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Death on the Nile (1978)

As Hercule Poirot 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

Writer:

Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
4,064 ( 171)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Ustinov ... Hercule Poirot
Jane Birkin ... Louise Bourget
Lois Chiles ... Linnet Ridgeway
Bette Davis ... Mrs. Van Schuyler
Mia Farrow ... Jacqueline De Bellefort
Jon Finch ... Mr. Ferguson
Olivia Hussey ... Rosalie Otterbourne
I.S. Johar ... Manager of the Karnak
George Kennedy ... Andrew Pennington
Angela Lansbury ... Mrs. Salome Otterbourne
Simon MacCorkindale ... Simon Doyle
David Niven ... Colonel Race
Maggie Smith ... Miss Bowers
Jack Warden ... Dr. Bessner
Harry Andrews ... Barnstaple
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Storyline

Based on the Agatha Christie novel, our favourite Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, is on a cruise up the Nile. He is surrounded by an interesting assortment of characters, including a wealthy heiress and her husband, on their honeymoon. It appears that everyone hates the heiress... Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The only thing that could follow "Murder" is "Death" See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French | Arabic | German

Release Date:

29 September 1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Muerte en el Nilo See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,920,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$14,560,084, 31 December 1978
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dancer Wayne Sleep, then relatively unknown, choreographed the tango scene. He reported in 2018: "I was being paid an hourly rate, which was great as nobody turned up to the rehearsal and I had to go and find David Niven and persuade him to come". See more »

Goofs

In a split-second before being shot, Mrs Otterbourne already has a bloody spot on her forehead. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Van Schuyler: How would a little trip down the Nile suit you?
Miss Bowers: There is nothing I would dislike more. There are two things in the world I can't abide: it's heat and heathens.
Mrs. Van Schuyler: Good. Then we'll go. Bowers, pack.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Agatha Christie: A Woman of Mystery (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

All Things Bright and Beautiful
(uncredited)
Music by William H. Monk
Lyrics by Cecil F. Alexander
Sung by the schoolchildren in their classroom
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Remains A Lively And Delicious Favourite Treat
31 July 2005 | by gezmarSee all my reviews

The screen version of Agatha Christie's Death On The Nile would be one of the definitive adaptions of the very old fashioned(but still strangely popular) murder mystery genre. After twenty-seven years the movie holds up very well.

The most was made of the Egyption setting of the film as it was filmed mostly on location and the stunning ancient sites of Egypt are filmed beautifully. Tourism in Egypt apparently increased significanlty after the film's release. Not surprising.

Also making the film a treat is the wonderful cast. Peter Ustinov stepped into the role of Hercule Poirot for the first time and despite no resemblance to Christie's descriptions of Poirot, made the role his own for the next decade. Ustinov gives a stern but comic portrayal of Poirot which is balanced with the casting of Ustinov's close friend David Niven as Colonal Race, Poirot's sidekick.

Heading the feast of suspects is the legendary Bette Davis as a grand dame with a sour Maggie Smith as her paid nurse/companion. There bickering scenes together are a hilarious highlight of the movie. Angela Lansbury is also a scene stealer as a tipsy, uninhibited novelist who does a hilarious tango with David Niven. Mia Farrow delivers a very good dramatic performance, as the women scorned which almost steers away from the usual cardboard stereotype characterisations of Agatha Christie.

Director John Guillerman let his great cast have fun with their characters partly because veteran thriller writer Anthony Shaffer wrote the screenplay. Although the murder mystery is a clever one and played out very well Shaffer injected the script with more wit and spice than the original novel had. (The Bette Davis and Maggie Smith scenes being the best example) The soundtrack of the film is an underrated gem with veteran composer Nino Rota producing a grand, sumptuous, inviting and mysterious soundtrack which perfectly complements the setting and the drama. Also his arrangement of the tango tune "Jealousy" is the best I've ever heard.

All this makes for a fun, lively old fashioned treat of a film that can be returned to from time to time.


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