The quintessential classic film noir masterpiece, a definitive flashback film of melodramatic doom, contains all the elements of the genre. First and foremost, there is an irresistible but deadly, chameleon-like femme fatale, the object of romantic fascination for both a detective and a gangster. Betrayal, passion, and a cynical, perverse, and a morally ambiguous atmosphere are all interwoven and entangled together in a confusing and convoluted dark plot with both double- and triple-crosses. Eventually, all three individuals meet their inescapable, tragic ends typical of a Shakespearean-level tragedy.
Out of the Past is featured at the Time magazine's Top 100 movies.