Many people keep hearing of the term “film noir” without knowing exactly what it is. Som tends to associate it with femme fatale and detetectives running about in black and white. So, what is film noir? What are the examples? How do you identify it? These and more are questions that most people tend to ask. In this article, however, we will have an in-depth look at this term. Let’s get started!

Film Noir – what it is

Is it a genre or a style? A lot of come enthusiasts and professionals can’t seem to conclude what it truly is and that’s why we will be taking a broader look at what this means.

What is film noir? This is a stylized genre in film that is often characterized by fatalism, pessimism, and cynicism. This term was first used in France after World War II. At the time (the 1940s and.50s), it was used to describe detective films or American thriller. Even if the film noir in Hollywood dated back to the 1920s, it still doesn’t rule out the truth that film noir is a direct translation for “black cinema” but most french critics used the term go describe some Hollywood movies. These moves were saturated with pessimism and darkness that y people haven’t seen before.

Its most time difficult to tell if film noir is a style or just a genre.

Some Elements of Film Noir

Before we go on, it’s important to note that their elements of noir mentioned below must not be noticed in a film before it can be termed a noir. However, they are common with these styles. Here are they:

  • High-contrast in a scene
  • Femme fatale
  • Frequent post-war depression
  • A tight, brief dialogue

What’s the genre of noir?

Going down the history, the noir style of filmmaking was known for a painful time. Then, pessimism, and cynicism mostly from the high sense of depression were fixed in the American mind.

Most Americans were going through depression coupled with the war. The painful moments couldn’t end even when the war did. When the soldiers came home, it automatically caused women to lose their jobs.

Examples of film noir

How do you identify cynicism in cinema? Is it when a dialogue is purely laced with deep mordancy and sarcasm? Or you identify simply by viewing the high contrasted lighting In each of the scenes? Here are three major examples of classic films that showed noir:

Laura (1944)

This is a noir classic film which showed terrific acting from Dana Andrews, Vincent Price, and Gene Tierney. Sometime in the mid-40s, a lot of noir movies began to pop up.

The Maltese Falcon (1941)

This mystery-themed noir made a lot of impact on people. The film which starred Humphrey Bogart featured outstanding cinematography.

The Blue Dahlia (1946)

This film got nominated for the academy award. The popular pair, Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake were both featured in it. The film was majorly about a sailor who got back home to find out that his supposed wife was in an affair. It’s one of those noir films that scream disappointment and pain.


Film Noir is a beautiful film genre that many people are yet to explore.