BFI's Extensive New Infographic Explains 'What Makes a Film Noir?'

August 3, 2015
Source: BFI

What Makes a Film Noir?

"Their Love was a Flame that Destroyed!" BFI recently put together this fantastic infographic highlighting the many features of a "film noir" film. The extensive infographic runs down the various camera/lighting techniques, dialogue, all the key elements of noir, and explores many examples of the genre at its best. They even drill right down into the question of which is the "noirest" of all - and (spoiler!) it's Billy Wilder's 1944 crime thriller Double Indemnity, which makes for a great reference throughout the image. This was just too good to pass up, thanks to a tip from The AV Club, and now I need to feature it so we can keep up some interest in classic film noir. Maybe watch a few of these you haven't seen yet, why not? Explore more below.

What makes a film noir?

Click above or head to for the full infographic and more details. The BFI tries to also answer the question of "which is the noirest film of all?" The answer is: "Double Indemnity reigns supreme as the ultimate film noir, both by critics’ ratings and by the criteria that BFI lays out. Out Of The Past comes close in both regards, and both are excellent tales of moral uncertainty, betrayals, and femme fatales all delivered with excellent staccato, witty dialogue that ratatats back and forth between the players." Two of my film noir faves are Carol Reed's The Third Man and Allen Baron's Blast of Silence, neither of which are mentioned but that's okay. There's plenty of film noir cinema to go ’round. Which films are your favorites?

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Reader Feedback - 3 Comments


Cool. That is pretty much it. Paint-by-numbers.

DAVIDPD on Aug 3, 2015


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LaurenRFrantz on Aug 4, 2015


Great stuff! So glad I check out on a regular basis. Quality film news and articles.

Joker's hideout on Aug 4, 2015

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