The 12 Best Movies Like Knives Out

It’s fair to say that Knives Out, the 2019 detective thriller starring Daniel Craig and directed by The Last Jedi helmsman Rian Johnson, was a breakout hit. Nobody expected Johnson and Craig’s concoction of nostalgic sleuthing, eccentric personalities, and tightly-wound plotting to become quite the runaway success that it was, but Knives Out captured the public imagination in a way that felt unprecedented and exciting. 

If you’ve just watched Knives Out and you’re looking for a similar thrill, then there are plenty of options out there for you to choose from. Here are the 12 best movies like Knives Out to watch right now!

1. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (dir. Rian Johnson, 2022)

Obviously, the first place you should go after watching and enjoying the original Knives Out is this 2022 sequel. Glass Onion once again sees Daniel Craig take up the magnifying glass as eccentric Southern sleuth Benoit Blanc, but this time around, the political commentary is perhaps a little more overt and writ large than it was in the previous outing. Even if you don’t want to engage with that aspect of the story, though, this is a taut, satisfying detective story.

2. See How They Run (dir. Tom George, 2022)

When promotional materials for See How They Run began to appear, it was difficult not to dismiss the movie as a mere Knives Out ripoff. Then, it was released, and the moviegoing public, as well as the critics, admitted they’d been wrong. See How They Run is a great romp, and it’s got some stellar talent backing it up; stars Saoirse Ronan and Sam Rockwell are eternally watchable in everything they do, let alone a Christie-inspired narrative like this one.

3. Murder on the Orient Express (dir. Kenneth Branagh, 2017)

Why not return to where it all began if you want cosy detective thrills? Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express is every bit as stately, reverential, and well-presented as you’d hope from a filmmaker of his calibre. The director casts himself as Hercule Poirot, the legendary Belgian detective who’s fussy as anything and likes to use his “little grey cells” to solve crimes. If you don’t know the resolution for this one, it’s electrifying.

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4. Death on the Nile (dir. Kenneth Branagh, 2022)

If you enjoyed Murder on the Orient Express, you’ll be pleased to know that Branagh once again ventured into the storied world of Agatha Christie to film an adaptation of another of her most well-loved works, Death on the Nile. Again, if you don’t already know the plot outline, this will be a thrilling mystery for you to follow, but even if you do, it’s nice to see legendary actors like Branagh, Dawn French, and Annette Bening strutting their stuff.

5. Sleuth (dir. Joseph Mankiewicz, 1972)

There’s something delicious about Rian Johnson’s skewering of the well-to-do in Knives Out and its sequel. If this is the element of the movies you love the most, you should definitely revisit Sleuth, an excellent and ever-so-slightly postmodern mystery movie directed by one of the greatest Hollywood directors of all time. Starring a game Laurence Olivier and a young Michael Caine, Sleuth would be remade in later years with Caine taking Olivier’s role.

6. The Big Sleep (dir. Howard Hawks, 1946)

The movie that launched a genre. Well, not quite – film noir has messier and less clear origins than that – but The Big Sleep is an archetypal text for anyone wishing to study the noir genre. Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall are electrifying in Raymond Chandler’s sordid, seedy tale of 1940s Los Angeles. The private detective archetype – talks out of the corner of the mouth, wears a long coat, waxes lyrical about the nature of morality – arguably started here.

7. Brick (dir. Rian Johnson, 2005)

As a movie, Brick is excellent. As a directorial debut, it’s nothing short of astonishing. Johnson has apparently always had a fascination for detective movies, as this 2005 outing starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt demonstrates. Brick is set in an American high school and revolves around a young man seeking the truth behind what’s happening to his ex-girlfriend. Gordon-Levitt makes just as compelling a morally complex detective as Johnson’s heroes, and the story here is well-constructed.

8. Gone Girl (dir. David Fincher, 2014)

Gone Girl is a decidedly bleaker and darker affair than Knives Out, and it offers less of a puzzle box-style mystery for viewers to unravel. Nevertheless, it’s a twisting thriller directed by one of the best in the genre, and it’ll give you a glimpse of just what Ben Affleck can do as an actor when he’s handed material this solid. We won’t spoil any of Gone Girl’s twists and turns; if you’re going in blind, you’re in for a treat.

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9. Memento (dir. Christopher Nolan, 2000)

The jury is out on the quality of Nolan’s most recent movie, Tenet, but Memento remains a high watermark in his career. Guy Pearce stars as a man suffering from anterograde amnesia, a condition which causes him to fail to form new memories. Pearce is drawn into a dark intrigue as he tries to discover the truth behind a grave attack against him and his wife, but things aren’t necessarily as they seem at first glance (well, okay, definitely not; this is Christopher Nolan, after all).

10. Hot Fuzz (dir. Edgar Wright, 2007)

While Hot Fuzz tends more towards the comedy end than the detective thriller side of things, it’s still a delightful slice of mystery thriller madness, and it’s got Edgar Wright’s characteristic snappy direction too, meaning every shot is a delight to behold. Wright makes his movies with care and attention, but he never forgets to keep characters at their core, so Hot Fuzz is not only a great mystery movie but an emotionally involving one as well.

11. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (dir. David Fincher, 2011)

Just like Knives Out, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo stars Daniel Craig as a detective figure, although this one is decidedly darker and more upsetting than Johnson’s relatively lighthearted outing. Craig is seeking the truth behind the disappearance of a young girl more than 40 years prior to the events of this story, and he’s aided by Rooney Mara’s capable Lisbeth Salander. This is a prime slice of Scandinavian noir viewed through a US lens.

12. Sherlock Holmes (dir. Guy Ritchie, 2009)

Who would have thought that Guy Ritchie would pull it out of the bag? After a couple of dire failures (Swept Away and Revolver stick out the most in our minds), Ritchie made one of the best movies of his career in Sherlock Holmes, which stars Robert Downey Jr as the titular detective and Jude Law as his long-suffering partner Dr. Watson. This movie perfectly encapsulates the swashbuckling adventure tone of the original Arthur Conan Doyle source.      

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