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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?


John Guillermin


Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)

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



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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


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


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


Crime | Drama | Mystery


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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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 »


Box Office


$7,920,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

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

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Colour by) (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Seven of the cast account for a total of twenty-eight acting Oscar nominations with eight wins. See more »


After Linnet Ridgeway is almost crushed by a stone falling down from the temple of Karnak in Luxor, Dr. Bessner advises her to go back to the boat to have a rest. She replies that she must see the temple of Abu Simbel in the evening. In the next scene, she is visiting Abu Simbel with Simon, and in the late evening they are back on the Nile steamer. The problem is that the distance between the temple of Karnak and the temple of Abu Simbel is about 250 miles. The movie is set in the 1930s, when air travel was still primitive, so it's unlikely they flew down there and back in an afternoon. It is definitely impossible for a steamer to travel that distance in one afternoon. See more »


Mrs Otterbourne: Frenchmen aren't afraid of good strong sex!
See more »


Referenced in NCIS: Los Angeles: Imposters (2011) See more »


Frankie and Johnny
Written by Alex Gottlieb, Fred Karger & Ben Weisman (uncredited)
Performed by Mia Farrow
See more »

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User Reviews

A magnificent cast, opulent settings, a genuine ambiance - simply a MASTERPIECE!
8 November 2014 | by binapiraeusSee all my reviews

After Agatha Christie's world famous fictional sleuth Hercule Poirot, the eccentric Belgian with the distinguished mustache and the brilliant 'little grey cells', had been brought to the screen again at last after many years in 1974 with "Murder on the Orient Express" starring Albert Finney, it took the producers four more years to 'dare' trying their hand at another one of Christie's most famous novels; anyway, it had to become an oeuvre able to compete with the previous film, which had been celebrated from the day of its release as one of the GREATEST movie masterpieces of all times - and yet, they DID manage!

The atmosphere of the 30s here is recreated in just the same careful way, with magnificent settings (most of them ACTUALLY genuine, since many scenes were shot on location: the Cataract Hotel in Alexandria, the Pyramids and temples of Ancient Egypt, even the original S.S. Karnak) and most beautifully designed costumes (for which Anthony Powell was awarded an Oscar), the plot, with a few little changes, is kept VERY close to the novel - and the cast, of course, quite equals that of "Murder on the Orient Express": the 'creme de la creme' of Hollywood's past and present superstars give the picture a touch of GREAT glamor. Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Mia Farrow, Maggie Smith, David Niven, Olivia Hussey - and, of course, Peter Ustinov in the role of Hercule Poirot!

Now, inevitably we're being tempted to compare Albert Finney and Peter Ustinov and ask ourselves: who was the 'better' Poirot? From his appearance, Finney matched Agatha Christie's description more, and his behavior and movements also made us feel that the fictional Poirot had actually come 'alive'. But, on the other hand, Peter Ustinov undeniably spoke better French - and not only that: he actually managed to put his OWN stamp on the role of Hercule Poirot; and one that was so popular with the audience that he'd play the master detective five more times, both on the screen and on TV! In fact, for many people he really became 'identified' with Poirot - thanks to his continental charm, his unique humor, and of course his enormous range of facial expressions and tones of voice.

And so, with all these ingredients, this big scale production turned out not only an immediate box office hit, acclaimed and highly praised by the critics and beloved by the audience - but in the course of more than 35 years, has become a REAL modern classic, a sort of 'cult movie' for both Agatha Christie and Peter Ustinov fans; and a wonderfully suspenseful and at the same time entertaining movie to simply watch over and over again!

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