Nothing captures suspense and intrigue quite like a good murder mystery movie. The best thrillers keep viewers guessing as amateur sleuths track clues and detectives interrogate suspects. This list spotlights 50 fantastic murder mystery movies full of shocking twists From classic whodunits to Hitchcockian suspense to modern crime capers. Get ready for edge-of-your-seat storytelling as secrets unravel and the truth comes to light.

List of Movies of top 50 Best Murder Mystery Movies

Below is a table with best 50 full of suspense murder mystery movies:

Sr. No.

Movie Name

Release Year





The Maltese Falcon



Murder, My Sweet






And Then There Were None



The Big Sleep



The Third Man






Rear Window



Les Diaboliques



Witness for the Prosecution












In the Heat of the Night



The Long Goodbye



The Last of Sheila






Murder on the Orient Express



The Conversation



Blow Out






The Name of the Rose



Who Framed Roger Rabbit



The Silence of the Lambs



The Fugitive






The Usual Suspects









L.A. Confidential



Sleepy Hollow






Gosford Park



The Pledge



Mystic River



Memories of Murder






Tell No One



Suspect X






Hot Fuzz



The Secret in Their Eyes






The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo






Gone Girl



The Hateful Eight



The Nice Guys



Knives Out


1 - M (1931)

  • Lead actors: Peter Lorre (Hans Beckert), Ellen Widmann (Mrs. Beckmann), Inge Landgut (Elsie Beckmann)
  • Supporting artists: Otto Wernicke (Inspector Karl Lohmann), Theodor Loos (Inspector Groeber), Friedrich Gnaß (Franz, the burglar)
  • Director: Fritz Lang
  • Release date: May 11, 1931
  • Run time: 117 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.3
  • Language: German
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime, Hulu

Fritz Lang 1931 German thriller M follows the manhunt for a serial killer preying on children in Berlin. When both the police and criminal underworld begin closing in, murderer Hans Beckert must race to avoid capture. Lang used real criminals as consultants to realistically depict Berlin seedy underbelly. Peter Lorre gives a chilling performance as the killer, humanizing his madness even as crimes build. M pioneered modern crime thrillers and remains an influential classic.

2 - The Maltese Falcon (1941)

  • Lead actors: Humphrey Bogart (Sam Spade), Mary Astor (Brigid Ohaughnessy), Gladys George (Iva Archer)
  • Supporting artists: Peter Lorre (Joel Cairo), Barton MacLane (Lt. Dundy), Lee Patrick (Effie Perine)
  • Director: John Huston
  • Release date: October 3, 1941
  • Run time: 100 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.0
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

John Huston directorial debut The Maltese Falcon stars Humphrey Bogart as private eye Sam Spade investigating his partner murder. While evading police suspicion, Spade encounters a web of colorful characters seeking a priceless statuette. Huston brilliant adaptation of the Dashiell Hammett novel cemented Bogart status as a noir icon. With its cynical tone, femme fatales and legendary dialogue, The Maltese Falcon defined the hardboiled detective genre and murder mystery style.

3 - Murder, My Sweet (1944)

  • Lead actors: Dick Powell (Philip Marlowe), Claire Trevor (Mrs. Grayle), Anne Shirley (Ann Grayle)
  • Supporting artists: Otto Kruger (Jules Amthor), Mike Mazurki (Moose Malloy), Douglas Walton (Lt. Randall)
  • Director: Edward Dmytryk
  • Release date: December 9, 1944
  • Run time: 95 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.5
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max

This 1944 film noir adapts Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely, starring former musical actor Dick Powell as hard-boiled private eye Philip Marlowe. Marlowe gets embroiled in a convoluted case involving a kidnapped nightclub owner, stolen jewelry, psychic charlatans and multiple murders. With shadowy cinematography, terse dialogue and convoluted plotting, Murder, My Sweet embodies the visual style and tone of classic 1940s detective fiction on screen.

4 - Laura (1944)

  • Lead actors: Gene Tierney (Laura Hunt), Dana Andrews (Mark McPherson), Clifton Webb (Waldo Lydecker)
  • Supporting artists: Vincent Price (Shelby Carpenter), Judith Anderson (Ann Treadwell)
  • Director: Otto Preminger
  • Release date: October 11, 1944
  • Run time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.9
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

This 1944 noir follows a detective investigating the murder of Laura Hunt. But when Laura unexpectedly returns alive, stunning plot twists unfold. Gene Tierney gives an iconic performance as the alluring, complicated Laura. Alongside Dana Andrews' gritty detective, their chemistry simmers against opulent backdrops. With shadowy cinematography and David Raksin haunting "Laura Theme," this thriller remains an enthralling, sensual mystery.

5 - And Then There Were None (1945)

  • Lead actors: Barry Fitzgerald (Judge Francis J. Quinncannon), Walter Huston (Dr. Edward G. Armstrong), Louis Hayward (Philip Lombard)
  • Supporting artists: Roland Young (Detective William Henry Blore), June Duprez (Vera Claythorne), Mischa Auer (Prince Nikita Starloff)
  • Director: René Clair
  • Release date: October 31, 1945
  • Run time: 97 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.4
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Tubi

Based on Agatha Christie novel, this 1945 adaptation follows ten strangers lured to an island. After people start dying in accordance with an eerie nursery rhyme, the survivors realize there a murderer in their midst. Director René Clair ratchets up tension through ominous soundtrack and shots. Outstanding ensemble acting conveys paranoia escalating as the body count rises. With Christie ingenious plot twists and Then There Were None leaves viewers guessing until the end.

