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The Top 10 Mystery Movies According To The AFI


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By Barry Levitt/Jan. 17, 2022 6: 02 pm EST

Is there the relaxation reasonably as thrilling as looking out at a true mystery? Whether it is miles a really easy premise that outcomes in a horrifying revelation, or a caper that delivers never-ending twists and turns, there’s one thing with no slay in sight scrumptious about looking out at secrets be unveiled on masks. Attempting to figure out who’s within the serve of it all, whether it’s one particular person, a crew, and even perchance no one at all, guessing a movie’s secrets is a big segment of why mysteries are such good movies.

There are merely so many mystery movies available within the market (and, let’s be appropriate, appropriate so many movies available within the market!) that it is miles going to be colossal laborious to fetch one to review that shall be charge your time. The mystery style has been going stable since the initiating of cinema, and there are hundreds amazing mysteries available within the market to behold. In terms of the complicated choice of narrowing down the very finest mystery motion photos, The American Movie Institute has helpfully created its hang top 10 checklist.

The AFI defines the mystery style as “a style that revolves across the resolution of a crime.” Indeed, the AFI’s decisions, which span more than one decades and a huge amount of thrills, all match the bill, and all of them level of curiosity on investigations, whether from the police, a non-public leer, or one thing grand more within most. Let’s dive into the head 10 mystery motion photos in step with the AFI.

The Long-established Suspects

Who -– and where –- on this planet is Keyser Söze? That’s the overarching build a question to and mystery that lies at the coronary heart of the suspenseful and twisty mystery, “The Long-established Suspects.” The movie, written by Christopher McQuarrie, who would lag on to train loads of “Mission: Impossible” movies, largely peels serve its layers by plot of flashbacks and interrogation of Roger Kint (Kevin Spacey). Roger weaves a sage of how five males rounded up as the extra special suspects for a police lineup ended up working together to drag off an relate heist. The suspects are Dean (Gabriel Byrne), Michael (Stephen 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley), Fred (Benicio Del Toro), Todd (Kevin Pollak), and Verbal (Spacey).

After a huge explosion on a boat leaves 27 males boring, the cops try and rating Söze, a criminal mastermind who holds extra special vitality, though practically no one has ever of path seen him. It appears to be like that these five (not-so) extra special suspects occupy connections to Söze, nevertheless what occupy they carried out, and why does he appear to be after them? 

The movie is aware of what it solution to amass care of you guessing till the final moments, and McQuarrie’s script sends audiences on a wild goose dash to amass a search at and uncover its mysteries. “The Long-established Suspects” is finest summarized by Spacey’s personality, who reminds audiences after the thoroughly horrifying final twist is laid bare, “The finest trick the satan ever pulled used to be convincing the enviornment he didn’t exist.”

Dial M for Abolish

A reliable dissection of a crime and the try to quilt it up, Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 “Dial M For Abolish” may perhaps per chance well also very effectively be doubtlessly the most fun movie on the checklist. That’s not to divulge the movie isn’t severe and chock-stout of suspense, on sage of it most for certain is, nevertheless “Dial M For Abolish” positively stands out from the the relaxation of the checklist. Before the entirety shot in 3D, when the skills used to be in its infancy, the movie wastes practically no time atmosphere things up and gets stunning to the mystery. In an affluent London suburb, Tony (Ray Milland) is aware of his wife Margot (Grace Kelly) is having an affair with American writer Put (Robert Cummings) and is getting in a position to lag away him. Alternatively, as his wife is effectively to set aside, he plans an relate plan to occupy her murdered so he can fetch her cash.

This Hitchcock movie is an perfect change of slip for the director. Whereas many of Hitchock’s motion photos customarily hang colossal pleasure in building suspense, “Dial M for Abolish” presents us the setup practically straight away and takes the sizable majority of the movie exploring the crime and its penalties. It’s a blast to review the detectives spar with Tony and Margot, and there’s hundreds of mystery and intrigue within the air, as Hitchcock has constructed a legendary career of keeping folks guessing. Habitual objects love keys and stockings set wide that plot within the movie, and it’s a blast by plot of and by plot of to review it all unfold.

