10 Classic Mystery Movies

Wednesday, December 1 by Travis Petersen

This list of 10 classic mystery movies will keep you guessing and keep you wondering, but they will also keep you entertained. From classic whodunits to new film noir revivals, this list of 10 classic mystery movies runs the gamut of crime-solving in film, with settings ranging from the corrupt Los Angeles of the 1950's to a World War II POW camp in Germany. Here's the list of 10 classic mystery movies.

  1. "Rear Window" Perhaps the greatest classic mystery movie of all time, Alfred Hitchcock's tale of a bed-ridden voyeur spying on his neighbors, and learning more than he bargained for, is chilling, fast moving, and suspenseful. It also features two of the era's greatest stars, Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, in iconic and memorable roles.
  2. "Murder on the Orient Express" Based on an Agatha Christie novel, this film takes the trope of the parlor room mystery onto a train, with inimitable detective Hercule Poirot solving the complicated mystery. It belongs on any list of classic mystery movies.
  3. "The Thin Man" As much screwball comedy and debauched satire as mystery, "The Thin Man" is justified classic mystery movie simply for the interplay between its stars, William Powell and Myrna Loy, as the martini-swilling detective couple Nick and Nora Charles. Sexy, silly, and suspenseful, it is a film for the ages.
  4. "LA Confidential" Curtis Hanson's throwback to classic Hollywood filmmaking is a dark mystery that unravels slowly but expertly. Any one of the three lead performances could have garnered an Oscar, Kim Basinger, in a supporting role, did just that.
  5. "Chinatown" Roman Polanski's best film, and arguably Jack Nicholson's best acting work, "Chinatown" is another classic mystery movie, one whose screenplay is often regarded as the best of all time. The twist will shock you to your core.
  6. "Witness for the Prosecution" Billy Wilder's entertaining film is one of his classic mystery movies on this list. A courtroom drama, it goes far beyond cliche to deliver twists, turns, and Wilder's trademark humor.
  7. "Stalag 17" The whodunit in "Stalag 17" is the question of who is a German mole among American POWs during World War II. William Holden gives a restrained, iconic performance as our anti-hero.
  8. "The Hound of the Baskervilles" No list of classic mystery movies could be complete without one of Basil Rathbone's iconic turns as the detective who started it all, Sherlock Holmes. This film is the best of the bunch.
  9. "Suspicion" Another Hitchcock mystery has a shocking twist. Is Cary Grant our hero, or our villain? The watching and waiting to find out is the real prize.
  10. "The Lady Vanishes" This early Hitchcock film closes out our list of classic mystery movies. In the hands of another director, it could be just another mannered whodunit but Hitchcock transforms it into something entirely better.
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