6 - The Big Sleep (1946)

  • Lead actors: Humphrey Bogart (Philip Marlowe), Lauren Bacall (Vivian Rutledge), John Ridgely (Eddie Mars)
  • Supporting artists: Martha Vickers (Carmen Sternwood), Dorothy Malone (Acme Bookstore proprietor), Peggy Knudsen (Mona Mars)
  • Director: Howard Hawks
  • Release date: August 23, 1946
  • Run time: 114 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.9
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

In this 1946 noir classic, Humphrey Bogart stars as private detective Philip Marlowe, hired by a wealthy general to end his daughter blackmailer scheme. But the case proves more complex than expected. Bogart and a young Lauren Bacall sizzle with chemistry. The Big Sleep defined Bogart as a noir legend with hard-boiled one-liners and terse cool. With a twisting story full of deception and cover-ups, it epitomizes the genre gritty style and labyrinthine mysteries.

7 - The Third Man (1949)

  • Lead actors: Joseph Cotten (Holly Martins), Alida Valli (Anna Schmidt), Orson Welles (Harry Lime)
  • Supporting artists: Trevor Howard (Major Calloway), Bernard Lee (Sergeant Paine), Wilfrid Hyde-White (Crabbin)
  • Director: Carol Reed
  • Release date: September 2, 1949
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

This 1949 noir masterpiece follows a visiting American searching postwar Vienna for his missing friend Harry Lime. Joseph Cotten stars alongside Orson Welles as the elusive friend suspected of crimes. From shadowy sewer chases to the iconic Ferris wheel confrontation, The Third Man paints postwar corruption with visual ingenuity. Its string-heavy soundtrack and unforgettable ending cement its status as one of cinema greatest mystery thrillers.

8 - Rashomon (1950)

  • Lead actors: Toshirô Mifune (Tajômaru), Machiko Kyō (Masako Kanazawa), Masayuki Mori (Takehiro Kanazawa)
  • Supporting artists: Takashi Shimura (Woodcutter), Minoru Chiaki (Priest), Kichijirô Ueda (Commoner)
  • Director: Akira Kurosawa
  • Release date: August 25, 1950
  • Run time: 88 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.2
  • Language: Japanese
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

Akira Kurosawa groundbreaking 1950 crime drama unfolds through contradictory flashbacks regarding a man murder. Each witness recounts vastly different versions of the same events. The innovative storytelling examines truth and human nature. Isabelle Huppert and Toshirô give outstanding performances as the victim and bandit. With its reflective themes and striking visual style, Rashomon remains captivating and hugely influential.

9 - Rear Window (1954)

  • Lead actors: James Stewart (L. B. Jeffries), Grace Kelly (Lisa Carol Fremont), Wendell Corey (Det. Lt. Thomas J. Doyle)
  • Supporting artists: Thelma Ritter (Stella), Raymond Burr (Lars Thorwald), Judith Evelyn (Miss Lonelyhearts)
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Release date: September 1, 1954
  • Run time: 112 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.5
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Peacock

Alfred Hitchcock 1954 thriller stars James Stewart as a photographer confined to his apartment after breaking his leg. Spying on neighbors to pass time, he becomes convinced one has murdered his wife. Grace Kelly plays his fashionable girlfriend aiding his sleuthing. With voyeuristic suspense and clues seen through a telephoto lens, Rear Window makes the viewer a detective. Hitchcock genius direction and use of limited setting make this a murder mystery masterpiece.

10 - Les Diaboliques (1955)

  • Lead actors: Simone Signoret (Nicole Horner), Véra Clouzot (Christina Delassalle), Paul Meurisse (Michel Delassalle)
  • Supporting artists: Charles Vanel (Inspector Fichet), Jean Brochard (Plantoir), Joëlle Bernard (Julie)
  • Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot
  • Release date: January 26, 1955
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Language: French
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

This 1955 French thriller follows a wife and mistress plotting to murder their sadistic husband Michel. But after the deed, doubt creeps in around his mysterious disappearance. Director Henri-Georges Clouzot generates relentless suspense with sinister characters, macabre twists and shocking surprises. Les Diaboliques chillingly deconstructs morality in a masterful murder mystery that refuses to neatly tie up loose ends.

11 - Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

  • Lead actors: Tyrone Power (Leonard Vole), Marlene Dietrich (Christine Vole), Charles Laughton (Sir Wilfrid)
  • Supporting artists: Elsa Lanchester (Miss Plimsoll), John Williams (Mr. Brogan-Moore), Henry Daniell (Mayhew)
  • Director: Billy Wilder
  • Release date: February 6, 1958
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.4
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Based on Agatha Christie hit play, Witness for the Prosecution follows a veteran lawyer defending a man accused of murder. But when the accused vivacious wife appears as a witness for the prosecution, the case takes shocking turns. Charles Laughton, Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power give outstanding performances in this twisty courtroom drama. Billy Wilder elevates the suspense with atmospheric lighting and innovative camerawork. The result is a devilishly clever murder mystery.

