40 Best Murder Mystery Movies For Sleuths

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Do you enjoy being gripped by suspense, trying to solve puzzles, and following complex storylines? If so, murder mystery movies are the perfect genre for you! From gritty Agatha Christie adaptations to lighthearted “whodunnits,” this thrilling genre has something for everyone. Whether you’re a fan of timeless classics such as Clue, or modern twists like Knives Out, you’ll be amazed by the captivating plotlines that enthrall and excite. Get ready to take a dive into the technicolor world of intrigue and secrets!

Related: Best Murder Mystery Books | Movies Like Knives Out


A Simple Favor (2018)

For those who crave a contemporary thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end, A Simple Favor (2018) fits the bill. Starring Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively, the film follows a mommy blogger who investigates the sudden disappearance of her new friend, only to uncover a tangled web of secrets and lies. 

A Simple Favor keeps audiences on their toes with its intricate plot and unreliable narrator. Just when you think you’ve figured out the mystery, the film throws another curveball, making it impossible to predict the final outcome. 

If you’re a fan of murder mystery movies that keep you guessing until the very end, Knives Out will not disappoint.


Knives Out (2019)

Knives Out (2019) is a modern twist on the classic murder mystery genre. Set in a lavish mansion, the film follows a dysfunctional family and their staff as they try to uncover the truth behind their patriarch’s death. The film’s all-star cast, including Chris Evans and Daniel Craig, adds to the intrigue and suspense.


The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011) is a captivating murder mystery movie based on the popular novel by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Lisbeth Salander is a fascinating protagonist with a troubled past and fierce intelligence, making her both compelling and unpredictable.

Despite the weighty topic, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is an exciting and suspenseful movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The film boasts a superb cast, stunning cinematography, and a haunting soundtrack, making it a must-see murder mystery thriller.


Mystic River (2003)

For those seeking a murder mystery film that explores the complexity and darkness of human relationships, Mystic River (2003) is a film worth watching. Directed by Clint Eastwood and based on Dennis Lehane’s novel of the same name, the film stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon as three childhood friends reunited after 25 years when one of their daughters is brutally murdered. As the investigation unfolds, secrets and traumas from the characters’ pasts are revealed, making the ending all the more devastating.


Clue (1985)

If you’re looking for a murder mystery with a comedic twist, Clue (1985) is a film that will not disappoint. This classic whodunit is based on the popular board game of the same name. It follows a group of strangers who are invited to a mansion for a dinner party, only to find themselves embroiled in a murder investigation. Each character is a suspect, and it’s up to the audience to piece together the clues and solve the mystery before the film’s unforgettable ending.


Zootopia (2016)

Another murder mystery movie that takes a unique approach to the genre is Zootopia (2016). The film is set in a world where animals live in a human-like society, making it appealing to both children and adults. However, beneath its lighthearted appearance, Zootopia tackles issues of prejudice, discrimination, and power dynamics, making it a thought-provoking watch. With a cleverly crafted plot, the film keeps the audience guessing who the true villain is until the end.


Murder on the Orient Express (2017) 

Murder on the Orient Express (2017) is a modern retelling of Agatha Christie’s timeless classic, featuring a star-studded cast that includes Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, and Johnny Depp. Set aboard the luxurious Orient Express train during a snowstorm, the film follows renowned detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder that occurs onboard the train. As the investigation unfolds, Poirot is faced with a web of lies and conflicting alibis, leading him to suspect that there may be more than one killer on the train. And for those who want to compare and contrast with the 1974 version, Murder on the Orient Express (1974) starring Albert Finney is also worth a watch.


Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

In 1974, Murder on the Orient Express hit theaters and quickly became a classic. Starring Albert Finney as the iconic detective Hercule Poirot, the film follows the same plot as its modern counterpart – a murder aboard the luxurious Orient Express train, a snowstorm trapping the passengers, and a web of lies and deception to untangle. Finney delivers a memorable performance as Poirot, and the film’s use of practical effects and stunning location shots make for a visually engaging experience. If you’re a fan of the 2017 version, or just looking for a classic murder mystery, Murder on the Orient Express is worth a watch. 


Se7en (1995)

The movie Se7en is a captivating thriller that delves into the disturbing psyche of a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as motivation for his gruesome crimes. Morgan Freeman delivers an outstanding performance as Detective Somerset, who teams up with the impulsive rookie detective Mills, played by Brad Pitt, to prevent the killer from finishing his deadly project. As they follow leads that uncover increasingly unsettling findings, the suspense intensifies. The unexpected end of the movie will leave you profoundly affected and pondering the concept of justice.


