hypnotic music score by zitherist Anton Karas (whose title theme became a huge hit).

Led to the RadioDrama series ''Radio/TheLivesOfHarryLime''.

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!!This film provides examples of:

* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: Justified. Vienna's real spacious sewers were used in the film.
* AccidentalMisnaming:
** Martins keeps addressing Calloway as "Callahan".
---> It's Calloway! I'm English, not Irish.
** At several points Anna accidentally addresses Holly as [[FreudianSlip "Harry."]]
* AdaptationDistillation: The final film discards the [[spoiler: happier]] ending initially written by screenwriter Graham Greene and appearing in Greene's novella of the story. Greene later said he preferred the film's ending.
* TheAdjectivalMan: The title of the film.
* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler: Harry Lime.]] It helps that he's played by Orson Welles, but he's significantly less sympathetic than [[Film/CitizenKane Charles Foster Kane]].
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys: Anna gets the same lecture on how evil Harry is as Martins, but that doesn't make her any less worshipful of him. Her justification: "A person doesn't change just because you learn more about them." Apparently, Anna doesn't do FridgeLogic. Harry was ''always'' a sociopath. Though the reason she loves him, forging her papers and thus letting her stay in Vienna longer, stands regardless of what else Harry did.
* AmusementPark: Lime gives the "cuckoo clock" speech inside the Ferris wheel at the city's Wurstelprater park.
* AntagonistTitle: The title refers to Harry Lime.
* AntiHero: Both Holly Martins and Major Calloway. Martins is a ClassicalAntiHero, he wants to solve the mystery of his best friends's death and bring justice to the world. However, he's overly idealistic and is a ManChild and a IdiotHero, though he does grow wiser at the end of the film. Major Calloway, on the other hand, is a PragmaticHero, he wants to capture criminals and bring an end to crime. However, he's willing to blackmail innocents, use people as pawns and kill in cold blood if it's necessary. He's also TheCynic and a KnightInSourArmour, rejecting all of Holly's notions of heroism.
* TheApocalypseBringsOutTheBestInPeople: Harry Lime's cynical "cuckoo-clock" speech invokes this trope as a kind of defense and excuse for his actions. Not only saying what he does is okay, but that it would possibly benefit civilization.
** Though given how his actions only benefit Lime himself, its clear that the "cuckoo-clock" speech was only an attempt to manipulate Holly
* ArchEnemy: [[spoiler:Harry Lime]] to Holly Martins
* ArtisticLicenseHistory: The famous cuckoo-clock speech is this:
** For starters, the Borgia did not rule Italy for thirty years. They only ever ruled Rome and UsefulNotes/ThePapalStates, and, even then, UsefulNotes/PopeAlexanderVI only had a term for 9 years; with his death, [[BrieferThanTheyThink the Borgia were finished as a political entity]] in European politics. The Renaissance had begun and been ongoing for a hundred years at that point, and it was centered in Florence under the Medici which ''was'' a republic (albeit corrupt and oligarchical); that's where Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and others all came from[[note]]The speech might have been better served if Lime substituted the Medici for the Borgia and made 30 years 160 years[[/note]]. The Renaissance only spread to Rome after the Borgia were toppled, and, while Leonardo did fraternize with Cesare Borgia, his best works [[note]]The Last Supper, the Mona Lisa[[/note]] were commissions that preceded and succeeded that association.
** Switzerland wasn't quite a cultural wasteland drudged by peace. It was the birth place and residence of mathematics geniuses like Leonard Euler and the Bernouli family as well as thinkers like Creator/JeanJacquesRousseau, Benjamin Constant, Germaine de Staël, and UsefulNotes/CarlJung.
** Moreover, for hundreds of years the Swiss were not only at war with one another but their main export was The Swiss Guard, some of the finest mercenaries Europe had ever seen who still serve as the Pope's personal bodyguards to this day.
** And, of course, the cuckoo-clock was invented in the Black Forest.
* BeleagueredChildhoodFriend: The whole plot is essentially built around this relationship between Holly and Lime - except that Lime is [[spoiler: believed to be]] already dead.
* BigBad: Harry Lime.
* BigBadFriend: [[spoiler:Holly is investigating the murder of his friend Harry. It turns out that Harry is alive and engaged in horrible crimes. He's the villain of the story]].
