My Top 30 Favorite Films Noir

Noirvember is finally here and to celebrate, I’m going to share with you my top 30 favorite noirs. I did a top 20 last year and I felt like it wasn’t enough. I left some of my big ones out and it almost killed me, so this year I thought a top 30 was in order.


  • This is a very personal and very subjective list. I’m not claiming these are the 30 greatest noirs, I’m saying these are MY favorites.
  • Neo-noirs will not be included, because The Old Hollywood Garden focuses on the classic period primarily.
  • Because noir is a very broad genre (why do they have to make this even more difficult?!), I tried to stick to films that most closely resemble and fit into the noir category.
  • I have seen 55 films noir, so you can imagine how hard this was. Feel free to ask me about any noir you didn’t see on the list.
  • Because I haven’t seen every film noir ever made and because tastes and preferences change overtime, this list can be updated in the future.
  • As always, you’re more than welcome to share your personal favorites on the comment section.

Here we go!

30. The Woman in the Window (1944)

      Dir. Fritz Lang



‘I don’t want to make trouble for anybody. I can, of course, but I don’t want to.’






29. The Blue Dahlia (1946)

      Dir. George Marshall


‘Half the cops in LA are looking for you.’

‘Only half?’






28. Decoy (1946)

      Dir. Jack Bernhard



‘People who use pretty faces like yours don’t live too long anyway.’







27. Detour (1945)

      Dir. Edgar Ulmer




‘Fate, or some mysterious force, can put the finger on you for no good reason at all.’





26. Touch of Evil (1958)

      Dir. Orson Welles



‘He was some kind of man. What does it matter what you say about people?’





25. The Lady from Shanghai (1947)

      Dir. Orson Welles




‘Killing you is killing myself. But you know, I’m pretty tired of both of us.’





24. In a Lonely Place (1950)

      Dir. Nicholas Ray




‘I was born when she kissed me. I died wen she left me. I lived a few weeks while she loved me.’






23. Scarlet Street (1945)

      Dir. Fritz Lang





‘Can’t you get those lazy legs off that couch, baby?’






22. The Asphalt Jungle (1950)

      Dir. John Huston


‘Experience has taught me never to trust a policeman. Just when you think one’s all right, he turns legit.’





21. The Maltese Falcon (1941)

      Dir. John Huston



‘I’ll be waiting for you. If then hang you, I’ll always remember you.’






20. Mildred Pierce (1945)

      Dir. Michael Curtiz





‘She plays the piano like I shoot pool.’






19. The Third Man (1949)

       Dir. Carol Reed



‘Oh Holly, you and I aren’t heroes. The world doesn’t make any heroes outside of your stories.’




18. Raw Deal (1948)

     Dir. Anthony Mann





‘I want to breathe. That’s why I want to get out of this place. So I can take a deep breath again’






17. Crossfire (1947)

      Dir. Edward Dmytryk




‘I was in a stinkin’ gin mill, where all he had to do to see me was walk in, sit down at the table and buy me a drink.’





16. The Big Sleep (1946)

      Dir. Howard Hawks




‘What’s wrong with you?’

‘Nothing you can’t fix.’





15. The Big Heat (1953)

     Dir. Fritz Lang



‘You know I’ve been meting your kind now for ten years. Sacred rabbits who never see a thing. You wouldn’t stick your big fat neck out for anybody, would you?’




14. Pickup on South Street (1953)

     Dir. Samuel Fuller



‘Even in your crummy line of business you gotta draw the line somewhere.’





13. Kansas City Confidential (1952)

     Dir. Phil Karlson



‘I know a sure cure for a nosebleed. A cold knife in the middle of the back.’





12. Gilda (1946)

      Dir. Charles Vidor


‘Hate is a very exciting emotion. Haven’t you noticed? Very exciting. I hate you too, Johnny. I hate you so much that I think I’m going to die from it.’





11. T-Men (1947)

      Dir. Anthony Mann


‘They had to know all the answers. Failure to do would mean a bad grade later on in the shape of a bullet or an ice-pick.’






10. The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946)

     Dir. Lewis Milestone



‘A sure thing is never a gamble.’





9. Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)

    Dir. Otto Preminger

Where the Sidewalk Ends_Dana Andrews in a tradmark fedora and overcoat


‘That’s a fancy way of trying to frame somebody – getting yourself knocked off. A guy’s gotta be outta his head for that. I didn’t know a guy could hate that much. Not even you.’




8. Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

    Dir. Alexander MacKendrick



‘Match me, Sidney.’




7. The Big Combo (1955)

    Dir. Joseph H. Lewis




‘First is first and second is nobody.’






6. Notorious (1946)

    Dir. Alfred Hitchcock




‘Dry your eyes baby, it’s out of character.’






5. The Killers (1946)

    Dir. Robert Siodmak




‘If there’s one thing in this world I hate, is a double-crossing dame.’







4. Out of the Past (1947)

    Dir. Jacques Tourneur




‘And then I saw her – coming out of the sun. And I knew why Whit didn’t care about the forty grand.’





3. Sunset Boulevard (1950)

    Dir. Billy Wilder



‘Alright Mr DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.’





2. Laura (1944)

    Dir. Otto Preminger



‘I shall never forget the weekend Laura died. The silver sun burned through the sky like a huge magnifying glass. It was the hottest Sunday in my recollection.’




Before I reveal my number 1 noir, here are a few honorable mentions: The Hitch-hiker (1953), Kiss me Deadly (1955), Pitfall (1948), Fallen Angel (1945), The Chase (1946), D.O.A (1950)…








  1. Double Indemnity (1944)

         Dir. Billy Wilder


‘It sounds crazy, Keyes, but it’s true, so help me. I couldn’t hear my own footsteps. It was the walk of a dead man.’



That’s it from me!

Happy Noirvember, everyone!

28 thoughts on “My Top 30 Favorite Films Noir

  1. Ah! I knew Double Indemnity would be your #1! It’s personaly not a favourite of mine. I dont really know why because normally I always like Billy Wilder’s films. Not that I didn’t like it, but not as much as I expected it I guess. Maybe it’s due to Fred MacMurray whom I find sort of boring :/. Anyway, I ought to give it another chance one of these days as I’ve bought the dvd after all.

    Great list! I’ve seen 18 of them + a part of The Lady from Shanghai and Raw Deal. I know we are supposed to watch Raw Deal sometimes soon in my film noir class. 🙂 I’m glad you included Scarlet Street and Woman in the Window!
    Sunset Blvd is also my third favourite behind Strangers on a Train and Shadow of a Doubt. I think the screenplay is just perfect. 🙂
    Sweet Smell of Success made me think that the other day in class we watched Criss Cross (another Siodmak noir with Burt Lancaster) and Tony Curtis plays an extra in it! I imagine it was very early in his career. Pretty amusing anyway!
    Ann Savage sort of scares me in Detour haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You gotta give Double Indemnity a second chance! I understand what you men though, I used to think Fred MacMurray was a little wooden until I realised what the nuances of his performance are supposed to be, then I got it.

      SS and WITW didn’t make the list at all last year. I’m so glad I watched them again, even did a Double Bill post about them.

      Haha I know what you mean! She’s soooo good though! The first time I watched it, didn’t like it that much, re-watched it again recently and was thoroughly impressive by everything about it. Gonna post something on FB about it one of these days.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey it’s me again haha! Honestly, I don’t know how you were able to limit yourself to 30! I’m working on a top film noir myself for a website called Vodkaster (and perhaps for my blog) and I made a list of the films noir I’ve seen and it seems like there are 70 and most of them are excellent films! Of course one can always argue if this or that film is a noir, but still!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so hard, that’s why I try to stick to films that are as close to film noir as possible. I’ve seen a lot of films noir and a lot that are just crime drama/police docu-style dramas, or just dramas, period, that happened to have been made around the same time. Not everything is a film noir and honestly it pisses me off how certain films keep getting called noirs when they clearly aren’t. So I try to limit myself and give my guidelines for this kind of thing ’cause it’s just so hard! haha

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Madame Vintage

    First and foremost, you have a wonderful blog Carol. Call me Sonea and call my middle name noir, for I too adore alot kf these films. I had reviewed Dluble Indemnity and agree that it is such a fascinating murder mystery and that tongue in cheek dialogue along the way makes it that much pleasurable. I have yet to see a few on the list but hoping in time I shall. A great read of a post.

    Sincerely Sonea

    Liked by 1 person

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