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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Film Culture: Interpretation and Theories: Film Noir: Home

A library guide to American film noir from 1942-1958 including relevant encyclopedias, indexes, journals, books, film clips and more!

Top Ten Web Sources for Film Noir

Top free sources for film noir on the internet. In no particular order....

An Introduction to this Lib Guide

Welcome to my Lib-Guide for Film Cultures: Interpretation and Theories of Film Noir, an upper-division undergraduate course, at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. 

This page is an introductory resource to supplement your readings and understanding of film noir in Communication 321 Film Cultures: Film Noir. It will also to help you with the two papers assigned for this class.

This guide is a destination where you can see video clips of classical noir, recent reviews that tie classical noir into today's headlines, explore material noir culture in the poster section, learn about user generated noir fan cites on the web, and learn library of congress subject headings and how to do a Boolean search to find what your looking for. In addition to general sources for film noir, I focus on gender, sexuality, and crime explored in your course, but you can also explore film music, or the fiction of noir on your own using my search tools! 

An introduction to the course from Professor Pat Gill's syllabus:


This course will examine a certain category of film, from its inception to recent imitations and reworkings. Although class discussions will involve discussions of other (types of) film, our screenings will be only of those films classified as film noir. Certain American films made between 1942 and 1958 reflected what some critics thought to be a darkly pessimistic postwar mood. Almost always set in a violent and corrupt urban landscape, the films featured a worldly, disillusioned hero who was both a part of and at odds with this degenerate universe. Often the hero's unspoken principles were challenged by a seductive, morally ambiguous woman, a femme fatale who made apparent the impossibility of the hero's efforts to reconcile his desire with his self-conception. By looking at exemplary selections of this genre, the class will examine the general themes of film noir, assessing the historical significance of the films as well as their attempts to come to terms with new, acute challenges to gender and social identities, challenges that were accompanied by a fading sense of ethical and moral compunction.




The Postman Always Rings Twice: Music Video

New user-generated music video of Postman Always Rings Twice 

Welcome to Film Noir

So you're a private detective. I didn't know they existed, except in books, or else they were greasy little men snooping around hotel corridors. My, you're a mess, aren't you? 

- Vivian to Marlow in The Big Sleep