12 - Psycho (1960)

  • Lead actors: Anthony Perkins (Norman Bates), Janet Leigh (Marion Crane), Vera Miles (Lila Crane)
  • Supporting artists: John Gavin (Sam Loomis), Martin Balsam (Milton Arbogast), John McIntire (Sheriff Al Chambers)
  • Director: Alfred Hitchcock
  • Release date: September 8, 1960
  • Run time: 109 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.5
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: AMC+

Alfred Hitchcock seminal 1960 horror follows secretary Marion Crane after she embezzles money and checks into the remote Bates Motel. Proprietor Norman Bates' dangerous psychosis soon emerges. Hitchcock subverts expectations with shocking early twists. Anthony Perkins is unforgettable as the deeply disturbed Bates. With inventive camerawork and editing, Psycho groundbreaking surprises make it perhaps the ultimate suspense thriller.

13 - Charade (1963)

  • Lead actors: Cary Grant (Peter Joshua), Audrey Hepburn (Regina Lampert), Walter Matthau (Hamilton Bartholomew)
  • Supporting artists: James Coburn (Tex Panthollow), George Kennedy (Herman Scobie), Ned Glass (Leopold W. Gideon)
  • Director: Stanley Donen
  • Release date: December 5, 1963
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.0
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Charade stars Audrey Hepburn as a widow pursued by criminals in Paris. Cary Grant appears as the mysterious Peter Joshua, who offers to help while romance blossoms. Blending comedy, romance and thrills, Charade moves briskly between stunning locations. Grant and Hepburn undeniable chemistry brings heart to the Hitchcockian hijinks. With its glamor, smart dialogue and escalating suspense, Charade is an utterly charming murder mystery.

14 - Blow-Up (1966)

  • Lead actors: David Hemmings (Thomas), Vanessa Redgrave (Jane), Sarah Miles (Patricia)
  • Supporting artists: John Castle (Bill), Jane Birkin (The Blonde), Gillian Hills (Patricia)
  • Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Release date: December 18, 1966
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.7
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Michelangelo Antonioni swinging sixties mystery follows a London photographer who may have unwittingly captured a murder on film. David Hemmings stars as the trendy mod photographer pursuing thrills through fashion and female models. When intrigue arises over puzzling blow-ups of a park photograph, existential themes emerge about perception and reality. With vivid style and photography, Blow-Up is a haunting, engrossing tale of mystery and illusion.

15 - In the Heat of the Night (1967)

  • Lead actors: Sidney Poitier (Virgil Tibbs), Rod Steiger (Bill Gillespie), Warren Oates (Sam Wood)
  • Supporting artists: Lee Grant (Endicott), Larry Gates (Watkins), James Patterson (Anderson)
  • Director: Norman Jewison
  • Release date: August 2, 1967
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.9
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Tubi

This 1967 crime drama follows a black detective from Philadelphia investigating a murder in Mississippi. Racial tensions flare between Virgil Tibbs and the bigoted small-town sheriff. Director Norman Jewison deftly balances the crime mystery plot with powerful commentary on prejudice. Poitier and Steiger give outstanding performances, lending nuance to the shifting relationship between opposites who must work together. In the Heat of the Night remains impactful and hugely influential.

16 - The Long Goodbye (1973)

  • Lead actors: Elliott Gould (Philip Marlowe), Nina van Pallandt (Eileen Wade), Sterling Hayden (Roger Wade)
  • Supporting artists: Mark Rydell (Marty Augustine), Henry Gibson (Dr. Verringer), David Arkin (Harry)
  • Director: Robert Altman
  • Release date: March 7, 1973
  • Run time: 112 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.6
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+

Robert Altman gives the hardboiled detective genre an off-kilter twist in this 1973 adaptation of Raymond Chandler novel. Elliott Gould plays Philip Marlowe, a rumpled, wise-cracking PI investigating a friend suicide. Beneath the sun-soaked neon Los Angeles atmosphere, the mystery turns surreal. With an improvisational acting style, Altman reimagines the murder mystery with eccentric performances, wandering camerawork and oddball humor.

17 - The Last of Sheila (1973)

  • Lead actors: James Coburn (Clinton Green), James Mason (Philip Dexter), Dyan Cannon (Alice Wood)
  • Supporting artists: Joan Hackett (Christine Wood), Ian McShane (Anthony Wood), Raquel Welch (Shelia Green)
  • Director: Herbert Ross
  • Release date: June 14, 1973
  • Run time: 120 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

This witty 1973 mystery follows a manipulative producer who tricks guests onto his yacht for an elaborate murder game based on his late wife Sheila. But when real corpses start piling up, everyone becomes a suspect. Written by Stephen Sondheim and Anthony Perkins, The Last of Sheila savvily deconstructs the whodunit genre with self-aware dialogue and an all-star cast parodying their own personas. With its sardonic tone and puzzling plot, it remains a diabolically clever satire.

18 - Chinatown (1974)

  • Lead actors: Jack Nicholson (J.J. Gittes), Faye Dunaway (Evelyn Mulwray), John Huston (Noah Cross)
  • Supporting artists: Perry Lopez (Lt. Lou Escobar), John Hillerman (Russ Yelburton), Diane Ladd (Ida Sessions)
  • Director: Roman Polanski
  • Release date: June 20, 1974
  • Run time: 130 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.2
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Roman Polanski 1974 noir stars Jack Nicholson as a private eye hired to expose an adulterer but who stumbles on a Los Angeles murder and conspiracy. As the mystery deepens, darker motives and family secrets emerge. Robert Towne brilliant script resonates with echoes of classic detective fiction and tragedy. Suffused in a nostalgic golden glow by John Alonzo, Chinatown remains an intricate, unforgettable mystery.

