The Third Man

Drama | English, German, Russian with English subtitles | 108 minutes


Penniless and desperate for work, Holly Martins, a struggling novelist, arrives in post-World War II Vienna hoping to land a job offered by his childhood pal, Harry Lime. Shortly after arriving, Holly is informed that Harry was killed in a hit-and-run accident. Holly speaks to several neighbors and is told there was a “third man” at the scene of the accident. Major Calloway, the officer investigating the accident, suspects wrongdoing and asks the interfering Holly to go back home. Holly is determined to remain in Vienna and find out what really happened to Harry. He talks to many of Harry’s acquaintances including his lover, Anna. An exasperated Calloway finally convinces Holly his friend was involved in a dirty black-market business. Although this unsettles Holly, he’s in for a bigger surprise when he learns more about his mysterious friend Harry Lime.    

Joseph Cotten (Holly Martins) / Alida Valli (Anna Schmidt) / Orson Welles (Harry Lime) / Trevor Howard (Major Calloway)
Why Stream This Film?
In Vienna, destroyed after World War II,  black market businesses flourished. The Third Man searingly depicts how greed and corruption can turn a childhood friend into someone evil and depraved. 
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 99%
  • Metacritic Score: 97
  • Academy Awards: Winner, Best Cinematography, Black and White (Robert Krasker); Nominated, Best Director (Carol Reed)
  • BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best British Film
  • Cannes Film Festival: Winner, Grand Prize
This is a full-blooded, absorbing story adapted from the book by Graham Greene, which reflects credit on all concerned.
Variety staff


Graham Greene has contributed conspicuously to the job with a script that is cleverly constructed and pungently laced with dialogue.
Bosley Crowther

The New York Times

Of all the movies I have seen, this one most completely embodies the romance of going to the movies. It was  weary and knowing, and its glorious style was an act of defiance against the corrupt world it pictured.
Roger Ebert

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