The film stars Fred MacMurray as an insurance salesman, Barbara Stanwyck as a provocative housewife who wishes her husband were dead, and Edward G. Robinson as a claims adjuster whose job is to find phony claims. The term "double indemnity" refers to a clause in certain life insurance policies that doubles the payout in rare cases when the death is accidental, such as falling off a train.
Praised by many critics when first released, Double Indemnity was nominated for seven Academy Awards but did not win any. Widely regarded as a classic, it often is cited as having set the standard for film noir.
Deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress in 1992, Double Indemnity was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. In 1998, it was ranked No. 38 on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 best American films of all time, and in 2007 it placed 29th on their 10th Anniversary list.