19 - Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

  • Lead actors: Albert Finney (Hercule Poirot), Lauren Bacall (Mrs. Hubbard), Martin Balsam (Bianchi)
  • Supporting artists: Ingrid Bergman (Greta Ohlsson), Jacqueline Bisset (Countess Andrenyi)
  • Director: Sidney Lumet
  • Release date: November 24, 1974
  • Run time: 128 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Sidney Lumet directs this stylish 1974 adaptation of Agatha Christie classic mystery novel. Albert Finney stars as eccentric Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, who must determine which of his fellow snowbound train passengers is a murderer. With an all-star cast, exotic period detail and Christie diabolical plot twists, Murder on the Orient Express makes crime solving a glamorous affair. It remains one of the most beloved cinematic versions of a quintessential whodunit.

20 - The Conversation (1974)

  • Lead actors: Gene Hackman (Harry Caul), John Cazale (Stan), Allen Garfield (Bernie Moran)
  • Supporting artists: Cindy Williams (Ann), Frederic Forrest (Mark), Harrison Ford (Martin Stett)
  • Director: Francis Ford Coppola
  • Release date: April 7, 1974
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.9
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Francis Ford Coppola 1974 thriller follows an expert surveillance man who fears a client plans to kill. Gene Hackman stars as Harry Caul, a solitary wiretapper obsessed with his privacy. But when he suspects a murder scheme after recording a couple in San Francisco Union Square, Caul is drawn into his own mystery. With nuanced sound design and paranoia-inducing camerawork, The Conversation generates taut suspense through subtle technique.

21 - Blow Out (1981)

  • Lead actors: John Travolta (Jack Terry), Nancy Allen (Sally Bedina), John Lithgow (Burke)
  • Supporting artists: Dennis Franz, Peter Boyden, Curt May
  • Director: Brian De Palma
  • Release date: July 24, 1981
  • Run time: 107 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.4
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Tubi

Brian De Palma Blow Out stars John Travolta as a Z-movie sound man who inadvertently tapes audio evidence of a car accident that killed a politician. As he investigates further, a larger conspiracy unravels. Travolta performance grounds the stylish thriller as suspense escalates. De Palma signature split screens and cinematography amp up tension. Echoing elements of Antonioni Blow-Up, it remains a riveting, underrated mystery.

22 - Clue (1985)

  • Lead actors: Eileen Brennan (Mrs. Peacock), Tim Curry (Wadsworth), Madeline Kahn (Mrs. White)
  • Supporting artists: Christopher Lloyd (Professor Plum), Michael McKean (Mr. Green), Martin Mull (Colonel Mustard)
  • Director: Jonathan Lynn
  • Release date: December 13, 1985
  • Run time: 94 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

This 1985 comedy spoofs whodunits by giving six strangers motive to kill their blackmailing host. As bodies pile up, the colorful characters race to solve the mystery. With three possible endings, Clue pokes fun at genre conventions while keeping intrigue alive. The talented ensemble cast plays each ridiculous suspect to the hilt. Full of running gags and wordplay, Clue brings mischievous humor to the classic murder mystery format.

23 - The Name of the Rose (1986)

  • Lead actors: Sean Connery (William of Baskerville), F. Murray Abraham (Bernardo Gui), Christian Slater (Adso of Melk)
  • Supporting artists: Helmut Qualtinger (Remigio da Varagine), Elya Baskin (Severinus), Michael Lonsdale (Abbot)
  • Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
  • Release date: September 24, 1986
  • Run time: 130 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.8
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: iTunes

This 1986 Italian mystery adapts Umberto Eco novel about a medieval monk investigating murders in an abbey. Sean Connery stars as the intellectual friar using deduction to uncover church secrets. Set in the 14th century, the film immerses viewers in the textures of monastic life through authentic sets and costumes. With rising tension and literary themes, The Name of the Rose brings cerebral flair to the medieval murder mystery.

24 - Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

  • Lead actors: Bob Hoskins (Eddie Valiant), Christopher Lloyd (Judge Doom), Joanna Cassidy (Dolores)
  • Supporting artists: Charles Fleischer (Roger Rabbit, Benny the Cab), Stubby Kaye (Marvin Acme), Alan Tilvern (R.K. Maroon)
  • Director: Robert Zemeckis
  • Release date: June 22, 1988
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.7
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Disney+

This 1988 comedy/noir mixes live action and animation in 1940s Hollywood. Eddie Valiant reluctantly helps cartoon star Roger Rabbit prove his innocence after a murder. Director Robert Zemeckis flawlessly blends animated characters into vintage LA backdrops. The film affectionately parodies hardboiled detective stories with slapstick humor. With visual panache and countless animated cameos, Who Framed Roger Rabbit remains a technical marvel.

25 - The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

  • Lead actors: Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling), Anthony Hopkins (Dr. Hannibal Lecter), Scott Glenn (Jack Crawford)
  • Supporting artists: Ted Levine (Jame Gumb), Anthony Heald (Dr. Frederick Chilton), Brooke Smith (Catherine Martin)
  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Release date: February 14, 1991
  • Run time: 118 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.6
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

This psychological thriller follows FBI trainee Clarice Starling enlisting imprisoned Hannibal Lecter to profile serial killer Buffalo Bill. Under Demme masterful direction, Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins deliver legendary performances as investigator and cannibalistic psychiatrist playing mental chess. The film deftly balances police procedural with shocking horror. Suspenseful, intelligent and haunting, The Silence of the Lambs remains an undisputed classic.

