The 10 Best Mystery Movies That Every Whodunnit Fan Needs to See


The best mystery movies all have one thing in common: they make you feel like a detective, even if you’ve never solved a crime in real life. But don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with idolizing the on-screen codebreakers and clue-hunters.

And, while we may not all be expert private detectives, we can still put our problem-solving abilities to the test while streaming at home.

So, from classic whodunits to mind-bending modern thrillers, here are the ten best mystery movies that will keep you guessing till the end.

25 Best Mystery Movies That Will Keep You on the Edge of Your Seat

1. Sherlock Holmes (2009).


Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, one of the most well-known detectives in fiction, was brought back to the big screen in 2009 by director Guy Ritchie. With Robert Downey Jr. in the lead and Jude Law as Holmes’ sidekick, Dr. Watson, the legendary detective must unravel the mystery of Lord Blackfoot (Mark Strong), a man who has resurrected from the dead with a wicked plan. The game is on, friends!

2. Vertigo (1958)

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Jimmy Stewart stars as a cop-turned-private detective tormented by an acute fear of heights, which is the condition that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s classic. Kim Novak is the enigmatic woman—his client’s wife—who he’s been recruited to investigate. According to New Yorker critic Richard Brody, in this 1958 film, the legendary filmmaker “unfurls his obsessions: the tragic difference between friendship and love, the seductive power of style and disguise, the proximity of lust and madness, and the inseparability of sex from suspense, danger, and death.” Are you fascinated yet?

3. The Fugitive (1993)


The hunt is on in this 1993 film adaptation of the famous television series The Fugitive. Harrison Ford stars in the picture, which has received seven Academy Award nominations, as Dr. Richard Kimble, a man who is accused and convicted of his wife’s murder. He goes on the run, desperate to find the real culprit, as a tenacious U.S. Marshal (Tommy Lee Jones, who won the Oscar) pursues him.

4. Mulholland Drive (2001)


If you were suddenly struck with near-complete amnesia, you’d want to know who you truly were, right? That’s the question posed by one character in David Lynch’s 2001 film Mulholland Drive. Laura Harring portrays a lady who loses her memories following a vehicle incident. While in a haze, she befriends an aspiring actress from the Midwest (Naomi Watts), who tries to help her solve the mystery around her identity. However, when they attempt to unearth the truth, the two women find themselves in a world that is more of a psychedelic nightmare than a Hollywood dream.

5. Knives Out (2019).

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With his 2019 hit Knives Out, writer/director Rian Johnson pays homage to classic ensemble mysteries while also turning them on their shoulders. Daniel Craig delivers his best and most bombastic Southern accent as gentleman investigator Benoit Blanc, who is recruited by an unknown client to investigate the death of mystery novelist Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer). With a house full of family that disagrees with the old guy, he has a lot of suspicions to deal with. However, believe us when we say that Knives Out will not give the kind of inquiry you’re expecting.


6. Seven (1995)


There are seven deadly sins that appear to be at the basis of all evil: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, and sloth.  In the 1995 film Se7en, Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman play detectives entrusted with apprehending a serial killer who murders according to the famed immoral list. But be warned—this crime thriller is classified as a neo-noir horror picture, so it may be quite graphic.

7. Memento (2000)


People frequently use tattoos to remind themselves of things they don’t want to forget. But Guy Pearce’s character in Memento (2000) takes that idea a step further, inking his body with clues to his wife’s death so that he can be reminded of every detail and track down her killer. The mystery thriller also stars Carrie-Anne Moss and Joe Pantoliano (who featured in The Matrix together just one year before) and has filmmaker Christopher Nolan on the map.

The Game (1997)

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If your pals can’t figure out what to present you for your birthday, invite them to watch 1997’s The Game with you. In David Fincher’s mystery thriller, Michael Douglas stars as Nicholas Van Orton, a successful San Francisco banker who is plagued by his father’s suicide at the age of 48. On Nicholas’ 48th birthday, his estranged brother (Sean Penn) arrives with a gift that sparks a series of outrageous events. Not only are there twists at every turn, but each one keeps you immersed in the story’s mystery until the very conclusion.

Double Jeopardy (1999).


In 1999’s Double Jeopardy, Tommy Lee Jones is on the trail of Ashley Judd. When Judd’s character is convicted of her husband’s murder only to discover (surprise!) that he is still alive and responsible for framing her, she serves her sentence and is released fully aware that—thanks to the law named after the film—she can shoot her ex “in the middle of Mardi Gras” and no one can do anything about it.

Chinatown (1974).


You would not have expected a political struggle over aqueducts in California to spawn one of the most celebrated film mysteries of all time, but that’s exactly what happened in 1974’s Chinatown.  Jack Nicholson plays Jack Gittes, a private investigator who becomes involved in enough politics and dark family drama in one case to keep him busy for the rest of his life. Faye Dunaway co-stars.

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