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The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels

Updated July 26, 2019 148 votes 27 voters 3.7k views36 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 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    10
    1

    The Maltese Falcon

    Humphrey Bogart, Peter Lorre

    Released1941

    Directed byJohn Huston

    The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 Warner Bros. film noir based on the novel of the same name by... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    The Girl with the Dragon Tatto is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    9
    4

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

    Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara

    Released2011

    Directed byDavid Fincher

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 Swedish-American mystery thriller film based on the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Diabolique is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    8
    4

    Diabolique

    Sharon Stone, Kathy Bates

    Released1996

    Directed byJeremiah S. Chechik

    Diabolique is an 1996 American thriller directed by Jeremiah S. Chechik and written by... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    The Da Vinci Code is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    5
    1

    The Da Vinci Code

    Tom Hanks, Ian McKellen

    Released2006

    Directed byRon Howard

    The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 American mystery-thriller film produced by John Calley and Brian... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    The Detective is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    1

    The Detective

    Frank Sinatra, Robert Duvall

    Released1968

    Directed byGordon Douglas

    The Detective is a 1968 film directed by Gordon Douglas, produced by Aaron Rosenberg and... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Angels & Demons is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    2

    Angels & Demons

    Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor

    Released2009

    Directed byRon Howard

    Angels & Demons is a 2009 American thriller film directed by Ron Howard and based on Dan... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Bullitt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    2

    Bullitt

    Robert Duvall, Steve McQueen

    Released1968

    Directed byPeter Yates

    Bullitt is a 1968 American action police procedural film directed by Peter Yates and produced... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Dead Calm is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    0

    Dead Calm

    Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill

    Released1989

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

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

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  • 9
    Dressed to Kill is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    0
    0

    Dressed to Kill

    Basil Rathbone, Patricia Morison

    Released1946

    Directed byRoy William Neill

    Dressed to Kill, also known as Prelude to Murder and Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Code, is... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Fletch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    0

    Fletch

    Chevy Chase, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

    Released1985

    Directed byMichael Ritchie

    Fletch is a 1985 comedy film about an investigative newspaper reporter, Irwin M. Fletcher. The... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Frenzy is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    0
    0

    Frenzy

    Alfred Hitchcock, Anna Massey

    Released1972

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Frenzy is a 1972 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The screenplay by Anthony... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Gone Baby Gone is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    0
    0

    Gone Baby Gone

    Casey Affleck, Michelle Monaghan

    Released2007

    Directed byBen Affleck

    Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American neo-noir mystery thriller film directed by Ben Affleck,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Harper is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    0

    Harper

    Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall

    Released1966

    Directed byJack Smight

    Harper, released in the UK as The Moving Target, is a 1966 film based on Ross Macdonald's... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    In the Cut is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    0

    In the Cut

    Meg Ryan, Kevin Bacon

    Released2003

    Directed byJane Campion

    In the Cut is a 2003 Australian-American mystery and erotic thriller film written and directed... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Laura is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    4
    0

    Laura

    Gene Tierney, Clifton Webb

    Released1944

    Directed byOtto Preminger

    Laura is a 1944 American film noir produced and directed by Otto Preminger. It stars Gene... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Murder on the Orient Express is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    4
    0

    Murder on the Orient Express

    Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman

    Released1974

    Directed bySidney Lumet

    This film is a 1974 British Technicolor mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Suspicion is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    1
    0

    Suspicion

    Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock

    Released1941

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    The Big Sleep is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    0

    The Big Sleep

    Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart

    Released1946

    Directed byHoward Hawks

    The Big Sleep is a 1946 film noir directed by Howard Hawks, the first film version of Raymond... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    5
    0

    The Fugitive

    Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford

    Released1993

    Directed byAndrew Davis

    This film is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    The Hound of the Baskervilles is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    1
    2

    The Hound of the Baskervilles

    Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing

    Released1959

    Directed byTerence Fisher

    The Hound of the Baskervilles is a 1959 British gothic horror and mystery film, directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 21
    The Lady Vanishes is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    1
    0

    The Lady Vanishes

    Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Redgrave

    Released1938

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British comic thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    The Manchurian Candidate is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    5
    2

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber

    Released2004

    Directed byJonathan Demme

    The Manchurian Candidate is a 2004 American thriller film directed by Jonathan Demme. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • 23
    The Mothman Prophecies is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    5
    0

    The Mothman Prophecies

    Richard Gere, Debra Messing

    Released2002

    Directed byMark Pellington

    The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 supernatural thriller film directed by Mark Pellington, based... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    The Wicker Man is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    2
    2

    The Wicker Man

    Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland

    Released1973

    Directed byRobin Hardy

    The Wicker Man is a 1973 British mystery horror film directed by Robin Hardy and written by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 25
    Three Days of the Condor is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Most Intriguing Mystery Movies Based on Novels
    5
    2

    Three Days of the Condor

    Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway

    Released1975

    Directed bySydney Pollack

    Three Days of the Condor is a 1975 American political thriller film directed by Sydney Pollack... more on Wikipedia
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