Sleuth

Sleuth

1972
Suspense/Thriller
Mystery
2h 18m
A man who loves games and theater invites his wife's lover to meet him, setting up a battle of wits with potentially deadly results. (imdb)
Your probable score
?

Sleuth

1972
Suspense/Thriller
Mystery
2h 18m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 71.46% from 1346 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1346)
Compact view
Compact view
Rated 17 Sep 2011
95
96th
A stunning battle of wits between Caine and Olivier with both playing off of each other with amazing chemistry. Massively fun and keeps you guessing right until the end and never lets up thanks to great directing and writing. This is a must-watch if you enjoy thriller/detective/mystery moves even a tiny, tiny bit because I don't particularly care for them and I loved this film.
Rated 14 Dec 2010
70
51st
The games were highle predictable, but the fine performances and spooky settings make it entertaining
Rated 12 Dec 2006
95
99th
Excellent acting by Olivier and Caine takes a simple premise to magnificent heights. The film takes a series of increasingly bizarre twists and turns as the viewer tries to unravel what's going on in this excellent mystery.
Rated 19 Apr 2010
9
90th
Excellent thriller that points out how revenge can be triggered as a result of one man's badgering tactics ("it was only a bloody game"). The writing and performances are impeccable and put other similar works to shame. Recommended !!!
Rated 02 Feb 2010
76
30th
Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier deliver fantastic performances (as should be expected). However, their characters like to talk, and talk, and talk...
Rated 03 Jul 2010
82
73rd
A fun cat-and-mouse style thriller. The film reminded me an awful lot of Death Trap, not just because of Caine, but also the dry humor, the confined setting, and the way the tables are always being turned, the sense of oneupsmanship. I don't think it's all that funny, but it is put together cleverly, as long as you can overlook the fact that one of the characters is shockingly bad at recognizing the other one in a cheap disguise. An interesting commentary on class and bourgeois puffery.
Rated 12 Oct 2014
91
95th
Fucking amazing.
Rated 02 Aug 2010
95
98th
Genius. Yes, it's a filmed stage play but that's not really a criticism. Some of Alec Cawthorne's finest work. Must see.
Rated 08 Dec 2010
80
85th
Although flawed and overlong, "Sleuth" remains an ingeniously plotted thriller that starts slowly but becomes increasingly engaging until the superb finale. Shaffer's script is witty and intelligent, but the film works thanks to the performances: both Oliver and Caine excel as they constantly attempt to outsmart each other. Mankiewicz's camerawork is sloppy at times -and yet, he proves capable of turning this potentially fatal premise into a compelling and challenging mouse-and-cat game.
Rated 04 Mar 2009
40
71st
Shaffer's veddy, veddy clever stage play is really not a mystery story at all, but rather a character study of a lordly WASP bigot (Olivier, acting in a Man of a Thousand Voices style) who just happens to compose genteel whodunits on the side. Shaffer spoofs the detective genre with considerable malice, and yet his own pretzeled plotting would be completely undone if he failed to outfox the audience.
Rated 08 Jul 2008
92
68th
A wonderful film in every aspect. Excellently written, superbly acted and remarkably paced, and filled with memorable scenes performed by all-time greats the late Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Michael Caine. A cat-and-mouse tale (no pun intended) battle of wits surrounding a devilish plan for incrimination so as to assuage ill-feelings and resentment towards the other. A great character study highlighting revenge as a means to an end, concluding with a wonderfully crafted ending.
Rated 21 Jan 2011
68
30th
An otherwise clever film suffers from being just too cocky in that haughty, English way. Ironically, it is exactly that overclass cockiness which the film at once both attacks and embraces. All in all the film was enjoying, especially due to a great third act, but I think the script's witty cat'n'mouse game had potential for more. I mean, Hitchcock could really have made a great film out of this!
