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Top 10 Murder Mystery movies of all time



Murder Mystery movies, specifically the Whodunit sub-genre are always up for the game for those who enjoy every bit of the suspense and tension they bring in. They also try to evoke the inner Sherlock in all those who are deeply indulged in cracking the mystery before the protagonist in the movie does. In truth, the movies that succeed in giving hidden clues all over while still not letting the viewers guess the truth behind the mystery are the greatest. Here are some of the movies that manage to hold the nerves and yet give the “edge-of-the-seat” experience while trying to unravel the mystery.

  1. Knives Out (Rian Johnson, 2019)

A surprise entry may be – when you have many good movies from the past. But trust me, this latest addition from Rian is a worthwhile watch, especially if you like to have it over a cocktail.

What worked well?        The sleek package. The clues are all there and nothing surprising coming out all of a sudden. But still the movie is packed so well that it entertains you right from the word GO.  Not to mention the Sweaters!!

  1. Clue (Jonathan Lynn, 1985)

Did you know that the movie had 3 different endings and each theatre received one of the three endings? The movie failed at the Box office but never failed to create a Cult following years later.

Want to know why?       Watch it for yourself. I will give you a clue. It is based on a game where the characters try to solve a whodunit. Sounds interesting? Movie is much more.

  1. L.A Confidential (Curtis Hanson, 1997)

A noir type movie that is brilliantly written, twisted and layered still managing to be a popcorn flick.

What worked well?        Watch out for the brilliant Kevin Spacey and Oscar winning performance from Kim Basinger (who snatched it out of Kate Winslet for her ship wreck movie thereby wrecking millions of hearts). Oh! did I forget Russell and Pearce?

  1. Laura (Otto Preminger, 1944)

You got to watch this brilliantly captured movie for its sheer soundtrack that keeps haunting you like a horror movie.

What is special about the movie?         It keeps us engaging even after multiple views – which is a great attribute for a movie of this genre.

  1. Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)

Altman’s second masterpiece, where he effectively layers the different storylines while still continuing to give in his social commentary. Despite Seven nominations at the Oscars, it managed to win One – the one for Screenplay.

What is so good about this movie?          Different perspectives put into the interrogation, that was cleverly done.

  1. Murder on the Orient Express (Sidney Lumet, 1974)

Watch the original movie, not the latest middling one. Sidney Lumet is adept in handling characters. When given with world famous Christie’s characters, he puts them on an overdrive. Among innumerable versions of this story out there, this one is right on top.

What worked well?        The casting, of course. How can you not talk about Ingrid Bergman and her Oscar worthy performance?

  1. In the Heat of the Night (Norman Jewison, 1967)

Atmospheric and tense, the film deals with racism like no other movie out there. Again, the acting between the leads are at another level and definitely played a big role in the overall outcome of the movie.

  1. The Thin Man (Van Dyke, 1934)

Coming out in 1934, this movie still remains a top entry in many Critics’ lists. A true masterpiece, the movie is a blend of comic relief and entertainment through suspense.

Why at the top of the list?           The success of this movie was so great that it led to several follow ups. It is also one of the pioneers of Murder mystery movies that were to come in the future.

  1. And then there were None (Rene Clair, 1945)

Here comes the classic – yet another adaptation of the yet another Agatha Christie’s best-selling classics.  The true meaning of Suspense could be sensed here with humor still intact.

What makes it so special?           The ensemble cast all giving worthy performances, the suspense factor working big time, especially when adapted from the best ever novel of the genre.

  1. Witness for the Prosecution (Billy Wilder, 1957)

Best whodunit movie, period. Best Courtroom drama, period (arguably). Watch it to believe it. Yet another adaptation of Agatha’s, this movie has it all – suspense, twist, drama, humour, script, acting and what all you expect out of a murder mystery film. And you want to talk about the twist at the end? This movie aced it way back in the past.

These are just the ten of the best movies that I felt are very good at the craft. Many other movies that I have listed below are still good enough, but I didn’t want to stretch the list to more than TEN. You may have equally good time watching the below movies.

Murder by Death (Robert Moore, 1976)

Death on the Nile (John Guillermin, 1978)

The Last of Sheila (Herbert Ross, 1973)

Identity (James Mangold, 2003)

Who framed Roger Rabbit (Robert Zemeckis, 1988)

The Big Sleep (Howard Hawks, 1946)

Rear Window (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)

Memento (Christopher Nolan, 2000)

Brick (Rian Johnson, 2005)

Manhattan Murder Mystery (Woody Allen, 1993)

Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve, 2013)

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