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Sleuth (1972)

PG  |   |  Mystery, Thriller  |  10 December 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 35,487 users  
Reviews: 138 user | 55 critic

A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results.


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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Complete credited cast:
Alec Cawthorne ...
John Matthews ...
Eve Channing ...
Teddy Martin ...


Milo Tindle and Andrew Wyke have something in common, Andrew's wife. In an attempt to find a way out of this without costing Andrew a fortune in alimony, he suggests Milo pretend to rob his house and let him claim the insurance on the stolen jewelry. The problem is that they don't really like each other and each cannot avoid the zinger on the other. The plot has many shifts in which the advantage shifts between Milo and Andrew. Written by John Vogel <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Think of the perfect crime... then go one step further. See more »


Mystery | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

10 December 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El detective  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original stage production of "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer opened on Broadway on 12 November 1970. It originally starred Anthony Quayle as Andrew and Keith Baxter as Milo, ran for 1222 performances and won the 1971 Tony Award for the Best Play. See more »


Milo's arm changes position when Andrew is trying to figure out the Italian clue. See more »


Andrew Wyke: So I understand you wish to marry my wife.
See more »


Featured in Premio Donostia a Michael Caine (2000) See more »


Anything goes
Words and music by Cole Porter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

One of the best thrillers of all time
23 September 2004 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

Sleuth is, without doubt, one of the finest thrillers ever made. It continually keeps you on the edge of your seat and you never truly know where you are. This is an excellent thing for a thriller to do as it ensures that you will keep watching for that all important next plot development. The plot itself follows a man named Andrew (played by Lawrence Olivier) who is a big fan of playing games. He invites the man that has run off with his wife; Milo (Michael Caine) to his house, and while there, he entices him into a plot to steal his wife's jewels so that he can avoid the taxman, and so that Caine can accommodate his new found girlfriend's overly expensive tastes. To give anything else of the plot away would be running the risk of spoiling what is a fascinating piece of cinema, so I will leave the plot details at that. The plot meanders in a way that is hard to pin down; the film remains ambiguous all the way through; nothing is ever what it seems, and that is what makes Sleuth a cut above many detective mysteries.

This movie stars two super-heavyweights of the British movie industry; Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine. The film requires the two to be on screen for nearly the full duration of the movie, so it is obviously essential that they perform to a high standard; and I can confirm they most certainly do just that. The chemistry between the two is outstanding. The way that the sublime dialogue bounds back and fourth between the two is simply a pleasure to watch; and is more entertaining than a lot of movies that are made simply for entertainment purposes. The two do have a tendency to get a bit dramatic at times, there's is a particular sequence in the cellar that springs to mind immediately on that front; but the over-dramatics add to the atmosphere of the film. The film is very different and over the top in it's style anyway; it plays out almost like a moving detective novel, and the fact that both actors have a tendency to camp it up gives the movie something that it would not have had otherwise. The film is based on a stage play by Anthony Shaffer, and this is evident throughout the movie as it plays out just like a stage play on the big screen. The only film that I can think of that is similar to Sleuth in this way is Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rope'. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also made the classic All About Eve, very astutely directs this film. I would even go as far as to say that the direction here is better than it was in All About Eve; Joseph L. Mankiewicz's use of the camera is amazing and you can tell throughout the film that this is an auteur at the absolute top of his game. Overall, Sleuth is one of the best films ever made. It is amazing just how brilliant a film can be with a miniscule cast and a brilliant script, and if only for that fact alone; Sleuth is a film that you need to see.

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