Murder by Death


Murder by Death

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Total Count: 18


Audience Score

User Ratings: 13,084
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Movie Info

Neil Simon's comic tribute to detective films begins when a reclusive millionaire invites a number of famed detectives, each a parody of a famous literary sleuth, to dinner. Naturally, a series of murders soon begins, and the humorous race to be the first to solve the mystery is on.


Peter Falk
as Sam Diamond
Eileen Brennan
as Tess Skeffington
David Niven
as Dick Charleston
Maggie Smith
as Dora Charleston
Alec Guinness
as Bensonmum
Truman Capote
as Lionel Twain
James Coco
as Insp. Milo Perrier
Peter Sellers
as Insp. Sidney Wang
Elsa Lanchester
as Miss Jessica Marbles
Nancy Walker
as Yetta the Maid
Estelle Winwood
as Miss Withers
James Cromwell
as Marcel the chauffeur
Richard Narita
as Willie Wang
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Critic Reviews for Murder by Death

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (6)

Audience Reviews for Murder by Death

  • Apr 10, 2019
    With the obvious exception of Truman Capote (who is terrible as an actor), this is a hilarious spoof of detective stories that relies on an astonishing collection of high-class thespians and has an impressive amount of great jokes, even if some of them do miss the mark here and there.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 11, 2012
    If you know the historical touchstones from early 20th century crime fiction, this is a fantasticly funny film. Any how can you not LOVE Truman Capote?! Q: How do you stay looking so young? Answer: "A pure vegitable diet, 10 hours of sleep at night, and LOTS and LOTS of makeup."
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 28, 2011
    Sidney Wang: No pulse, no heartbeat. If condition does not change, this man is dead.  "You are cordially invited to dinner... and a murder!" I really loved this stupid spoof of the murder mystery genre. Murder by Death is hilarious film that is pure fun from start to finish. All of the characters were funny, but the two I loved the most were Wang and Diamond. Wang is an Asian played by Peter Sellers. How is that not going to be hilarious? Diamond is played by Columbo himself, Peter Falk. Both of these actors and a great supporting cast featuring Maggie Smith, Truman Capote and James Cromwell make for one hell of an entertaining comedy.  The five best detectives are invited to a mansion where the owner, Lionel Twain promises them dinner and a murder. Each detective and their second are greeted by someone trying to kill them by making a piece of the building fall. Then they are shown to their rooms by a blind butler. And their meal will be cooked by a woman who can't speak or hear, and the butler doesn't know this because he can't see he note cards saying she can't speak. This is the type of humor you should be expecting throughout the whole film. Murder by Death is perfectly paced and also has a perfect runtime. It knows, like all the good spoofs do, not to overstay its welcome. Comedy like this can only be funny for so long, and when Murder by Death ends it is still funny. This film combines slapstick humor and stereotype humor into the murder mystery plot with great results. There is very little that the characters say that isn't at least mildly amusing, and a great deal of the time, hilarious.  This is kind of a forgotten and under appreciated comedy from the 1970's. I would give it a recommendation on Seller's alone, but everything else about it is great too. The ending wasn't as funny as it should have been or as funny as Neil Simon probably thought it was, but overall I can't say enough about the film. Sidney Wang: And you Mr. Charleston, did not approve of Mrs. Charleston dying her hair blonde? Dick Charleston: What do you mean?  Sidney Wang: Mrs. Charleston's hair red. You have blond hairs on shoulder. This means she has dyed red hair blonde, then back again to red, or else you have been... So sorry, Wang is wrong. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Nov 01, 2011
    Some legendary names in this line up such as Sellers, Guinness, Falk, Lanchester, Niven and Maggie Smith but that can't quite stop it from being rather silly and slightly disappointing in my humble view. If you think along the lines of 'Clue' then you will know the angle of this film, its just a bit more off the wall and with, I think, poorer characters. You might think that's impossible with this cast but the characters are rather cliched and disappointing, especially Sellers and his now rather racist old Chinese man character. Brennan is here too in what is almost a prequel performance as she was in 'Clue' as well but again shes not as fun in this old film, same can be said for Guinness who seems wasted. Its not terrible but its not great either, nice sets and a lovely film poster illustrated by Charles 'The Addams Family' Addams.
    Phil H Super Reviewer

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