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What are the best detective movies?

Anyone who's a fan of detective fiction would probably be familiar with the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. This literary work has inspired countless detective movies in Hollywood. Here are some notable ones to scratch that crime mystery itch.

25 comments
  1. 1Chinatown

    41

    Chinatown is a 1974 detective movie starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. A private detective hired to expose an adulterer finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.

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  1. 2The Maltese Falcon

    34

    The Maltese Falcon is a detective movie starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor. A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette.

  2. 3Seven (Se7en)

    31

    Seven (Se7en) is a 1995 detective movie starring Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. Detectives William Somerset and David Mills hunt a killer who uses the 7 deadly sins as a motif to commit a series of grisly murders.

  1. 4L.A. Confidential

    29

    L.A. Confidential is a 1997 detective directed, produced and co-written by Curtis Hanson based on the novel written by James Ellroy. It stars actors Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, and Guy Pearce.

  2. 5Zodiac

    28

    Zodiac is a crime mystery movie starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. It was directed by David Fincher and was written for the screen by James Vanderbilt. The film premiered on February 28, 2007.

  3. 6The Name of the Rose

    28

    The Name of the Rose is a 1986 European drama mystery film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud, based on the book of the same name by Umberto Eco. The story tells about an intellectually nonconformist friar that investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey.

  4. 7Vertigo

    27
    San Francisco police detective Scottie Fergusson develops a fear of heights and is forced to retire when a colleague falls to his death during a chase. One of the most Alfred Hitchcock acclaimed movie.
  5. 8Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

    25

    Murder on the Orient Express is a 1974 British mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, and based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. 

  6. 9Memento

    25

    Memento is a 2000 psychological thriller about Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), a man with anterograde amnesia caused by head trauma. Shelby is trying to solve the mystery of his wife's murder by following clues from photos and tattoos on his own body.

  7. 10The Silence of the Lambs

    24

    The Silence of the Lambs is a crime, drama, and thriller movie directed by Jonathan Demme and launched on February 14, 1991. Starring Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, the plot follows the story of a psychopath Buffalo Bill.

  8. 11Memories of Murder

    22

    Memories of Murder is an action, crime, and drama movie directed by Bong Joon Ho in 2003 starring Song Kang Ho, Kim Sang Kyung, and Park Hae Il. It won film merits at the Chunsa Film Art Awards and Busan Film Critics Awards. 

  9. 12Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    18

    A toon hating detective is a rabbit's only hope to prove his innocence when he is accused of murder. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 fantasy-comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. 

  10. 13The Big Sleep

    18

    The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir directed by Howard Hawks and stars Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love.


  11. 14Mulholland Drive

    16

    Mulholland Drive is a suspense and mystery drama directed by David Lynch. It was released in 2001 and starred Naomi Watts and Laura Harring. It is about an aspiring actress who found herself mired in a startling conspiracy.

  12. 15Prisoners

    15

    The Prisoners is a crime and thriller movie directed by Denis Villeneuve. It tells us the story of two characters: a desperate father (Hugh Jackman) who is capable of doing anything for finding his missing daughter, and a detective.

  13. 16Evil Under the Sun

    11

    Evil Under the Sun is a 1982 British mystery film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. When Hercule Poirot goes to an exclusive island resort to investigate phony diamonds, a murder is committed and everyone has an alibi. 

  14. 17Death on the Nile

    10

    Death on the Nile is a 1978 film based on the Agatha Christie mystery novel Death on the Nile, directed by John Guillermin. While Hercule Poirot enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board.

  15. 18The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    9

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 crime mystery movie starring Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing for forty years by Lisbeth Salander, a young computer hacker.

  16. 19Blade Runner

    9

    Blade Runner is a 1982 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott. Rick Deckard is a blade runner which must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator. 

  17. 20Shutter Island

    7

    Shutter Island is a crime thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese released in 2010. Leonardo di Caprio stars as U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels who investigates the disappearance of a patient in an asylum for the criminally insane that quickly turns nightmarish.  

  18. 21The Fugitive

    5

    The Fugitive is a 1993 action film starring Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee-Jones. Dr. Richard Kimble, unjustly accused of murdering his wife, must find the real killer while avoiding a nationwide manhunt led by a seasoned US Marshall.

  19. 22The Hound of the Baskervilles

    3

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 1959 British gothic horror and mystery film, directed by Terence Fisher and stars Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes and Andre Morell as Watson based on the novel written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

  20. 23Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    3

    Murder on the Orient Express is the 2017 movie adaptation of Agatha Christie's famous Hercule Poirot mystery novel. With a murder on board the train, Poirot is determined to solve the crime and find the killer among the other 13 passengers.

  21. 24Insomnia

    2
    This movie about a cop with insomnia chasing a killer is not one of the most famous Nolan movies, but probably one of the most important. Nolan counts, for the first time, with big movie stars and a standard Hollywood budget.
  22. 25Deathtrap

    0

    Deathtrap is an American thriller film directed by Sidney Lumet released in 1983 based on the play of the same name written by Ira Levin. This follows a Broadway playwright who plans a murder to take credit from a student's script. 

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DID YOU KNOW?

The first detective story goes back as early as 1841? Most would be familiar with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes. It was Edgar Allan Poe who first came up with the first-ever detective character. It was C. Auguste Dupin that first appeared in The Murders in The Rue Morgue. The word detective did not exist yet during those times. Instead, the name Dupin would co-relate to the word "dupe" or "deception". This is the method by Dupin would use to get information to help solve a case. Dupin has a cold, logical method for problem-solving. He had an upper-class background and emphasis on intense reading for clues. This would remain consistent in Poe's works as well as other literary works that came after them.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was the one that helped popularized the detective mystery genre. The author would go and create 56 short stories and 4 novels featuring Sherlock Holmes. One main difference between the two authors is the inclusion of a sidekick in their stories. Thus the birth of the icon character and line, "Elementary, my dear Watson". The dynamic and method of problem-solving were as interesting as the crimes themselves. Hollywood would produce some of the best detective movies and crime TV shows. All took inspiration from Sherlock Holmes and his escapades.

