Notorious is a 1946 American spy film noir directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, and Claude Rains as three people whose lives become intimately entangled during an espionage operation. It was shot in late 1945 and early 1946, and was released by RKO Radio Pictures in August 1946.
Notorious is considered by critics and scholars to mark a watershed for Hitchcock artistically, and to represent a heightened thematic maturity. His biographer, Donald Spoto, writes that "Notorious is in fact Alfred Hitchcock's first attempt—at the age of forty-six—to bring his talents to the creation of a serious love story, and its story of two men in love with Ingrid Bergman could only have been made at this stage of his life."
Two scenes in the film have been widely cited as among Hitchcock's best: in one, Hitchcock starts wide and high on a second floor balcony overlooking the great hall of a grand mansion. Slowly he tracks down and in on Ingrid Bergman, finally ending with a tight close-up of a key tucked in her hand. Hitchcock also devised a scene that circumvented the Production Code's ban on kisses longer than three seconds by having his actors disengage every three seconds, murmur and nuzzle each other, then start again. The two-and-a-half-minute kiss was described by biographer Paul Duncan as "perhaps his most intimate and erotic kiss".
In 2006, Notorious was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".