68 user 32 critic

Without a Clue (1988)

6 | | Comedy, Crime, Mystery | 5 May 1989 (UK)
A drunken Sherlock Holmes is really just a cover for the real detective, Dr. Watson.


Thom Eberhardt
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Caine ... Reginald Kincaid / Sherlock Holmes
Ben Kingsley ... Dr. Watson
Jeffrey Jones ... Inspector Lestrade
Lysette Anthony ... Leslie Giles
Paul Freeman ... Prof. James Moriarty
Nigel Davenport ... Lord Smithwick
Pat Keen Pat Keen ... Mrs. Hudson
Peter Cook ... Greenhough
Tim Killick Tim Killick ... Sebastian
Matthew Savage Matthew Savage ... Wiggins
John Warner John Warner ... Peter Giles
Matthew Sim ... Real Lesley
Harold Innocent ... Mayor Johnson
George Sweeney ... John Clay
Murray Ewan Murray Ewan ... Archie


This is a Sherlock Holmes story with a difference. Here Dr Watson is the ace detective and has been using an actor to play the part Holmes. Holmes is a drunken actor and gets on Watson's nerves. When Watson tries to go it alone, he doesn't have much success, so he is forced to let Holmes take all the credit once more. Written by Rob Hartill

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


"Without a Clue" is a joyful, rip-roaring, hilarious role-reversal adventure. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Mystery


6 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:






Release Date:

5 May 1989 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock and Me See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,246,772, 23 October 1988, Limited Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Sherlock Holmes' address is famously 221b Baker Street. Though Baker Street is a real thoroughfare in London, 221b does not, and has never existed. See more »


When "Holmes" returns home after Watson's apparent death, the shadow of the house number on the inside wall, and other shadows, indicate strong sunlight from a certain angle. He then goes outside and the doorway is not lit that way at all. Also, the width of the panes around the house number doesn't match the shadow. See more »


[Watson reveals the ongoing deception to his publisher]
Greenhough: We'll start at the beginning, shall we?
Dr. Watson: It was about nine years ago. One of my patients was a Scotland Yard inspector investigating the Paxton murder case. I give him the name of the murderer, but gave credit to a, heh, nonexistent detective. At the time, I was hoping for an appointment to the staff of a rather conservative medical college; I... knew that they'd frown on my little, uh...
Greenhough: Hobby...
Dr. Watson: Exactly. Well, I didn't get the appointment....
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are superimposed over still images of Victorian London. The final shot of Holmes and Watson form the backdrop for the end credits. See more »


Rock of Ages
Music by Thomas Hastings and lyrics by Augustus Montague Toplady
Sung by Mrs Hudson (Pat Keen) at the theatre
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best comedies ever!
12 January 2007 | by ScrugulusSee all my reviews

I am not using superlatives lightly, but this film is definitely the best Sherlock Holmes spoof that could possible exist in past, present or future. It is not only a very precise and accurate observation of the Sherlock Holmes heritage, it is at the same time very, very entertaining. Even if you don't know much about Holmes, you'll enjoy yourself.

The story itself, and the idea behind it, are brilliant. One of the strengths of the story is, in my opinion, that it does not just concentrate on the spoof part, but gives you an entertaining mystery in the traditional Holmesian style as well. The atmosphere created by the "supporting" arts (score music, set, costumes, etc.) fits the film 100%.

The cast list speaks for itself. Caine and Kingsley are at their best and their styles - minutely adapted to their characters - complement each other perfectly. And each and every one of the supporting actors is top-class.

If you are a fan of Michael Caine and/or Ben Kingsley and/or Sherlock Holmes you HAVE TO see this movie. If you are neither of the above, go hide under the stairs and be ashamed of yourself.

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