* BigEntrance: Harry gets one of the best entrances in film history [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeJVNQ4ngfo]].
* BigShadowLittleCreature: Police on a night stakeout see a threatening shadow cast two stories high. It turns out to be a balloon peddler.
* BilingualBonus: Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
* BittersweetEnding: And how!
* BlackMarket: The story deals with the black market in post-UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Vienna
-->'''Opening narrator:''' ''I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and easy charm. Constantinople suited me better.''
-->[Scenes of black market goods changing hands]
-->'''Opening narrator:''' '' I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough and had the money to pay. Of course a situation like that does tempt amateurs.''
-->[Dead body seen floating in the river]
-->'''Opening narrator:''' '' But, well, you know, they can't stay the course [[FriendInTheBlackMarket like a professional.]]''
* BlitheSpirit: Subverted with Holly Martins. He's a brash American who comes to Vienna and thinks he's going to prove everyone wrong about his dead friend Harry Lime, only to end up in over his head and screwing everything up.
* BookDumb: Not knowing who or what Creator/JamesJoyce was, and not being informed of what literary components he uses in his cheap novelettes, Martins is literally book dumb.
** It's implied that Holly is just not a good public speaker, and the Joyce questions comes about right around when Popescu shows up, distracting Holly from answering it.
* BookEnds: The movie starts and ends with a funeral. [[spoiler: Both funerals are for the same character, Harry Lime]]
* BreakingSpeech: Lime gives a tremendously powerful one on [[SignatureScene the Ferris Wheel]].
-->'''[[Creator/OrsonWelles Lime]]''': Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or [[PragmaticVillainy would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare]]? Free of income tax, old man. Free of income tax - the only way you can save money nowadays.
* BrokenRecord:
** [[StopOrIWillShoot Halt! Stehenbleiben, oder ich schieß! Halt! Stehenbleiben, oder ich schieß! Halt! Stehenbleiben, oder ich schieß!]]
** Also the 5-year old boy, always with the same sing-song intonation: "Mörder! Mörder! Mörder!"
* BulletHolesAndRevelations: Holly and Harry have a stand off on the stairs up to a manhole tunnel at each other, then it cuts to Captain Calloway hearing the gun go off [[spoiler: Holly comes walking down the sewer tunnel]].
* TheChase: The film climaxes with a chase into the sewers of Vienna as Harry goes on the run from the police.
* ChekhovMIA
* CityOfSpies: Post-war Vienna is a hotbed of intrigue (and zither music).
* ComingOfAgeStory: Holly is something of a ManChild: the books he makes a living writing are escapist westerns with BlackAndWhiteMorality. His naive search for justice in the death of his best friend forces him to come to terms with a WorldHalfEmpty.
* CoversAlwaysLie
* CrapsackWorld: What's really depressing is that it was shot on location in a bombed-out, post WWII-era Vienna. That's our WorldHalfEmpty.
* CreepyChild: Probably not the intent, but the fact that the little boy is smiling while he's yelling about how he thinks Holly killed his father is a little offputting.
* {{Deconstruction}}: Half the point of the movie is to question, dissect and generally shred American notions of heroism.
* [[ComingOfAgeStory Delayed Coming Of Age Story]]: Holly Martins is something of a ManChild: the books he makes a living writing are {{Escapis|m}}t westerns with BlackAndWhiteMorality. His naive search for justice in the death of his best friend [[BigBadFriend Harry Lime]] forces him to come to terms with a WorldHalfEmpty.
* CultSoundtrack: The film boasts a memorable score courtesy of Anton Karas' famous zither music, which sold over millions.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: This scene was done so effectively that it's been given a ShoutOut in several later movies, including Creator/MartinScorsese's ''Film/TheDeparted'', Creator/RobertAltman's ''Film/TheLongGoodbye'', and Creator/TheCoenBrothers' ''Film/MillersCrossing''.
* DirtyCommunists: A light example, but Anna faces deportation from the Russians for being from Czechoslovakia. [[spoiler:Lime also mentions he does some work for the Soviets, in return for them turning a blind eye to his activities.]]
* DownTheDrain: The climactic chase takes place in the AbsurdlySpaciousSewer system of Vienna.
* DutchAngle: Possibly the best use ever in film. Although the crew allegedly presented director Carol Reed with a spirit level at the end of production, so that he could get his shots level next time.
