The Singing Detective (2003)

R  |   |  Comedy, Crime, Musical  |  14 November 2003 (UK)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.6/10 from 6,966 users   Metascore: 45/100
Reviews: 78 user | 66 critic | 33 from

From his hospital bed, a writer suffering from a skin disease hallucinates musical numbers and paranoid plots.



(screenplay), (television series)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video

1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Musical | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Tormented and bedridden by a debilitating disease, a mystery writer relives his detective stories through his imagination and hallucinations.

Stars: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley
Air America (1990)
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A young pilot finds himself recruited unwittingly into a covert and corrupt CIA airlift organization operating in Vietnam War Era Laos.

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Stars: Mel Gibson, Robert Downey Jr., Nancy Travis
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Two girls, Carla and Lou meet on the street outside a loft waiting for their boyfriends. In a short time, they find out that they're waiting for the same guy - young actor Blake, who said ... See full summary »

Director: James Toback
Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Heather Graham, Natasha Gregson Wagner
Drama | Romance | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

Friends for ten years, a group of twenty-somethings head for the ski slopes as guests of Ian's father. (Ian and dad are estranged because dad worked too many hours when Ian was a lad.) Dad ... See full summary »

Director: George Haas
Stars: Stephen Baldwin, Danny Nucci, George Newbern
Game 6 (2005)
Comedy | Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Combining real and fictional events, Game 6 centers around the historic 1986 World Series and a day in the life of a playwright who skips opening night to watch the momentous game.

Director: Michael Hoffman
Stars: Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Griffin Dunne
Drama | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Tragi-comic, romantic whodunnit set in a run down hotel which plays host to mentally ill people too poor to afford medical insurance.

Director: Wim Wenders
Stars: Jeremy Davies, Milla Jovovich, Mel Gibson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Chuck wants to leave home but can't make the grade for boarding school. Then he finds out the disfigured recluse living nearby is an ex-teacher.

Director: Mel Gibson
Stars: Mel Gibson, Nick Stahl, Margaret Whitton
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Turning her back on her wealthy, established family, Diane Arbus falls in love with Lionel Sweeney, an enigmatic mentor who introduces Arbus to the marginalized people who help her become one of the most revered photographers of the twentieth century.

Director: Steven Shainberg
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Robert Downey Jr., Ty Burrell
Hugo Pool (1997)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Hugo Pool is a quirky tale of a Los Angeles pool cleaner who falls in love with a young man dying of Lou Gerhig's Disease.

Director: Robert Downey Sr.
Stars: Alyssa Milano, Mark Boone Junior, Malcolm McDowell
Paparazzi (2004)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A rising Hollywood actor decides to take personal revenge against a group of four persistent photographers to make them pay for almost causing a personal tragedy involving his wife and son.

Director: Paul Abascal
Stars: Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Dennis Farina
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A group of Australian commandos launch a secret mission against Japanese forces in World War II.

Director: Tim Burstall
Stars: John Phillip Law, Mel Gibson, Sam Neill
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Twenty margaritas and 10 shots of tequila, with a few ounces of debauchery, bring four friends closer to the truth than they have been for years.

Director: Kevin Connolly
Stars: Tim Roth, Robert Downey Jr., Amanda Peet


Cast overview, first billed only:
Nicola / Nina / Blonde (as Robin Wright Penn)
First Hood
Second Hood
Betty Dark / Hooker
Skin Specialist
Chief of Staff
Moonglow Bartender
Lily Knight ...
Woman Physiotherapist
Visiting Japanese Doctor


"While hospitalized with an extreme case of psoriasis, novelist Dan Dark reworks his first book in his head. Feverish, paranoid and prone to musical outbreaks, he confuses himself with his protagonist, a detective investigating the murder of a prostitute in 1950s Los Angeles." Written by Mag-Helder Thélot

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When it comes to murder, seduction and betrayal he wrote the book. Now he's living it!

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content, language and some violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

14 November 2003 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

El detective cantante  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$28,324 (USA) (24 October 2003)


$336,456 (USA) (30 January 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Keith Gordon and Robert Downey Jr. previously worked together in the 1986 movie Back to School (1986). At the time, Keith Gordon was acting not directing. See more »


When the First Hood and Second Hood are driving away in their vintage car in the 1940s, you can clearly see the reflection of a lit, modern, Los Angeles skyscraper in the window of the backseat. See more »


Dan Dark: Little men shouldn't sit where their feet don't touch the ground.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the end credits we see Robert Downey Jr. perform the song "In My Dreams" See more »


Remake of The Singing Detective (1986) See more »


Mr. Sandman
Written by Pat Ballard
Published by Edwin H. Morris & Company (ASCAP), a Division of MPL Communications, Inc.
Performed by The Chordettes
Courtesy of Barnaby Records Inc.
By Arrangement with Celebrity Licensing Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It's an offbeat film with style.
26 November 2003 | by (Columbus, Ohio) – See all my reviews

The 1984 'Singing Detective' miniseries had Michael Gambon as a misanthropic novelist confusing himself with his pulp-fiction noir detective. Although no one could approach Gambon's startling portrayal, no actor I see can match Robert Downey Jr.'s ability to bring back this character with his own demons to recreate hallucinations and '50's musicals in dreams lurid, colorful, and downright Freudian.

His debilitating skin and bone infection of extreme psoriasis have landed him in the hospital but provide him with the opportunity to dream about his choleric mother and tramp wife as well as place the hospital staff in cheesy '50's musicals.

In Keith Gordon's 'Singing Detective,' Downey brings his own life of addictions, which have truncated his career and left him dangerous to hire. He seems at home here as Dan Dark, emerging into the light of sanity by exorcizing his demons and dealing with the unreality of seductive nurse Katie Holmes attending to his skin and bone in reality and dream only as a writer could envision.

It's an offbeat film with style, similar to Woody Allen's lyrical 'Everyone Says I Love You' and Bjork's depressed 'Dancer in the Dark.' It's not quite as good as either but a charmer nonetheless.

14 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
This film is terrible! netservice22
KATIE HOLMES fishnuts45
This better be good mj-31
Exactly what was Dan Dark hospitalized for? alexliu_1999
Connection To Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang? fotikatsny
Katie Holmes questions splaj109
Discuss The Singing Detective (2003) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: