This post provides a full and comprehensive listing of books on film noir that can be purchased on-line.

Recent Releases:

Other books:

Noir, Now and Then: Film Noir Originals and Remakes (1944-1999) by Ronald Schwartz

Houses of Noir: Dark Visions from Thirteen Film Studios by Ronald Schwartz

Neo-Noir: The New Film Noir Style from Psycho to Collateral by Ronald  Schwartz

Latin American Films, 1932-1994: A Critical Filmography by Ronald Schwartz

Great Spanish Films Since 1950 by Ronald Schwartz

Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner by Paul M. Sammon

Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir by Eddie Muller
“Dig it: Eddie Muller’s Dark City is a righteous, rip-snorting
riff on the ultimate cinematic genre–film noir. This book displays a
salutary knowledge of the underpinnings of the genre; serves as a
fabulous reference book; and most importantly, dishes the real life dirt
on the freaks, geeks, commies, nymphos, hopheads, has-beens,
red-baiters, and all-purpose fiends who made this genre great.
” –
James Ellroy

The Rough Guide to Film Noir A great introduction that covers the genre from early German expressionism to the latest neo-noirs, and highlights the movies to look out for.

Film Noir: An Encyclopedic Reference by Alain Silver
“This encyclopedia is a valuable addition to any Film Noir library.
It contains production credits, plot summaries, and brief analyses of
hundreds of films noirs, as well as excellent appendices which include
summaries of the Film Noir genre and a chronology. The analyses are in
general quite good, if brief, with those by Robert Porfirio the most
perceptive and well written…” –
Deborah Alpi

Its A Bitter Little World: The Smartest Toughest Nastiest Quotes from
Film Noir

The Philosophy of Film Noir (The Philosophy of Popular Culture)
From Publishers Weekly: “When Nietzsche
declared “God is dead,” little did he know he was helping to launch a new
cinematic genre characterized by shady characters and seamy plotlines involving
fallen women, murder and betrayal. But noir is inevitably more than just stylish
filmmaking or the marriage between American hard-boiled fiction and German
expressionism, according to the philosophers, film historians and English
professors who contributed to this book: film noir “challenged widespread
assumptions about material and moral progress” and represents a “systematic
deconstruction of the American Dream.” Examining classic noir films and books by
writers such as Albert Camus, Dashiell Hammett and James Cain, contributors
discuss essence of film noir as reflecting a sense of disenchantment, “inversion
of traditional values” and the “spiritual defeat of modernity.” In her essay on
The Maltese Falcon, Deborah Knight draws the distinction between the emotionally
conflicted detective Sam Spade and his more detached predecessor, Sherlock
Holmes. Philosophy professor Steven Sanders sifts through existentialist texts
and classic noir films to find the meaning of life, while several contributors
weigh in on themes of morality and Pulp Fiction gets a deep scholarly massage
from Conard. Dense and intriguing, the book suggests noir is best perceived as a
slightly warped mirror held up to contemporary society.”

Film Noir Reader
Alain Silver & James Ursini (Editors)
From Booknews: “An anthology of 22 seminal and contemporary essays on the
art of noir in film, drawing together definitive studies and ruminations on the
philosophy and techniques that made movies like The Maltese Falcon classics. The
essays include the first English translation of “Towards a Definition of Film
Noir,” by Borde and Chaumeton, and Paul Shrader’s “Notes on Film Noir.” Other
critical discussions examine narrative structure, lighting, the evolution of the
femme fatale, and the neo-noir rebirth of the genre in films like Reservoir Dogs
and Gun Crazy. Lots and lots of black and white (of course) photographs make
this a film buff’s dream collection.”

