"Film Noir" is a term that has been the subject of much debate. Literally, the term is French for "dark film" and was created by French critics after World War II to describe a certain group of American films of the 1940's. These films belonged to a variety of established genres, including the thriller, the detective film, and the crime melodrama. The movies characterized as "film noir" shared themes of social failure, fatal attraction, and criminal perversity. Among the best known are The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, and The Third Man. The classic film noirs from the period of 1940-58 greatly influenced the French New Wave, as well as the neo-noir films of the past thirty years.