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Without a Clue (1988)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Mystery  |  21 October 1988 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 6,825 users  
Reviews: 60 user | 32 critic

A drunken Sherlock Holmes is really just a cover for the real detective - Dr Watson.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Giles
Lord Smithwick
Pat Keen ...
Peter Cook ...
Tim Killick ...
Matthew Savage ...
John Warner ...
Peter Giles
Real Lesley
Harold Innocent ...
Mayor Johnson
George Sweeney ...
Murray Ewan ...


This is a Sherlock Holmes story with a difference. Here Dr Watson is the ace detective and has been using an actor to play the part Holmes. Holmes is a drunken actor and gets on Watson's nerves. When Watson tries to go it alone, he doesn't have much success, so he is forced to let Holmes take all the credit once more. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The outrageous comedy about the world's greatest detective and his bumbling partner...Sherlock Holmes. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

21 October 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sherlock and Me  »

Box Office


$8,539,181 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The opening sequence of the movie is inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's original Sherlock Holmes story "The Red-Headed League". In the story, Sherlock Holmes captures John Clay and his accomplice, Archie. John Clay even calls out at one point, "Jump, Archie, and I'll swing for it!" See more »


Holmes mentions the Loch Ness Monster. While modern enthusiasts have pored through history to find 'evidence', the modern craze and the phrase "Loch Ness Monster" began in the 1930s, well after this film, set in the 1880s. See more »


Dr. Watson: Believe it or not, I'm every bit Holmes's equal as a detective.
Lord Smithwick: [scoffing] Dr. Watson...
Dr. Watson: Ha ha, I happen to know that you recently recovered from an illness; that you smoke a pipe, ah!, probably, uh, rosewood; and you spent time in China...
Inspector Lestrade: [interrupting] Sorry, doctor, this is no time for parlor games.
Dr. Watson: I'm not playing parlor games-...
Inspector Lestrade: Doctor, this is a matter for professionals!
Sherlock Holmes: [bursting in] You've got to help me! There's two big men...
Dr. Watson: Holmes, you're back - so good to see you! My, this is a ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

With apologies to the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson See more »


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


Where Did You Get that Hat?
Written by Joseph J. Sullivan
Performed by Sarah Parr-Byrne
See more »

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User Reviews

Funny (but not hilarious) spoof of the legend – made twice as good as it should be by the two leads.
16 March 2002 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Sherlock Holmes is the greatest detective to live. Unfortunately he is only a creation of Dr Watson who is the true great detective. Forced to give life to his creation Watson hires actor Reginald Kincaid to play the part in real life. However when the pair are asked to investigate the theft of £5 note printing plates they find themselves up against Moriarty and in greater danger than they expected.

It sounds like a terrible idea – other films that have messed with the Holmes story have not done well – but this comes off quite nicely. The switch of characters is funny in itself and there are plenty of nice jokes and set pieces. The plot itself is full of holes and never grips as a mystery for one minute - but it is more than sufficient to support a comedy spoof. The real enjoyment comes not from the plot however but from another factor.

The two main actors are superb and it's their class that lifts the film well above the material. Caine is excellent and is visibly enjoying himself while Kingsley also looks at ease with his co-star. Support from Jeffrey Jones and Paul Freeman is good, but really the lead duo make the film work so well.

Overall, it is not a good mystery and it is not what you'd call hilarious – but the casting helps raise the bar a bit to create an enjoyable lightweight film.

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