It's in many ways not fair to entitle this film as just a film noir.
I state that because , first at all remember. we are talking about of Patricia Highsmith , one of the most gifted minds in the north american literatute. If you analyze all her literaries works, as Strangers on a train,(Hitchcock) or A plenn soleil(Rene Clement), you'll find all the characters are envolved in a cosmical trick. It's true that the hopeless who surrounds establishes an anticipated fate in all their actions. But what Highsmith adds in every work, including the american friend is the lack of any kind of feeling or ethical consideration carried to a level that they become in models. I mean, it's very hard for us to find by instance, with a character as Mr. Rippley in any street of any city in the world. These characters are not common.
That's the most remarkable virtue in Highsmith and Wenders so Clement and Hithcock understood and exploited this item like few.
Wenders,one of the three kings of the german filmography in the seventies, (together with Fassbinder, Herzog, and Hauff), knew how to deal with that and make a clever twist in an age where the key works of the neo film noir, a genre that slowly was left and replaced by thrillers with little trascendence.
This film , in my point of view, made grow up to Dennis Hopper, not only as actor, but as a filmmaker. (Remember his best work as director titled Colors).
This film is eternal. And that means just one thing: it's a masterpiece. And obviously, it will resist the years and far of getting old, it will enrich us, every time we watch it.