The best mystery thriller movies based on novels come from almost any decade. 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.
Directed by: Sidney LumetThis 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. ... more
Directed by: David FincherGone 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 in... more
Directed by: John HustonThe 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 Spade... more
Directed by: David FincherThe 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 written... more
Directed by: Tate TaylorThe Girl on the Train is a 2016 American mystery thriller drama film directed by Tate Taylor, based on the 2015 novel by Paula Hawkins. A divorcee (Emily Blunt) becomes entangled in a missing persons... more
Directed by: Kenneth BranaghMurder 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 against... more
Directed by: John GuillerminThis film is a 1978 British film based on the Agatha Christie mystery novel of the same name, directed by John Guillermin and adapted by Anthony Shaffer. The film features the Belgian detective... more
Directed by: Martin ScorseseShutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. Leonardo... more
Directed by: Sydney PollackThree 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 Lorenzo... more
Directed by: Phillip NoyceDead 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 Australian... more
Directed by: Jack SmightHarper, 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
Directed by: Jane CampionIn 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 is an... more
Directed by: Gilles Paquet-BrennerDark Places is a 2015 mystery film directed and written by Gilles Paquet-Brenner, based on the novel Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. It stars Charlize Theron, Christina Hendricks, Nicholas Hoult and... more
Directed by: Otto PremingerLaura 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 Jay... more
Directed by: Ron HowardThe 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
Directed by: Andrew DavisThis 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
Directed by: Ben AffleckGone 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 Kenzie... more
Directed by: Alfred HitchcockThis 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 has... more
Directed by: Guy HamiltonEvil Under the Sun is a 1982 British mystery film based on the 1941 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie.... more
Directed by: René ClairAnd Then There Were None is a 1945 film adaptation of Agatha Christie's best-selling mystery novel of the same name and is directed by René Clair. In the UK it had the title "Ten Little Niggers". The... more
Directed by: Jonathan DemmeThe Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott Glenn,... more
Directed by: Alfred HitchcockVertigo 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
Directed by: Howard HawksThe 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 and... more
Directed by: Mark PellingtonThe 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 was... more
Directed by: Robin HardyThe 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 Britt... more