Blue Velvet

De Laurentis Entertainment

Gleefully tearing the allure of suburbia with scrumptious malice, David Lynch’s “Blue Velvet” is a horrifying, upsetting, grotesque, and delirious mystery. The movie opens with enticing certain blue skies, white picket fences, completely manicured plant life, smiling firefighters, formative years being helped along by crossing guards, all of which works together to place a honest, ultimate suburban haven. Alternatively, that idyllic ambiance is readily punctured by a man collapsing whereas watering his garden. It appears to be like not all is as charming because it seems on this affluent neighborhood, and that “Blue Velvet” is livid to resolve the secrets hiding within the sleepy town of Lumberton, North Carolina.

“Blue Velvet” choices a myriad of genres, feeling at events love a movie noir, comedy, intense psychological fear, and drama, nevertheless the movie is driven by a mystery, starting from when a college student (Kyle MacLachlan) finds a severed ear. What follows is a menacing cocktail of medicines, intercourse, and horrifying violence that’s thoroughly unpredictable. Alternatively, whereas you occur to’re familiar with David Lynch as a filmmaker, you’ll know that’s all par for the path. “Blue Velvet” is for certain doubtlessly the most divisive movie on the checklist, and love many Lynch movies, you’ll both prefer it or disfavor it. One thing’s for certain — it’s a compelling mystery that retains you guessing, and there’s not grand else available within the market reasonably love “Blue Velvet.”

North by Northwest

The the relaxation quest of unsuitable identities, “North by Northwest” is a extra special romp from the unstoppable suspense king, Alfred Hitchcock. 

Whereas Hitchcock movies customarily occur in a pair of areas, his 1959 movie is a big spin. Day to day civilian Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is an marketing government who gets unsuitable to be George Kaplan, a sturdy and laborious-to-track undercover agent working for the US of The usa. He gets unwittingly kidnapped by international brokers and interrogated by an enemy of the U.S., Phillip Vandamm (James Mason). All of the madness sends Thornhill on the speed so he can display masks his innocence and return to his usual existence. If finest it were that uncomplicated -– on a bid, he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint), who graciously helps him spoil out the police. What feels love the slay of Thornhill’s troubles ends up appropriate being the inspiration, as Kendall turns out to be Vandamm’s mistress.

What objects “North by Northwest” rather than so many various Hitchcock productions is that the movie is somewhat a pair of fun and oozes with effortless frigid, largely on account of Grant’s efficiency. He’s an actor of incomparable suaveness, and it’s not an exaggeration to divulge this movie would be loads less special with out him. With a good and exuberant rating from world-class composer Bernard Herrmann and a few wide residing-objects (Mount Rushmore has never been so thrilling), it’s no shock “North By Northwest” is on AFI’s checklist of the finest mystery movies.

The Maltese Falcon

Few directorial debuts residing a filmmaker up for a lifetime of success love John Huston’s “The Maltese Falcon.” The excellent 1941 noir is one plot or the opposite Huston’s first movie, no topic being an extremely accomplished fragment of filmmaking. It’s no shock Huston went on directing endless classics love “The Esteem on the Sierra Madre,” “The African Queen,” and “Beat the Devil,” all of which starred Humphrey Bogart, making them for certain one of many finest actor-director partnerships of all time. 

Things in “The Maltese Falcon” spiral out of retain an eye on when Sam Spade (Bogart), a non-public investigator, takes on a case from Ruth Wonderley (Mary Astor), who needs Spade’s reduction finding her missing sister. As things so customarily lag on this planet of noir, Spade gets loads bigger than he bargained for by the case, which entails ruthless criminals and a traditional femme fatale as all of them search an awfully precious statue, the eponymous falcon. When each person seems overwhelmed by greed and desire, things lag off the rails as this terrific mystery works its magic.

As a director, Huston reveals a formidable ability to scheme amazing performances from his cast. “The Maltese Falcon” formulation an correct flip from Mary Astor and perfect supporting roles from Peter Lorre, Gladys George, Barton MacLane, and Sydney Greenstreet, who used to be nominated for an Oscar. Whereas his efficiency in “Casablanca” of path made Bogart a bonafide star, his electric, driven, and noteworthy efficiency in “The Maltese Falcon” may perhaps per chance well also very effectively be his absolute finest. Bogart’s snappy wit blended with laborious-nosed detective prowess made an indelible influence on Hollywood. Relatively merely, it used to be the stuff that needs are fabricated from.

The Third Man

An atmospheric shock, Carol Reed’s “The Third Man” comes in at amount five on the AFI’s top 10 mysteries. The movie follows Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten), a writer who follows his finest friend Harry Lime to Vienna, finest to peep that Lime is boring. Whereas there, he meets Anna (Alida Valli) and falls head over heels in like along with her whereas they both mourn the shortcoming of Lime, albeit for terribly various causes. 

Few cinematographers uncover evocative stories with gentle reasonably love Robert Krasker, and the shadows playfully cloaking the Viennese streets are practically a personality of their hang. The movie had a sizable affect in Austria, and there’s even a Third Man Museum within the metropolis. The Ferris Wheel, which is featured in for certain one of many movie’s finest scenes, and supplied a legendary cinematic monologue, is mute within the metropolis, as the affect of “The Third Man” lives on.

For the primary half of of the movie, the existing mystery of “The Third Man” is centered round Harry Lime (Orson Welles). When Lime sooner or later appears to be like, in for certain one of cinema’s finest presentations, the mysteries turn into bigger, more unsafe, and thoroughly thrilling. With Anton Karas’ massively memorable eclectic zither rating fueling the dark Vienna streets, director Carol Reed creates a spell binding and perfect skills. Reed brilliantly refuses to subtitle international languages, which helps audiences perceive Martins’ confusion as somebody who finest speaks English, for certain one of many many causes that “The Third Man” endures as for certain one of cinema’s finest mysteries.


David Raskin’s swooning, orchestral rating brings us into Otto Preminger’s 1944 noir masterwork “Laura.” Adore many colossal mysteries, the movie begins with a police investigation that finally ends up getting grand more subtle than anybody as soon as idea. Detective Put McPherson (Dana Andrews) is named in to investigate a slay –- of Laura Hunt (Gene Tierney), who has been shot to dying in her hang residence. 

McPherson interviews folks that knew Laura to amass a search at and figure out who will have the choice to such a horrifying act, including talking to her housekeeper Bessie (Dorothy Adams), her smarmy fiance (Clifton Webb), and her aunt Ann (Judith Anderson). McPherson begins to turn into enamored by the enigma of Laura, who has a huge portrait of herself hanging in her residence, which McPherson experiences closely. One night, he falls asleep in front of it and wakes as much as a revelation that turns the case, and McPherson’s world, the opposite plot up.

Director Otto Preminger is for certain one of cinema’s colossal masters, working across an array of genres, including court dramas (“Anatomy of a Abolish”), political thrillers (“Expose & Consent”), and musicals (“Carmen Jones”). There wasn’t the relaxation Preminger couldn’t excel at, nevertheless he had an awfully tight grip on mysteries. “Laura” takes a easy capacity and repeatedly challenges audiences’ expectations, turning in hundreds of shocks and a massively provocative sage stout of amazing tune, colossal performances, and perfect revelations.

Rear Window

There’s one thing undeniably compelling about the lives of these round you. True what’s it that your neighbors are doing within the privacy of their hang houses? When pleasurable photographer Jeff (James Stewart) is getting better from a broken leg, he finds himself stuck in his residence, with minimal entertainment to amass care of him busy, except, for certain, for his precise digicam. With an ultra-long lens hooked up, Jeff begins peeking into the residence windows within the residence complicated and finds an awful lot bigger than he bargained for. One night, Jeff hears a mutter –- “Don’t!” –- and notices that following that tournament, a lady has disappeared from her residence.

Hitchcock implements a masterful expend of situation in “Rear Window,” his 1954 masterpiece that’s amongst his finest work and ranks as the third finest mystery on AFI’s checklist. The movie manages to both feel extraordinarily claustrophobic and thoroughly stout, maximizing the utilization of Jeff’s residence to amazing end. The movie, which used to be inspired by true-existence killings, formulation a shiny, frenetic efficiency from Stewart, and colossal supporting turns from Grace Kelly and the repeatedly underappreciated Thelma Ritter. 

Searching at “Rear Window” unfold is massively suspenseful, and Hitchcock proves but again that he can uncover riveting, pulse-pounding stories in restricted spaces. Having your coronary heart beat out of its chest as “Rear Window” reaches its perfect conclusion is for certain one of cinema’s finest joys.


There’s one thing within the water — or somewhat, there is no water. Predicament shut to the arid and sticky California fly, “Chinatown” is galvanized by a true-existence water dispute between California cities duking it out over the siphoning of water from the Owens River, per The New York Instances. The overwhelming heat permeates the enviornment of personal investigator Jake Gittes (Jack Nicholson), who’s employed by an alluring lady, Evelyn Mulwray (Faye Dunaway), to trace her husband Hollis (Darrell Zwerling), a notorious member of the Los Angeles Water Department.

Roman Polanski’s mystery memoir, “Chinatown,” is deeply indebted to traditional noir, all whereas making its brand as a traditional of its very hang. The movie earned wide severe acclaim and industrial success that translated into a good 11 Oscar Nominations, though it finest obtained for finest long-established screenplay. No topic being overshadowed at the Oscars by movies love “The Godfather Fragment 2” and “The Towering Inferno,” the movie has been in a position to shake that off over time, as the tangled and torrid world Gittes finds himself in is as titillating and suspenseful as cinema gets. There are hundreds of estimable performances in “Chinatown,” with Nicholson, Dunaway, and John Huston shiny in particular gleaming.

Punctuated by Jerry Goldsmith’s boozy rating, the movie comes alive with an intricate puzzle-field of a mystery and horrifying revelations (“My sister! My daughter!”). What helps “Chinatown” feel unforgettable is its hanging sense of pessimism. Robert Towne’s Oscar-successful script refuses to search out a spruce conclusion, and the oft-quoted line, “Overlook it, Jake, it’s Chinatown,” reminds us that justice isn’t repeatedly conducted.


A lurid and scintillating sage of a relentless obsession, Alfred Hitchcock of path earned his moniker as the master of suspense with 1958’s “Vertigo,” the finest mystery movie of all time in step with the AFI. It’s not appropriate the AFI who’re wildly impressed with the movie, and “Vertigo” has a reputation for being not appropriate the finest mystery of all time, nevertheless merely the finest movie of all time. Within the mighty Look and Sound ballotof the finest movies ever, “Vertigo” is at the very top, which is excessive praise as the review accounts for a complete bunch of movie critics.

On the fog-ridden streets of San Francisco, James Stewart stars as John “Scottie” Ferguson, a man whose acrophobia (fear of heights) ends his career as a police officer. Downtrodden after shedding his job, Ferguson is employed as a non-public investigator to trace down Madeleine (Kim Novak). He turns into thoroughly entranced, ensuing in an unhealthy, paranoia-sopping wet, extremely unsafe obsession.

Hitchcock’s movie is as enticing because it is unforgettable –- the movie formulation some impressive improvements, including the primary movie to ever expend the dolly zoom. “Vertigo” makes fright-provocative expend of coloration, including haunting inexperienced hues, and formulation iconic imagery, similar to shots of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Lifted by Bernard Herrmann’s lush, romantic rating, “Vertigo” is stout of secrets, and its neat conclusion will lead you to return serve to the movie time and time again to free up all of its mysteries.

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