Top Best 20 Best Murder Mystery Movies of All Times

Murder mystery movies will always be special in the audience’s hearts.

There may be some psychological reasons why we are drawn to mystery films and crime stories.

In general, they serve as a sort of ‘adult dark fantasies’ for us. The list below showcases the best murder mystery movies of all time, emphasizing old-school classics and new additions to the genre.

Zodiac (2007)

Cast- Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, and Mark Ruffalo

Director- David Fincher

IMDB rating- 7.7

Story Line: This movie is about the true story of one of the scariest yet unsolved murder cases in history.

Cartoonist Robert Graysmith is determined to track down the Zodiac Killer with a string of 340 encrypted codes sent to him by the killer himself.

The movie opens with the gruesome murder of a married couple and five more murders shortly after that, which will make you tense. 

Is the Long Goodbye (1973)

Cast- Elliott Gould, Nina Van Pallandt, Sterling Hayden, Jim Bouton, and Mark Rydell.

Director- Robert Altman

IMDB rating- 7.6

Story Line: This movie comes under one of the classic murder mystery movies. This movie is about a private investigator who takes his friend to Mexico, and the friend’s wife dies.

After some time, suddenly, the friend also died. It’s a perfect picture that beautifully represents the ’70s-era of Los Angeles.

As a private detective, private investigator Philip Marlowe tries to figure out what happened.

The Fugitive (1993)

Cast- Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones, Sela Ward, Andreas Katsulas, Joe Pantoliano, and Jeroen Krabbe.

Director- Andrew Davis

IMDB rating- 7.8

Storyline- Doctor Harrison Ford was wrongly convicted of killing his wife, so he runs away to investigate the crime himself.

Tommy Lee Jones is the U.S. Marshal who’s come after him, and he reluctantly begins to realize that the man he’s been chasing may be innocent after all.

It’s not a “10 people in a room – find out who the killer is” type of story, but the modified format works very well. Having the man who was convicted of the crime investigate the crime is a great frame, and Ford executes it perfectly.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Cast- Scott Glenn, Anthony Hopkins, Ted Levine, and Jodie Foster. 

Director- Jonathan Demme

IMDB ratings- 8.6

Storyline- In The Silence of the Lambs- Clarice Starling, an idealistic young FBI trainee, is sent to consult on a case with Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant but cannibal killer who has been locked up for eight years.

Clarice Quarry is the mysterious killer who goes by the alias “Buffalo Bill” because the victims — are all plus-size women.

Lecter will not team up with the FBI, but Clarice appeals to the murderous doctor, and finally, Dr. Lecter feeds the young woman vital clues in trade for personal details of the wounds in her past.

Gone Girl (2014)

Cast- Ben Affleck, Carrie Coon, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry, Rosamund Pike.

Director- David Fincher

IMDB rating- 8.1

Storyline- Gone Girl is the kind of movie that leaves you completely stunned once it’s over.

Nick Dunne is a college professor and writer whose seemingly perfect marriage with his beautiful wife, Amy, begins to fall apart when Amy mysteriously disappears.

Nick quickly becomes a suspect, and with changing perspectives throughout the narrative, you won’t know what to believe. It is a dark and exciting story about love, respect, violence, sex, and modern American marriage.

A Simple Favor (2018)

Cast- Anna Kendrick, Ian Ho, Glenda Braganza, Andrew Rannells. 

Director- Paul Feig

IMDB rating- 6.8

Storyline- When a wonderful friend of a woman who is a widowed single mother ends up missing, she chooses to take the investigation into her own hands.

During this investigation process, she learns several startling details about her friend’s life that make her wonder if she really knows her.

Seven (1995)

Cast- Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, John C. McGinley, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kevin Spacey. 

Director: David Fincher

IMDB rating: 8.6

Storyline- A brutal serial killer uses seven deadly sins as his motive, and two detectives will try to solve the case before another strike.

The movie is well known by now for a few key scenes, but the plot is very intense. This movie is a perfect intense serial killer murder mystery. 

Murder Mystery (2019)

Cast- Adam Sandler, Luke Evans, Jennifer Aniston, Terence Stamp.

Director- Kyle Newacheck

IMDB rating- 6.0

Storyline: This sneaky Netflix special pokes fun at the murder mystery genre. This movie is really suspenseful and funny at the same time.

A new York City cop takes his wife on a European vacation, where the two find themselves implicated in the murder of a billionaire.

Mystic River (2003)

Cast- Sean Penn, Marcia Gay Harden, Tim Robbins, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden. 

Director- Clint Eastwood

IMDB rating- 7.9

Storyline- “Mystic River” is an Award-winning Academy film.

This movie is a dark and ominous reflection on a crime in the present that is romantically linked to a crime in the past.

It involves three childhood friends in an Irish neighborhood of Boston who is forever linked when one of them is caught by a child molester. 

The Last of Sheila (1973)

Cast- Richard Benjamin, Dyan Cannon, James Coburn, James Mason, Joan Hackett, Ian McShane, and Raquel Welch.

