The Third Man (1949)

 ●  English ● 1 hr 46 mins

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After the Second World War, unemployed pulp fiction writer Holly Martins arrives in Vienna to meet with his old friend from school, Harry Lime, who has offered him a job. Upon arrival, he learns that Harry has just died, hit by a truck in front of his building, and he goes to his funeral. At the ceremony, Holly Martins sees a beautiful woman, Anna Schmidt, and a friend of Harry and sooner he learns that Anna was Harry's lover. Maj. Calloway, who is commanding the investigation, offers the ticket to Holly return home, but while waiting for the trip, he talks to two friends of Harry that say that they had been the first people at the scene to help his friend. However, the porter of Harry's building reports that there was a mysterious third man that helped Harry and Holly. Martins becomes intrigued with the inconsistency and decides to investigate further. His incisive investigations reveal that Harry Lime was the leader of a gang that robbed penicillin from the military hospital to adulterate and resell it, and has caused the death and anomalies in many children. Can he succeed in unravelling who the third man is? How will the future unfold for Martins and Anna?
See Storyline (May Contain Spoilers)

Cast: Alida Valli, Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles

Crew: Carol Reed (Director), Robert Krasker (Director of Photography), Anton Karas (Music Director)

Rating: U (India)

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Release Dates: 31 Aug 1949 (India)

Tagline: HUNTED...By a thousand men! Haunted...By a lovely girl!

English Name: The Third Man

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Did you know? Rumors have long since been widespread that Orson Welles wrote all of Harry Lime's dialogue and even that he took over the direction of his own scenes. Read More
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as Anna Schmidt
as Holly Martins
as Harry Lime
as Porter's Wife
as Waiter
as Dr Winkel
as "Baron" Kurtz
as British Military Policeman
as Anna's landlady
as Sergeant Paine
as Karl
as British Military Policeman
as Popescu
as Major Calloway
as Crabbin






Story Writer
Screenplay Writer

Camera and Electrical

Director of Photography


Music Director


Film Type:
Colour Info:
Black & White
Sound Mix:
Frame Rate:
24 fps
Aspect Ratio:
HUNTED...By a thousand men! Haunted...By a lovely girl!
Hunted by men...Sought by WOMEN!
Revealing Mistakes
In the two separate back projection shots of Calloway, Martens and Paine, supposedly traveling in a jeep at night in Vienna, a double-decker London bus can be seen in background.

The policemen who come to arrest Anna change between shots. In dialogue scenes the British policeman is played by Geoffrey Keen. In shots of the Jeep driving to the apartment, and in long shots, a different actor is used.

After Harry's funeral, in the Zentralfriedhof, Anna goes into the straight alley. We see her shadow on the right side on the screen.

The position of Anna's neck ribbon when she and Holly first talk.

The dog and the book briefly change between Kurtz' two hands when he is being shown where Lime was hit by a truck.

Three cats were used for Harry Lime's only loved cat. But all three cats had different sizes and colors.

Character Error
The line about the cuckoo clock being Switzerland's only contribution to culture is factually incorrect: the cuckoo clock comes from the Black Forest, across the border in southwestern Germany.

Audio/Video Mismatch
After Calloway has shown Martins the evidence against Lime, Calloway picks up the phone. We hear his line, "Get me police headquarters," but we don't see his lips move.
Graham Greene based the character of Harry Lime on British double agent Kim Philby, who was Greene's superior in the British Secret Intelligence Service.

The future director John Glen was working in the editing department at Shepperton Studios when the film started production.

Bernard Lee was the second choice for Sgt. Paine. The actor who was first choice was not hired because of billing issues.

Director Carol Reed had originally wanted James Stewart for the role of Holly Martins.

The tunnels featured in this film are part of the Wienkanal, which channels the Wien River through central Vienna out to the Danube River.

Ranked number 5 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Mystery" in June 2008.

David O. Selznick was resistant to Carol Reed's idea of casting Orson Welles as Harry Lime, since Selznick had labeled Welles as "box office poison".

Cary Grant was considered for the part of Harry Lime and coincidentally, Grant was a regular lunchtime visitor to the set of the film when the shooting returned to London sound-stages.

The huge ferris wheel that Martins and Lime ride on in the Prater was erected in 1897. Sigmund Freud claimed to have used it to induce seasickness in patients while experimenting with cocaine as a treatment.

Rumors have long since been widespread that Orson Welles wrote all of Harry Lime's dialogue and even that he took over the direction of his own scenes.

Orson Welles evaded production assistants and assistant director Guy Hamilton while traveling in Europe when he was supposed to be on location filming in Vienna.