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Sherlock Holmes (2009)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Crime  |  25 December 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 445,155 users   Metascore: 57/100
Reviews: 613 user | 408 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engage in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 9 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


After finally catching serial killer and occult "sorcerer" Lord Blackwood, legendary sleuth Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr. Watson can close yet another successful case. But when Blackwood mysteriously returns from the grave and resumes his killing spree, Holmes must take up the hunt once again. Contending with his partner's new fiancée and the dimwitted head of Scotland Yard, the dauntless detective must unravel the clues that will lead him into a twisted web of murder, deceit, and black magic - and the deadly embrace of temptress Irene Adler. Written by The Massie Twins

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Robert Downey Jr. is Holmes See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

25 December 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Шерлок Холмс  »

Box Office


$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£3,081,072 (UK) (25 December 2009)


$209,019,489 (USA) (23 April 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the stories, Holmes is described to be an expert in Baritsu. In the film, however, the martial art that Holmes used is the Wing-Chun Kung Fu (famously used by Ip Man Yee and Bruce Lee). Robert Downey Jr. is a practitioner of the art in real life and the fight scene between him and David Garrick at Punchbowl Pit was coordinated with the help of his trainer. See more »


Following Holmes' leap from the House of Parliament, a statue of Queen Boudicca can be seen at the end of Westminster Bridge. The statue was erected in 1902, 8 years after the opening of Tower Bridge, which is partially built in the film. See more »


[first lines]
Sherlock Holmes: [voice-over] Head cocked to the left, partial deafness in ear: first point of attack. Two: throat; paralyze vocal chords, stop scream. Three: got to be a heavy drinker, floating rib to the liver. Four: finally, drag in left leg, fist to patella. Summary prognosis: unconscious in ninety seconds, martial efficacy quarter of an hour at best. Full faculty recovery: unlikely.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Scenes from the film become illustrations over the end credits. See more »


Followed by Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011) See more »


The Rocky Road to Dublin
Written by Ciáran Bourke (as Ciarán Bourke), Ronnie Drew (as Ronald Drew), Luke Kelly and Barney McKenna
Arranged by The Dubliners (uncredited)
Performed by The Dubliners
Courtesy of Sanctuary Records Group Ltd.
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

It saddens me ...
26 December 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

... not the movie, but the number of self-professed Holmes aficionados who apparently have no knowledge of Holmes. For the record, Holmes was a miserable, irresponsible drug addict who did indeed sleep on the floor, insult his best friend, experiment on his dog, and never ever wore a deerstalker's cap (at least, not until television was invented). He was a brawler who practiced martial arts and was as likely to slum around in the filthiest of rags as he was a suit.

It wasn't until after Doctor Watson took him in hand that he truly refined himself and became a "respectable" member of society. And yes, we can tell that this movie takes place THAT early in their relationship because Watson has not yet married his wife (the retconning did annoy me, too, by the way, but you just can't avoid a little re-imagining here and there).

Speaking of unavoidable, Irene Adler, Holmes' one uncapturable (is that a word?), simply had to be cast as a potential love interest. The flirting, the romance, and the near-make-out session were irresistible to the director (and to all of the audience who're honest with themselves).

That being said, I felt Robert Downey, Jr. played Sherlock Holmes to perfection. His characteristic caustic attitude towards Lestrade and even Watson at times was exactly how I'd imagine him. He gives several summations of his observations and deductions that brought Holmes to life in an almost unparalleled way. His fight scenes (preceded the first few times by superhuman calculations) show both the mental and physical sides of Holmes in ways that Watson's notes can't quite convey, but at which they constantly hint.

As for Watson himself, Jude Law delivered a wonderful performance. I was a little skeptical of how well he fought, given Watson's wartime injury, but his character and demeanor were entirely on the nose. His loyalty to Holmes despite his frustrations with him could not have been captured more expertly, I feel. No one, no matter how patient or forgiving, could endure Holmes forever without the occasional confrontation. The original Holmes, after all, was not above insulting his best friend or even deriding his deductive capabilities at times. Nevertheless, Watson never could abandon his friend in his time of need.

This version (or vision, if you will) of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's greatest creation may be more swashbuckling, more thrilling, and more edgy than any other incarnation, but that doesn't make it any less faithful to the original. Aside from a little revisionist history in the cases of the female leads, nothing is that far out of the ordinary; and no amount of references to Madonna will change that.

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