26 - The Fugitive (1993)

  • Lead actors: Harrison Ford (Dr. Richard Kimble), Tommy Lee Jones (Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard), Sela Ward (Helen Kimble)
  • Supporting artists: Joe Pantoliano (Cosmo Renfro) andreas Katsulas (Fredrick Sykes), Jeroen Krabbé (Dr. Charles Nichols)
  • Director: Andrew Davis
  • Release date: August 6, 1993
  • Run time: 130 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.8
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

This 1993 thriller stars Harrison Ford as a doctor wrongly convicted of killing his wife who escapes custody to prove his innocence. Tommy Lee Jones won an Oscar as the dogged U.S. Marshal pursuing him. With propulsive energy and stunts, The Fugitive delivers a riveting cat-and-mouse murder mystery while fleshing out both the fugitive and lawman motivations. Its explosive climax cemented its status as an exhilarating wrong-man thriller.

27 - Se7en (1995)

  • Lead actors: Brad Pitt (Detective David Mills), Morgan Freeman (Detective Lt. William Somerset), Gwyneth Paltrow (Tracy Mills)
  • Supporting artists: Kevin Spacey (John Doe), R. Lee Ermey (Police Captain), John C. McGinley (California)
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Release date: September 22, 1995
  • Run time: 127 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.6
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Netflix

David Fincher macabre thriller tracks two detectives chasing a serial killer murdering based on the seven deadly sins. Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman excel as the mismatched partners navigating grisly crimes and a diabolical mastermind. With unnerving cinematography by Darius Khondji, Se7en crafts a gut-churning descent into the heart of human evil. The finale shocking twist cements Se7en as one of the most chilling and influential modern murder mysteries.

28 - The Usual Suspects (1995)

  • Lead actors: Stephen Baldwin (Michael McManus), Gabriel Byrne (Dean Keaton), Benicio del Toro (Fred Fenster)
  • Supporting artists: Kevin Pollak (Todd Hockney), Kevin Spacey (Roger "Verbal" Kint), Chazz Palminteri (U.S. Customs Agent Dave Kujan)
  • Director: Bryan Singer
  • Release date: August 16, 1995
  • Run time: 106 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.6
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

After a deadly shootout, police question the only survivor trying to piece together what happened. But as 'Verbal' Kint weaves a complex story implicating mythic crime kingpin Keyser Söze, it becomes clear he knows more than he telling. Directed with flair by Bryan Singer, The Usual Suspects energized the murder mystery genre through a nonlinear, unreliable narrator. The film delivers one of cinema most legendary plot twists.

29 - Scream (1996)

  • Lead actors: Neve Campbell (Sidney Prescott), Courteney Cox (Gale Weathers), David Arquette (Dewey Riley)
  • Supporting artists: Skeet Ulrich (Billy Loomis), Matthew Lillard (Stu Macher), Rose McGowan (Tatum Riley)
  • Director: Wes Craven
  • Release date: December 20, 1996
  • Run time: 111 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.2
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Paramount+

Wes Craven 1996 slasher follows high schooler Sidney Prescott as a killer in a Ghostface mask stalks her town on the anniversary of her mother murder. Rose McGowan and Matthew Lillard play ill-fated classmates while Neve Campbell excels as the trauma-scarred final girl turned survivor. Slyly satirizing genre clichés between scares, Scream reinvigorated horror with postmodern panache and ample twists.

30 - Cure (1997)

  • Lead actors: Kōji Yakusho (Kenichi Takabe), Anna Nakagawa (Hitomi), Tsuyoshi Ujiki (Mamiya)
  • Supporting artists: Yoriko Dōguchi (Kyoko Nihei), Masato Hagiwara (Sakuma), Denden (Man at meeting)
  • Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa
  • Release date: April 19, 1997
  • Run time: 111 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.5
  • Language: Japanese
  • Where to watch: Kanopy

This unsettling Japanese thriller follows a detective searching for an enigmatic drifter able to hypnotize people into murder. Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa generates haunting suspense through chilling ambient sound, eerie settings and fragmented storytelling. As the elusive suspect inspires successive killings, the film explores fundamental questions behind evil and the mind. Anchored by Kôji Yakusho intense performance, Cure remains a profoundly disturbing psychological mystery.

31 - L.A. Confidential (1997)

  • Lead actors: Kevin Spacey (Det. Sgt. Jack Vincennes), Russell Crowe (Officer Wendell White), Guy Pearce (Lt. Edmund Exley)
  • Supporting artists: Danny DeVito (Sid Hudgens), James Cromwell (Capt. Dudley Smith), Kim Basinger (Lynn Bracken)
  • Director: Curtis Hanson
  • Release date: September 19, 1997
  • Run time: 138 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

Curtis Hanson neo-noir epic follows three detectives uncovering corruption beneath 1950s Los Angeles glamor. Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce star as mismatched cops navigating scandals, vice and Hollywood secrets. Hanson brilliantly conjures the seedy underbelly lurking beneath sun-dappled nostalgia. With Oscar-winning acting, an intricate plot and stylish period atmosphere, L.A. Confidential remains an intricately layered modern mystery classic.

32 - Sleepy Hollow (1999)

  • Lead actors: Johnny Depp (Ichabod Crane), Christina Ricci (Katrina Van Tassel), Miranda Richardson (Lady Van Tassel)
  • Supporting artists: Michael Gambon (Baltus Van Tassel), Casper Van Dien (Brom Van Brunt), Jeffrey Jones (Reverend Steenwyck)
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Release date: November 19, 1999
  • Run time: 105 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Hulu

Tim Burton put his signature gothic spin on the Headless Horseman legend in this 1999 film starring Johnny Depp as eccentric constable Ichabod Crane. Sent to investigate decapitations in 1799 Sleepy Hollow, Crane encounters spirited heiress Katrina Van Tassel as macabre murders mount. With stunning cinematography and production design, Burton creates a spooky ambiance befitting the eerie mystery. It remains one of the most vividly nightmarish literary adaptations.

33 - Memento (2000)

  • Lead actors: Guy Pearce (Leonard Shelby), Carrie-Anne Moss (Natalie), Joe Pantoliano (Teddy Gammell)
  • Supporting actors: Mark Boone Junior (Burt), Russ Fega (Waiter), Jorja Fox (Leonard wife)
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Release date: October 11, 2000
  • Run time: 113 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.4
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Christopher Nolan twisty neo-noir stars Guy Pearce as a man with short-term memory loss tattooing clues, piecing together his wife murder. But as enigmatic acquaintances manipulate his search, the nonlinear narrative keeps viewers guessing. Innovative structure and cinematography pull the audience into Leonard fractured mind. Memento redefined psychological thrillers with its ambitious, backwards storytelling.

34 - Gosford Park (2001)

  • Lead actors: Maggie Smith (Constance), Michael Gambon (Sir William McCordle), Kristin Scott Thomas (Sylvia McCordle)
  • Supporting artists: Emily Watson (Elsie), Charles Dance (Anthony Meredith), Helen Mirren (Mrs. Wilson)
  • Director: Robert Altman
  • Release date: November 7, 2001
  • Run time: 137 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.2
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Robert Altman applied his signature ensemble style to an Agatha Christie-style whodunit in this upstairs-downstairs mystery. Set during a 1932 country estate hunting trip, the all-star cast plays aristocrats and servants with intertwining secrets and scandals. Balancing satire and suspense, Altman critiques class while keeping multiple suspects in play. It remains a delightful deconstruction of murder mystery conventions.

35 - The Pledge (2001)

  • Lead actors: Jack Nicholson (Jerry Black), Robin Wright (Lori), Benicio del Toro (Toby Wadenah)
  • Supporting artists: Vanessa Redgrave (Annalise Hansen), Helen Mirren (Doctor), Harry Dean Stanton (Floyd Cage)
  • Director: Sean Penn
  • Release date: January 19, 2001
  • Run time: 124 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Jack Nicholson stars as a retiring police chief desperately trying to solve one final case in Sean Penn haunting mystery. After promising a mother he'll find her daughter killer, Jerry becomes obsessed as months pass with no leads. Nicholson conveys his character unraveling with depth and nuance. Based on a Swiss novel, Penn English adaptation slowly ratchets up the tension for a shattering conclusion.

36 - Mystic River (2003)

  • Lead actors: Sean Penn (Jimmy Markum), Tim Robbins (Dave Boyle), Kevin Bacon (Sean Devine)
  • Supporting artists: Laurence Fishburne (Whitey Powers), Marcia Gay Harden (Celeste Boyle), Laura Linney (Annabeth Markum)
  • Director: Clint Eastwood
  • Release date: October 15, 2003
  • Run time: 138 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.0
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

Clint Eastwood somber drama explores the aftermath of a 19-year-old murder that shattered three childhood friends. After Jimmy Markum daughter dies under mysterious circumstances, Sean Penn gives a wrenching performance as the grief-stricken father obsessed with vengeance. A haunting story of violence, redemption and buried pasts, Mystic River earned Academy Awards for its ensemble cast and screenplay.

37 - Memories of Murder (2003)

  • Lead actors: Kang-ho Song (Detective Park Doo-Man), Sang-kyung Kim (Detective Seo Tae-Yoon), Roe-ha Kim (Detective Cho Yong-koo)
  • Supporting artists: Jae-ho Song, Hye-jeong Kang, Ji-Eun Lim
  • Director: Joon-ho Bong
  • Release date: April 30, 2003
  • Run time: 132 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Language: Korean
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Visionary director Joon-ho Bong gripping true crime drama follows rural detectives chasing Korea first serial killer case in 1986. As brutal murders mount with no leads, their crude techniques prove ineffective. Kang-ho Song excels as the short-fused detective consumed by the case. A masterful blend of suspense, character study and social commentary, Memories of Murder chillingly depicts obsession and injustice.

38 - Brick (2005)

  • Lead actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Brendan Frye), Nora Zehetner (Laura Dannon), Lukas Haas (The Pin)
  • Supporting artists: Noah Fleiss (Tugger), Matt O'Leary (The Brain), Meagan Good (Kara)
  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Release date: April 7, 2006
  • Run time: 110 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.3
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Writer-director Rian Johnson debut film reimagines hard-boiled noir tropes in a high school setting. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as a student infiltrating a drug ring to investigate his ex-girlfriend disappearance. Brick emulates the stylized dialogue, cynicism and desperation of classic crime dramas. With inventive twists on genre conventions, it remains a smart, thrillingly original mystery.

39 - Tell No One (2006)

  • Lead actors: François Cluzet (Dr. Alexandre Beck), Marie-Josée Croze (Margot Laffont), Kristin Scott Thomas (Hélène Perkins)
  • Supporting artists: Jean Rochefort, Marina Hands, Olivier Marchal
  • Director: Guillaume Canet
  • Release date: November 16, 2006
  • Run time: 125 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.5
  • Language: French
  • Where to watch: Tubi

This French thriller follows a man who begins receiving messages suggesting his murdered wife may be alive 8 years later. François Cluzet stars as the grieving husband who becomes a suspect while investigating the mystery. Tell No One builds suspense around a missing persons case gone cold years before. Its secret-filled plot and sustained sense of paranoia make it an intricately layered contemporary mystery.