Primal Fear (1996)

One of the most captivating murder mystery movies of the 1990s is Primal Fear. The film follows the trial of a young altar boy, Aaron Stampler, who is accused of murdering an archbishop. Defense attorney Martin Vail takes on the case and soon realizes there is more to the story than meets the eye. As the trial progresses, shocking truths are revealed, and the audience is left guessing until the end.


The Girl on the Train (2016)

In the film The Girl on the Train, the main character Rachel Watson is an alcoholic who gets caught up in a missing person investigation. Throughout the film, the complex storyline keeps viewers guessing and uncovering new clues about potential suspects. Emily Blunt delivers an exceptional performance as Rachel, portraying her struggles with depth and nuance. As the story progresses, the tension increases, leading to a surprising ending that will make you question everything you thought you knew.


Happy Death Day (2017)

While some murder mystery movies stick to the tried and true formula of a detective solving a murder, others take a more imaginative approach. Happy Death Day (2017) perfectly exemplifies how genre-bending can elevate a film. This horror movie puts a unique spin on the classic whodunit by having the protagonist, Tree, relive the same day repeatedly, each time ending in her murder. As she tries to solve her own death and break the time loop, Tree must confront her flaws and relationships. Happy Death Day engages audiences with its blend of scares and humor, culminating in a satisfying reveal.


Vertigo (1958)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo is a timeless classic that tells an intriguing murder mystery story. The plot centers on John “Scottie” Ferguson, a former detective hired to investigate the unusual behavior of a woman named Madeleine. As he digs further into the case, he starts to develop romantic feelings for her, but the story takes a shocking turn.

What makes Vertigo so unique is the way Hitchcock plays with our perceptions of reality and identity. Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on, the film takes another twist, leaving you questioning everything you thought you knew. It’s a true masterpiece of suspense and will keep you guessing until the end.


The Lovebirds (2020)

Moving on to a more recent murder mystery movie, The Lovebirds (2020), brings a comedic twist to the genre, following a couple who accidentally becomes embroiled in a murder mystery. Jibran and Leilani, played by Kumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae, are on the edge of breaking up when they unwittingly witness a murder and become the primary suspects. From there, the two embark on a wild, hilarious adventure to clear their names and solve the crime. 


Gosford Park (2001)

Another murder mystery movie that’s worth watching is Gosford Park (2001). Set in a British country house during the 1930s, this whodunit has a unique approach in weaving together the lives of both the wealthy guests and their servants. The film boasts an outstanding cast that includes Maggie Smith, Helen Mirren, and Michael Gambon, among others, who bring their characters to life and add to the movie’s overall appeal.

If you’re looking for a murder mystery movie that’s a little different from the usual formula, Gosford Park is a great choice. Its unique setting and ensemble cast make for an enjoyable and engaging cinematic experience.


Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)

Another murder mystery with a hint of humor is the 2005 film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Featuring Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer as unlikely partners working to solve a murder case, the film delivers a fresh take on the traditional whodunit genre. The witty banter and clever plot twists keep audiences engaged until the end.


Murder Mystery (2019)

Another murder mystery film that takes a lighter approach is Murder Mystery (2019), featuring Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston as a married couple who become embroiled in a homicide investigation while on a European vacation. The film pokes fun at the genre’s conventions while still delivering an engaging plot with surprising twists. While not as serious or profound as other films on this list, Murder Mystery provides a fun and enjoyable viewing experience.


The Maltese Falcon (1941)

Next up on our list of must-see murder mysteries is The Maltese Falcon (1941), a timeless classic that set the standard for the genre for decades to come. Starring Humphrey Bogart as private detective Sam Spade, the film centers around the investigation into the murder of Spade’s partner, which leads him to a group of criminals, all in search of a valuable statue, the Maltese Falcon.


Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac (2007) is a film that depicts the true story of the Zodiac Killer who caused terror in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 60s and early 70s. The story revolves around journalist Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) and cartoonist-turned-investigator Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) leading the investigation to reveal the identity of the killer. The film boasts an intricate plot, brilliant performances, and stunning cinematography, making it a must-watch for any fan of murder mysteries.


The Usual Suspects (1995)

The Usual Suspects is a film that takes confusion to the next level, even more so than Memento. It tells the story of a group of criminals who are brought together for a heist but end up getting involved in a bigger scheme involving a mysterious figure named Keyser Soze. The director, Bryan Singer, keeps the audience guessing throughout the movie by constantly jumping back and forth in time, leaving them unsure of Soze’s true identity and motives.


Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

For those who love a good murder mystery movie, Bad Times at the El Royale (2018) is a must-watch. Set in the 1960s, it tells the story of a group of strangers who end up staying at a shabby motel on the border between California and Nevada. As the night progresses, it becomes clear that each person has a secret to hide, and a series of twists and turns keep the audience on their toes. With top performances from Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, and Chris Hemsworth, it is undoubtedly a standout film in the genre.


Scream (1996)

The horror genre isn’t usually associated with murder mysteries, but Scream (1996) seamlessly blends the two. Directed by Wes Craven, the film follows a group of high school students as they are targeted by a masked killer who seems to be taking inspiration from classic horror movies. As the body count rises, the mystery deepens. Who is behind the mask, and what is their motive?

What sets Scream apart from other horror films is its sense of self-awareness. The characters frequently reference horror movie tropes and expectations, adding a layer of meta-commentary to the film. The twist ending is also a standout, subverting audience expectations in a surprising and satisfying way.


Sherlock Holmes (2009)

If you’re a fan of witty banter and intricate plotlines, then Sherlock Holmes (2009) should be next on your watchlist. Starring Robert Downey Jr. as the titular character and Jude Law as his trusty sidekick Watson, this version of the classic detective story brings new energy to the genre. The chemistry between the two leads is spot-on, and the action-packed plot keeps audiences guessing until the final reveal.


Rear Window (1954)

Moving back in time to the mid-1950s, Rear Window is a cinematic masterpiece that has earned its place as one of the greatest murder mystery movies ever made. Directed by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, the film stars James Stewart as a photographer who, confined to a wheelchair, spends his days observing his neighbors through his apartment window. When he witnesses what he thinks is a murder, he becomes embroiled in a dangerous and suspenseful investigation that could cost him his life.


Gone Girl (2014)

Moving from horror to psychological thriller, Gone Girl (2014) is a captivating and complex film that explores the complexities of marriage, deception, and media manipulation. With an exceptional cast led by Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, the movie keeps the audience guessing until the end. As Nick and Amy Dunne’s story unfolds, it becomes clear that there is much more to this mystery than a simple disappearance.


Death on the Nile (2022)

Death on the Nile (2022) is a thrilling addition to this list. Based on Agatha Christie’s novel of the same name, the film follows detective Hercule Poirot as he investigates a murder that occurs aboard a luxury cruise ship on the Nile River. The star-studded cast, including Kenneth Branagh, Gal Gadot, and Armie Hammer, adds to the anticipation for this movie. With its exotic setting, intricate plot, and stellar performances, Death on the Nile has all the makings of a classic murder mystery.


Memories of Murder (2003)

Next up on the list is Memories of Murder (2003), a South Korean film that delves into the investigation of a serial killer in a small rural town. What sets this film apart is its intense, dark tone that draws the audience into the chilling murders. The film tackles themes of corruption, obsession, and the psychological toll of investigation, making it an emotionally riveting watch. Memories of Murder is a haunting film that will leave you guessing until the very end.


The Nice Guys (2016)

In The Nice Guys (2016), Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play a private detective and hired enforcer, respectively, who team up to solve a missing persons case that quickly turns into a murder mystery. Set in the 1970s, the movie has a retro feel that adds to its charm, and the chemistry between the two leads is infectious. The plot is complex and full of twists that will keep you guessing until the end. Overall, The Nice Guys is a well-crafted murder mystery that balances humor with suspense.


Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)

Manhattan Murder Mystery is a film by Woody Allen, starring Diane Keaton and Allen himself as a middle-aged couple named Larry and Carol. The couple becomes amateur sleuths when they suspect their neighbor of murdering his wife. The film is a satire of the genre and offers an engaging and suspenseful story with several plot twists. The on-screen chemistry between Allen and Keaton is as delightful as their previous collaborations. The supporting cast, including Alan Alda and Anjelica Huston, adds to the film’s humorous tone. Overall, Manhattan Murder Mystery is a captivating murder mystery that keeps you guessing until the end.


Brick (2005)

Brick (2005) is a clever and imaginative film that blends classic elements of film noir with the high school setting. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Brendan, a loner embroiled in a web of intrigue after his ex-girlfriend goes missing. With its unique dialogue, cryptic clues, and stylized visuals, Brick is a murder mystery like no other. The film keeps you guessing until the end and delivers a satisfying payoff that will leave you wanting more. If you love detective stories and coming-of-age tales, Brick is a must-see film.


