If such a ranking existed for movies, then they’d have to invent it just to convey how brilliant Double Indemnity truly is.

The short review is pretty much that Double Indemnity is the quintessential film noir. Hands down.

However, I’ll elaborate for first timers – both to the site and film noir as a whole. Film noir is a genre of film often described as a stylish, Hollywood crime drama. Most traits of film noir include internal dialogue, a gritty anti-hero, a dame to kill for, a mysterious murder and no small amount of intrigue, thrills and violence.

There are also stylized aspects of the film noir genre as well. Shots set up to create a sense of tension in a scene. Vertical blinds or bars in a staircase, casting prison bar shadows across the face of the protagonist. That sort of thing.

Double Indemnity covers all of these angles, all while delivering blockbuster performances from some of the best actors of the time. Fred MacMurray, as Walter Neff, portrays the archetypal man who falls for the girl and shows us how it all goes downhill.

Regarded as a classic and worthy of preservation by the Library of Congress, if you are new to noirs, then this is the best one to start you off. Heck, if you have direct tv deals or something that gives you access to the classics, you might just find it floating around there.