40 - Suspect X (2008)

  • Lead actors: Masaharu Fukuyama (Ishigami), Tôru Nakamura (Shunpei Kusanagi), Manami Konishi (Yasuko Hanaoka)
  • Supporting artists: Megumi Sato (Misato Hanaoka), Susumu Terajima (Inspector Takayanagi), Goro Kishitani (Doctor Ukichi Manabu)
  • Director: Hiroshi Nishitani
  • Release date: January 19, 2008
  • Run time: 128 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.5
  • Language: Japanese
  • Where to watch: Tubi

This Japanese thriller adapts an award-winning novel about a mathematics teacher masterminding the perfect alibi for his neighbor who murdered her abusive ex-husband. When detective Kusanagi grows obsessed with unraveling the truth, a battle of wits plays out. Suspect X is an ingeniously plotted cat-and-mouse game filled with surprising twists that shine a light on human nature and moral justice.

41 - Zodiac (2007)

  • Lead actors: Jake Gyllenhaal (Robert Graysmith), Mark Ruffalo (Inspector David Toschi), Robert Downey Jr. (Paul Avery)
  • Supporting artists: Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, John Carroll Lynch
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Release date: March 2, 2007
  • Run time: 157 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.7
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

David Fincher returned to the crime genre by depicting the real investigation to catch the Zodiac Killer in 1970s San Francisco. Jake Gyllenhaal plays a political cartoonist turned armchair detective obsessed with cracking the case mystifying clues and codes. Fincher meticulous recreation of the era through locations, costumes and music creates riveting authenticity. Zodiac paints a haunting, sweeping portrait of America most infamous unsolved murder.

42 - Hot Fuzz (2007)

  • Lead actors: Simon Pegg (Nicholas Angel), Nick Frost (PC Danny Butterman), Jim Broadbent (Inspector Frank Butterman)
  • Supporting artists: Paddy Considine (DS Andy Wainwright), Timothy Dalton (Simon Skinner), Olivia Colman (DS Doris Thatcher)
  • Director: Edgar Wright
  • Release date: February 14, 2007
  • Run time: 121 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.8
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost play an overachieving cop dispatched to a sleepy village where grisly accidents start occurring in Edgar Wright hilarious action satire. Packed with hyperkinetic shootouts and cop movie parodies, Hot Fuzz affectionately skewers the murder mystery genre even as it delivers outrageous thrills. With quick editing and visual invention, Wright slick direction underscores the clever genre subversion.

43 - The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

  • Lead actors: Ricardo Darín (Benjamín Espósito), Soledad Villamil (Irene Menéndez Hastings), Guillermo Francella (Pablo Sandoval)
  • Supporting artists: Javier Godino (Isidoro Gómez), Mariano Argento (Ricardo Morales), Pablo Rago (Romano)
  • Director: Juan José Campanella
  • Release date: August 13, 2009
  • Run time: 129 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.2
  • Language: Spanish
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

This Argentinian thriller interweaves a 1974 murder investigation with a retired investigator present-day efforts to write a novel about the case. Ricardo Darín gives a superb performance as the obsessed inspector seeking justice and closure decades later. The Secret in Their Eyes earned the 2010 Oscar for Best Foreign Film for its technical mastery and complex structure mirroring memory.

44 - Mother (2009)

  • Lead actors: Kim Hye-ja (Mother), Won Bin (Do-joon), Jin Goo (Jin-tae)
  • Supporting artists: Yoo Jae-myung (Yang Jin-tae), Je-mun Yun (Older sister), Ku Jin (Younger sister)
  • Director: Joon-ho Bong
  • Release date: September 3, 2009
  • Run time: 129 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.8
  • Language: Korean
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

A mother desperately tries to prove her mentally handicapped son innocence after he accused of murder in Bong Joon-ho gripping thriller. Kim Hye-ja gives a monumental performance as the dogged, devoted matriarch facing indifference, contempt and corruption. Exploring oppression across classes and institutions, Mother masterfully builds suspense while conveying the complex, unbreakable maternal bond.

45 - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

  • Lead actors: Daniel Craig (Mikael Blomkvist), Rooney Mara (Lisbeth Salander), Christopher Plummer (Henrik Vanger)
  • Supporting artists: Stellan Skarsgård (Martin Vanger), Steven Berkoff (Dirch Frode), Robin Wright (Erika Berger)
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Release date: December 20, 2011
  • Run time: 158 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.8
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Netflix

David Fincher adaptation of the Swedish novel follows a journalist recruited to investigate a wealthy family haunted past. Teaming with enigmatic hacker Lisbeth Salander, their search for a killer unearths dark secrets. Rooney Mara earned an Oscar nomination for her fierce performance as Lisbeth. With a bleak Swedish setting and disturbing subject matter, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a tense, unnerving mystery thriller.

