Black and white films are considered classics in the modern era but the 10 best film noir movies are timeless. Film noir is defined as a film photographed in dim light or grim urban setting. Noir is a motion picture full of pessimism, despair and feeling of disillusionment with a morally weak private detective, femme fatale, corruption, gangsters and impenetrable plots. If you love complicated, over-the-top drama and suspense, then check out these top rated film noir movies.

  1. “Sunset Boulevard” (1950). A small time writer tries to revive the career of a demented silent screen actress. She falls in love with him and he falls in love with an aspiring actress. Insanely jealous the silent screen actress turns to madness which leads to murder.

  2. “Double Indemnity” (1944). A 10 best film noir movie must have a murder plot and this one is thick. An insurance salesman falls for the wife of a client and schemes with her to kill her husband. To achieve more on the life insurance the salesman works in a way to receive twice the amount on the double indemnity clause.

  3. “The Third Man” (1949). A writer returns to Vienna after WWII to hook up with a friend only to discover he’s been murder. Upon investigating his death he finds himself in the middle of multinational police, black market and a mysterious Czech girlfriend.

  4. “The Maltese Falcon” (1941). One of the greatest ten best film noir movies of all time as the famous private detective “Sam Spade” takes a case to protect a beautiful woman who’s quite the liar from three eccentric criminals. They are all after the same thing, the Maltese Falcon.

  5. “Touch of Evil” (1958). Setting is a police corrupted Mexican town where a Mexican narcotics officer must investigate the murder of an American building contractor. Plot thickens with a crime family plotting to kidnap his wife and frame him for murder.

  6. “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928). While this ten best film noir movie seems to touch a religious chord, the storyline is full of deception, heresy and corrupt judges. The only film noir based loosely on a true story.

  7. “Strangers on a Train” (1951). Two men meet on a train, one a tennis pro who wants to divorce his wife to advance his career in politics and the other a man who wants to kill his father. They scheme jokingly about killing off their obstacles but without the tennis pro willing participation the murders began to take place.

  8. “Notorious” ((1946). If you like spy games then this ten best film noir movie is one to watch. A woman is approached by a government agent to spy on the Germans. She does, but how far emotionally involved will she go to get the job done.

  9. “The Big Sleep” (1946). A private detective takes on a case for a rich family in which an employee disappeared with a mobster’s wife. Each time the detective gets close to solving the case new issues arise with each and every family member as they all have something to hide.

  10. “Ace in the Hole” (1951). One of the ten best film noir movies riddled with lies. Here a struggling reporter covers a story about a man trapped in a mine. Ambition takes over and to make a name for himself he feeds the newspaper with one lie after another to create a national media sensation.