156 user 53 critic

Sleuth (1972)

A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results.


Anthony Shaffer (play), Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Laurence Olivier ... Andrew Wyke
Michael Caine ... Milo Tindle
Alec Cawthorne Alec Cawthorne ... Inspector Doppler (credit only)
John Matthews John Matthews ... Detective Sergeant Tarrant (credit only)
Eve Channing Eve Channing ... Marguerite Wyke (credit only)
Teddy Martin Teddy Martin ... Police Constable Higgs (credit only)


Andrew Wyke is a famous and successful author of detective novels. Milo Tindle comes to him with a strange request, that Mr Wyke divorce his wife so that Tindle can marry her. Mr Wyke is not particularly perturbed by this, he and his wife have drifted apart, and he is having an affair with another woman anyway, but uses the meeting and Mr Tindle's request as a chance to play a game, a game with potentially deadly consequences. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


If it was murder, where's the body? [original movie poster] See more »


Mystery | Thriller


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Italian

Release Date:

15 December 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Juego mortal See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The original stage production of "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer opened on Broadway on November 12, 1970. It originally starred Sir Anthony Quayle as Andrew, and Keith Baxter as Milo, ran for one thousand two hundred twenty-two performances, and won the 1971 Tony Award for the Best Play. See more »


(at around 1h 2 mins) When Wyke "shoots" Tindle in the head at contact range with what is supposed to be a blank cartridge, Tindle simply faints from fright. In fact, the hot gases, explosive particles, wadding and minuscule barrel debris from a blank-cartridge shot to the head at point-blank range would certainly have given Tindle quite a serious wound, possibly even a fatal one. See more »


Andrew Wyke: You shit!
Milo Tindle: Grazie mille.
Andrew Wyke: You all-time, knockdown, champion BASTARD, Milo!
Milo Tindle: You're too kind.
See more »


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


Just one of these things
Words and music by Cole Porter
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Joseph L Mankiewicz's masterpiece , about a cat and mouse thriller , being flawlessly acted and perfectly realized
3 July 2014 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Agreeable mystery based on successful play about a cat and mouse game . Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier) is a famous writer who lives in a luxurious mansion . He loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him . Wyke is a successful novelist , a master of menace , the number one bestseller author from Baron Books . There arrives Milo (Michael Caine) , a hairdresser who seeks to convince the former for signing the divorce papers and Andrew in seeking avenge on his detested and unfaithful wife . Andrew and Milo setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results . An ultimate game is being played on its audience .

This lighthearted suspense/mystery based on a hit play from Anthony Shaffer and being well adapted ; dealing with games-playing mystery novelist played by Olivier leading his spouse's lover performed by Caine into diabolical trap . The original stage production of "Sleuth" by Anthony Shaffer opened on Broadway on 12 November 1970. It originally starred Anthony Quayle as Andrew and Keith Baxter as Milo, ran for 1222 performances and won the 1971 Tony Award for the Best Play . This is a deliciously sardonic and witty movie and excellently starred by a magnificent protagonist duo ; both are the peak of their game in this dazzling film . This interesting movie is plenty of twists and turns and stunning surprises . Splendid and fascinating performances , a real Tour De force for two stars . Michael Caine was so very much beside himself to be working with Laurence Olivier, that he didn't even know how to address him . However , Michael Caine was the third choice for the part of Milo Tindle after Albert Finney , who was deemed too plump, and Alan Bates , who turned down the role . The film only had two stars - the rest of the cast were made-up names . In addition to Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) and Give 'em Hell, Harry! (1975), only one of three films in which entire on-screen billed cast received acting Oscar nominations . Packs a jolly and adequate soundtrack , including a haunting, remarkable musical leitmotif by John Addison , who was nominated for an Oscar for his music score. Colorful cinematography by Oswald Morris as well as appropriate production design by Ken Adam .

Remade many years later as ¨Sleuth¨(2007) by Kenneth Branagh starred by Jude Law and again Michael Caine as Wyke ; including modern production design and set on a stark house , monitored with high tech . However, it is inferior the first version that was a directed by Joseph L Mankiewicz, in his last film . In the similar style was subsequently filmed 'Deathtrap' by Sidney Lumet with Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon and also Michael Caine. Rating : Good, delicious from start to finish. It's a great and enjoyable fun.

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