46 - Prisoners (2013)

  • Lead actors: Hugh Jackman (Keller Dover), Jake Gyllenhaal (Detective Loki), Paul Dano (Alex Jones)
  • Supporting artists: Viola Davis (Nancy Birch), Maria Bello (Grace Dover), Terrence Howard (Franklin Birch)
  • Director: Denis Villeneuve
  • Release date: September 20, 2013
  • Run time: 153 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

Denis Villeneuve crime drama follows a father taking the law into his own hands after his daughter and friend disappear. Hugh Jackman gives a wrenching performance as the desperate vigilante. Jake Gyllenhaal excels as the loner detective pursuing the suspect when police lack evidence. With unrelenting tension and rain-soaked hopelessness, Prisoners explores fragile morality when a child goes missing.

47 - Gone Girl (2014)

  • Lead actors: Ben Affleck (Nick Dunne), Rosamund Pike (Amy Elliott-Dunne), Neil Patrick Harris (Desi Collings)
  • Supporting artists: Carrie Coon (Margo Dunne), Kim Dickens (Detective Rhonda Boney), Tyler Perry (Tanner Bolt)
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Release date: October 3, 2014
  • Run time: 149 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 8.1
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

David Fincher directed this 2014 mystery thriller starring Ben Affleck as a man suspected of killing his missing wife Amy, played by Rosamund Pike. When evidence increasingly implicates Nick, media scrutiny mounts even as hidden clues suggest all is not as it seems. A taut, twisting narrative keeps viewers guessing until the end. With stellar acting and sleek style, Gone Girl dissects marriage, media and the dark facets of relationships in a provocative modern mystery.

48 - The Hateful Eight (2015)

  • Lead actors: Samuel L. Jackson (Major Marquis Warren), Kurt Russell (John Ruth), Jennifer Jason Leigh (Daisy Domergue)
  • Supporting artists: Walton Goggins, Demián Bichir, Tim Roth
  • Director: Quentin Tarantino
  • Release date: December 25, 2015
  • Run time: 187 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.8
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Netflix

Quentin Tarantino epic western mystery strands travelers at a stagecoach lodge during a blizzard. Tensions flare as motives come into question and secrets surface. Tarantino ratchets up claustrophobic tension through his flair for snappy dialogue and threat of violence. With stunning 70mm cinematography and a gripping ensemble cast, The Hateful Eight immerses viewers in a savage, unpredictable murder mystery.

49 - The Nice Guys (2016)

  • Lead actors: Russell Crowe (Jackson Healy), Ryan Gosling (Holland March), Angourie Rice (Holly March)
  • Supporting artists: Matt Bomer (John Boy), Margaret Qualley (Amelia Kuttner), Keith David (Older Guy)
  • Director: Shane Black
  • Release date: May 20, 2016
  • Run time: 116 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.4
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: HBO Max

Shane Black comedy crime caper pairs Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling as mismatched private eyes partnering to find a missing girl in 1970s LA. The wise-cracking detectives stumble onto a sprawling conspiracy while becoming targets themselves. Black witty dialogue, Gosling and Crowe chemistry and young co-star Angourie Rice spunk make The Nice Guys an engaging blend of humor and mystery.

50 - Knives Out (2019)

  • Lead actors: Daniel Craig (Benoit Blanc), Chris Evans (Hugh Ransom Drysdale), Ana de Armas (Marta Cabrera)
  • Supporting artists: Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Shannon, Don Johnson
  • Director: Rian Johnson
  • Release date: November 27, 2019
  • Run time: 130 minutes
  • IMDb rating: 7.9
  • Language: English
  • Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video

Rian Johnson immensely entertaining whodunit follows a detective investigating the murder of a wealthy novelist. Daniel Craig charms as quirky sleuth Benoit Blanc, sifting through suspects and red herrings. Witty dialogue, scenery-chewing performances and hilarious satire of the genre make Knives Out a jubilantly clever modern mystery. It captures the classic murder mystery escapist pleasures while feeling completely fresh.


This lineup illuminates the murder mystery genre incredible diversity and evolution across eras. From stark German expressionism to glossy Hollywood productions, these films expose corruption and peel back layers of complex characters. Masters like Hitchcock and technique innovations like Rashomon shifting perspectives have profoundly influenced thriller filmmaking. Contemporary hits like Knives Out continue breaking new ground. More than puzzles, these multilayered stories illuminate society, human nature and the quest for truth.


Q: What makes a great movie murder mystery?

A riveting whodunit has high stakes, an intriguing victim and plenty of red herrings. The story builds suspense while revealing clues. A great payoff or twist caps the thrilling journey.

Q: What was the first murder mystery movie?

Though thrillers existed earlier, 1924 The Lodger is often considered the first real movie murder mystery. Alfred Hitchcock creatively built suspense around the hunt for Jack the Ripper.

Q: What makes murder mysteries so popular?

Murder mysteries indulge our fascination with crimes and provide the fun of solving puzzles. We enjoy playing armchair detective, piecing together clues until the killer is finally unmasked. Their life or death stakes and satisfying conclusions keep the genre evergreen.

Q: Why do people enjoy watching murder mystery movies?

The suspense and intrigue draw us in, while trying to actively solve the whodunit mystery engages our minds. Murder mysteries allow us to match wits against fictional killers from the safety of our seats.

Q: What are some classic murder mystery movie tropes?

Classic tropes include red herrings misleading investigators, a gathering of eclectic suspects, ominous thunderstorms, creepy old mansions and the genius detective revealing the killer.

Q: What techniques build suspense in mystery movies?

Suspense builds through elements like foreboding music, shadowy cinematography, misdirects, narrow escapes, creepy settings and cliffhanger scene endings.

Q: What are some common murder mystery movie twists?

Twists include surprise familial connections between characters, secret identities, staged deaths, double-crosses and the victim turning out to be the killer.