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

The most immediate standout is a three-night series of double features that pair a classic Hollywood film noir with a contemporaneous screwball comedy. Jordan Cronk, The Hollywood Reporter, "Critic's Picks: A July To-Do List for Film Buffs in L.A.," 1 July 2019 The Road to Redemption Angel found its rhythm and tone, paying homage to classic film noir and mixing genres along the way. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Angel cast and creators reunite for 20th anniversary of beloved vampire drama series," 20 June 2019 His debut feature film, Brick (2005), was a crime drama with film noir overtones, largely inspired by the works of Dashiell Hammett and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Rian Johnson trades in lightsabers for postmodern whodunnit Knives Out," 2 July 2019 Humphrey Bogart’s slickness in the seminal film noir The Maltese Falcon, camp. Lilah Ramzi, Vogue, "An Ode to the Campiest Film You’ve Probably Never Seen," 19 Apr. 2019 Cage’s Spider-Man Noir is a parody of goofy film noir clichés. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is dazzling, hilarious, and unique," 14 Dec. 2018 Directed by Alston's brother Julius Ramsay, whose credits include directing and editing episodes of The Walking Dead, Midnighters is a low-budget film noir that benefits greatly from its tautness and lack of pretension. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Midnighters': Film Review," 1 Mar. 2018 The whole thing is very film noir, which may connect to the noir episode coming later this season. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "9 Secret Signs in the New "Riverdale" Trailer That Prove Season 3 Part 2 Will Be Epic," 10 Jan. 2019 Bertolucci draws heavily on German Expressionism, with its exaggerated, distorted shapes, and the deep, heavy shadows and stark contrasts of film noir. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist still resonates today," 3 Dec. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of film noir

1930, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for film noir

French, literally, black film

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about film noir

Statistics for film noir

Last Updated

26 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for film noir

The first known use of film noir was in 1930

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for film noir

film noir

noun

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with film noir

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about film noir

Comments on film noir

What made you want to look up film noir? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!