L.A. Noir: The City as Character
by Alain Silver
From Booklist
: “Film noir continues to
generate a remarkable outpouring of pedantic prose, but the would-be scholars
may have expended the most effort while achieving the least on the topic of how
the genre uses the urban landscape. Only Nicholas Christopher, in Somewhere in
the Night (1997), managed to say something truly memorable about how, in the
best noir films, the labyrinth of the postwar city came to reflect the psychic
wounds of its inhabitants. This extensively illustrated guide to Los Angeles as
a noir setting makes a useful adjunct to the Christopher book. Moving throughout
the city, from downtown to the Westside, the Pacific Coast, and on to the
suburbs, the authors show how specific streets and buildings helped set the mood
and convey the dark messages in such classic noirs as Criss Cross and Kiss Me
Deadly as well as in neo-noirs, including Chinatown and Blade Runner. The
black-and-white illustrations of cityscapes prove every bit as evocative as the
actual film stills, eloquently making the point that place is every bit as
capable of driving meaning as action.”
Bill Ott

Film Noir
by Andrew Spicer
From Back Cover
: “Lucidly written, Film Noir is an accessible, informative and
stimulating introduction that will have a broad appeal…”

Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir
by Sheri Chinen Biesen
From Time Literary Supplment: “Biesen’s book is readable,
informative and jargon free… Biesen uses her research into studio
archives, the films’ attendant publicity and the contemporary press to
bring alive the wartime period of film noir and its transformation into
a post-war genre for dealing with troubled veterans returning home, the
coming of the Cold War, nuclear angst and the effects of McCarthyism on
Hollywood and the nation at large.”

Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir and the American City
by Nicholas Christopher

The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir
by Foster Hirsch
Amazon says: “The classic study of the most menacing and original
genre of American cinema. A backlist best seller and the definitive take
on one of today’s reigning screen influences, film noir, this is an
essential guide to the extraordinary genre that launched the careers of
such luminaries as Burt Lancaster, Billy Wilder, Joan Crawford, Orson
Welles, and Stanley Kubrick.”

by EddieMuller

More than Night: Film Noir in Its Contexts
by James Naremore
From Back Cover: “One of the very best film books in recent years. . . .
There are any number of books on noir, but none as comprehensive, as rigorous,
as far- reaching as Naremore’s. . . . It will be the essential work for the

Film Noir Reader 4: The Crucial Films and Themes
by Alain Silver

San Francisco Noir
by Nathaniel Rich
Martin Scorsese: “Nathaniel Rich has written a fascinating work of criticism
disguised as a guided tour around a great city.”

European Film Noir

A Panorama of American Film Noir, 1941-1953 by Raymond Borde
From Amazon: “When it appeared in France in 1955, A Panorama of
American Film Noir was the first book ever on the genre. Now this
classic is at last available in English translation. This clairvoyant
study of Hollywood film noir is “a ‘benchmark’ for all later work on the
topic” (James Naremore). A Panorama of American Film Noir addresses the
essential amorality of its subject from a decidedly Surrealist angle,
focusing on noir’s dreamlike, unwonted, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel
atmosphere, and setting it in the social context of mid-century

Women in Film Noir

The Philosophy of Neo-Noir (Philosophy and Popular Culture)

Encyclopedia of Film Noir by Geoff Mayer

Film Noir (Virgin Film)

The Noir Style by Alain Silver
“It’s what you always want in a film reference book, but rarely find:
comprehensive, intelligently organized, voluminously illustrated, and possessed
of its own distinctive voice.”
– Lawrence Kasdan

Dames in the Driver’s Seat: Rereading Film Noir by Jans B. Wager

Crime Scenes: Movie Poster Art of the Film Noir: The Classic PerioD:
by Lawrence Bassoff

Film Noir
by Alain Silver
A general overview of film noir covering its most important themes with many rare stills. Among the films covered are: Double Indemnity, Kiss Me Deadly, Gun Crazy, Criss Cross, Detour, In A Lonely Place, T-Men, Out of the Past, The Reckless Moment, and Touch of Evil.

