The Best Mystery Movie of the Last 10 Decades (According to Letterboxed) – Screen Rant | Bowluk

Mystery films have provided audiences with amazing viewing experiences for decades. The best often go beyond presenting a simple crime thriller and instead weave a complex story with characters that fans are quick to commit to.

RELATED: The 10 best mystery movies of the 2010s, according to Letterboxd

Users on Letterboxd – a social media platform for film fans – have made it easy for fans of the genre to decide which mystery films should be on their to-watch lists. The highest-scoring films for each decade represent the elements, trends, and key characteristics that the genre had during that time, making it easy to see how it has evolved and improved since then.


The 1920s

Sherlock Jr (1924) – 4.3

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

In one of the earliest versions of Sherlock to hit the big screen, directed by and starring Buster Keaton, fans are drawn into the title character’s first unsolved mystery. in the Sherlock Jr.the crazy protagonist works as a projectionist for a cinema, but dreams of becoming a detective one day.

The day will soon come when the father of his potential girlfriend becomes the victim of a theft and he sets himself the task of catching the culprit and finding the missing item. As if this premise wasn’t interesting enough for a romcom, things get even more complicated when the protagonist is framed by his rival, leading to some sticky situations.

The 1930s

The will of Dr. Mabuse (1933) – 4.0

Available to stream on HBO Max.

The disturbing thriller by director Fritz Lang, The will of Dr. mabusetells the story of the titular character who, despite being locked up in a psychiatric facility, somehow communicates his evil plans to criminals outside the walls of the building.

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This baffles the detective, who discovers the criminal mastermind’s notes, which contain detailed accounts that seem to correspond to real-life crimes. However, he must prove it isn’t just gossip, which becomes a task that grows increasingly difficult as he realizes he is in danger. It’s a gripping film with an unnerving premise that gets better with every shocking twist that builds to its memorable ending.

The 1940s

The Third Man (1949) – 4.2

Available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

Things aren’t looking good for Holly Martins The third man who, after her childhood friend has offered her a job in Vienna, arrives and learns that he is dead. She becomes suspicious when she learns that someone else was with Harry Lime at the time of his death, and she decides to stay in the country to find out what really happened to him.

Aside from its gripping plot, the film is known for its brilliant use of expressionism to evoke feelings of fear and insecurity. With its sharp angles and harsh lighting, audiences feel just as disoriented as Holly does with each new clue she uncovers.

The 1950s

Rear window (1954) – 4.3

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

Often regarded as one of the best mystery films of all time, rear window is a groundbreaking masterpiece from legendary director Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on LB “Jeff” Jefferies, who is forced to stay at his apartment while he recovers from an injury. Over time, he watches his neighbors through his window, which one day leads to him witnessing a murder.

With his incredible use of visual storytelling and flawless pacing, viewers will soon be on the edge of their seats trying to figure out if Jeff is right about all of this or if there is something more sinister at play.

The 1960s

High and Low (1963) – 4.5

Available to stream on The Criterion Channel.

Led by Akira Kurosawa, up and down revolves around an exciting story of betrayal, violence and blackmail. It’s a well-written police detective story about a shoe company manager who must make the right decisions after his chauffeur’s son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

RELATED: The 10 best thriller movies of all time, according to Letterboxd

The film is divided into three parts, each showing a unique perspective. Audiences can’t be held responsible for the fact that this is an anthology film, but they will eventually see how it all comes together seamlessly towards the end.

The 1970s

China Town (1974) – 4.2

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Director Roman Polanski Chinatown At first glance it may seem like it has a simple plot as it introduces private detective Jake Gittes who is tasked with uncovering the details of a local socialite’s extramarital affair. However, the critically acclaimed neo-noir soon becomes astoundingly complex as the protagonist learns things about political and personal scandals that he is not supposed to know.

The film is inspired by the real-life California water wars, which becomes apparent as viewers watch its multi-layered narrative. There’s a new revelation around every corner, giving the audience barely time to breathe between each intriguing clue.

The 1980s

Fanny and Alexander (1982) – 4.3

Available to stream on HBO Max.

Fanny and Alexander is a three-hour film set in the 1980s that transports viewers into the world of the titular children’s chaotic family and chronicles their troubling experiences at the hands of their new stepfather. Directed by the legendary Ingmar Bergman, the semi-autobiographical film is captivating from start to finish.

Praised for being well-written and surprisingly dark, the bold use of a child’s eyes to comment on the dangers of religion has been discussed and studied countless times. Its mysterious elements are often overshadowed by its supernatural aspects, but are nonetheless present throughout the captivating film.

The 1990s

Se7en (1995) – 4.3

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

Easily one of the most memorable films ever made, from director David Fincher Se7en is known for its twisted ending. The 1995 film tells the story of two detectives and their experiences in the pursuit of a serial killer who always finds a way to incorporate the seven deadly sins into any well-planned murder.

RELATED: 9 subtle clues about the twist ending in Se7en

Se7en may begin as a typical crime drama, but escalates into a truly intriguing mystery with every disturbing scene. Fans picking up on the subtle hints of his iconic twist might see it miles away, but it doesn’t take away from the impact of this scene.

The 2000s

Old Boy (2003) – 4.3

Director Park Chan-wook old boy is a neo-noir action film about the recently released convict Dae-su, who finds himself in the midst of a massive conspiracy. He’s suspicious of who’s working behind the scenes to frame him and ruin his reputation, but he doesn’t know what it takes for him to find out.

It’s a non-English language film that’s best viewed by knowing as little information as possible about its disturbing plot. Aside from perfectly choreographed action sequences, viewers can expect to be intrigued, unsettled and shocked when the film’s mystery is solved.

The 2010s

Incendies (2010) – 4.3

Available to rent on Apple TV+.

In what is often cited as director Denis Villeneuve’s best film, the author focuses attention on two grieving twins, Jeanne and Simon, who have recently lost their mother. in the Incensesthey decide to travel to their old homeland in a Middle Eastern country, but soon realize they may have bitten off more than they can chew.

As they learn more about their mother’s mysterious past, they learn more about their family and themselves in the process. The stark contrast between their love for their mother and the horrific situation they find themselves in leaves a lasting impression on viewers.

NEXT: Top 10 Denis Villeneuve movies according to Letterboxd

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