To me its easy Film noir/Neo-Noir is a vibe,mood a subgenre like in Hardboiled PI, Noir books. If you are noir fan in books you can easily see which are film noir,neo noir and not just trying to copy while being action or something. You cant limit a genre to some cultural thing just because there are classics that was more important than others. Jean-Peirre Melville films is as noir as you can get.
Mostly i prefer the classic ones and Le Samurai and Chinatown are perfect modern noir.
The best i have seen so far i rank like this:
1. The Maltese Falcon - perfect combination of actor,script,director and is imo the best hardboiled PI story ever done in film. John Huston i see this film when i think of his work.
2. Le Samurai
3. Touch of Evil
4. The Killing
6. The Big Sleep
7. White Heat
8. Reservoir Dogs
9. Miller's Crossing
10. Asphalt Jungle
Yes im a big Sterling Hayden fan.
I havent seen classics people always mention like Double Indemnity and The Third Man.