The Big Book of Noir
Fom Card Catalog: “Noir is big, so The Big Book of Noir jam-packs its pages
with articles, interviews, excerpts, opinion, and gossip that chronicle its
history and explore noir in all its forms: movies, detective stories, television
and radio shows, comic books, and graphic novels.”

Unless the Threat of Death Is Behind Them: …
by John T. Irwin
“Irwin’s analysis of five American crime novels from the Thirties
and Forties and his insightful discussion of the ‘noir’ films based on
them cast new light on the qualities of these ‘hard-boiled’ classics.
The surprising affinities he uncovers that link these works with other
examples of American ‘main-line’ fiction will surely increase the
reader’s perception of the inherent seriousness at the heart of these
genre entertainments.”
– Donald A. Yates

Film Noir Reader 3: Interviews with Filmmakers of the Classic Noir
by Alain Silver

Out of the Past: Adventures in Film Noir
by Barry Gifford

Hard Boiled: Great Lines from Classic Noirs
by Peggy Thompson
“When Lauren Bacall taught Humphrey Bogart how to whistle in To
Have and Have Not, she didn’t blow away the competition for great
one-liners. The book Hard-Boiled includes that line and more than 350
other tough, witty, and downright nasty quotes from classic noir films
produced between 1940 and the early Sixties… “
Playboy March 1996

Dark Cinema: American Film Noir
by Jon Tuska
Tuska’s book is an attempt to link the film noir tradition to a wider world
of American culture. Thus it provides not only a description of the cinematic
antecedents of the films but also a history of its literary origins. The book
also defines noir’s typical style, themes and concerns, actors, actresses, and
directors…. This book is strongest when it discusses the films themselves….
Selected bibliography and filmography are included. Probably most useful at the
lower-division undergraduate level.”
– Choice

The Gangster Film Reader
by Alain Silver

Film Noir: Films of Trust and Betrayal
by Paul Duncan

Noir Anxiety
by Kelly Oliver

Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir
by Eddie Muller
“Briskly written and well researched, this survey should be
popular in large public library film collections.”
– Stephen Rees,
Levittown Regional Lib., PA

Street with No Name: A History of the Classic Film Noir by Andrew Dickos
“A gracefully written overview of the film noir genre, with special side trips
to specific films and themes.” – Peter Rollins

L. A. Noir: Nine Dark Visions of the City of Angels by William Hare
From Amazon: “This work discusses nine films, each analyzed in detail,
with explanations of why certain settings are appropriate for film noir, why
L.A. has been a favorite of authors such as Raymond Chandler, and relevant
political developments in the area. The films are also examined in terms of
story content as well as how they developed in the project stage. Utilizing a
number of quotes from interviews, the work examines actors, directors, and
others involved with the films, touching on their careers and details of their
time in L.A. The major films covered are The Big Sleep, Criss Cross, D.O.A., In
A Lonely Place, The Blue Gardenia, Kiss Me Deadly, The Killing, Chinatown, and
L.A. Confidential.”

Neon Noir: Contemporary American Crime Fiction by Woody Haut

Film Noir and the Spaces of Modernity
by Edward Dimendberg
Bookforum: “Urban transformations are the burden of Edward
Dimendberg’s fitfully brilliant study, Film Noir and the Spaces of
Modernity: the passage of a historical city of old neighborhoods,
traditional if often menacing public spaces, and anonymous crowds into
the postwar suburbs, highways, shopping malls, and industrial
landscapes…Dimendberg’s animating insight remarks the coincidence of
this radical reorganization in American space and the film-noir
cycle–from 1939 to 1959 or, as he slyly glosses, from the New York
World’s Fair, the construction of Rockefeller Center, and publication of
The Big Sleep to the Nixon-Khrushchev ‘Kitchen Debate,’ Robert Wise’s
Odds Against Tomorrow, and the death of Raymond Chandler. Film noir
registers the fears and human toll of all that spatial mutation, yet
obliquely, metaphorically, a sort of phantom parallel to everyday
enterprise…[A] mostly dazzling scholarly investigation.”
– Robert Polito

