Who doesn’t love the thrill of a protagonist solving crimes with all of its twists, turns, and mind-bending puzzles? We have listed some of the best Whodunit/Murder Mystery movies that you should check out.
Classic Whodunits have been a staple of cinema, and popular detective fiction novels like the ones by Agatha Christie and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle have been adapted into film countless times. After all, the idea of investigating the complexities of a murder (why someone killed a person and how the protagonist will deal with the questions and challenges that await him) is exciting and offers the viewers a grand escape from the daily stress of life.
Whodunit plots are carefully structured, and their most important focus is on the question of ‘Who committed the crime?’ While other styles of murder mysteries have changed their tropes and convention, a well-made Whodunit remains the same. The true pleasure of the Whodunit is that the viewers become just as engaged in solving the crime as the investigators themselves. Here’s a list of Whodunit movies that you might like.
List of Whodunit Movies
- The Usual Suspects
- Knives Out
- The Big Sleep
- Who Framed Roger Rabbit
- Primal Fear
- Murder On The Orient Express
- Sherlock Holmes
1. The Usual Suspects (1995)
IMDB ratings: 8.5/10
Cast: Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Spacey, and Gabriel Byrne
Director: Bryan Singer
The Usual Suspects may have a high rating, but the movie was not liked by many film critics when it was first released. The Neo-noir movie did, however, receive a host of prestigious awards and was a hit on home video and cable. The fans rewatched and became obsessed with deciphering the hidden details of the movie.
The story of This Usual Suspects revolves around anti-heroes, 5 criminals are arrested following a truck hijack in New york. However, neither of them claims to be guilty, so they plan an act of revenge against the police. The movie is famous for its iconic dialogues and talented performances; no viewer will forget the haunting killer twist of this movie for a long time. If you like Whodunit movies, then you should watch The Usual Suspects.
2. Knives Out (2022)
IMDB ratings: 7.9/10
Cast: Ana De Armas, Chris Evans, and Daniel Craig
Director: Rian Johnson
The detective murder mystery Knives Out was a surprise box office hit, rare for an original story. Rian Johnson’s genius storytelling brought an unexpectedly refreshing twist to the classic Whodunit. The movie follows the death of Harlowe Thrombey (Christopher Plummer), the head of the aristocratic family of the Thrombeys. Benoit Blanc ( Daniel Craig) is anonymously hired to investigate the crime.
The story of Knives out quickly switches its pace when a shocking piece of information is revealed that involves Harlowe’s nurse and kindhearted friend Martha Cabrera (Ana de Armas). The noteworthy and exceptional performances by the actors make Knives Out one of the best murder mystery whodunit movies released in recent years. The highly anticipated sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is set to release by the end of 2022.
3. Charade (1963)
IMDB ratings: 7.9/10
Cast: Audrey Hepburn, Casey Grant, and Walter Matthau
Director: Stanley Donen
You might think of Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, and Sabrina. But, if I asked you to name Audrey Hepburn movies, most people wouldn’t be aware of her comedy mystery Charade. The film follows a trio of crooks relentlessly pursuing a widowed young American woman (Audrey Hepburn) in an attempt to recover the fortune her husband stole from them.
Charade is a brilliant murder mystery made by the iconic Singin’ in the Rain (1952) director Stanley Donen. The movie is shot in Paris and features Audrey in gorgeous Givenchy. Charade is known as the best Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made for its thrilling elements and Hitchcock-esque performance by Casey Grant. I think every aspect of the film is wholly and utterly marvellous. So, if you are looking for outstanding murder mystery whodunit movies to watch, Charade should be perfect for you.
4. The Big Sleep (1946)
IMDB ratings: 7.9/10
Cast: Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, and Martha Vickers
Director: Howard Hawks
The Big Sleep is a film noir based on Raymond Chandler’s 1939 novel and is one of the best-known anecdotes of Hollywood for its baffling plot. The movie follows the private detective Philip Marlowe (Humphrey Bogart), hired by a wealthy man General Sternwood. Marlowe has to deal with an author who tries to blackmail Sternwood’s wild daughter Carmen over her gambling debts.
The Big Sleep is a very fast-moving drama; it is often hard to keep track of who was killed by whom and why. The protagonist has to face all kinds of challenges like blackmail, murder, and what he thinks might be love. Lauren Bacall’s femme fatale is irresistibly beautiful, and the definitive pairing of Bogart and Bacall with the evergreen mystery has made it the most iconic noir film. I highly recommend watching The Big Sleep if you are looking for the best whodunit movies.
Also Read: Movies like Donnie Darko
5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
IMDB ratings: 7.7/10
Cast: Bob Hoskins, Charles Fleischer, and Christopher Lloyd
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Who Framed Roger Rabbit is perhaps the most revolutionary film from the 1980s for its hand-drawn 2D animated cartoons mixed with live action. At first, Disney hesitated to back this PG-rated film, but Steven Spielberg’s decision to produce the film created history. Now, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a one-of-a-kind classic in American Cinema.
The story of Who framed Roger Rabbit is a personal favourite for every kid who grew up watching the film. The murderous plot is funny, suspenseful, emotional and full of love. By no means do I intend to categorise this film with the rest of the dark films in this list, but that does not take away from how entertaining one might find it to be. The acting and voice-over performances are stellar, and if Spielberg loves Who Framed Roger Rabbit, there’s a good chance you will too.
6. Primal Fear (1996)
IMDB ratings: 7.7/10
Cast: Edward Norton, Richard Gere, and Laura Linney
Director: Gregory Hoblit
Ed Norton made his film debut with this 1996 thriller murder mystery film Primal Fear, and his stellar performance earned him an Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win. Primal Fear is a very well-directed and brilliantly visualised film full of twists and suspense that will surely blow your mind.
Adapted from a novel by William Diehl, Primal Fear follows the story of a flamboyant Chicago attorney called Martin Vail (Richard Gere). Martin volunteers to defend a young teenager named Aaron Stampler (Ed Norton) for the accused murder of an archbishop. Primal Fear may not be the most accurate depiction of Law, but its strong performance and great storyline make it as relevant today as it was 25 years ago.
7. Clue (1985)
IMDB ratings: 7.2/10
Cast: Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, and Lesley Ann Warren
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Have you ever played the board game Clue? This film brings that game to life. The story of Clue follows 6 guests anonymously invited to a mansion for dinner, but when their host is murdered, they have to cooperate with the staff to identify who the killer is. The movie (like the board game would have) released multiple endings; one end was selected and shown in the theatres. The home release featured all three ends for the viewers to choose which they prefer.
Not only was the entire idea fun, but the movie was absolutely hilarious, and the performances by the actors were stellar. Even though Clue didn’t see much success at the time of release, it later gained a cult following, and rightfully so. Suppose you are searching for entertaining whodunits with brilliant murder mystery twists. In that case, Clue is the movie for you.
8. Zodiac (2007)
IMDB ratings: 7.7/10
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr. and, Anthony Edwards
Director: David Fincher
The thriller/ murder mystery film Zodiac is based on one of the most infamous unsolved murder cases in history. Directed by the genius David Fincher, this movie revolves around 4 characters who obsessively investigate the crimes of a serial killer called the Zodiac.
In the beginning, an attack occurs shortly after The San Francisco Bay Chronicle receives an encrypted message. Unless his coded message is published, the criminal threatens to kill a dozen people. Following, a cartoonist and a crime reporter at the Chronicle try to decipher the information. Eventually, police inspectors are assigned to the case while the psychotic and smart Zodiac claims one victim after another. The story is highly compelling if you are looking for a great murder mystery to watch.
Also Read: Movies like Prisoners
9. Murder On The Orient Express (1974)
IMDB ratings: 7.3/10
Cast: Albert Finney, Ingrid Bergman, and Lauren Bacall
Director: Sidney Lumet
Agatha Christie is a renowned Detective fiction writer, and her character Hercule Poirot is probably just as popular as the classic Sherlock Holmes. The 1974 ensemble movie Murder on the Orient Express is an adaptation of her book of the same name. The protagonist and brilliant detective Hercule Poirot closes up a case and settles on what he expects to be a relaxing train journey home.
When a famous billionaire is murdered on the train, Poirot takes up the case and holds everyone on the train as a suspect. What he discovers at the end challenges everything he believes in. In my opinion, this adaptation is a classic masterpiece. The 2017 version cannot compare. Albert Finney is quite brilliant, and there are a few ensemble whodunit movies that can match up to the greatness of this one.
10. Sherlock Holmes (2010)
IMDB ratings: 7.6/10
Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Jude Law, Rachel McAdams
Director: Guy Ritchie
Any murder mystery/whodunit/detective fiction list is incomplete without the most legendary character of Sherlock Holmes, written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock is among the most adapted characters in the history of literature. His high-functioning mind and excellent skills of deduction are undeniably charming. This 2010 Sherlock Holmes is a film series with Robert Downey Jr playing the titular protagonist.
Sherlock and his partner Dr Watson (Jude Law) are shocked to discover that a serial killer they caught (and had died) comes back from death. The story is periodically accurate but true to Conan Doyle’s Novels. However, the mystery is highly riveting, and the actors are highly convincing in their roles. Most critics and fans of the stories loved 2010 Sherlock Holmes. If you want to see great whodunit movies or murder mystery movies, then Sherlock Holmes, without a doubt, should be on your list.
A few great whodunit movies didn’t make this list, but you can still check them out:
- The Nice Guys
- Gosford Park
- The Last of Sheila
- And there were none
- Murder by Death
- A Canterbury Tale