15 Best Murder Mystery Movies, Ranked | ScreenRant


Whodunits and murder mystery movies are making a big comeback these days. Two years ago we saw the star-studded Murder on the Orient Express, which was successful enough to warrant a sequel, Death on the Nile, due next October.

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Of course, right in front of us is Knives Out, the A-list murder mystery whodunit opening this Thanksgiving weekend. The Rian Johnson film stars Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Toni Collette, Don Johnson, and many more. To sharpen our investigative focus before the film comes out, here are the 10 best murder mystery movies (aka Whodunits), ranked!

Updated on June 15th, 2020 by Richard Keller: A good murder mystery keeps you in your seat from beginning to the end credits. Leave, and there’s a chance you’ll miss an important clue. The movie mysteries on this list have that gripping characteristic in common. Here are a few more of the best murder mysteries, ranked.

15 Rear Window (1954)

Alfred Hitchcock directed some of the greatest murder mystery/thriller films in the 20th century. One of his best is Rear Window. Based on a short story by Cornell Woolrich, the film focuses on Jimmy Stewart’s character, Jeff Jeffries. Confined to a wheelchair due to a broken leg, he starts to notice strange things in an apartment on the other side of the courtyard.

Believing its occupant murdered his wife, Jeff enlists the help of his girlfriend, played by Grace Kelly, and his housekeeper to determine if it’s true. The tension continues to increase until a confrontation between Jeffries and the alleged murderer, played by Raymond Burr. You’ll find yourself holding your breath at the end.

14 Murder Mystery (2019)

As he’s matured, Adam Sandler has gone beyond baby-talk characters and focused on ones with a little more depth. In Netflix’s Murder Mystery, Sandler delves into the comedy thriller along with Jennifer Anniston.

To rekindle their marriage, Sandler and Anniston’s characters go on a European vacation. Along the way, they’re framed for the death of an elderly billionaire. Now on the run, the married couple must clear their name and solve the mystery behind the older man’s death.

13 Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Robert Downey Jr. returned to the big screen in 2005 in the comedy thriller Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. RDJ plays Harry Lockhart, a thief who is mistakenly recognized as an actor. As a result, he’s sent to Hollywood to work on a movie mystery.

He partners with a private investigator for experience. While working with him, Lockhart gets involved in a mystery involving his childhood crush, Harmony. When found, things quickly unwind into laughs mixed with humor and murder.

12 Happy Death Day (2017)

A lot goes on in Happy Death Day. First, the main character, Tree, is murdered during the first few minutes of the film. Then, in Groundhog Day fashion, she wakes up in her bed and starts the same day over again. Along the way, she gathers clues to determine who the killer is behind the babyface mask.

In the end, Happy Death Day is a combination of horror, slasher film, science fiction, and comedy. There’s also romance and a good deal of college dorm satire. Like Groundhog Day, Tree’s personality changes as she relives each horrible day.

11 Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)

People forget this Robert Zemeckis film is not simply a live-action/animated comedy. It’s also a tribute to the hard-boiled murder mysteries of the 1940s. The tortured P.I. Eddie Valiant, played by Bob Hoskins, is asked to check on a rumor that the wife of “toon” Roger Rabbit is having an affair.

This leads to the murder of R.K. Maroon, founder of Maroon Studios. As a result, Valiant needs to reach out to the toon community to find the culprit. Overall, the movie is a fun mystery that features the first time Disney and Warner Brothers cartoon characters appeared together.

10 The Name Of The Rose (1986)

Sean Connery stars in the superb and stylish exotic murder mystery The Name of the Rose, based on the novel by acclaimed Italian scribe Umberto Eco. Even after his days as 007, Connery couldn’t help but save the day!

Set in a secluded Abbey in 1327, the plot concerns a Franciscan friar (Connery) who is summoned to investigate the mysterious deaths of several monks. As the friar comes closer to solving the case, the more danger he finds himself facing. With time and lives running out, the friar must acquit the falsely accused while identifying the true killer.

9 Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

Woody Allen’s Manhattan Murder Mystery is a hilarious homage to the classic whodunits of yesteryear. While the film features Allen’s trademark wit, the tension and paranoia ratchet up in the second half in ways that rival the best of the subgenre.

