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Murder by Death (1976)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Mystery, Thriller  |  23 June 1976 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 23,469 users  
Reviews: 160 user | 51 critic

Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:


Despite not knowing him, the world's most famous detectives can't pass up the offer of a "dinner and murder" invitation from wealthy Lionel Twain. Each has no idea until their arrival at Two Two Twain who else will be in attendance. Those detectives are: amateur sleuths and New York socialites Dick and Dora Charleston, accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier, accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel; Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang, accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang; frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles, accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers; and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond, accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington. The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's blind butler, Jamesir Bensonmum, and Twain's new deaf-mute and non-Anglophone cook, Yetta. On the murder side, the guests initially believe Twain will try to kill each of them. However, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


You are cordially invited to dinner... and a murder! See more »


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


First of three Neil Simon written films featuring actor James Coco. The films were Murder by Death (1976), The Cheap Detective (1978) and Only When I Laugh (1981), the latter being the only one based on one of Simon's plays. Coco also appeared in Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972) on Broadway. See more »


In several scenes, after he has dressed for dinner, Sam Diamond has what appears to be a large black fly on the back of his dinner jacket. This is actually a bullet hole. Dora Charleston mentions it when she first sees the hole. Sam replies "You should see the other guy." The issue isn't brought up for the rest of the film. See more »


Inspector Milo Perrier: A mannequin.
Sam Diamond: No, a dummy.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the opening credits begin, a pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to unlock and open a footlocker containing the cardboard cutouts of the characters. These characters are displayed with their respective name credit. As the closing credits end, the same pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to close and lock the footlocker. See more »


Referenced in The War of the Roses (1989) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sellers Shines In This Wild Spoof
10 January 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

One of the most fun movies I've ever watched but I liked it better 20 years ago, frankly, than today. In a recent viewing, it seemed a bit sleazier than I had remembered. Nonetheless, it still has tons of laughs.

This film has one of my all-time favorite characters: Sidney Wang, played by Peter Sellers. The late English actor did a fabulous job of imitating Charlie Chan. He is the highlight among a very talented cast that includes Peter Falk, David Niven, James Coco, Elsa Lanchester, Alec Guinesses, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker and Truman Capote.

Today, the character oddest for me to view is a young Cromwell who speaks with a French accent! I've never seen him in any role remotely resembling this. The other actors play roles typical of them, such as Niven and Smith's dapper "Thin Man" couple and Falk's, Columbo/Mike Hammer-style American detective.

This a spoof of all the great detectives and the story has a purposely exaggerated amount of twists, particularly at the end....but, despite some of the typical crude 1970s type sexual innuendos, it provides entertainment start-to-finish with absolutely no lulls. It's a classic!

30 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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