66 user 30 critic

Without a Clue (1988)

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



On Disc

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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat Keen ...
Tim Killick ...
Matthew Savage ...
John Warner ...
Peter Giles
Real Lesley
George Sweeney ...
John Clay
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


Behind every great detective is one even greater. 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

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,246,772, 23 October 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the decade prior to Without a Clue (1988), during the 1970s, there had been quite a number of Sherlock Holmes satires and comedies. The movies included: The Private Eyes (1980) (based on), They Might Be Giants (1971), The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978), The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970), The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother (1975), The Return of the World's Greatest Detective (1976), It's a Mystery, Charlie Brown (1974), and The Strange Case of the End of Civilization as We Know It (1977). See more »


When "Holmes" returns home after Watson's apparent death, the shadow of the house number on the inside wall, and other shadows, indicate strong sunlight from a certain angle. He then goes outside and the doorway is not lit that way at all. Also, the width of the panes around the house number doesn't match the shadow. See more »


Holmes: [coming back drunken to the hotel] Holmes, sweet Holmes!
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Crazy Credits

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


Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »


Rock of Ages
Music by Thomas Hastings and lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
Sung by Mrs Hudson (Pat Keen) at the theatre
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User Reviews

Excellent Acting, Wonderful Ironies, fun plot
10 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

Like the previous reviewer, I don't understand why this movie wasn't more of a hit.

The acting and chemistry between Ben Kingsley (the smart Watson who actually possesses Holmes' famous qualities) and Michael Caine (who plays the bumbling Holmes) is wonderful, witty, and ironic. Some of the jokes are subtle, so if you have a dry sense of humour, you'll enjoy that angle of the movie.

For example, when John Watson admits to his publisher at the Strand the HE is really the crime solver, and not the bumbling Holmes he's duped the readership into admiring, the publisher says "Watson, you've compromised the integrity of English Literature".

Shaken-looking, the publisher opens a secret cabinet door made to look like English Literary Works on his shelf, pulls out a shot of brandy, drinks it, and then replaces it in its hiding place.

You'll also find the music well-above average in creating the mood and historical setting of the movie. The theme song sounds like something that could be used over and over again as a timeless piece of music -- upbeat, melodic, yet using instruments of the time such as a string section in an orchestra.

I bought this on VHS and watched it so much I had to replace it, but it was out of print. Then it came out on DVD and I made sure I got a copy immediately.

I don't think you'll be disappointed, and you'll most certainly laugh quietly and out loud.....

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