7.4/10
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172 user 61 critic

Murder by Death (1976)

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

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

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Cast

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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. 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 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. However, ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are cordially invited to dinner... and a murder! See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

23 June 1976 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Neil Simon's Murder by Death  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$32,511,047, 31 December 1976
See more on IMDbPro »

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(Metrocolor)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final theatrical feature film of actress Nancy Walker who worked afterwards in television until her passing away in 1992. See more »

Goofs

(at around 13 mins) When the Gargoyle falls on Inspector Wang and son, the position of the debris changes between shots. The first time the large "chunk" is on the steps. On the next shot it is down the steps next between Wang and son. See more »

Quotes

Willie Wang: I don't hear nothin'. What do you hear?
Sidney Wang: Double negative, and dog.
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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 »

Connections

Spoofs Rebecca (1940) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A hilarious whodunit spoof
23 January 2004 | by See all my reviews

This is an utterly hilarious parody, spoofing detective stories. Much of the humor is verbal, some of it relies on stereotypes and such related (mainly) to the crime story genre. Some of the humor is a tad dirty, and a bit of it is quite dark. Personally, I loved it, but if you have anything against such humor, you may want to skip this one. It doesn't try too hard to make you laugh. The laughs roll in quite naturally, as it parodies a few of the most well-known fictional detectives; Agatha Christie's Mrs. Marble, among others. The setting is one typical to detective stories, and the atmosphere is simply perfect. The plot is very good, and develops nicely while still remaining interesting. The pacing is mostly flawless, but it seemed to lose momentum some, around the last third. The acting is all good, especially from Alec Guinness, Peter Falk and Peter Sellers. One wouldn't expect particularly good performances in a comedy, but this manages. The film is well thought out and equally well-executed. The only thing I didn't like, was that the ending, or maybe the entire third half of the film seemed a bit anticlimactic. At this point, all the action is done, and we're just waiting to find out who's behind it all. The very end is quite good though, a very funny and entertaining twist to say the least. And everything leading up to it is incredibly funny. The characters, while admittedly based somewhat on stereotypes, are all entertaining and each have their own shtick; among them are Milo Perrier, the perpetually hungry and ridiculously sensitive Frenchman, and the *very* British Dick Charleston, played to perfection by David Niven, and last but most definitely not least, Sam Diamond(Peter Falk, doing his Columbo thing), borrowing from noir and Bogart, complete with nonsensical, lengthy rants. I recommend this to anyone into detective movies and/or spoofs. Do keep the humor I mentioned early in the review in mind when considering whether or not to watch. 8/10


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