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Top 25 Mystery Movies of All Time

The best murder mysteries and whodunit films in cinema history. The most clever mystery puzzles in well-directed detective movies.

A good mystery movie, if well crafted, is as savory as a chocolate covered cherry, with many layers to unwrap. Nothing beats a really good murder mystery, and a well-directed puzzler can be a great treat for the mind. Here we look at true mystery movies, "whodunnits," where we need to follow clues and figure out who's behind the deed. We're excluding thrillers without a puzzle to solve. At Top2040, here are the top 25 mystery movies in cinema history.


1 - The Maltese Falcon (1941) Sam Spade, played by Humphrey Bogart, is a private eye out to solve a series of murders surrounding a jeweled bird. The unforgettable Peter Lorre also stars. Directed by John Huston.

2 - And Then There Were None (1945) Based on Agatha Christie's clever mystery novel. Ten people in an island mansion are killed off one by one during one grisly weekend. Is one of them the killer?

3 - Rear Window (1954) Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece about a man confined to his room with a broken leg, who spies on his neighbors to pass the time. He may have witnessed a murder.

4 - The Third Man (1949) Ordon Welles stars in this brilliant murder mystery set in post-war Vienna. He is sent to start a new job there, but arrives to discover his friend has died in a peculiar accident. As his friends' stories are inconsistent he sets out to solve the mystery.

5 - The Usual Suspects (1994) Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne. The legend of Keyser Söze is unraveled in this unique mystery crime drama. Directed by Bryan Singer.

6 - Murder on the Orient Express (1974) Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot must solve a murder on a train, with a classic twist ending.

7 - Fracture (2007) Anthony Hopkins is brilliant as a wealthy man who admits to killing his wife. But where is the murder weapon, and what is his angle? Did he do it, and how?

8 - The Thin Man (1934) a classic murder mystery that young viewers will probably skip due to its dated appearance, but it's worth a viewing as one of the best whodunnits of all time.

9 - In the Heat of the Night (1967) starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger. A murder is committed in a small town where a big-city detective is passing through. He stays to help solve the crime. A tense movie, well done by cast and crew.

10 - Chinatown (1974) Jack Nicholson stars as a private investigator Jake Glittes in this complex mystery movie.

11 - Oldboy (2003) A disturbing Korean movie directed by Park Chan-wook. A man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, and has no idea why. He is shown a video news broadcast that his wife has been murdered. Finally, he is released and needs to unravel the mystery of why he was taken, and who killed his wife. Remade in the US in 2013.

12 - The Big Sleep (1946) Humphrey Bogart is P.I. Phillip Marlowe, hired by a rich family to solve a murder mystery in this classic whodunit movie.

13 - Gosford Park (2001) A perfect mansion murder mystery. A murder occurs during a dinner party at a mansion, and clues are revealed from the guests' and servants' points of view.

14 - Dial M for Murder (1954) Another Hitchcock masterpiece. A tennis pro plots to murder his wife and enlists the help of a former colleague in his intriguing plan.

15 - Brick (2006) A teen tries to solve the murder of a female classmate. Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this noir film is compelling to watch.

16 - The Last of Sheila (1973) The year after Sheila's death in a hit-and-run, her rich husband invites a group of friends to spend the week on his yacht. He invites them to play a mystery game, which soon turns real, and may reveal Sheila's killer, as well as other secrets.

17 - Sorry, Wrong Number (1948) The phone lines get crossed and Leona (Barbara Stanwyck) overhears a plot to kill a woman. Without more details, the police can do nothing. She starts to piece the details together herself.

18 - Mystic River (2003) Dramatic crime drama directed by Clint Eastwood, nominated for several Oscars, includes an all-star cast: Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, more.

19 - The Conversation (1974) Gene Hackman is a surveillance expert who suspects the couple he is spying on is about to be murdered.

20 - Memento (2000) Starring Guy Pierce, a man with memory loss uses memos and tattoos to try to solve his wife's murder.

21 - Klute (1971) A detective gets the help of a prostitute to solve a missing persons case, which leads to two murders, which also need to be solved.

22 - The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) Argentine crime thriller.

23 - Fargo (1996) In North Dakota, a female sheriff must solve a murder. A witty and clever movie, which won 7 Academy Awards.

24 - Gorky Park (1983) Three murders in Moscow are investigated, and a NYC detective gets involved, as he is looking for his missing brother.

25 - The Morning After (1986) A woman wakes up with a dead man in her bed, and needs an ex-cop's help to find out who the body is and who killed him.



Many of Alfred Hitchcock's movies were more thrillers than whodunnits. He often dominates mystery movie lists, but belongs more with psychological thrillers, or - in the case of "North by Northwest" or "The Man Who Knew Too Much" - spy thrillers.


Se7en (1995) is a tense serial killer movie, but there is a mystery to solve here, with a twist.


Best Comedy Murder Mystery: Murder By Death  ... 
check out more:  Comedy Whodunnits at Top2040

For more serious mysteries, check out: Best Courtroom Dramas

A good mystery movie is like a fine wine, to be savored slowly. Over and over again.


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