Sleuth

1972

Sleuth

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

96%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

90%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 9,407
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Sleuth Photos

Movie Info

Presented as an exaggerated mind-game, this mystery drama pits two men, one a thriller writer who revels in his own cleverness, the other, the man engaged in an affair with his wife, whom it is claimed has been murdered. The resulting duel of intellects reveals many unexpected twists and turns.

Cast

Laurence Olivier
as Andrew Wyke
Michael Caine
as Milo Tindle
Alec Cawthorne
as Inspector Doppler
Margo Channing
as Marguerite
John Mathews
as Detective Sgt. Tarrant
John Matthews
as Detective Sgt. Tarrant
Teddy Martin
as Police Constable Higgs
Eve Channing
as Marguerite Wyke
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News & Interviews for Sleuth

Critic Reviews for Sleuth

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5)

  • This is a fastidious, acrobatically cunning and invigoratingly well-acted thriller.

    Apr 20, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Provides Laurence Olivier and especially Michael Caine with two of their best roles.

    Mar 26, 2009 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Thoroughly entertaining.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Derek Adams

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • What really makes the movie come alive--what makes it work better than the play, really--are the lead performances by Lord Laurence Olivier, Michael Caine, and Alec Cawthorne.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • With the exception of a brief showing by British thespian Alec Cawthorne, the only actors on screen are Olivier and Caine. Both are so good that there's not a moment when we wish for someone else to interrupt their duel.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • A hugely enjoyable thriller, adapted by Anthony Shaffer from his own phenomenally successful stage play, about two men involved in an intellectual but deadly game of cat and mouse.

    Apr 20, 2010 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sleuth

  • Jul 14, 2018
    An interesting and entertaining take-off on the myriad on mystery novels (and their fans), two men play a game of wits over a woman. With nary a dull moment the stars, Olivier and Caine, get plenty of opportunities to show off and they take advantage every time. Movie fun, pure and simple. A verbal armageddon the English are famous for.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 26, 2014
    Olivier and Caine are absolutely great in playing off of one another in the original Sleuth. I didn't see the remake but thought this one was a dandy. Two great actors at work.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2013
    This mystery thriller directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz on the screenplay by British playwright Anthony Shaffer was based on his 1970 Tony Award-winning play Sleuth, and it was Mankiewicz's final film. The film stars Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, each of whom was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance. They definitely deserved those nominations for the performances of their characters. Amazingly acted to perfection with lots of chemistry around. The story of Milo Tindle (Michael Caine), a moderately prosperous, rather flashy self-made London hairdresser, the son of an Italian immigrant and an English farm girl, arrives at a large stately home in the Wiltshire countryside, belonging to Andrew Wyke (Laurence Olivier), a pompous, highly eccentric, quite wealthy crime fiction author. A member of the upper class and with a great concern for tradition, Wyke is popular worldwide for his aristocratic detective, St. John Lord Meridew. They are connected somehow and very soon we are going to find out how. Shaffer was initially reluctant to sell the film rights to the play, and when he finally did relent, he hoped the film would retain the services of Anthony Quayle, who had essayed the role of Wyke in London and on Broadway. Alan Bates was Shaffer's pick for the part of Milo Tindle. In the end, director Mankiewicz opted for Olivier and Caine - and that was a wonderful choice. The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier), Best Director and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score. Olivier won the New York Film Critics award for Best Actor as a compromise selection after the voters became deadlocked in a choice between Marlon Brando and Al Pacino in The Godfather after Stacy Keach in Fat City won a plurality in initial voting and rules were changed requiring a majority. Almost everything was close to perfect but I have to say that I was annoyed with a person in the background walking across the set around 45 minutes of the duration of the movie - why would an experienced director include a shot like that in the final editing , to me is unknown!? You can see a shadow going across behind the glass which was supposedly upstairs! That is just a minor thing which I could easily forget, but there was another continuity annoyance: When Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine are playing snooker, Olivier pots the black, then there is a wide shot, with the black visible again on its spot. The next shot is a close up of Olivier picking the black ball from the pocket and replacing it on the table. If you can ignore things like this, the movie could be quite enjoyable! Cheers!
    Panta O Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2012
    Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine are electrifying in "Sleuth," which is a solidly directed assortment of twists - the majority of which you're unlikely to see coming. Both actors do so astonishingly well that it becomes more or less a game to see who can upstage the other, but alas, their talents are matched. Add to this exquisite production design, a brilliant score and Oswald Morris' able camerawork and you have a well-made, unforgettable experience. Rarely will you see two actors play better off of each than these two. Oh, and let us not forget the short-lived but terribly amusing appearance of Alec Cawthorne.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer

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