Murder by Death - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Murder by Death Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ November 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."
Super Reviewer
April 19, 2007
Really really enjoyable. Perfect Sunday afternoon faire. And Maggie Smith is smokin hot. Oh Minerva McGonagall!
Super Reviewer
December 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. 
Super Reviewer
½ November 1, 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.
Super Reviewer
August 11, 2011
Being a big fan of Clue, I was sure to get a kick out of this one. This has one sensational cast of characters - surprisingly and unbelievably even all the way through without stepping on each other's toes. The comedy doesn't come fast and furious but it's full of wit and slapstick. The ending isn't very satisfying, but everything before it is comedy gold. I love that they got Peter Sellers, David Niven, Alec Guinness, Maggie Smith, Peter Falk, etc, into the same movie. I have a feeling I'll be seeing this one a lot more. :)
Super Reviewer
May 11, 2011
Funny. Another good work of Simon, and a great cast.
Super Reviewer
½ September 6, 2010
A hilarious murder mystery spoof, although there were many of them in the 70s, I think this was the best.
Super Reviewer
October 11, 2010
If you liked Clue or It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World you'll like this one. I only ended up seeing it because it shares its name with my favorite band (if you've never heard Murder By Death, you should) was just okay and I think I'll always like Clue better.
Super Reviewer
September 3, 2007
Nice piece some LOLs Scenes too.
Super Reviewer
September 16, 2009
The last time I saw this movie, I hated it. I assumed it was because I was 15 at the time and didn't get a lot of the jokes. I had hoped that in the last 33 years I would have learned enough that my wiser self would have enjoyed it more. Nope.

Yes, being a Classic film fan (especially The Thin Man movies and Humphrey Bogart), I got the parodies of the detectives, and I understood the double entrendres that I didn't get as a teen. But other than that, it did absolutely nothing for me. It felt totally stagebound (maybe it was supposed to...Neil SImon wrote the screenplay).The jokes fell flat, the whole blind butler/deaf cook plotline was a complete waste of time, and Iin general I'm not a fan of any of these people, except for Niven and Smith, who I like a little better.

The whole thing feels like a drawn-out variety show sketch. It did remind me also of the film Sleuth, except that Sleiuth is a lot better. One good thing....I can scratch if off the list of films I need to rewatch.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2009
If I had the faintest "clue" that CLUE was inspired from this one, I'd have avoided it. However, it was a kind of relief when I found it passable. It wasn't that boring though not very interesting too. Okay for some time pass, avoidable otherwise.

One more disappointment was the revelation of "who's the murderer" and "who's who"... It sounded completely nonsense and illogical which should not be the case with thrillers.
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2008
Far, far, FAR superior to its cheap knockoff, Clue: The Movie, this spoof of the whodunnit genre is a classic. Laughs throughout, without resorting to being too obvious or slapsticky like so many modern comedies. Hilarious performances from a cast of 70's all-stars, but even those who don't usually like older movies (like me) are bound to enjoy this.
Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2007
A great cast totally wasted all embarrassing themselves thoroughly. It is though, on occasion, riotously funny!
Super Reviewer
July 2, 2007
Hilarious!! this is the kind of intelligent, sarcastic and witty spoof I love. phenomenal writing and players, Sellers, Niven, Guinnes, Falk and Capote all together.
Super Reviewer
June 7, 2007
Great comedy tribute to the Murder Mystery Genre -- written by Neil Simon. It's like playing the CLUE boardgame with a bunch of funny insane detectives. With an all-star cast playing not-quite-famous mystery solvers, it's tough guessing who the real murderer is - but it sure is a whole lot of fun. This movie is a gem.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2007
So amazingly funny that it's a shame it falls apart in the last act. Terrific cast.
Super Reviewer
½ March 3, 2007
Amusingly ham-fisted parody of Agatha Christie style mysteries that gets utterly surreal in places. Do not expect any subtlety, but Falk is great, and Sellers does his usual funny racist stereotype schtick. If that's to your taste.
Super Reviewer
May 27, 2011
Dryly amusing, but given that enormous collection of talent in the cast the overriding feeling is of an opportunity missed.
Lord Naseby
Super Reviewer
½ July 1, 2009
I absolutely loved this film. it is one of the few film performances by Truman Capote. if you watch this before you watch Capote, Phillip Seymour Hoffman's performance is even better. This film is very self conscious that it is a spoof of mystery movies. I love the dialogue. "Conversation like Television on honeymoon: Unnecessary" "why do I have to drive?" "Because I Smart enough to get out first" Peter Sellers as Inspector Sydney Wang is absolutely amazing. it is one of the funniest performances I have ever seen. Amazing performances by the whole cast. I loved some of the dialogue between Sydney Wang and Truman Capote. "how come one of the most brilliant criminal minds can't say his Goddamn pronouns" "Quiet Cow talk now" "MOOSE MOOSE YOU IDIOT I'M A MOOSE!" a brilliant screenplay. I feel that this film is far underrated.a great movie.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2008
It has moments moments but mostly is just quite lame.
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