7.4/10
29,835
174 user 53 critic

Murder by Death (1976)

Trailer
3:07 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Five famous literary detective characters and their sidekicks are invited to a bizarre mansion to solve an even stranger mystery.

Director:

Robert Moore

Writer:

Neil Simon
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Clue (1985)
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Six guests are anonymously invited to a strange mansion for dinner, but after their host is killed, they must cooperate with the staff to identify the murderer as the bodies pile up.

Director: Jonathan Lynn
Stars: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

San Francisco, 1940, detectives, dames, documents, Nazis, and a treasure.

Director: Robert Moore
Stars: Peter Falk, Ann-Margret, Eileen Brennan
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

As Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board. Can Poirot identify the killer before the ship reaches the end of its journey?

Director: John Guillermin
Stars: Peter Ustinov, Mia Farrow, Simon MacCorkindale
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Trying to find how a millionaire wound up with a phony diamond brings Hercule Poirot (Sir Peter Ustinov) to an exclusive island resort frequented by the rich and famous. When a murder is committed, everyone has an alibi.

Director: Guy Hamilton
Stars: Peter Ustinov, James Mason, Maggie Smith
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Eileen Brennan ... Tess Skeffington
Truman Capote ... Lionel Twain
James Coco ... Milo Perrier
Peter Falk ... Sam Diamond
Alec Guinness ... Bensonmum
Elsa Lanchester ... Jessica Marbles
David Niven ... Dick Charleston
Peter Sellers ... Sidney Wang
Maggie Smith ... Dora Charleston
Nancy Walker ... Maid
Estelle Winwood ... Nurse
James Cromwell ... Marcel
Richard Narita ... Willie Wang
Edit

Storyline

Despite not knowing him, the world's most famous detectives can't pass up the offer of a "dinner and murder" invitation from wealthy Lionel Twain. Each has no idea until their arrival at Two Two Twain who else will be in attendance. Those detectives are: amateur sleuths and New York City socialites Dick and Dora Charleston, accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier, accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel; Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang, accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang; frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles, accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers; and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond, accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington. The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's blind butler, Jamesir Bensonmum, and Twain's new deaf-mute and non-Anglophone cook, Yetta. On the murder side, the guests initially believe Twain will try to kill each of them. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

By the time Eileen Brennan, Truman Capote, James Coco, Peter Falk, Alec Guinness, Elsa Lanchester, David Niven, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, Nancy Walker and Estelle Winwood figure out whodunnit, you'll die laughing. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$32,511,047, 31 December 1976

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$33,453,202
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

James Coco's character spoofed Dame Agatha Christie's famous super-sleuth Hercule Poirot. Dame Maggie Smith starred in two Agatha Christie adaptations featuring Poirot (played by Sir Peter Ustinov), Death on the Nile (1978) and Evil Under the Sun (1982). See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 30 mins) The maniacal laughter just before the credit rolls does not match the mouth of the laugher. See more »

Quotes

Jamesir Bensonmum: She murdered herself in her sleep, sir.
Dick Charleston: You mean suicide?
Jamesir Bensonmum: Oh no, it was murder, all right. Mrs. Twain HATED herself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the opening credits begin, a pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to unlock and open a footlocker containing the cardboard cutouts of the characters. These characters are displayed with their respective name credit. As the closing credits end, the same pair of black-gloved hands come into frame to close and lock the footlocker. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original ABC Network broadcast of the film contained four additional scenes not found in the theatrical or DVD version. 1. Jessica Marbles' taxi driver (played by Peter Sellers) requests a large fare. 2. Dick and Dora Charleston narrowly avoid running over Tess Skeffington, who is walking back to Sam Diamond's car from a service station because she and Sam ran out of gas. Satisfied that Tess is all right, the Charlestons simply drive off, leaving her there. 3. When Willie Wang covers up the body of Twain, he finds a note in Twain's hand and smugly announces this to the others. 4. As the detectives drive away from Twain's house at the end of the film Inspector Wang and Willie pass another car carrying Sherlock Holmes (Keith McConnell) and Dr. Watson (Richard Peel) heading towards the Twain home. When Willie asks his father "Why didn't you warn them?" Wang replies "Let idiots find out for themselves." See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

Interesting cast make interesting spoof!
14 March 2001 | by the amorphousmachineSee all my reviews

I remember seeing 'Murder by Death' once as a kid, so I thought I might rent it again. Unlike my numerous viewings of 'Clue', watching 'Murder By Death' seemed a new yet reminiscent experience.

'Murder by Death' is written by Neil Simon and directed by Robert Moore. It stars Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Maggie Smith, James Coco, Peter Falk and David Niven. It's about five of the world greatest detectives that are invited to a mansion for dinner and a murder. It's basically a spoof of the on the mystery genre and the great detectives of literature and film. I am not familiar with Neil Simon's written work but the script did have some funny but also repetitive moments. Robert Moore's direction was adequate and the performances were good- most notably from Peter Falk and Peter Sellers.

Made in 1976, it's hard to imagine comedies being produced like this today. The main problem with 'Murder By Death' is that it seems to forget it's visual medium, and most of the gags come from the script. It's safe to assume that anyone could have directed this film, as it was the scriptwriter (Neil Simon) who was credited alongside the title. I felt that the mansion wasn't explored enough and therefore the mystery element was lacking. But then again, it was a comedy/spoof! I particularly liked the blind butler (Alec Guinness) and deaf cook (Nancy Walker) interaction! Peter Seller's Wang was very funny too, but I'm afraid some of today's politically correct audience will have a hard time separating racism from the obvious stereotypes in the portrayal of Wang and the other characters in the film. One must understand that the humour isn't based on race, rather Sellers was portraying a modern (at the time) 70s comic take on depictions of stereotypes within the character displayed in earlier detective, Charlie Chan. It was an obvious spoof on stereotypes already established in the famous detectives of the early era of film and literature.

There is also a really interesting performance by a young James Cromwell in this film, which was pretty funny. 'Murder by Death' is an interesting film, if only for it's cast in an unusual spoof on the unique mystery genre. It's fairly enjoyable to watch but it isn't a laugh-a-minute experience. *** out of *****!


24 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 174 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed