8.0/10
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155 user 52 critic
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.

Writers:

Anthony Shaffer (play), Anthony Shaffer (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Laurence Olivier ... Andrew Wyke
Michael Caine ... Milo Tindle
Alec Cawthorne Alec Cawthorne ... Inspector Doppler (credit only)
John Matthews John Matthews ... Detective Sergeant Tarrant (credit only)
Eve Channing Eve Channing ... Marguerite Wyke (credit only)
Teddy Martin Teddy Martin ... Police Constable Higgs (credit only)
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Storyline

Andrew Wyke is a famous and successful author of detective novels. Milo Tindle comes to him with a strange request - that Mr Wyke divorce his wife so that Tindle can marry her. Mr Wyke is not particularly perturbed by this - he and his wife have drifted apart and he is having an affair with another woman anyway - but uses the meeting and Mr Tindle's request as a chance to play a game, a game with potentially deadly consequences. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

If it was murder, where's the body? [original movie poster] See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

26 December 1973 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Juego mortal See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Edgar Allan Poe award on Andrew Wyke's (Sir Laurence Olivier's) mantel was the one given to Anthony Shaffer for his play "Sleuth". Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz also won an Edgar for 5 Fingers (1952). See more »

Goofs

(at around 1h 2 mins) When Wyke "shoots" Tindle in the head at contact range with what is supposed to be a blank cartridge, Tindle simply faints from fright. In fact, the hot gases, explosive particles, wadding and minuscule barrel debris from a blank-cartridge shot to the head at point-blank range would certainly have given Tindle quite a serious wound, possibly even a fatal one. See more »

Quotes

Andrew Wyke: It's a good thing, I am pretty much of an Olympic sexual athlete.
Milo Tindle: Yes, I suppose these days you are concentrating more on the sprints than on the long distance stuff.
Andrew Wyke: Not so dear boy! I am in the peak of condition. I could copulate for England at any distance.
Milo Tindle: Well, as they say in the Olympics, it's not the winning, it's the taking part that counts.
See more »

Connections

Featured in 1,001 Movies You Must See (Before You Die) (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Just one of these things
Words and music by Cole Porter
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the best thrillers of all time
23 September 2004 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

Sleuth is, without doubt, one of the finest thrillers ever made. It continually keeps you on the edge of your seat and you never truly know where you are. This is an excellent thing for a thriller to do as it ensures that you will keep watching for that all important next plot development. The plot itself follows a man named Andrew (played by Lawrence Olivier) who is a big fan of playing games. He invites the man that has run off with his wife; Milo (Michael Caine) to his house, and while there, he entices him into a plot to steal his wife's jewels so that he can avoid the taxman, and so that Caine can accommodate his new found girlfriend's overly expensive tastes. To give anything else of the plot away would be running the risk of spoiling what is a fascinating piece of cinema, so I will leave the plot details at that. The plot meanders in a way that is hard to pin down; the film remains ambiguous all the way through; nothing is ever what it seems, and that is what makes Sleuth a cut above many detective mysteries.

This movie stars two super-heavyweights of the British movie industry; Lawrence Olivier and Michael Caine. The film requires the two to be on screen for nearly the full duration of the movie, so it is obviously essential that they perform to a high standard; and I can confirm they most certainly do just that. The chemistry between the two is outstanding. The way that the sublime dialogue bounds back and fourth between the two is simply a pleasure to watch; and is more entertaining than a lot of movies that are made simply for entertainment purposes. The two do have a tendency to get a bit dramatic at times, there's is a particular sequence in the cellar that springs to mind immediately on that front; but the over-dramatics add to the atmosphere of the film. The film is very different and over the top in it's style anyway; it plays out almost like a moving detective novel, and the fact that both actors have a tendency to camp it up gives the movie something that it would not have had otherwise. The film is based on a stage play by Anthony Shaffer, and this is evident throughout the movie as it plays out just like a stage play on the big screen. The only film that I can think of that is similar to Sleuth in this way is Alfred Hitchcock's 'Rope'. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, who also made the classic All About Eve, very astutely directs this film. I would even go as far as to say that the direction here is better than it was in All About Eve; Joseph L. Mankiewicz's use of the camera is amazing and you can tell throughout the film that this is an auteur at the absolute top of his game. Overall, Sleuth is one of the best films ever made. It is amazing just how brilliant a film can be with a miniscule cast and a brilliant script, and if only for that fact alone; Sleuth is a film that you need to see.


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