Entertainment

The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels  

Ranker Film
55 votes 9 voters 36 items

List Rules Only mystery movies based on or inspired by literature.

When you're in the mood for a real whodunit nothing beats a good film inspired by a mystery book. The best movies based on mystery books feature a protagonist looking for answers. Many movies based on mystery fiction have spawned several sequels. Some of the best mystery films based off books have even been nominated for Academy Awards.

What movies adapted from mystery books will you find on this list. Vertigo has to be near the top. Based on the novel D'entre les morts, this Alfred Hitchcock classic follows James Stewart as a former detective turned private investigator. Several Hitchcock films – including The Lady Vanishes and To Catch a Thief – are also featured on this list.

Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express has inspired several films including Sidney Lumet's 1974 adaptation and is a prime example of a mystery novel made into a movie. Other good movies based on mystery novels include Laura, The Da Vinci Code, and The Manchurian Candidate.

How will we solve the mystery of which movie deserves the top spot on this list? Help us crack the case by voting up your favorites and please add any good mystery films inspired by books we may have missed.

list ordered by
1
The Maltese Falcon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre, Mary Astor
The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett. Directed by John Huston, the film stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam ...more
2
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 Swedish-American mystery thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson. This film adaptation was directed by David Fincher and ...more
3
Diabolique is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Sharon Stone, Kathy Bates, J.J. Abrams
Diabolique is an 1996 American thriller directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and written by Henri-Georges Clouzot and Don Roos. It is a remake of the French film Les Diaboliques directed by Clouzot. ...more
4
Vertigo is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock
Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was ...more
5
The Mothman Prophecies is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney
The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 supernatural thriller film directed by Mark Pellington, based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel. The screenplay ...more
6
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones
This film is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee ...more
7
Murder on the Orient Express is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall
This film is a 1974 British Technicolor mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert Finney as Hercule Poirot, and based on the 1934 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.
8
To Catch a Thief is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock
This film is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge. The film stars Cary Grant who ...more
9
Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow
Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, and Max von Sydow. The screenplay by ...more
10
The Manchurian Candidate is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, Vera Farmiga
The Manchurian Candidate is a 2004 American thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme. The film, based on Richard Condon's 1959 novel of the same name and a re-imagining of the previous 1962 ...more
11
The Girl on the Train is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett
The Girl on the Train is a 2016 American mystery thriller drama film directed by Tate Taylor and based on Paula Hawkins' 2015 debut novel of the same name. The film follows an alcoholic ...more
12
The Detective is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Frank Sinatra, Robert Duvall, Jacqueline Bissett
The Detective is a 1968 film directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by Aaron Rosenberg and starring Frank Sinatra, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Roderick Thorp. Co-stars include Lee ...more
13
A Night to Remember is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Loretta Young, Brian Aherne
A Night to Remember is a mystery comedy film starring Loretta Young and Brian Aherne. It was directed by Richard Wallace, and is based on the novel The Frightened Stiff by Kelley Roos. A mystery ...more
14
Dead Calm is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane
Dead Calm is a 1989 Australian thriller film starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane. It was based on the 1963 novel of the same name by Charles Williams. The film was directed by ...more
15
Edge of Darkness is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Denis O'Hare
Edge of Darkness is a 2010 crime thriller film directed by Martin Campbell and also produced by Michael Wearing, starring Mel Gibson. It was based on the 1985 BBC television series Edge of ...more
16
In the Cut is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Meg Ryan, Kevin Bacon, Mark Ruffalo
In the Cut is a 2003 Australian-American mystery and erotic thriller film written and directed by Jane Campion and starring Meg Ryan, Mark Ruffalo and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Campion's screenplay ...more
17
Gone Girl is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry
Gone Girl is a 2014 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and adapted by Gillian Flynn from her 2012 novel of the same name. It stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Set ...more
18
Fletch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Chevy Chase, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Geena Davis
Fletch is a 1985 comedy film about an investigative newspaper reporter, Irwin M. Fletcher. The film was directed by Michael Ritchie and written by Andrew Bergman, loosely based on the popular ...more
19
Laura is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Judith Anderson
Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, and Clifton Webb along with Vincent Price and Judith Anderson. The screenplay by ...more
20
Dark Places is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Chloë Grace Moretz
Dark Places is an upcoming mystery film directed and written by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. It is based on the novel Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It stars Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, ...more
21
Harper is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Janet Leigh
Harper, released in the UK as The Moving Target, is a 1966 film based on Ross Macdonald's novel The Moving Target and adapted for the screen by novelist William Goldman, who admired MacDonald's ...more
22
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward
The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by Anthony Shaffer. The film stars Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Diane Cilento, Ingrid Pitt, and ...more
23
Paper Towns is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Nat Wolff, Cara Delevingne, Halston Sage
Paper Towns is a 2015 American mystery, comedy-drama film directed by Jake Schreier, based on the novel by John Green. After an all night adventure, Quentin's life-long crush, Margo (Cara ...more
24
Inherent Vice is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson
Inherent Vice is a 2014 American neo-noir comedy-drama film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, based on the novel by Thomas Pynchon. In 1970, drug-fueled Los Angeles private investigator Larry ...more
25
Murder on the Orient Express is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz, Willem Dafoe
Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery drama film directed by Kenneth Branagh. When a murder happens onboard a train, Detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh) must race ...more