Definition of noir in US English:



  • 1A genre of crime film or fiction characterized by cynicism, fatalism, and moral ambiguity.

    ‘his film proved that a Brit could do noir as darkly as any American’
    • ‘But this exercise in revamped noir lacks the emotional penetration of the other films in this package.’
    • ‘It is hard-boiled Hollywood noir, featuring fantastic dialogue and great performances.’
    • ‘Most critics and filmmakers acknowledge Melville's pervasive influence on postmodern noir.’
    • ‘The film is a pastiche of screwball and noir, full of fast talk, funny banter, and venetian blind shadows.’
    • ‘In this way, Truffaut's adaptation is one part homage to American noir, one part French New Wave classic.’
    • ‘It certainly is a clue to the indefinable difference we find in British noir.’
    • ‘In different hands, it could have been hardcore pulp noir, with violent overtones.’
    • ‘The film lacks much of the stylistic visual character of such films, but other components push it firmly in noir's direction.’
    • ‘He liked it because it reminded him of films like Scorsese's Mean Streets, or some of the best Hong Kong noir.’
    • ‘I see noir today as very dreamlike, very fatalistic: you've done some bad things and some bad things are going to take you down.’
    • ‘The film breaks with many narrative conventions usually associated with noir.’
    • ‘Both are strongly unconventional films in the dark noir tradition.’
    • ‘In traditional noir, black American communities featured as an exotic place of inscrutable deviance.’
    • ‘Even the lighting's perfect for noir and is a breath of fresh air as it's been a long time since someone has lit a film so fittingly.’
    • ‘The plot is classic heist noir, and deliciously generic.’
    • ‘Fritz Lang brings the terrors of noir into the bright kitchens of America.’
    1. 1.1 A film or novel in the noir genre.
      ‘he says he's making a noir’
      • ‘Fortunately, Gun Crazy offers us much beyond this basic premise, making it not only one of the top few noirs of all time but, according to Gary Johnson, also ‘one of the greatest B movies ever made.’’
      • ‘Edgar Ulmer's reputation rests largely on a series of no-budget, claustrophobic noirs and thrillers like Strange Illusion, Bluebeard, and of course Detour.’
      • ‘Classical noirs remain within these confines: they abound with cases of amnesia in which the hero does not know who he is or what he did during the blackout.’
      • ‘Lloyd Nolan, perhaps best known for his later roles in noirs like The Street with No Name, makes for a surprisingly charismatic Shayne.’
      • ‘Some scenes seem staged, which takes you out of the flow (American noirs are guilty of that same flaw).’
      • ‘Warner Brothers delivers a nice package in this lesser-known noir.’
      • ‘Call Northside 777 ranks among the lesser noirs.’
      • ‘An ambitious pastiche of Hollywood noirs, pulp comic books of the '50s and classic science fiction, the film was created entirely with computers.’
      • ‘Jane Campion's erotic new noir is being hailed as her finest work since The Piano.’
      • ‘Unlike in some noirs, however, much of this drama is played out not in the customary cramped corners of a dark city but in broad daylight and natural settings.’
      • ‘Many of the classic noirs of the 1940s and later owe a debt to M's obsessive attention to the details of the manhunt, with the most minute aspects of police procedure rendered.’


1970s: from film noir.