Murder By Death (1976)

If you’re looking for a murder mystery movie that’s a little more on the comedic side, then Murder By Death (1976) may be just the ticket. This film takes a satirical approach to the genre and features an all-star cast of detectives gathered together in a creepy mansion to solve a murder case. The characters are parodies of famous detectives, such as Hercule Poirot and Sam Spade, and the dialogue is full of witty one-liners and clever puns. While the humor may not be for everyone, Murder By Death is entertaining for those looking for something a little different in their murder mysteries.


L.A. Confidential (1997)

Another film that provides a stark contrast to the lighthearted nature of Murder By Death (1976) is L.A. Confidential (1997). This gripping neo-noir thriller is set in 1950s Los Angeles. It follows three police officers from vastly different backgrounds trying to solve a murder case involving corrupt cops and a Hollywood actress. The all-star cast—Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Kim Basinger—adds to the movie’s allure. Unlike most murder mystery movies, L.A. Confidential is chock-full of twists and turns that keep you guessing until the end. It’s no wonder this thriller has become a modern classic.


The Woman in the Window (2021)

The Woman in the Window (2021) is a captivating psychological thriller that follows the journey of Anna Fox, an agoraphobic woman who is the sole witness to a shocking and violent crime while peering through her window. Amy Adams delivers a brilliant performance as Anna, immersing herself in the complexities of the character’s inner turmoil. The twists and turns keep viewers on the edge of their seats, questioning what’s real and what’s not until the end.


Double Indemnity (1944)

If you’re a fan of classic film noir, Double Indemnity is a must-watch murder mystery. The film opens with insurance salesman Walter Neff (played by Fred MacMurray) plotting with a seductive client (Barbara Stanwyck) to take out a life insurance policy on her unsuspecting husband and then stage his accidental death. But things quickly spiral out of control as their plan goes awry, and a tenacious claims investigator (Edward G. Robinson) begins to suspect foul play.


Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)

If you loved Knives Out (2019), then you’ll want to mark your calendar for Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022). From writer-director Rian Johnson comes a witty and suspenseful murder mystery that will keep audiences guessing until the end. Featuring an all-star cast, including Daniel Craig, Dave Bautista, and Kate Hudson, Glass Onion takes place in the same world as Knives Out, but with a new case and a fresh batch of suspects.


See How They Run (2022)

See How They Run (2022) is a thrilling movie about a blockbuster film’s plans being derailed by a cast member’s murder. As the characters try to solve the mysterious death, hidden truths come to light, and tensions escalate. With a captivating mix of talent and suspense, this movie is definitely worth watching. The cast includes renowned actors Saoirse Ronan, Sam Rockwell, and Adrien Brody.


Memento (2001)

One of the most unique murder mysteries you’ll ever see is Memento. Directed by Christopher Nolan, this film tells the story of Leonard, a man with anterograde amnesia who is unable to form new memories. Leonard is on a mission to track down the man who raped and murdered his wife, but his condition makes it difficult to decipher the clues. The film uses a non-linear narrative structure to keep the audience as disoriented as Leonard, with each scene leading us closer to the truth but still leaving us guessing until the very end.


Prisoners (2013)

In Prisoners, Hugh Jackman portrays Keller Dover, a frantic father who takes matters into his own hands when his daughter and her friend disappear. As he collaborates with Detective Loki, portrayed by Jake Gyllenhaal, Keller finds himself making questionable choices to uncover the truth.


Wind River (2017)

In the mood for a murder mystery that explores the dark secrets of a remote location? Look no further than Wind River. This film follows a murder investigation on a Native American reservation in Wyoming, where a rookie FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) teams up with a local game tracker (Jeremy Renner) to uncover the truth. The snowy landscapes and haunting score create a tense and atmospheric backdrop for the gripping story. With standout performances from Olsen and Renner, Wind River is a must-watch for fans of the murder mystery genre.


Les Diaboliques (1955)

In the golden age of Hollywood, there was no shortage of cleverly plotted and stylishly filmed murder mysteries. But every now and then, a foreign gem would emerge from across the pond that would put American counterparts to shame. Such is the case with Les Diaboliques (1955), a French psychological thriller that has influenced countless filmmakers in the years since its release.

Directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, Les Diaboliques tells the story of two women – the timid Christina and the cruel headmistress of a boarding school, Nicole – who band together to murder Nicole’s abusive husband. But as with all good murder mysteries, things are not exactly as they seem. The film is a masterclass in tension-building, with a palpable sense of unease that lingers long after the credits roll.