67 user 26 critic

How to Murder Your Wife (1965)

Approved | | Comedy | 26 January 1965 (USA)
3:55 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

A man who has set up the perfect lifestyle for himself makes the mistake of marrying while drunk...and his fantasies of murder are used against him.



Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

To help his divorced neighbor claim a substantial inheritance, a family man poses as her husband. The ruse spills over into his career in advertising, and his recent promotion relies on his wholesome and moral appearance.

Director: David Swift
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider, Dorothy Provine
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A love-struck landlord tries to convince a pretty tenant to dump her fiance and give him a chance.

Director: David Swift
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Carol Lynley, Dean Jones
Irma la Douce (1963)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In Paris, a former policeman falls in love with a prostitute, and tries to get her out of that life by paying for all of her time.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Lou Jacobi
Avanti! (1972)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A successful businessman goes to Italy to arrange for the return of his tycoon-father's body only to discover dad died with his mistress of long standing.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Juliet Mills, Clive Revill
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A crooked lawyer persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ron Rich
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An Ohio sales executive accepts a higher position within the company and travels to New York City with his wife for his job interview but things go wrong from the start.

Director: Arthur Hiller
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Sandy Dennis, Sandy Baron
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Jane Osgood runs a lobster business, which supports her two young children. Railroad staff inattention ruins her shipment, so with her lawyer George, Jane sues Harry Foster Malone, director of the line and the "meanest man in the world".

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: Doris Day, Jack Lemmon, Ernie Kovacs
Comedy | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An American junior diplomat in London rents a house from, and falls in love with, a woman suspected of murder.

Director: Richard Quine
Stars: Kim Novak, Jack Lemmon, Fred Astaire
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Two friends try sharing an apartment, but their ideas of housekeeping and lifestyles are as different as night and day.

Director: Gene Saks
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fiedler
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

2 quirky Manhattanites crash into each other cute at an ophthalmologist's office. Peter is a grouchy cartoonist/author whose vision is failing, divorced mother Theresa is also reluctant to ... See full summary »

Director: Melville Shavelson
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Barbara Harris, Jason Robards
Phffft (1954)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After eight years of marriage, Robert and Nina divorce. He takes up with his womanising Navy buddy Charlie Nelson while she looks to her interfering mother for guidance. Both start dating ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Judy Holliday, Jack Lemmon, Jack Carson
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As a tabloid newspaper editor tries to prevent his top reporter from retiring, an escaped death row convict shows up at the office trying to convey his innocence.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Susan Sarandon


Cast overview, first billed only:
Mrs. Ford
Eddie Mayehoff ...
Harold Lampson
Judge Blackstone
Tobey Rawlins
Dr. Bentley
Harold's Secretary
Alan Hewitt ...
District Attorney
Barry Kelley ...
Club Member in Steam Room
Construction Worker (as Bill Bryant)
Charles Bateman ...
Club Member in Steam Room
Edward Faulkner ...
Club Member in Steam Room / Party Guest
Lauren Gilbert ...
Men's Club Manager


Stanley Ford leads an idyllic bachelor life. He is a nationally syndicated cartoonist whose Bash Brannigan series provides him with a luxury townhouse and a full-time valet, Charles. When he wakes up the morning after the night before - he had attended a friend's stag party - he finds that he is married to the very beautiful woman who popped out of the cake - and who doesn't speak a word of English. Despite his initial protestations, he comes to like married life and even changes his cartoon character from a super spy to a somewhat harried husband. When after several months he decides to kill off Bash's wife in the cartoon, his wife misinterprets his intentions and disappears. Which leads the police to charge him with murder. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


WOMEN: WARNING! See It Before He Does! The Wife You Save May Be YOU! See more »




Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

26 January 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cómo asesinar a su esposa  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


There are at least two art pieces in Ford's apartment that are drawn/painted in the style of "Big Eyes" artist Margaret Keane, who was extremely popular at the time. (It's not known whether these are authentic Keanes used for the movie or just look-alikes from the production department.) See more »


In the comic strip detailing the way in which he murdered his wife, Stanley includes a panel showing the purchase of a mannequin. The mannequin, however, is only used to represent his wife for the purpose of taking photos used in the drawing of his strip; it would obviously not be involved in an actual murder plot. See more »


Harold Lampson: Stan, Stan, uh, I wanna' remind you, lad, that you're now 37 years old. And quite frankly, it's time that you settled down. Now, Edna and I were discussing it last night, and Edna feels - and frankly I agree with her - that there is something almost immoral about a man of your age who isn't married. Doesn't go to an office, sits around drawing an infantile comic strip, that appeals only to morons, Stanley... Stanley? Stanley? Are you listening?
See more »

Crazy Credits

At first, it only says How to Your Wife on the screen, in white letters. Then, the word Murder shows up in red letters in the space between the two rows of text. See more »


Referenced in The Defilers (1965) See more »


Happy Days Are Here Again
Music by Milton Ager
Lyrics by Jack Yellen
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

When Life Imitates Cartoon Art
17 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was the last of the three comedies that Jack Lemmon made in the middle 1960s that he hated. Like GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM (and not like the abysmal UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE) HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE had a clever script and good production. Lemmon played a successful cartoonist who carefully scripts and photos the scenes he will use in his detective adventure strip. He lives in a townhouse, complete with top rate valet (Terry-Thomas) and has a wonderful life as a bachelor. But while attending a stag party, he meets Virna Lisi, and takes her home. Apparently he has married her (the groom at the stag party had broken up with his fiancé before the party, and throws the wedding ring out - and Lemmon uses it). As a result Lisi starts domesticating him, and Terry Thomas walks out. Lemmon uses the changes in his lifestyle in the comic strip, but finally he revolts and kills off the comic strip version of Lisi. When Lisi sees this she walks out, but everyone thinks that Lemmon killed her. So the scene is set for a murder trial.

This is not a film for feminists. It takes a dim view at the effect of domestication on Lemmon (and his lawyer, a hysterically funny Eddie Mayehoff). But I point out that before the end Lemmon does admit he misses the domestication. Even Terry-Thomas gives into it at the conclusion. It still a good comedy, a worthy minor work if not one of the high points in Lemmon's acting career.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Drunken Indian? algsmail
No Cartoonist Ever Lived Like This john-roberson
Location jsimonie1
re: Brilliant film - if your a Man!! carl170
Virna Lisi's Mother Walthall
Courtroom scene maddog30-2
Discuss How to Murder Your Wife (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: