Top 20 Must Watch Film Noirs

If you’re a film buff and love the classics, then you’ve probably heard about Noirvember. Our Top 20 must watch Film Noirs are here.

This is a celebration of the film noir genre and describes stylish Hollywood crime dramas of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Think mainly black and white cinematography with a hint of German expressionism.

To celebrate this wonderful genre, we have put together a list of must see films and their film posters. Enjoy!

The Blue Dahlia (1946) featuring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake.

Current Poster Value: £4000-£5000

Murder My Sweet (1944) featuring Dick Powell and Claire Trevor. The film is based on Raymond Chandler’s 1940 novel Farewell, My Lovely.

Current Poster Value: £1500-£2500

Gun Crazy (1950) starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall. A story about a gun-toting husband and wife’s crime spree.

Current Poster Value: £4000-£6000

The Third Man (1950) starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Trevor Howard. Directed by Carol Reed and written by Graham Greene. Wonderful British Noir filmed in Vienna, Austria.

Current Poster Value: £200-£400

Double Indemnity (1944) starring Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G Robinson. Directed by Billy Wilder.

Current Poster Value: £3500-£4500

The Big Heat (1953) featuring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin. The film centres on a cop who takes on the crime syndicate that controls his city.

Current Poster Value: £100-£200

Kiss Me Deadly (1955) featuring Ralph Meeker in the starring role as Mike Hammer. Based on the book of the same name by Mickey Spillane.

Current Poster Value: £200-£300

This Gun For Hire (1942) featuring Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake. Based on the novel by Graham Greene, this iconic film poster shows fourth billed Alan Ladd instead of second billed Robert Preston.

Current Poster Value: £12000-£15000

Key Largo (1948) starring Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and Edward G Robinson. A wonderful film set inside a hotel in the Florida Keys. Robinson is a notorious gangster who is in hiding whilst Army veteran Bogart is there visiting a family of his friend who died whilst serving under him.

Current Poster Value: £1000-£1200

The Killers (1946) starring Burt Lancaster and Ava Gardner. Directed by Robert Siodmak and based on a short story by Ernest Hemingway.

Current Poster Value: £150-£250 (picture shown is the 1956 half sheet poster)

Sunset Boulevard (1950) starring William Holden and Gloria Swanson. Directed and co-written by Billy Wilder. A hugely influential movie which was nominated for eleven Academy Awards and won three.

Current Poster Value: £4000-£5000

The Lady From Shanghai (1947) starring Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth. One of my personal favourites, Welles plays an Irish sailor and meets beautiful blonde Hayworth in Central park where she is attacked by three men. After saving her he gets a job as a seaman on Hayworth’s rich husband Everett Sloane’s boat. He is then approached by Sloane’s business partner in a plot to ‘murder’ him in a plot to fake his own death.

Current Poster Value: £2000-£3000

The Maltese Falcon (1941) featuring Humphrey Bogart as Private Investigator Sam Spade. Mary Astor is the femme fatale client and Peter Lorre stars as Joel Cairo in the hunt for the missing statue. A permanent fixture in every critics top 20 must watch film noirs list.

Current Poster Value: £14000-£20000

A Kiss Before Dying (1956) starring Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward (in one of her very early roles)

Current Poster Value: £25-£50

The Glass Key (1942) starring Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake and Brian Donlevy. After impressing studio bosses in This Gun for Hire the executives soon signed him up to star in this movie. The rights for the film had been owned by paramount since 1935 and originally they wanted George Raft to lead.

Current Poster Value: £4500-£6000

Laura (1944) starring Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price and Dana Andrews. A particular favourite of mine, Tierney is presumed dead after an unidentifiable woman is found in the doorway of her apartment with shotgun wounds. Detective Mark McPherson is called to investigate the murder and finds himself infatuated by the presumed dead Tierney. Voted by the American Film Institute as one of the top ten mystery films off all-time.

Current Poster Value: £3000-£6000

Night and the City (1950) starring Richard Widmark and Gene Tierney. A real gritty British Noir about a con man who’s always looking for a better deal whilst trying to maintain his fractured relationship with his partner. Filmed exclusively in London and Shepperton Studios, the film is groundbreaking as it has a real lack of sympathetic characters.

Current Poster Value: £500-£800

Dark Passage (1947) starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. A clever film in which the first scenes are shown without seeing the male leads face until he undergoes plastic surgery to change his appearance (thereafter played by Bogart) and attempt to clear his name of murder.

Current Poster Value: £700-£900

Out of the Past (1947) starring Robert Mitchum, Jane Greer and Kirk Douglas. Considered to be one of the greatest film noirs ever made, the story is about a man who tries to forget his ast and move on in a new town and with a new girl. However, he is spotted by a man from his past and he struggles to keep his old life from returning to haunt him.

Current Poster Value: £800-£1200 (This is the British Quad Poster which was re-titled for UK audiences)

Gilda (1946) starring Rita Hayworth and Glenn Ford. Directed by Charles Vidor. Hayworth is the ultimate femme fatale  in this tale of a small time gambler named Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) who is rescued from a robbery attempt by casino owner Ballin Mundson. Later, Farrell cheats at Blackjack at Mundson’s casino and is brought to the owner where he convinces him to hire him as a bodyguard.

Current Poster Value: £20000-£30000

So there you have it,  our top 20 must watch film noirs for you to view during Noirvember. Please let me know which ones are your favourites and if there is any that you think should be on this list.





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