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Murder by Death (1976)

Trailer
3:14 | Trailer
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
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Popularity
4,660 ( 359)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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
Learn more

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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 (Truman Capote). 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 (David Niven) and Dora Charleston (Dame Maggie Smith), accompanied by their pet terrier, Myron; Belgian detective Monsieur Milo Perrier (James Coco), accompanied by his chauffeur, Marcel (James Cromwell); Shanghainese Inspector Sidney Wang (Peter Sellers), accompanied by his Japanese adopted son, Willie Wang (Richard Narita); frumpish Brit Miss Jessica Marbles (Elsa Lanchester), accompanied by her invalid nurse, Miss Withers (Estelle Winwood); and San Francisco gumshoe Sam Diamond (Peter Falk), accompanied by his femme fatale sidekick, Tess Skeffington (Eileen Brennan). The dinner part of the invitation runs into problems due to the non-communication between Twain's ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Since June 23, 1976 millions of men and women have seen Neil Simon's "MURDER BY DEATH." Only 17 have understood the ending of the picture. Ask any one of them. Any one. See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of three Neil Simon-written movies featuring James Coco. The others being The Cheap Detective (1978) and Only When I Laugh (1981), the latter being the only one based on one of Simon's plays. Coco also appeared in Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972) on Broadway. 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

Milo Perrier: [after the lights have gone out in Twain's dining room] Be quiet everyone! I smell something! It's - Good God! - FRANKS AND BEANS!
Jamesir Bensonmum: I'm afraid that's all we have, sir.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits: Starring (In Diabolical Order) 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 »

Connections

Featured in Peter Falk versus Columbo (2019) See more »

User Reviews

 
I Love This...
23 May 2015 | by smithtyler1963See all my reviews

Amazingly funny, witty and intriguing throughout. I loved Miss Marbles and the Maid provided the funniest moment in the entire film. I loved the ending, it didn't make sense but it was still awesome!!!

The characters were amazing, especially Milo Perrier and Jessica Marbles but I can't stop laughing about how amazing the character of Inspector Wang was. If you ever see this on TV, WATCH IT because it will leave you feeling so good about everything.

This is probably one of the best movies of the '70s and needs more recognition, because everything about it was funny and clever.

Lionel Twain was good but evil but confusing.....Aggh I don't know what to say about his character, but the butler creeped me out and cracked me up from the moment I saw him.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$38,200
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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