The optical constants n and k were obtained for the noble metals (copper, silver, and gold) from reflection and transmission measurements on vacuum-evaporated thin films at room temperature, in the spectral range 0.5-6.5 eV. The film-thickness range was 185-500 Å. Three optical measurements were inverted to obtain the film thickness d as well as n and k. The estimated error in d was +/- 2 Å, and that in n, k was less than 0.02 over most of the spectral range. The results in the film-thickness range 250-500 Å were independent of thickness, and were unchanged after vacuum annealing or aging in air. The free-electron optical effective masses and relaxation times derived from the results in the near infrared agree satisfactorily with previous values. The interband contribution to the imaginary part of the dielectric constant was obtained by subtracting the free-electron contribution. Some recent theoretical calculations are compared with the results for copper and gold. In addition, some other recent experiments are critically compared with our results.