The Third Man Theme

Album: The Third Man (1950)
Charted: 1 1
Play Video


  • Karas was an Austrian who played the zither. He was playing in a Vienna tavern when British director Carol Reed heard him and decided to have him score and play for the soundtrack of the film he was then shooting in Vienna, The Third Man. This was a brave decision by the director as Karas had absolutely no experience in composition or film scoring.
  • This was the first #1 in the USA for an Austrian.
  • Karas followed up with an album of his own pieces and other Viennese songs on Decca. He used his earnings from the film and recordings to buy a wine bar in Grinzing called "The Third Man."
  • In the UK, this was titled "The Harry Lime Theme" after the main character in the film.

Comments: 3

  • Bob Hardy from Vergennes, VtI have a Telefunken 78 rpm "Das Harry Lime Thema, Nr, A10856
    Zither solo by Anton Karas, flip side Der Cafe, Mozart Waltz. also played by Anton Karas. Platter looks good to me.
    Any interested parties, please contact me.
    Bob Hardy.
    Vergennes, VT 05491
  • Terry from KnutsfordI remember 1949 when everyone in the street was whistling the 'Third Man' theme along with the 'Twelfth Street Rag', both in the hit UK parade at the time.
  • Teresa from Mechelen, BelgiumI already loved this song when I saw the film for the first time, it's very top and I still love it now. A great song and a great film, a joy forever.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Gavin Rossdale On Lyric Inspirations and Bush's Album The Kingdom

Gavin Rossdale On Lyric Inspirations and Bush's Album The KingdomSongwriter Interviews

The Bush frontman on where he finds inspiration for lyrics, if his "machine head" is a guitar tuner, and the stories behind songs from the album The Kingdom.

Cheerleaders In Music Videos

Cheerleaders In Music VideosSong Writing

It started with a bouncy MTV classic. Nirvana and MCR made them scary, then Gwen, Avril and Madonna put on the pom poms.

John Waite

John WaiteSongwriter Interviews

"Missing You" was a spontaneous outpouring of emotion triggered by a phone call. John tells that story and explains what MTV meant to his career.

Pete Anderson

Pete AndersonSongwriter Interviews

Pete produced Dwight Yoakam, Michelle Shocked, Meat Puppets, and a very memorable track for Roy Orbison.

We Will Rock You (To Sleep): Pop Stars Who Recorded Kids' Albums

We Will Rock You (To Sleep): Pop Stars Who Recorded Kids' AlbumsSong Writing

With the rise of Kindie rock, more musicians are embracing their inner child with tunes for tots - here, we look at pop stars who recorded kids' albums.

Gary Numan

Gary NumanSongwriter Interviews

An Electronic music pioneer with Asperger's Syndrome. This could be interesting.