* EmbarrassingSlide: Captain Calloway is about to show the protagonist a slide about incriminating evidence that Harry Lime willingly caused the deaths of countless penicillin recipients by watering it down. Instead... he accidentally shows an educational slide of an elephant intended for the Anglo-Austrian re-education programme.
-->'''Calloway''': *to his subordinate* Oh, Payne...
* EmergingFromTheShadows: Lime. Given the masterful use of shadows as one of his leitmotifs in the film, it may also serve as an accidental [[TheShadow actor allusion]].
** Later on we get Calloway, Paine, and another soldier emerging from the shadows [[spoiler: as they wait for Lime]]
* FaceDeathWithDignity: Wounded and thus unable to make it outside the sewers, [[spoiler:Harry nods at Holly to finish him off. One thunderous gunshot later, and Lime is done for]].
* FakeShemp: Creator/OrsonWelles dithered on showing up to Vienna for filming, arriving two weeks after shooting started. To shoot around this, others dressed in Welles' costume (appropriately padded to approximate Welles' emerging girth) for long shots.
* FakingTheDead: Take a wild guess.
* FatalAttraction: A rare male example: Holly arrives in Europe to discover that the man he's come to see is dead, and the police were investigating him. He spends the movie convinced that Harry must have been innocent, and was the victim of some underhanded police conspiracy. He learns later that [[spoiler: not only is the man ''still'' alive, but he's an amoral ManipulativeBastard, responsible for everything the police believed him to be]].
* FerrisWheelDateMoment: The film invokes this trope for emotional dissonance. Instead of romantic seclusion, the setting allows an open discussion of crime and murder.
* FilmNoir
* ForgottenThemeTuneLyrics:
* FreezeFrameBonus: At one point in the Vienna sewer chase, a painted "O5" can be seen briefly on a wall. This was the sign of an [[LaResistance anti-Nazi resistance]] group in Austria during WorldWarTwo. Most likely, that was not put there by the filmmakers.
* GoryDiscretionShot:
** We don't get to see [[spoiler: [[NothingIsScarier the corpses of the porter or Harbin, or any of Harry Lime's victims in the children's hospital]]. Somehow, the shot of the stuffed animals and tiny bookshelf crammed in next to one of dozens of identical hospital beds - the only glimmer of the dying child's individuality, of their true being, ''especially'' when one's possessions are put away '''permanently''' - is worse.]]
** [[spoiler: Harry Lime's death occurs entirely offscreen. Both of them.]]
* GrammarNazi: See ItIsPronouncedTroPAY.
* HappilyEverBefore:
** Inverted in an odd way -- Graham Greene's novel, written at the same time as the screenplay, has a moderately happy ending.
** A double inversion, actually. Producer David O. Selznick, who was known for happy Hollywood-style endings, insisted upon the bleak DidNotGetTheGirl finale, even though screenwriter Greene, whose writing style was known for being [[CrapsackWorld incredibly depressing]], originally intended to have the movie end with Anna embracing Holly after the funeral.
* HeKnowsTooMuch: Averted. After Harry makes an ImpliedDeathThreat during his motive speech in the ferris wheel, Holly tells him that the authorities already know that he's NotQuiteDead, so killing Holly wouldn't change anything.
* HowTheMightyHaveFallen: Baron Kurtz now works as a blackmarketeer in post-war Vienna.
* HumansAreInsects: Harry Lime reveals his thoughts on humanity to Holly from atop the Vienna Ferris wheel while looking down upon the park visitors: "Look down there. Would you really feel any pity if one of those...dots...stopped living forever?" Seems Harry's got a touch of Nazi genocide fever. Class A ChaoticEvil—a calculating and intelligent villain with a wistful smile that marks the musings of a psychopath.
* HumiliationConga: Happens to the hero. Did we mention this is a FilmNoir?
* IdiotBall: Holly Martins never met an idiot ball he didn't like. Unfortunately, he's usually not the one who pays for it.
* ImpliedDeathThreat: Harry Lime casually opens the door of the ferris wheel while discussing the fiscal worth of human life. Watching him carefully, [[GenreSavvy Holly Martins gets a good grip on the doorframe]].
* InsertCameo
* {{It Is Pronounced TroPAY}}: Dr. '''Winkel''', not Winkle.
