A type of American crime film characterized by cynical leads, seedy underworld characters, and a bleak, pessimistic view of humanity that sprung from the disillusioned underbelly of post-World War II domestic prosperity and comfort. Literally meaning "black film," the term was coined by French critics in the '40s. Variously argued as both a style and genre, noir can now be viewed as one of Hollywood's most creative and expressive periods of filmmaking, predominate between 1941 and 1955. Noir's protagonists were most always men, consumed by the past and driven to repeat their mistakes, generally at the behest of a predatory femme fatale who attempts to drive them to extortion, murder, and ultimate ruin. Stylistically, noir is one of cinema's most identifiable types. Usually urban based, they employ labyrinthine, nightmarish plots full of violence, sex, greed and complex chronological time frames, often using flashbacks to emphasize the futility of fighting off fate. Visually, these films rely heavily on atmosphere, often to reflect the damaged interior mindset of the central characters. Rain, overt darkness, shadows, and skewed camera angles are all iconography found in noir. Classics like Double Indemnity, Out of the Past, In a Lonely Place, Kiss Me Deadly and The Killers all represent variations of this seminal era. While the classic period died out in the mid-'50s, in the mid-'70s it later resurfaced as post-noir, or neo-noir, again mirroring the nation's social climate, specifically, the instability and social disgruntlement that accompanied the post-Watergate years. Chinatown, Night Moves, The Long Goodbye and Taxi Driver offer strong examples of films drawing heavily on noir's obsessions, presenting flawed, emotionally wrecked anti-heroes. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, with films such as Blood Simple, The Grifters, and Red Rock West, noir continued to enjoy a revival without ever losing its original potency.