7.4/10
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Murder by Death (1976)

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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Storyline

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

Taglines:

By the time Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker and Estelle Winwood figure out whodunnit, you'll die laughing. See more »


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PG | See all certifications »

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23 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death  »

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(Metrocolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character name "Lionel Twain" is wordplay referring to the Lionel company, which made model trains. See more »

Goofs

From the time that everyone enters the dining room, to when Lionel Twain leaves, only 11 minutes of real time have passed. But dinner started at 9:00, and Twain later states that it's now 11:00. So supposedly 2 hrs have passed in only 11 minutes. See more »

Quotes

Willie Wang: Why do I do all the dirty work, Pop?
Sidney Wang: 'Cause your mother not here to do it.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Starring (In Diabolical Order) See more »

Connections

References House on Haunted Hill (1959) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Comedy-Suspense Masterpiece!
18 January 2005 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain (Truman Capote) invites five of the world's greatest detectives, each allowed one guest, to dinner and a murder. Can the detectives, who turn out to be even more eccentric, stop the murder before it happens, and solve it if it does?

I first saw this film as a kid in 1976 with my parents at the theater. Although I could remember I liked it at the time, I hadn't seen it since, and it was at best a vague memory. I certainly didn't remember it being so hilarious and entertaining. Written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore, Murder By Death is a very funny spoof of some of literature/filmdom's most famous detectives, set in a beautifully designed, creepy mansion, and at times, becoming a fine mystery film in its own right.

The jokes fly by very quickly and range from subtle to over-the-top, so attentiveness is required, and multiple viewings are rewarded. The cast is incredible, as you should expect by combining such luminaries as Peter Sellers, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, James Coco and David Niven.

A comic masterpiece--10 out of 10 from me.


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