--> '''Martins:''' (...) Is it possible... that his death was not just an accident,... Dr. Winkle?
--> '''Dr. Winkel:''' ...*{{Beat}}*... '''''V'''''inkel. I cannot judge it, I wasn't there.
* JobTitle
* KnightInSourArmour: Major Calloway is a dedicated policeman but is also a very cynical and pessimistic pragmatist who rejects Holly's idealistic heroism.
* KubrickStare: Used by Baron Kurtz (albeit in a non-threatening context), making this trope OlderThanTheyThink.
* LackOfEmpathy: Harry doesn't show any remorse for the victims of his fake penicillin.
* LateToTheTragedy
* LeaveTheCameraRunning: The last minute of the film shows Anna walking down a street towards Holly, but she just walks right past without a glance.
* {{Leitmotif}}: The Harry Lime theme underscores the menace and charisma of Harry's presence in the film.
* ManipulativeBastard: Lime constantly uses people (notably Anna and Martins) and will throw them away without a thought when they're no longer useful to him.
* MercyKill: [[spoiler:Lime wordlessly asks Martins to shoot him once it's clear there's no escape.]]
* MistakenForSpecialGuest: Martins is believed to be a more famous author by the character Crabbin. This is more developed in the novel, in which the rather macho Martins writes under a pseudonym who shares a surname with a famous novelist known for a "feminine" writing style (according to WordOfGod, the famous novelist was a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed version of the very gay Creator/EMForster)
* MostWritersAreWriters: Martins is an American pulp Western writer.
* MultinationalTeam: The International Police patrolling Vienna centre was this by necessity. Each of the British, American, Soviet and French occupying forces had to be represented, so no MP could roam around without being accompanied by the other three (In the movie, it becomes especially comical when several of those 'squads' are tasked with a simple and straightforward search of Anna's apartment; more than a ''dozen'' policemen end up crowding her small abode). And that's not even counting in the native ''Austrian'' police.
* NotMyDriver: Subverted. Holly thinks his cabby is abducting him and is working for the conspiracy because he DrivesLikeCrazy and doesn't answer any of his questions, but the guy's really just driving him to the lecture he was scheduled to do (and is extremely late for) and doesn't speak English.
* NotSoDifferent: "If I offered you $20,000 for every one of those dots that stopped moving, would you really tell me to keep my money, or would you start calculating how many dots you could afford to spare?"
* {{Novelization}}: An unusual case, as Greene wrote the story as a novel first without any intent to publish it, believing that going straight to the screenplay format would make him lose the soul of his idea. It ended up being published a year after the film's release.
* OldFriend: A darker example. Holly goes to post-WWII Vienna to meet up with Harry who [[spoiler: ends up having become a child-killing criminal, and whose actions turn Holly from a jovial and semi-innocent guy into a severely depressed one]].
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Alida Valli (playing Anna) obviously believed that it it would be appropriate to use several English accents in her role as an east-European escapee of Communism; One time it's Russian, another time it's perfect British English, then it's German English, then one time it's American English, then Dutch English.
* OpeningMonologue: Done in the original UK release by director Carol Reed, and in the US version by Joseph Cotten.
* PetTheDog: 'Baron' Kurtz pets a dog while trying to confuse Holly Martins.
* PosthumousCharacter: Harry Lime is the central figure of the entire story, even though the movie's second scene is his funeral. Of course, he's not really dead...
* POVSequel: The screenwriter (author Graham Greene) wrote a book that was published to coincide with the film release with the British officer's POV. There was also a radio serial with Lime's exploits entitled ''The Adventures of Harry Lime''.
* PreciousPuppy: The adorable puppy that just appears in one scene with Baron Kurtz.
* PresentAbsence: Harry Lime is one of the most famous examples in all of cinema. His actions influence the story, yet he's barely in the film.
* PuttingOnTheReich: Many modern viewers may have noticed that the Vienna policemen's uniforms are original [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany Third Reich]] police and army uniforms with merely the swastikas removed. It's TruthInTelevision; the film was made in 1949, and the police and armies had not yet been issued any updated uniforms so early after the war (not even for the filming). These uniforms would remain until well into the 50s.