Director- Herbert Ross

IMDB rating- 7.2

Storyline- A film producer named Clinton Greene gathers six friends aboard his luxury yacht on the first anniversary of his wife’s death.

All but one were present on the day of her death when his wife was killed in a hit-and-run. However, Greene believes there is more to the story and is determined to discover everyone’s secrets.

Memento (2000)

Cast- Carrie-Anne Moss, Mark Boone Junior, Joe Pantoliano, and Guy Pearce. 

Director- Christopher Nolan

IMDB rating-  8.4

Storyline- A man who is suffering from amnesia is framed for the murder of his wife, and he must battle against his own damaged memory to find the real killer.

It’s such a movie that challenges the viewer’s memory and demands they pay attention to solve the mystery together.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Cast- Kenneth Branagh, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Michelle Pfeiffer, Leslie Odom Jr.

Director- Kenneth Branagh

IMDB rating- 6.5

Storyline- In this detective movie, Hercule Poirot is on the journey back to his home when a wealthy American businessman is murdered on his train.

Stopped on the track by a snowstorm with an unknown murderer hiding on deck in plain sight, every passenger is a suspect here, and Poirot must solve the mystery.

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Cast- Jeff Bridges, Dakota Johnson, Cynthia Erivo, Jon Hamm. 

Director- Drew Goddard

IMDB rating-  7.1

Storyline-  Four strangers book rooms at an abandoned hotel on the California-Nevada border, which a single employee runs in the late 1960s.

Each of them is staying for a different purpose. Some of them pose a threat.

Suspect (1987)

Cast- Cher, Dennis Quaid, John Mahon, Liam Neeson, Joe Mantegna, Philip Bosco. 

Director- Peter Yates

IMDB rating- 6.6

Storyline-  In this late ’80s film, Cher plays Dennis Quaid as Kathleen Reilly, a public defender given the task of representing a homeless man, Carl Wayne Anderson ( played by Liam Neeson), who has been accused of murdering a Supreme Court judge.

Believing her client is innocent, Kathleen must then find out who the real killer is to keep him out of prison.

Us (2019)

Cast- Lupita Nyong’o, Winston Duke, Elisabeth Moss, and Tim Heidecker.

Director- Jordan Peele

IMDB rating- 6.8

Storyline- A family was enjoying their beach vacation after a long time.

Suddenly evil doppelgangers come to kill everyone, and it’s unclear where they have come from and their motives. It’s weird and twisted and has some unexpected twists, so don’t spoil the mystery yourself and go watch.

The Bone Collector (1999)

Cast- Denzel Washington, Angelina Jolie, Michael Rooker, Queen Latifah, Luis Guzman, Michael McGlone. 

Director- Phillip Noyce

IMDB rating- 6.7

Storyline: Cop Amelia Donaghy is in hot pursuit of a serial killer whose calling card is a small piece of bone extracted from each of his victims.

Amelia is unable to decipher the hidden clues the killer left behind at the crime scene, calling forensic criminology expert Lincoln Rhyme for help.

With Amelia acting as the non-disabled mediator, the pair piece together disparate clues, hoping to identify their next victim.

Mother (2009)

Cast- Hye-ja Kim, Won Bin, Jin Goo, Kim Byoung-sun, Jeon Mi-sun, Yoon Je-moon

Director- Bong Joon Ho

IMDB rating- 7.8

Storyline- A mother desperately searches for a ruthless killer who framed her mentally challenged son for killing an innocent girl.

Circumstantial evidence indicates the son is guilty, and he becomes the prime suspect during a patchy police investigation.

Being betrayed and disappointed by the legal system. Instead of accepting fate, the mother takes things into her own hands to clear her son’s name.

Fallen (1998)

Cast- Denzel Washington, Donald Sutherland, John Goodman, Embeth Davidtz, Donald Sutherland 

Director- Gregory Hoblit

IMDB rating-  7.0

Storyline- Homicide detective John Hobbs witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. But soon after the execution, the killings begin again, very similar to Reese’s style.

Prisoners (2013)

Cast- Hugh Jackman, Viola Davis, Jake Gyllenhaal, Dylan Minnette, Melissa Leo. 

Director- Denis Villeneuve

IMDB rating-  8.1

Storyline- Killer Dover faces the worst nightmare when his 6-year-old daughter Anna and her best friend go missing.

The only lead is an old mobile home parked on their street. Detective Loki, the head of the investigation, arrests the driver.

However with lack of evidence forces Loki to release the only suspect. Knowing his daughter’s life is at stake, Dover decides that he has no choice but set up his investigation.

Happy Death Day (2017)

Cast- Rachel Matthews, Charles Aitken, Ruby Modine, Israel Broussard, and Jessica Rothe.

Director- Christopher Landon

IMDB rating- 6.6

Storyline-  A college student must relive the day of her murder repeatedly, in a loop that will only end when she discovers her killer’s identity.

Every morning she searches for her killer, trying to beat the clock and survive until tomorrow. 

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