film noir

noun
\ -ˈnwär How to pronounce film noir (audio) \
plural film noirs\ -​ˈnwär(z) How to pronounce film noirs (audio) \ or films noir or films noirs\ -​ˈnwär How to pronounce films noirs (audio) \

Definition of film noir

: a type of crime film featuring cynical malevolent characters in a sleazy setting and an ominous atmosphere that is conveyed by shadowy photography and foreboding background music also : a film of this type

Examples of film noir in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This futuristic film noir features a steely but cool lead performance from Ford in what some consider his best-ever movie. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Harrison Ford turns 78 today; Here are his 10 best movies," 13 July 2020 In 1974, the film noir ‘‘Chinatown,’’ starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, was released by Paramount Pictures. BostonGlobe.com, "This day in history," 20 June 2020 But cinephiles have been chattering again about film noir, a category that is notoriously difficult to define but about which every movie lover has an opinion. Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times, "Want to Be an Instant Expert on Film Noir? Watch This Drama," 30 Apr. 2020 Joel and Ethan Coen turned film noir upside down, perhaps asking the question: What might have happened if Raymond Chandler got high and wrote those novels? Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Fire up these stoner movies for 420 Day," 20 Apr. 2020 The lonesome, yearning Westerns of the 1920s gave way to musicals and war sagas in the ’40s, film noir in the ’50s, skin flicks in the ’80s, and high-power action movies in the ’90s. Fortune, "Horror Flicks Are Having a Moment, But Here’s When Other Movie Genres Peaked," 17 July 2019 City of Angels takes place nearly 40 years after the original series, in 1938, and as such trades in the gothic horror of its predecessor for a more Chandler-esque film noir aesthetic, infused with traditional Mexican-American folklore. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Penny Dreadful: City of Angels walks a fine line between realism, the supernatural," 26 Apr. 2020 Kurosawa’s venerated drama with Mifune as a samurai of questionable legitimacy, consider Kurosawa’s film noir HIGH AND LOW (1963), airing at 5:30 p.m., in which Mifune plays a business executive drawn into a kidnapping scandal. Gabe Cohn, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘Baghdad Central’ and a Sketch Comedy Show," 1 Apr. 2020 Tattoo of Revenge > Little Women Julián Hernandez’s film noir turns male–female empathy into a constantly inventive spectacle while Greta Gerwig’s literary adaptation sentimentalizes bourgeois privilege as a woman’s right. Armond White, National Review, "The 15th Annual Better-Than List," 3 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'film noir.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of film noir

1930, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for film noir

French, literally, black film

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Time Traveler for film noir

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The first known use of film noir was in 1930

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Last Updated

27 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Film noir.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/film%20noir. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for film noir

film noir

noun
How to pronounce film noir (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of film noir

: a movie about crime that uses dark shadows and lighting to show the complicated moral nature of the subject also : this style of film

More from Merriam-Webster on film noir

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about film noir

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