* PyrrhicVictory: [[spoiler:Lime dies, Sgt. Paine dies, Martins DidNotGetTheGirl, and said girl will most probably be deported back to Czechoslovakia to face Soviet law. Furthermore, the children who suffer from Lime's diluted penicillin will not get saved by Lime getting neutralized either. But hey, at least future patients will be safe from Lime's diluted medicines, and this counts as well!]]
* RaceLift: Holly and Harry were both English in the original novella. In the film, they're American.
* RealityHasNoSubtitles: It is famously used in order to emphasize how totally out of his area the American main character is when he visits Vienna.
* RealitySubtext: Post-war Vienna is almost a character itself. Carol Reed stated that the fact it was still being tussled over by the US, Brits and USSR gave it an air of tenseness it normally wouldn't. [[invoked]]
* SceneryPorn[=/=]SceneryGorn: The production put a genuine and bombed-out Vienna to good use. About the only scenes other than interior shots not filmed actually on location were some set in the Vienna sewers; even much of that sequence was actually filmed in those sewers (the Wienkanal storm-runoff system, to be precise), with the sewer cops being genuine off-duty Vienna sewer patrol officers. (Some shots were recreations due to Creator/OrsonWelles being two weeks late for shooting -- thereby missing the bulk of the chase sequence filming -- and his unwillingness to go down into the sewers himself.) Even today, Vienna is not above exploiting the fame of the film to attract tourists.
* SissyVillain: Lime's associate Kurtz certainly has his share of signifiers.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: Very much on the cynical side.
* SmallRoleBigImpact: Lime is on screen for very little time, but there would be no story without him.
* TheSociopath: Harry Lime. He cares only for his own benefit and seems like he considers people nothing but pawns to manipulate.
* SoundtrackDissonance: Anton Karas's bouncing melodies, happy harmonies and general bright zither playing over the one of the bleakest, most cynical films ever made.
* SpiritualAntithesis: The cynical, post-war antidote to the optimism and hope of ''Film/{{Casablanca}}''. It contains many of the same story elements and inverts them. Watch them back to back. It's amazing. And depressing.
* SpiritualSuccessor / {{Spinoff}}: Welles later adapted three scripts he wrote for ''The Adventures of Harry Lime'' into the movie ''Mr. Arkadin''.
* TakeOurWordForIt: Used for excellent dramatic effect. Holly is finally convinced that his friend Harry Lime is completely evil and needs to be killed when he sees some of the children who took Lime's phony black market penicillin. We don't see the children, but from Holly's reaction it isn't pretty, and probably far beyond what could be depicted onscreen at the time anyway.
* TitleDrop:
-->'''Popescu:''' Can I ask is Mr. Martins engaged in a new book?\\
'''Holly:''' Yes, it's called ''The Third Man''.\\
'''Popescu:''' A novel, Mr. Martins?\\
'''Holly:''' It's a murder story. I've just started it. It's based on fact.
* TooDumbToLive: Holly Martins, which is part of the point of the movie [[spoiler:even though he survives]]. This is outright {{Lampshaded}} by Calloway, who says ''"[Holly] must have been born to get killed."''
* VehicleVanish: Before Holly can get Harry, a car speeds past him and Harry escapes into the night.
* VirtueIsWeakness: Implicit throughout Lime's speeches to Martins, especially on the Ferris wheel.
-->'''Lime:''' Victims? Don't be melodramatic. Look down there. Tell me. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you twenty thousand pounds for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money, or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?
* WalkingSpoiler: Harry Lime, seeing as throughout most of the movie he's thought to be dead.
* WeCanRuleTogether: Lime's basic line to Martins.
* WhamShot:
** [[spoiler: The iconic shot of Harry grinning from the darkness.]]
** [[spoiler: The final shot of Anna walking by Holly, completely ignoring him.]]
* WhatIsEvil: The famous cuckoo clock speech.
* WideEyedIdealist: Holly Martins. At first.
* WolverinePublicity: Creator/OrsonWelles.
* WorldHalfEmpty
** Justified considering the place and the year.
** Or arguably EarnYourHappyEnding because of the place and year.
* WouldHurtAChild: More accurately, "doesn't care if they die horribly in a hospital ward", but that's splitting hairs.
* YouKnowTooMuch: After Harry Lime makes an ImpliedDeathThreat during his motive speech in the ferris wheel, Holly Martins tells him that the authorities already know that he's NotQuiteDead, so killing Holly wouldn't change anything.
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