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Examples of the genre are movies such as Double Indemnity, The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, and Chinatown, as well as more current films like Blood Simple, Lost Highway, and L.A. Confidential.

"During the early 1940s through the late '50s, Hollywood studios cranked out some 300 film noir titles, so named because of their dark overtones and ever-lurking danger, heightened by shadowy-lit, grainy black & white film and sinister-sounding, minor-key soundtracks. Pulp fiction brought to the big screen, film noir was the collision of the gangster movie, the sordid crime melodrama, the thriller, the whodunit, and the gothic romance." --Rhino Records

"Film noir: a term coined by French critics to describe a type of film that is characterized by its dark, somber tone and cynical, pessimistic mood. Literally meaning 'dark (or 'black') film', the term is derived from roman noir, 'black novel', which was used by French critics of the 18th and 19th centuries to describe the British Gothic novel.

Specifically, film noir was coined to describe those Hollywood films of the 40s and 50s which portrayed the dark and gloomy underworld of crime and corruption, films whose heroes as well as villains are cynical, disillusioned, and other insecure loners, inextricably bound to the past and unsure or apathetic about the future."

-Ephraim Katz, The Film Encyclopedia

Big Sleep, The (1946)
Blood Simple (1984)

Chinatown (1974)

Dark City (1998)
Double Indemnity (1944)
Grifters, The (1990)
History of Violence, A (2005)
Key Largo (1948)
Killing, The (1956)
Kiss of Death (1995)
Last Seduction, The (1994)
Laura (1944)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Lost Highway (1997)
M (1931)
Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
Night of the Hunter, The (1955)
Notorious (1946)
Sin City (2005)
Spanish Prisoner, The (1997)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Usual Suspects, The (1995)

ranked by IMDB users:

Rank Rating Title Votes
1. 8.6 Sunset Blvd. (1950) 24,436
2. 8.4 The Third Man (1949) 26,142
3. 8.4 Double Indemnity (1944) 16,839
4. 8.4 The Maltese Falcon (1941) 26,837
5. 8.4 Touch of Evil (1958) 16,301
6. 8.3 Strangers on a Train (1951) 15,598
7. 8.3 The Big Sleep (1946) 14,323
8. 8.3 Notorious (1946) 15,220
9. 8.3 The Ox-Bow Incident (1943) 3,037
10. 8.2 Ace in the Hole (1951) 1,595
11. 8.2 The Killing (1956) 10,572
12. 8.2 Out of the Past (1947) 4,377
13. 8.2 I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) 1,967
14. 8.2 Sweet Smell of Success (1957) 3,696
15. 8.2 Shadow of a Doubt (1943) 8,951
16. 8.1 The Lost Weekend (1945) 4,514
17. 8.1 The Night of the Hunter (1955) 11,282
18. 8.0 Nightmare Alley (1947) 861
19. 8.0 White Heat (1949) 4,665
20. 8.0 Laura (1944) 6,988
21. 8.0 The Set-Up (1949) 1,199
22. 8.0 Key Largo (1948) 7,948
23. 8.0 Body and Soul (1947) 750
24. 7.9 Night and the City (1950) 872
25. 7.9 Scarface (1932) 3,862
26. 7.9 Pickup on South Street (1953) 1,411
27. 7.9 The Big Heat (1953) 2,607
28. 7.9 The Killers (1946) 2,283
29. 7.9 Ossessione (1943) 918
30. 7.8 In a Lonely Place (1950) 2,387
31. 7.8 The Narrow Margin (1952) 854
32. 7.8 The Asphalt Jungle (1950) 4,032
33. 7.8 Deadly Is the Female (1949) 1,286
34. 7.7 Scarlet Street (1945) 1,490
35. 7.7 The Lady from Shanghai (1947) 3,585
36. 7.7 This Gun for Hire (1942) 914
37. 7.7 Fury (1936) 1,836
38. 7.7 The Woman in the Window (1944) 1,214
39. 7.7 The Big Clock (1948) 930
40. 7.7 Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950) 559
41. 7.7 Gilda (1946) 4,426
42. 7.6 The Letter (1940) 1,750
43. 7.6 Kiss of Death (1947) 914
44. 7.6 Thieves' Highway (1949) 427
45. 7.6 Brute Force (1947) 578
46. 7.6 Murder, My Sweet (1944) 1,622
47. 7.6 Mildred Pierce (1945) 3,565
48. 7.6 Sudden Fear (1952) 550
49. 7.5 The Desperate Hours (1955) 1,626
50. 7.5 Suspicion (1941) 4,815

All Movie Guide
Digital Noir

Film Noir 101
Film Noir Films
Full-Text Articles and Essays on Film Noir
The Internet Movie Database
The Killer Beside Me: The Jim Thompson Resource Page
Tribute to Humphrey Bogart

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