YMMV / The Third Man

  • Award Snub: Although the film took home a much-deserved Oscar win for Cinematography (as well as nominations for Director and Editing), neither Orson Welles' performance nor the iconic zither score were nominated.
  • Awesome Music: Anton Karas' zither-based score, most notably the title theme (which went on to spend 11 weeks at #1 on the Billboard chart).
  • Complete Monster: In this post-World War II Film Noir, Harry Lime is an amoral man who fakes his death in order to escape the consequences of his misdeeds. Taking advantage of the scarcity of antibiotics, Lime steals penicillin from hospitals and dilutes it before selling it to the highest bidder on the black market. Several patients die from the now-lethal medication; those that survive, a majority being children, are subject to illnesses. When Holly Martins confronts him, Lime attempts to kill him, only to relent when informed that the authorities knew that his death was faked. A chilling sociopath who views everyone around him as a pawn to exploit, Lime is willing to sentence several people to a painful death, as long as he benefits.
  • Director Displacement: Orson Welles would have been the first to deny that he directed the film and give credit to Carol Reed.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Harry Lime turned out to be so popular that he got his own Radio Drama series (The Lives of Harry Lime) starring Orson Welles himself. In the series, which was obviously set prior to the events of the film, Lime was more of a Lovable Rogue than a Magnificent Bastard. And besides, Evil Is Sexy when it's Orson Welles.
    • Even more so in the 1950s television adaptation, where Michael "Klaatu" Rennie played him as an urbane English hero! The spin-offs tended to make Lime Lighter and Softer.
    • Welles' Mr Arkadin was a spin-off of the radio show and recast Lime as a slimeball Expy called Guy Van Stratten with himself in the title
  • Evil Is Sexy: You got a Draco in Leather Pants, of course people are into him.
  • Heartwarming Moments: Of the meta variety. Graham Greene and Carol Reed battled over how the film should end. Decades later, Greene admitted, "Carol Reed was right... he made a magnificent ending."
  • Homegrown Hero: Zig-zagged, as the American protagonist being out of luck in post-war Vienna is very much a deconstruction of this trope - with the British deuteragonist however, not nearly so much.
  • It Was His Sled: Come on, even the posters spoil it.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Harry Lime, natch.
  • Misaimed Fandom: There are people who root for Lime.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Lime faked his death to avoid being accused of selling watered-down penicillin that resulted in mass death and illness.
  • Older Than They Think: Only not that much older. The "cuckoo clock" speech quoted at the top is the most famous line from the movie. What most people don't realize (even though it's lampshaded) is that Harry Lime is actually quoting someone. "As the fella says..." Who's the "fella"? Winston Churchill. (Yeah, not one of Churchill's more inspiring quotes.)
  • One-Scene Wonder: Orson Welles appears onscreen for less than 10 minutes; nonetheless, he is the most remembered part of this film. Welles was conscious of this and later explained in an interview with Peter Bogdanovich that it was an old theatre convention, citing "Mr. Wu" where most of the plot revolves around describing Mr. Wu and then Mr. Wu makes a grand entry and the audience says, "Mr. Wu gives a great performance!".
  • Tear Jerker: The children's hospital.
  • The Woobie: Anna Schmidt is so sad and pathetic that even the sad and pathetic Holly Martins can't stop himself from falling in love with her. It's noteworthy that her theme is the only piece of music in the movie that ISN'T Soundtrack Dissonance. It's full on SAD.