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Harry Lime

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Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love - they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.
~ Harry Lime's famous monologue.
Harry Lime

Harry Lime is the primary antagonist in Carol Reed's 1949 thriller film, The Third Man.

He was portrayed by Orson Welles.


The movie begins with american novelist Holly Martins paying a visit to his old friend Harry Lime in Vienna for work reasons, only to find he was killed in a recent car accident. He gets to the cemetery in time for his burial, where he meets Major Calloway, who later implies that Lime was a criminal, causing Martins to get angry and promise to prove him wrong. However, while digging into his friend's last moments by seeing those who knew him, he finds several inconsistencies, and as Calloway and Sgt. Paine provide him with evidence of Harry's criminal past, he becomes disillusioned and decides to go back to America.

A few days before leaving Vienna, he happens to see Harry Lime on the street, but loses track of him after a brief chase. He eventually convinces the officers and they decide to go check Lime's grave, finding Joseph Harbin -a missing associate of his- in his place. The police then resumes the search, trying to recruit Martins to help them track him down. At first he shows a bit reluctant and Harry even offers him a part in his trade; when Holly tells him about his victims, Harry asks him that if he could make 20.000 pounds for each dot (as people are seen from the big wheel) that stopped moving, would he pity them or calculate how many "dots" he could spend.

During the next days Martins pays a visit to a hospital, where the major shows him some of the kids that fell victim of Lime's adulterer penicillin, commenting that the lucky ones died. He is finally convinced and decides to collaborate with the police, leading to a raid that ends with a hunt for Harry through the sewers of Vienna.

Despite his cool attitude and friendly approach, he has little to no regard for the lives of others and cares only about himself and his own benefit. He also seems pretty lukewarm about his former girlfriend Anna, who is still deeply in love with him.



  • He was voted the # 37 greatest movie villain on the AFI List.
  • The popularity of the character gave rise to the radio series The Adventures of Harry Lime, which aired between 1951 and 1952, with Welles providing Harry's voice.
  • In Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's comic book series League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Harry Lime appears in the Black Dossier issue. In this alternate history, Lime faked his death and somehow rose to become head of British Intelligence in post-Big Brother England. He appears once to give instructions to Jimmy Bond, and remonstrates him for calling him by his real name. "Jimmy, you can call me 'M.' Behind my back, you can even call me 'Mother.'  But Harry... Harry died a long time ago in the sewers under Vienna. Let's leave it at that, shall we?".

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