Rated 13 Apr 2008
80
81st
Mankiewicz was the best person to direct this. Simply laying back and letting two master actors act while not screwing up in the progress.
Rated 22 Dec 2007
97
98th
All I can say is WOW. Olivier and Caine are masters of their art.
Rated 27 Oct 2012
78
74th
Some moments are a bit tóó whimsical and the identity of the visiting detective is painfully obvious from the moment he steps into the house, but despite these minor complaints this film was a fun ride until the surprisingly gripping climax. In hindsight, Deathtrap did borrow a whole lot from Sleuth, but both have their unique strengths.
Rated 05 Nov 2011
83
72nd
A film that gains momentum throughout, Sleuth benefits from fine acting, detailed set design, and sharp writing. The film's ultimate mockery of the childish "gentleman" brings a social conscience to the proceedings, while the humiliating deeds underline the futility of vengeance. This is one of those literate films that manages to remain fun, even while careening toward a striking and disturbing conclusion.
Rated 12 Dec 2013
80
88th
The execution might wane at times, yet Shaffer's truly ingenious script and Olivier's amazing performance (Caine is good as well, especially during the final part) make "Sleuth" a very unique and gripping tale of two men fatally trying to outsmart each other. Brilliant.
Rated 27 Feb 2013
82
86th
yo these guys are some master rusemen
Rated 07 Mar 2013
89
92nd
Story, dialogue and especially acting are all quite superb. I'm a bit afraid to watch the remake after this.
Rated 23 Feb 2013
85
81st
A quirky thriller that keeps you guessing the whole way through. Layers upon layers.
Rated 11 Mar 2013
59
37th
Intriguing but overlong story that leaves me convinced that the only one more smugly impressed with his own scheming skills than these two characters is the writer of the script. In particular the very obvious inspector scene goes on far too long for the reveal to have any impact. Still, you have Caine and Olivier toe-to-toe and that's never not enjoyable.
Rated 20 Feb 2012
50
29th
I did not care for it.
Rated 18 Jul 2013
75
62nd
Olivier and Caine are both good here, but I didn't find the plot as thrilling or surprising as I think it was supposed to be. It's a perfectly decent film, but I wasn't blown away.
Rated 06 Aug 2013
82
77th
Funny games.
Rated 26 Dec 2010
90
92nd
89.625
Rated 29 Feb 2016
75
65th
A fair bit "Hitchcockian" in a sense as Sleuth constructs one of his patented psychological playgrounds where the two leads toy with each others insecurities and pretensions. In that sense it's an extremely British movie sociologically. The performances are charismatic and theatrically dramatic to a point worthy of the stage, and along with the black comedy elements thoroughly entertain when the momentum of the thriller side is lost through long post-trick exposition. Worth a watch.
Rated 15 May 2016
63
48th
over long and ridiculous, the actors ham it up consistently but the story is nonetheless interesting.
Rated 20 Apr 2017
85
87th
Pretty much a documentary about Moe & Ethan Bradberry.
Rated 25 Sep 2017
15
60th
7/7
Rated 26 Sep 2017
70
47th
A masterclass in acting. However, no act provided intrigue strong enough to make me really buy in.
Rated 12 Jul 2018
80
55th
Odd in a whimsical, decidedly British sort of way. Great performances and an interesting set. Probably doesn't have a great deal of rewatch value.
Rated 12 Aug 2018
76
58th
Cool but quite silly and long.
Rated 15 Mar 2019
88
58th
88.00
Rated 14 Oct 2019
65
55th
Carried by it’s impressive acting, Sleuth is a film I’ve anticipated for quite a while now. I’ve been searching for a clever battle of wits thriller, and this almost gets it right. It starts out relatively unpredictable, but by the time the investigator showed up I pretty much knew everything before it happened, with the exception of two details in the final minute of the film. It require attention, but it’s simple enough to figure out.
Rated 31 Jul 2021
85
59th
