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The Third Man (1949)

aka The Third Man

"Hunted by men...Sought by WOMEN!"

Directed By: 
Details: 104 mins · English, Russian, Deutsch


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Small Holly Martins
Small Anna Schmidt
Small Harry Lime
Small Major Calloway
Small Sergeant Paine
Small Porter
No_movie_poster Popescu
Small Crabbin
No_movie_poster Anna's Old Landlady
Small the porter's wife
No_movie_poster Dr. Winkel
No_movie_poster 'Baron' Kurtz
Small British Military Policeman
No_movie_poster Headwaiter
Small Waiter
Small Opening Narrator
No_movie_poster Actor
Small MP
No_movie_poster Military Policeman
Small Karl
No_movie_poster American Military Policeman
No_movie_poster Col. O'Sullivan
No_movie_poster Hartman
No_movie_poster International Patrol D
No_movie_poster Nurse


No_movie_poster Robert Krasker Director of Photography
Small Carol Reed Director
No_movie_poster Graham Greene Screenplay
No_movie_poster Hugh Perceval Producer
No_movie_poster Anton Karas Original Music Composer
No_movie_poster Oswald Hafenrichter Editor
Small Alexander Korda Production
No_movie_poster David O. Selznick Production
Small Carol Reed Production
Small Carol Reed Writer
Small Orson Welles Writer
Small Alexander Korda Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Graham Greene Story Contributor
No_movie_poster Oswald Hafenrichter Editing


"Hunted by men...Sought by WOMEN!"

"HUNTED...By a thousand men! Haunted...By a lovely girl!"


American pulp Western writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives in Post-World War II Vienna seeking his childhood friend, Harry Lime (Orson Welles), who has offered him a job. Martins discovers that Lime was killed by a car while crossing the street. At Lime's funeral, Martins meets two British Army Police: Sergeant Paine (Bernard Lee), a fan of Martins's books, and his superior, Major Calloway (Trevor Howard). Afterwards Martins is asked to give a lecture to a book club a few days later. He then meets a friend of Lime's, "Baron" Kurtz (Ernst Deutsch), who tells Martins that he and another friend, Popescu (Siegfried Breuer), carried Lime to the side of the street after the accident and, before he died, Lime asked them to take care of Martins and Lime's actress girlfriend, Anna Schmidt (Alida Valli).

Martins goes to see Anna and becomes suspicious that Lime's death was not an accident. The porter at Lime's apartment building says that Lime was killed immediately and that three men carried the body, not two. Martins and Anna discover that the police are searching her flat; the police confiscate a forged passport and detain her. The next evening Martins visits Lime's "medical adviser", Dr. Winkel (Erich Ponto), who says that he arrived at the accident after Lime was dead, and only two men were there.

The porter offers to give Martins more information, but someone kills him before Martins can see him. When Martins arrives, the crowd believes that he is involved and becomes hostile. Escaping from them, Martins returns to the hotel, and a cab immediately takes him to the book club, where he makes a poor speech. When Popescu enters, he asks about Martins's next book. Martins says that it will be called The Third Man, "a murder story" inspired by facts. Popescu tells Martins that he should stick to fiction. Martins sees two thugs advancing towards him and flees.

Calloway again advises Martins to leave Vienna, but Martins refuses and demands that Lime's death be investigated. Calloway reveals that Lime's racket was stealing penicillin from military hospitals, diluting it, and selling it on the black market, leading to many deaths. Martins, convinced by the evidence, agrees to leave.

Martins learns that Anna too has been told about Lime's crimes and is about to be sent to the Soviet sector. Leaving her apartment, Martins notices someone watching from a dark doorway. A shaft of light reveals the person to be Lime, who flees, ignoring Martins's calls, and vanishes. Martins summons Calloway, who deduces that Lime has escaped through the sewers. The British police exhume Lime's coffin and discover that the body is that of the orderly who stole the penicillin for Lime.

The next day, Martins meets with Lime, and they ride Vienna's Ferris wheel, the Wiener Riesenrad. Lime obliquely threatens Martins, reveals the full extent of his ruthlessness, and then reiterates his job offer before leaving quickly. Calloway then asks Martins to help capture Lime, and Martins agrees, asking for Anna's safe conduct out of Vienna in exchange. However, when Anna learns this, she refuses to leave. Exasperated, Martins decides to leave, but on the way to the airport, Calloway stops at a hospital to show Martins children dying of meningitis who had been treated with Lime's diluted penicillin.

Lime arrives to rendezvous with Martins, but Anna warns him. He tries once again to escape using the sewer tunnels, but the police are there in force. Lime shoots and kills Paine, but Calloway shoots and wounds Lime. Badly injured, Lime drags himself up a ladder to a street grating, but he cannot lift it. Martins then kills him using Paine's revolver. Later, Martins attends Lime's second funeral. At the risk of missing his flight out of Vienna, he waits to speak to Anna, but she ignores him and walks past.

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 1950-02-02 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1949-08-31 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 1949-10-12 : France

Theatrical : 1949-10-19 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1949-10-26 : Sweden

Theatrical : 1950-01-06 : West Germany

Theatrical : 1950-01-13 : Finland

Theatrical : 1950-01-19 : Italy

Theatrical : 1950-03-03 : Portugal

Theatrical : 1950-03-10 : Austria

Theatrical : 1950-04-08 : Spain

Theatrical : 1951-09-13 : Hong Kong

Theatrical : 1952-09-03 : Japan

Theatrical : 1959-11-30 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1961-06-16 : Finland

Theatrical : Austria

Theatrical : 1967-10-02 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1968-06-03 : Denmark

Theatrical : 1976-01-31 : Japan

Theatrical : 1979-06-01 : Finland

Theatrical : 1999-07-16 : United Kingdom

Theatrical : 1999-12-02 : Australia

Theatrical : 1999-12-25 : Denmark

Theatrical : 2000-05-31 : Italy

Theatrical : 2000-07-07 : France

Theatrical : 2001-01-11 : Netherlands

Theatrical : 2001-04-06 : Finland

Theatrical : 2005-05-25 : France

Theatrical : 2007-01-11 : Czech Republic

Theatrical : 2007-09-13 : Slovakia

Theatrical : 2011-08-04 : Greece

Theatrical : 1999-05-07 : United States of America

Theatrical : 1994-03-18 : United Kingdom

DVD : 1999-11-30

DVD : United Kingdom

2001-03-10 : Argentina

2002-01-26 : Czech Republic

2012-04-28 : United States of America