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The Third Man: Questions for Reflection

The novelist E.M. Forster wrote "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." What does The Third Man have to say about betraying one's friend? Is the betrayal of a friend always inexcusable? Are there more important loyalties - to one's country? One's family? One's religion? Etc.

The novelist E.M. Forster wrote "If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country." What does The Third Man have to say about betraying one's friend? Is the betrayal of a friend always inexcusable? Are there more important loyalties - to one's country? One's family? One's religion? Etc. 

 
Anna and Holly have very different responses to Harry Lime's crimes. How do you account for their different reactions? Why does Anna choose not to leave Vienna? Why does she choose not to benefit from the capture of Harry? What do we know about Anna's life during the war? What do we know about Holly's? Do their different experiences of the war affect their responses to Harry? 
 
What do you make of the film's final shot?
 
Why does Holly write Westerns? Will he continue to write Westerns after his time in Vienna? 
 
Critics have often said that the city of Vienna is a character in The Third Man. How is the city used as not only a setting but as a character? 
 
 
Although Orson Welles is on screen for very little of the film, he is often remembered as the star of The Third Man. Is Harry Lime an attractive character? Are his arguments defending his criminal behavior compelling? Repellent? Understandable? Does Harry love Anna? During the chase through the sewers, are we rooting for Harry? Do we want him to escape the police? 
 
Why is the scene in the hospital filmed the way it is? 
 
Katie reminded us of the important differences between proximity and distance when making ethical decisions. How does The Third Man address these differences? 
 
Does The Third Man make you reconsider your response to the Sandusky scandal?