Viewed July 29, 2021. This is basically a lot of narrative trickery and rug-pulling for 138 minutes. It works because each new "game" played by Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine is as loaded with emotion with the one before it; even as the viewer becomes primed to expect deceit, the leads' performances and Mankiewicz's direction somehow manage to erase that lingering doubt and get you as caught up in the scheme as the characters are.
Rated 09 Mar 2023
79
69th
As a lover of games I found this slightly underwhelming. Olivier and Caine are perfectly cast and the dialogue works, but part of the fun feels senseless and loses potency as the film progresses.
Rated 28 Jun 2023
94
74th
I had actually seen the remake, with Michael Caine in the opposite role and have been looking to see this original version for year. Though a bit long, excellent performances by both leads and impressive writing.
Rated 28 Mar 2009
57
36th
The first surprise was well done, but I couldn't enjoy the rest. With each plot shift, the trick was apparent about ten minutes too early.
Rated 08 Feb 2007
98
99th
An excellent mystery comedy with great performances by Olivier and Caine. Highly entertaining with several brilliant twists.
Rated 27 Feb 2007
85
98th
Excellent film with stunning roles from Caine and Olivier.A must see for film fans.
Rated 14 Apr 2007
100
95th
Just see it
Rated 25 Apr 2007
85
94th
Great writing, well played.
Rated 17 Sep 2007
75
79th
really smart film with good acting
Rated 31 Mar 2008
93
89th
One of my favorite hidden films (i.e. a film you've never heard of), even if it's a bit of intellectual masturbation. Olivier and Caine are at the top of their game. A war of minds is the best way to describe this one. The script is smart too, as is the design, as is the music. And only two actors. Economical in all senses. The denouement is a little too much, but it's a fine example of the price one pays when emasculating another human being.
Rated 24 Jun 2008
70
41st
Much ado about...something. Too obviously a filmed play, with lots of stagey dialogue.
Rated 25 Oct 2008
98
97th
I one day aspire to play homoerotic games involving death and intrigue with a younger man in my mansion. A boy can dream.
Rated 07 Nov 2008
95
93rd
Fantastic thriller. Would go well with a viewing of "Deathtrap". Lots of twists in this one will keep you guessing. A big thumbs up!
Rated 17 Mar 2009
100
95th
Lighthearted mystery tour de force for two stars. Delicious from start to finish; remarkable production design by Ken Adam.
Rated 19 Jan 2012
80
90th
I really enjoyed this fantastic and well-made movie. What makes it great are its two lead actors: Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine. They were both totally brilliant, even if they were occasionally cheesy in that 70s kind of way. It was well-shot and impressively captivating for a film taking place in one setting and having few characters. Very much recommended.
Rated 19 Apr 2009
89
88th
Incredible writing - only 2 actors and 1 house, and yet a beautiful, complex plot is woven. Also very fine performances. Don't miss this one.
Rated 24 May 2009
94
96th
Fabulous movie. Real theatre. Two characters one location a plot layered to make an onion cry.
Rated 03 Jun 2009
80
62nd
Good acting but quite predictable
Rated 02 Feb 2010
85
88th
A great classic triller. A suspense with good mood, very well conducted, with many twists. The great merit is also of Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine, who are very well in the clever debates and dialogues.
Rated 26 Feb 2010
81
48th
Hollow and contrived but amusing. With good hammy performances by Olivier and Caine.
Rated 26 Jun 2010
50
26th
Didn't like the acting, script, "twists", and the entire plot was silly and not at all believable. Much better suited for the stage than the big screen. The only redeeming quality was the laughing sailor.
Rated 19 Sep 2010
90
96th
Olivier and Caine are a delight to watch. Fantastically written.
Rated 26 Jun 2011
75
71st
The first two "scenes" were a bit too long and you can tell it's based on a theatrical play but with "those names" attached you know it's going to be good.
Rated 19 Jul 2011
84
94th
Nice Movie
Rated 03 Sep 2011
70
23rd
Over long and a little too smug, still fairly enjoyable.

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