RELATED: 15 Stars Who Regret Working With Woody Allen

When their next-door neighbor suddenly dies of a heart attack, Larry and Carol Lipton suspect her husband secretly killed her. As they snoop around to confirm their suspicions, they become increasingly paranoid and convinced of foul-play. Unpredictable twists and turns come in equal measure with the laughter as the Liptons stumble to solve the crime.

8 The Mirror Crack’d (1980)

One could argue the merits of the best Miss Marple murder mystery ever made, but when all is said and done, few can outshine The Mirror Crack’d. Besides, the movie stars Tony Curtis, father of Knives Out star Jamie Lee. Circularity, folks!

Starring Angela Lansbury as the definitive Miss Marple, the movie revolves around the lethal intoxication of a local English woman. Marple is summoned to investigate the death, which she quickly deduces was meant for a movie star in attendance at the house. The movie marks the first time Lansbury would play the iconic Miss Marple.

7 Gosford Park (2001)

The great Robert Altman employed the structural aesthetic of the murder mystery to explore English class divisions in Gosford Park. Boasting an all-star cast, the film follows a lavish dinner party in 1932 England, held at a gaudy country estate.

While the affluent partygoers enjoy themselves upstairs, the working class maids and servants toil downstairs below. When a mysterious murder suddenly occurs, allegiances shift, loyalties halt, and soon, it’s every man and woman for themself. Devious, elegant, and downright salient.

6 Death On The Nile (1978)

Agatha Christie’s classic murder mystery Death on the Nile marked the first time the great Peter Ustinov played super-sleuth Hercule Poirot. He would reprise the role in Evil Under the Sun in 1982.

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The film, which won an Oscar for Best Costume Design, is set on a luxury cruise-ship sightseeing along the Nile River in Africa. When a newly hitched rich woman is found dead onboard, Poirot is called in to investigate. In a bit of foreshadowing, Angela Lansbury stars in the film as Salome Otterbourne. Two years later, she’d begin her run as classic Christie character, Miss Marple.

5 Identity (2003)

The clues of Identity are right in the title. And yet, by the time the credits rolled, very few people were able to put the pieces together in the enthralling James Mangold whodunit.

During a torrential downpour in Nevada, ten strangers convene at a secluded roadside motel. When the strangers begin to die, one by one, answers are hard to come by. In a rather odd coincidence, all of the guests share the same birthday, May 10th, which adds to the maddening mystery. No spoilers, but the film provides an exhilarating twist on the murder mystery template.

4 Clue (1985)

Movies based on board games shouldn’t be this good, but due to the awesome cast, killer chemistry, and crackling dialogue, Clue is among the most beloved and best all-time murder mystery movies!

With a satirical tone, the movie finds several so-called strangers invited to an ominous mansion for a dinner party. Each guest remains anonymous through a colorful codename, and soon learn that they’re being blackmailed for sensitive information each holds. When the guests start dying, one by one, it’s anyone’s clue as to who the culprit is.

3 Murder By Death (1976)

Peerless playwright Neil Simon threw his hat in the murder mystery ring with the farcical Murder By Death, a movie that does more right in jest than most do in earnest!

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Much like Clue, the plot concerns a handful of strangers summoned to a lavish mansion to solve a bizarre mystery. The difference is, each person is a famous detective, accompanied by their quirky assistants. The A-list ensemble includes Alec Guinness, Truman Capote, Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Eileen Brennan (also in Clue), Maggie Smith, David Niven and more. With twist after twist and prank after prank, you’ll never see the ending coming.

2 Murder On The Orient Express (1974)

The late great Sidney Lumet directed an all-star cast in the sublime adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express in 1974. For her role, Ingrid Bergman won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Albert Finney plays Hercule Poirot in the film, the infamous Belgian sleuth who is brought aboard the Orient Express when a murder takes place inside a train car. Those implicated in the end will surprise you more than most murder mysteries. The film was nominated for six Oscars in total, including Finney for Best Leading Actor.

1 And Then There Were None (1945)

With And Then There Were None, Agatha Christie proves she’s the all-time best muse for cinematic movie mysteries. Remade as Ten Little Indians two decades later, And Then There Were None all but invented the murder mystery movie.

Made in 1945, the film follows seven strangers summoned to an island by a vanished host. One by one, the guests begin to be murdered, leaving the survivors to figure out the killer’s identity. Simply put, without this movie the others on the list would cease to be. And then there were none indeed!

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