The author in his article reminds the fundamental facts connected with the phenomenon of film noir. He writes about the moment of discovering it by French critics, about its topics, motives, heroes, style and about esthetical, i.e. literary and filmic, roots of the great stream of the American cinema. He underlies its connection with gangster genre, German expressionism, French poetical realism, and with Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane. As far as literature is concerned, the author points out the strong influence of American hard-boiled literature over film noir. Other welknown cultural and social phenomena linked with film noir reminded by Sławomir Bobowski, are: philosophical existentialism, popularisation of psychoanalysis and – first of all – the specific social situation of America before and after the Second World War, the part of which was, among other things, the new condition of women which made the motif of femme fatale so often present in noir movies.