Neo-Noir: The New Film Noir Style from Psycho to Collateral
by Ronald Schwartz

French Film Noir
by Robin Buss

Film Noir: From Berlin to Sin City
by Mark Bould

Noir Is My Beat
by Lara Fisher
From Amazon: “For the classic movie fan and the die-hard film noir
junkie, Noir is My Beat gives you hundreds of film noir brainteasers.
Test your smarts with quotations, questions and little known facts about
the movies, stars, writers and legends of film noir. Noir is My Beat is
an enjoyable and revealing look at the world of classic film noir. In
addition to oodles of trivia, this book provides a comprehensive listing
of films from the era that introduced film noir to the world.”

Arts of Darkness: American Noir and the Quest For Redemption
by Thomas S. Hibbs

In a Lonely Street: Film Noir, Genre, Masculinity
by Frank Krutnik

Death on the Cheap: The Lost B Movies of Film Noir
by Arthur Lyons
“A terrific piece of work, the definitive book on its subject, and a body
slam of nostalgia that knocked me out of my chair more than once.”
– Dean Koonz

Film Noir by Bruce Crowther

Cornell Woolrich from Pulp Noir to Film Noir
by Thomas C. Renzi


Early Film Noir: Greed, Lust and Murder Hollywood Style by William Hare

The Little Black and White Book of Film Noir fom the 40s and 50s
byPeg Thompson
From Amazon: “A bestselling collection of quotables from those
great gritty movies about losers and drifters, dreamers and grifters,
damsels and gunsels: lost souls at the core of urban fantasy. The last
ray of light and with it, the last wisecrack tumbling out like poetry.”

The Book of Film Noir

Hollywood’s Dark Cinema: The American Film Noir by R. Barton Palmer

Detours and Lost Highways: A Map of Neo-Noir
by Foster Hirsch

Shades of Noir: A Reader

Film Noir Guide: 745 Films of the Classic Era 1940-1959 by Michael F. Keaney

Bad Boys: The Actors of Film Noir
by Karen Burroughs Hannsberry

Black & White & Noir
by Paula Rabinowitz

The Beloved Bs.(Mediocre or B Motion Pictures)
by Dan Georgakas

Dark City: The Film Noir
by Spencer Selby

The Fatal Woman: Sources of Male Anxiety in.Film Noir 1941-1991
by James F. Maxfield

Film Noir
by Elizabeth M. Ward

The Film Noir Bible: When White People Had The Blues

Film Noir: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Ref… by Michael L. Stephens
“A comprehensive illustrated reference book…can’t put it down
category…thoroughly recommended”
– BBC International

A Girl and a Gun: The Complete Guide to Film Noir On Video
by David N. Meyer

More Than Night: Film Noir and Its Contexts
by Paul Arthur

The Movie Book of Film Noir

Noir Movies Facts, Figures & Fun
by John Grant

Noir, Now and Then: Film Noir Originals and Remakes 1944-1999
by Ronald Schwartz

A Reference Guide to the American Film Noir 1940-1958
byRobert Ottoson

Robert Siodmak: A Biography, With Critical Analyses
byDeborah Lazaroff Alpi

Santa Barbara Noir (California Journeys)
by Barbara Tannenbaum

Somewhere in the Night: Film Noir & the American City
by Nicholas Christopher

<a title=”The Dark Mirror: Psychiatry and Film Noir” href=””>The Dark Mirror: Psychiatry and Film Noir</a>&nbsp; Marlisa Santos</p>

7 thoughts on “Books”

  1. You have a very interesting site that I enjoyed visiting. Thank you for including my books “L.A. Noir” and “Early Film Noir.”

    All the best,

    Bill Hare


    1. Hi Ronald. The list needs updating as I haven’t reviewed it for a while. Certainly there is always a new book on film noir. It is hard to keep up.

      Please send me the Amazon links for your other books and I will add them to the list.


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