Adaptations

The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels 

Ranker Film
Updated July 26, 2019 95 votes 24 voters 3.1k views 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

Released: 1941

Directed by: John Huston

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

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2
The Girl with the Dragon... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright

Released: 2011

Directed by: David Fincher

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

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3
Three Days of the Condor... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow

Released: 1975

Directed by: Sydney Pollack

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

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4
Diabolique is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Sharon Stone, Kathy Bates, J.J. Abrams

Released: 1996

Directed by: Jeremiah S. Chechik

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
5
The Detective is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Frank Sinatra, Robert Duvall, Jacqueline Bissett

Released: 1968

Directed by: Gordon Douglas

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

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6
Angels & Demons is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Stellan Skarsgård

Released: 2009

Directed by: Ron Howard

Angels & Demons is a 2009 American thriller film directed by Ron Howard and based on Dan Brown's novel of the same name. It is the sequel to the 2006 film, The Da Vinci Code, also directed ...more

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7
Bullitt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Robert Duvall, Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bissett

Released: 1968

Directed by: Peter Yates

Bullitt is a 1968 American action police procedural film directed by Peter Yates and produced by Philip D'Antoni. It stars Steve McQueen, Robert Vaughn and Jacqueline Bisset. The screenplay by ...more

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8
Dead Calm is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane

Released: 1989

Directed by: Phillip Noyce

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

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9
Dressed to Kill is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Basil Rathbone, Patricia Morison, Nigel Bruce

Released: 1946

Directed by: Roy William Neill

Dressed to Kill, also known as Prelude to Murder and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code, is the last of fourteen films starring Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes and Nigel Bruce as Doctor

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10
Fletch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Chevy Chase, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Geena Davis

Released: 1985

Directed by: Michael Ritchie

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

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11
Frenzy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Alfred Hitchcock, Anna Massey, Bernard Cribbins

Released: 1972

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Frenzy is a 1972 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screenplay by Anthony Shaffer was based on the novel Goodbye Piccadilly, Farewell Leicester Square by Arthur La Bern. The ...more
12
Gone Baby Gone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan, Morgan Freeman

Released: 2007

Directed by: Ben Affleck

Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American neo-noir mystery thriller film directed by Ben Affleck, based on the 1998 novel by Dennis Lehane. After a young girl goes missing, Boston detectives Patrick ...more

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13
Harper is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Janet Leigh

Released: 1966

Directed by: Jack Smight

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
14
In the Cut is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Meg Ryan, Kevin Bacon, Mark Ruffalo

Released: 2003

Directed by: Jane Campion

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
15
Laura is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb, Judith Anderson

Released: 1944

Directed by: Otto Preminger

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

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16
Murder on the Orient Exp... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman, Lauren Bacall

Released: 1974

Directed by: Sidney Lumet

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.

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17
Suspicion is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

Released: 1941

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine as a married couple. It also stars Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Nigel Bruce, Dame ...more

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18
The Big Sleep is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Dorothy Malone

Released: 1946

Directed by: Howard Hawks

The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir directed by Howard Hawks, the first film version of Raymond Chandler's 1939 novel of the same name. The movie stars Humphrey Bogart as detective Philip Marlowe ...more

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19
The Da Vinci Code is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen, Audrey Tautou

Released: 2006

Directed by: Ron Howard

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 American mystery-thriller film produced by John Calley and Brian Grazer and directed by Ron Howard. The screenplay was written by Akiva Goldsman and adapted from Dan ...more

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20
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

Released: 1993

Directed by: Andrew Davis

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

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21
The Hound of the Baskerv... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, John Le Mesurier

Released: 1959

Directed by: Terence Fisher

The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 1959 British gothic horror and mystery film, directed by Terence Fisher and produced by Hammer Film Productions. It is based on the novel of the same name by ...more
22
The Lady Vanishes is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas

Released: 1938

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British comic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas and Dame May Whitty. Written by Sidney Gilliat ...more
23
The Manchurian Candidate... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber, Vera Farmiga

Released: 2004

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

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

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24
The Mothman Prophecies ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney

Released: 2002

Directed by: Mark Pellington

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

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25
The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland, Edward Woodward

Released: 1973

Directed by: Robin Hardy

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

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