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25 comments

  • #1
    A
    Anonymous
    October 31, 2017
    "Shutter Island is a movie directed by Martin Scorsese and stars Leonardo Dicaprio. Dicaprio goes to an asylum on Shutter Island to do an investigation and ends up getting drugged and almost doesn't escape. It is an okay movie but as someone who loves detective movies and stories, I could probably put together a list of at least 100 that I like better than this. It isn't even in the same league as the Sherlock Holmes movies or the Alex Cross movies. To say this fits the topic would be a real stretch in my opinion."
    Refering to:
    20
    Shutter Island
  • #2
    A
    Anonymous
    November 29, 2017
    "This is an interesting movie that is based on a book. Who doesn't love Sean Connery. He is great in this movie. Christian Slater is also very good in this movie. It is based in a Benedictine monastery in northern Italy. After some incidents happen where the monks believe some demonic presence might be there. In comes investigators Connery and his assistant Slater arrive to solve the mystery."
    Refering to:
    6
    The Name of the Rose
  • #3
    A
    Anonymous
    November 24, 2017
    "I love detective movies and I love Hitchcock, so buying Vertigo was an obvious decision. I wont give any spoilers about the movie, I will just ay it is really great for it's time. James stuart is a fantastic actor, he really ads an element of mystique in this film. He plays a detective who rescues a beautiful woman. he had to solve mistaken identity and the two together make an amazing team"
    Refering to:
    7
    Vertigo
  • #4
    A
    Anonymous
    October 28, 2017
    "If you are looking to watch the best detective movie and you like older films, I would recommend The Hound of the Baskervilles. This movie is a gothic horror and mystery film that has the classic characters of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. It is based on a novel that was written by Arthur Conan Doyle so if you are interested or recognize any characters I would recommend this film to you."
    Refering to:
    22
    The Hound of the Baskervilles
  • #5
    A
    Anonymous
    November 3, 2017
    "The Fugitive staring Harrison Ford is a great movie full of action and adventure. In this movie Dr. Richard Kimble is being unjustly accused of murderig his wife as he heads out to find the real killer. He becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt. this detective movie is thrilling and enjoyable and is one of Harrison Fords best roles."
    Refering to:
    21
    The Fugitive
  • #6
    A
    Anonymous
    November 27, 2017
    "This is a classic movie which many people will want to have in their collection. The quality of this story along with the actors who portrayed the characters are of prime choice which makes this movie one of high standards. This movie will be around in demand for quite some time and should be a major download consideration as well."
    Refering to:
    1
    Chinatown
  • #7
    A
    Anonymous
    November 28, 2017
    "Ok movie that has some really great acting that sadly struggles to rise above the material. Actually, the source is not that bad, but this adaptation leaves a lot to be desired. As a case study on actors who don't care and will act out a phone book if need be, it was fascinating for me to watch, but as entertainment, not so much."
    Refering to:
    16
    Evil Under the Sun
  • #8
    A
    Anonymous
    October 31, 2017
    "I am a big fan of the old detective movies and always on the lookout for new ones. A friend recommended Blade Runner and I was blown away after watching it! The movie has all the detective elements I wanted but it also had an incredible science fiction theme. If you haven't seen this movie go watch it today!"
    Refering to:
    19
    Blade Runner
  • #9
    A
    Anonymous
    November 20, 2017
    "If you are interested in an old school non-flashy detective movie, you can't find any better than Death on the Nile. The film takes its time and really builds a mystery without any gimmicks of more modern day movies. The actors and actresses are fantastic and are really on the top of their games here."
    Refering to:
    17
    Death on the Nile
  • #10
    A
    Anonymous
    October 31, 2017
    "When the release of the new Murder on the Orient Express was announced I found out about this movie by accident and decided to watch it. This was right up my alley as I love to watch detective and suspense types of movies. This movie kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat the whole way through."
    Refering to:
    8
    Murder on the Orient Express (1974)
  • #11
    A
    Anonymous
    November 6, 2017
    "Insomnia packs a punch with a heavy line up of top stars, Al Pacino, Robin Williams and Hilary Swank. A detective is sent to a small town to investigate the murder of a teenager girl. What ensues are mind games that leave the detective on the edge as he tries to catch the killer."
    Refering to:
    24
    Insomnia
  • #12
    A
    Anonymous
    October 27, 2017
    "Memories of Murder is a top knotch detective movie. I watch those Dateline type shows about murders sometimes so my boyfriend suggested I would like this movie from 2003. It is about murders in a small South Korean province. This movie is interesting and also something different."
    Refering to:
    11
    Memories of Murder
  • #13
    A
    Anonymous
    November 27, 2017
    "I watched the movie Mulholland Drive with my fiancee, and both of us really enjoyed it. There are many "hot" scenes, so watching it with my fiancee might NOT have been the best idea ever, but the movie is very well made, and it got my full attention for its whole length :)"
    Refering to:
    14
    Mulholland Drive
  • #14
    A
    Anonymous
    October 27, 2017
    "Personally I think of Silence of the Lambs as being more of a thriller/suspense movie than a detective movie, but either way it's a fantastic film. It'll keep you on the edge of your seat the whole way through, and the characters are written and acted phenomenally."
    Refering to:
    10
    The Silence of the Lambs
  • #15
    A
    Anonymous
    November 17, 2017
    "Memento is a unique film about a man whose ability to make new memories is damaged when he is struck in the head while he is confronting two people who are attacking his wife at their home. If you enjoy detective movies then you will be really enjoy this film."
    Refering to:
    9
    Memento
  • #16
    A
    Anonymous
    November 25, 2017
    "This movie has proven itself to be a major release with a great deal of popularity when released. For people who like drama with a lot of action, this movie has what it takes. This movie will continue its popularity for quite some time through downloads."
    Refering to:
    4
    L.A. Confidential
  • #17
    A
    Anonymous
    November 17, 2017
    "Seven is a movie from 1995 staring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kevin Spacey. It's a psychological thriller that gives both the perspective of the killer and the detective trying to solve the case and track down the serial killer."
    Refering to:
    3
    Seven (Se7en)
  • #18
    A
    Anonymous
    April 11, 2018
    "A very interesting Crime/Drama starring two all-stars, Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Hugh Jackmon's character's daughter goes missing and he pairs up with detective (played by Gylenhaal) to investigate a case of no clues."
    Refering to:
    15
    Prisoners
  • #19
    A
    Anonymous
    October 26, 2017
    "This movie is great for movie buffs. Although like most movies based on books, this movie is no different. Humphrey Bogart is great in this movie and the supporting actors make this very engaging."
    Refering to:
    2
    The Maltese Falcon
  • #20
    A
    Anonymous
    November 30, 2017
    "This is a great movie. If you are into watching serial killer movies then this is a must. It is full of fight and action and is kind of scary. I would not hesitate giving it a five star."
    Refering to:
    5
    Zodiac
  • #21
    A
    Anonymous
    November 30, 2017
    "The best detective movies is what I wanted. I found The Big Sleep after a search. Its an older movie and even has Humphrey Bogart in it. Great show."
    Refering to:
    13
    The Big Sleep
  • #22
    A
    Anonymous
    November 25, 2017
    "The link is not working. According to the description above, this movie is interesting. I would watch it if I like detective movies."
    Refering to:
    18
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • #23
    A
    Anonymous
    November 25, 2017
    "This is a great solution. It keys right into the topic and it gives a generally well liked answer that will make most people happy."
    Refering to:
    12
    Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • #24
    A
    Anonymous
    March 8, 2018
    "Murder on the Orient Express is a well known movie that is a classic detective story and a perfect solution."
    Refering to:
    23
    Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
  • #25
    A
    Anonymous
    January 14, 2019
    "The ending is such a Major Surprise ... Great Mystery !!"
    Refering to:
    25
    Deathtrap
This list is about What are the best detective movies
RankAnswersTypeVotesPrice
1ChinatownMovies 41 Paid
2The Maltese FalconMovies 34 Paid
3Seven (Se7en)Movies 31 Paid
4L.A. ConfidentialMovies 29 Paid
5ZodiacMovies 28 Paid
6The Name of the RoseMovies 28 Paid
7VertigoMovies 27 Paid
8Murder on the Orient Express (1974)Movies 25 Paid
9MementoMovies 25 Free
10The Silence of the LambsMovies 24 Paid
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