15 Murder Mystery Movies That Will Satisfy Your Inner Detective

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We're living in a golden age of true crime documentaries, podcasts, and books. While fictional mysteries might not inspire lengthy, conspiracy-filled Reddit threads, they can satisfy your crime-solving, clue-finding itch without the sad (and, if we're being honest, somewhat problematic) true-life aspect of true crime. Here are 15 murder mystery movies that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

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'Chinatown' (1974)

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Hillerman, Perry Lopez, Burt Young, and John Huston.

The mystery: LA private eye J.J. "Jake" Gittes (Nicholson) is hired by a woman named Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband's suspected infidelity, but the case takes a turn when Jake meets the real Mrs. Mulwray (this one played by Dunaway) and finds himself investigating Mr. Mulwray's sudden death.

'Murder on the Orient Express' (1974)

Starring: Albert Finney, Lauren Bacall, Martin Balsam, Ingrid Bergman, Jacqueline Bisset, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Sean Connery, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller, Anthony Perkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Rachel Roberts, Richard Widmark, and Michael York.

They mystery: A billionaire is murdered on a trip on the Orient Express while famed detective Hercule Poirot happens to be on board. He sets about trying to solve the mystery, with everyone in the car proving to be a suspect.

'Seven' (1995)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, John C. McGinley, and Kevin Spacey.

The mystery: A serial killer starts a seven deadly sins-themed murder spree and two detectives (Freeman and Pitt) have to try to solve the case before he strikes again.

'Clue' (1895)

Starring: Eileen Brennan, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, and Lesley Ann Warren.

The mystery: This comedy, based on the classic board game, follows a group of guests at a dinner party who all suspect each other when their host is murdered.

'The Big Sleep' (1946)

Starring: Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

The mystery: Private investigator Philip Marlowe (Bogart) is hired by General Sternwood to help fix the issue of his daughter, Carmen's, gambling debts. Marlowe turns to the general's older daughter, Vivian (Bacall), who reveals that the situation is much more twisty than it appeared.

'Zodiac' (2007)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr., Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Charles Fleischer, Zach Grenier, Philip Baker Hall, Elias Koteas, James LeGros, Donal Logue, John Carroll Lynch, Dermot Mulroney, Candy Clark, and Chloë Sevigny.

The mystery: Director David Fincher's 2007 film took on the still officially unsolved murders of the Zodiac Killer.

'Mystic River' (2003)

Starring: Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney.

The mystery: An ex-con's daughter is murdered and two of his childhood friends are connected to the case, prompting him to conduct his own investigation into the murder.

'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' (2011)

Starring: Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgård, Steven Berkoff, Robin Wright, Yorick van Wageningen, and Joely Richardson.

The mystery: A disgraced financial reporter and a genius hacker team up to investigate a 40-year-old murder case.

'Rear Window' (1954)

Starring: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter, and Raymond Burr.

The mystery: A newspaper photographer with a broken leg passes the time during his recovery by observing his neighbors through his window. When he witnesses what he believes to be a murder, he goes to work solving the crime himself.

'The Usual Suspects' (1995)

Starring: Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak, Pete Postlethwaite, Kevin Spacey, Suzy Amis, Benicio del Toro, and Giancarlo Esposito.

The mystery: Kint (Kevin Spacey) attempts to convince the feds that a mythic crime lord named Keyser Soze pulled him and and his four partners into a multi-million dollar heist that led to a fatal explosion in San Pedro Harbor.

'Gone Girl' (2014)

Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Tyler Perry.

The mystery: A man (Affleck) is the prime suspect in his wife's disappearance and apparent murder, but things are definitely not what they appear.

'Dial M for Murder' (1954)

Starring: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, and John Williams.

The mystery: A man plots the perfect murder to get rid of his adulterous wife, but is backed into a corner when his wife fights back and kills her assassin in self-defense.

'The Maltese Falcon' (1941)

Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Gladys George, Peter Lorre, Barton MacLane, Lee Patrick, and Sydney Greenstreet.

The mystery: Detective Sam Spade (Bogart) takes on a case that turns out to be more than he bargained for when his partner ends up murdered and Sam is threatened and told he must find the valuable statue at the center of the crime spree.

'Primal Fear' (1996)

Starring: Richard Gere, Edward Norton, Laura Linney, John Mahoney, Alfre Woodard, and Frances McDormand.

The mystery: When the Archbishop of Chicago is murdered, a media-hungry attorney takes on the case, defending the alter boy who is the prime suspect in the case.

'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' (1988)

Starring: Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer, Stubby Kaye, and Joanna Cassidy.

The mystery: Not every murder mystery has to be super serious. Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a family-friendly take on classic noirs, as a detective works to find out, well, who framed Roger Rabbit—and who really committed the murder the toon is accused of.


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