40 voters

The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels

Updated January 11, 2021 215 votes 40 voters 5.6k views47 items

List RulesOnly 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.

  • 1

    The Maltese Falcon

    Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre
    The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by...  more

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  • 2

    Murder on the Orient Express

    Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman
    This film is a 1974 British Technicolor mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert...  more

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  • 3

    Gone Girl

    Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris
    Gone Girl is a 2014 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and adapted...  more

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  • 4

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 Swedish-American mystery thriller film based on the...  more

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  • 5

    The Da Vinci Code

    Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen
    The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 American mystery-thriller film produced by John Calley and Brian...  more

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  • 6

    Murder on the Orient Express

    Kenneth Branagh, Penélope Cruz
    Murder on the Orient Express is a 2017 American mystery drama film directed by Kenneth...  more

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  • 7

    Three Days of the Condor

    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway
    Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack...  more

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  • 8

    Angels & Demons

    Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor
    Angels & Demons is a 2009 American thriller film directed by Ron Howard and based on Dan...  more

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  • 9

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber
    The Manchurian Candidate is a 2004 American thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme. The...  more

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  • 10

    To Catch a Thief

    Grace Kelly, Cary Grant
    This film is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, from a screenplay by John...  more
  • 11


    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred...  more

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  • 12

    The Girl on the Train

    Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson
    The Girl on the Train is a 2016 American mystery thriller drama film directed by Tate Taylor,...  more

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  • 13


    Sharon Stone, Kathy Bates
    Diabolique is an 1996 American thriller directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and written by...  more
  • 14

    Evil Under the Sun

    Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg
    Evil Under the Sun is a 1982 British mystery film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by...  more

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  • 15

    The Detective

    Frank Sinatra, Robert Duvall
    The Detective is a 1968 film directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by Aaron Rosenberg and...  more
  • 16

    And Then There Were None

    Walter Huston, Judith Anderson
    And Then There Were None is a 1945 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's best-selling mystery...  more

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  • 17


    Robert Duvall, Steve McQueen
    Bullitt is a 1968 American action police procedural film directed by Peter Yates and produced...  more

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  • 18

    Dead Calm

    Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill
    Dead Calm is a 1989 Australian thriller film starring Sam Neill, Nicole Kidman and Billy Zane....  more
  • 19

    Death on the Nile

    Bette Davis, Maggie Smith
    This film is a 1978 British film based on the Agatha Christie mystery novel of the same name,...  more

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  • 20

    Dressed to Kill

    Basil Rathbone, Patricia Morison
    Dressed to Kill, also known as Prelude to Murder and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code, is...  more
  • 21


    Chevy Chase, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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  • 22


    Alfred Hitchcock, Anna Massey
    Frenzy is a 1972 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screenplay by Anthony...  more
  • 23

    Gone Baby Gone

    Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan
    Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American neo-noir mystery thriller film directed by Ben Affleck,...  more

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  • 24


    Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall
    Harper, released in the UK as The Moving Target, is a 1966 film based on Ross Macdonald's...  more
  • 25

    In the Cut

    Meg Ryan, Kevin Bacon
    In the Cut is a 2003 Australian-American mystery and erotic thriller film written and directed...  more