Parents' Guide to

The Third Man

By Scott G. Mignola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

As powerful and original now as it was in 1949.

Movie NR 1950 93 minutes
The Third Man Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 13+

Keeps you guessing all the way through!

Reed's expertly directed film offers viewers a juicy whodunnit in all of its Orson Welles glory. Welles charisma seeps into every scene, even the ones he is not in. His presence looms large throughout the film. The not so happy ending of the film is added plus after such a whirlwind of a tense ride. Cotten plays the bumbling US American with perfect aplomb and we understand how he can be duped by everyone around him. This film keeps you guessing and is executed beautifully.
age 13+

CSM review got it right.

The CSM review got it right. To understand this movie teens will have to understand "black markets" and a little bit about post WW II history of dividing parts of Europe into zones controlled by the Allies and what it might mean to be repatriated to Eastern Europe.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (4):

Several factors contribute to make THE THIRD MAN as powerful and as stunningly original now as it was when it premiered to great acclaim in 1949. Graham Green's taut story and wonderfully snappy dialogue provide a strong foundation for some outstanding performances. Then there are the dank and glorious ruins of Vienna, exquisitely captured by Robert Krasker's Oscar-winning camerawork. And there's that music, a lone zither plucking jauntily away throughout the movie, even at the scene of a murder. Director Carol Reed's unconventional choice to have unknown musician Anton Karas perform the entire soundtrack met with objections, but it worked splendidly and made a star of Karas.

Orson Welles doesn't appear onscreen until two-thirds of the way through, but his presence is felt early on. The skewed camera angles, the imposing shadows; these, he said, were Reed's genius, but there's no mistaking the influence of his own Touch of Evil and Citizen Kane, which Welles and Joseph Cotten also starred in together. This is a movie that sets out to entertain, and does so ingeniously, without blood or sensational violence. The American Film Institute voted it number fifty-seven on their list of the 100 greatest American movies of all time.

Movie Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate