What’s in a name? Film noir has been around for nearly eighty years now, and yet we still can’t really put our fingers on what it is. Sure, you can find characters in the cynical private eye and the knockout dame with a hidden agenda, the gangsters and the jewel thieves, the world-weary cops with nothing to lose.
You could show us devices like the endless cigarettes and whisky for breakfast, the lipstick applied right before a fatal gunfight, the fedoras and furs and shabby grey suits.
You might even be able to finger methods like the stark lighting and deep shadows, the never-day-when-night-will-do approach, the rain on a dark street, the low light in a seedy underground club.

You could show us all of these things and still we would ask you, ‘What is film noir?’

At face value (and with a gun to our head) we would probably describe noir as a finite cycle of American films, created during a period of global political unrest, when everyday life seemed to be constantly under threat, from foreign and domestic forces. Gangsters, Communists, Fascists, the cops – they were all out to get you, and so you turned your face to the movies, to see it reflected back at you so harshly that you knew it couldn’t be true.

But noir is much more than the sum of these parts. Like other classic movie genres, it has evolved over time, with many directors of the following generations paying tribute to it, recreating it, or being influenced by it. Unlike other classic movie genres, however, noir is not constrained by particular characteristics or emotions it is required to evoke. You might come out of a horror movie jumping at shadows and sleeping with the light on, but you will most likely come out of a noir looking at the world around you and going ‘What next?’

The political and social history that underpinned the ‘classic noir’ period may no longer be relevant, but the mood, the style, the feeling of noir is timeless.

For us, noir is pretty much it. And so we give you our weekly Tuesday-night Noir-a-thon.

So here it is, the list of films in our journey through the history of film noir:
1930 Blue Angel
1931 M
1932 Shanghai Express
1937 Pepe Le Moko
Classic Period
1941 The Maltese Falcon
1942 This Gun For Hire
1944 Double Indemnity
1944 Laura
1944 Phantom Lady
1944 Ministry of Fear
1944 Murder My Sweet
1945 Detour
1945 Fallen Angel
1945 Leave Her To Heaven
1945 Mildred Pierce
1946 The Big Sleep
1946 The Postman Always Rings Twice
1946 The Strange Love of Martha Ivers
1946 The Stranger
1947 Brighton Rock
1947 Nightmare Alley
1947 Out of the Past
1947 The Lady From Shanghai
1947 They Made Me a Fugitive
1948 Drunken Angel
1948 He Walked By Night
1948 Sorry, Wrong Number
1948 The Big Clock
1948 The Naked City
1949 Stray Dog
1949 The Big Steal
1949 They Live By Night
1949 The Third Man
1950 D.O.A.
1950 Side Street
1950 Dark City
1950 Gun Crazy
1950 In A Lonely Place
1950 Night and the City
1950 Sunset Boulevard
1950 The Asphalt Jungle
1950 Where The Sidewalk Ends
1951 Detective Story
1951 The Enforcer
1953 Pickup on South Street
1953 The Big Heat
1954 Dial M for Murder
1954 Touchez Pas Au Grisbi
1955 Bob le Flambeur
1955 Kiss Me Deadly
1955 Rififi
1955 The Big Combo
1956 The Killing

1957 The Sweet Smell of Success
1958 Touch of Evil

1958 Elevator To The Gallows
1960 Bout de Souffle
1960 Plein Soleil
1960 The Bad Sleep Well
1962 Le Doulos
1963 High and Low
1964 Bande a Part
1964 Pale Flower
1967 Le Samourai
1967 Point Blank
1968 The Detective
1970 Le Cercle Rouge
1972 Across 110th Street
1973 Charley Varrick
1973 The Long Goodbye
1974 Chinatown
1976 Taxi Driver
1976 The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

1977 The American Friend
1979 Hardcore
1980 Atlantic City
1981 Body Heat
1981 Cutter's Way
1982 Blade Runner
1985 To Live and Die in L.A.
1988 As Tears Go By
1988 Stormy Monday
1988 Cop
1990 After Dark, My Sweet
1990 Miller's Crossing
1990 The Grifters
1991 New Jack City
1992 Unforgiven
1993 The Last Seduction
1995 Strange Days
1995 Twelve Monkeys
1997 L.A. Confidential
1998 Dark City
1998 Following
1998 Dark City
1998 The Big Lebowski
1999 The Limey
2002 The Good Thief
2003 Blind Shaft
2004 El Aura
2005 Brick
2005 A History of Violence
2005 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
2005 Sin City
2005 The Beat That My Heart Skipped
2006 Hollywoodland
2006 The Good German
2010 Inception

2010 Winter's Bone
2011 Drive

2012 Killer Joe