Best Mystery Movies of 1980


The Long Good Friday

7.6/10 IMDB

In the late 1970s, Cockney crime boss Harold Shand, a gangster trying to become a legitimate property mogul, has big plans to get the American Mafia to bankroll his transformation of a derelict area of London into the possible venue for a future Olympic Games. However, a series of bombings targets his empire on the very weekend the Americans are in town. Shand is convinced there is a traitor in his organization, and sets out to eliminate the rat in typically ruthless fashion.

Starring: Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Paul Freeman, Dave King, Bryan Marshall, Derek Thompson, Eddie Constantine, P.H. Moriarty, Alan Ford, Paul Barber ..
Directed by: John Mackenzie
Release date: 1980-11-01

Dressed to Kill

7.1/10 IMDB

After witnessing a mysterious woman brutally slay a homemaker, prostitute Liz Blake finds herself trapped in a dangerous situation. While the police thinks she is the murderer, the real killer is intent on silencing her only witness.

Starring: Michael Caine, Angie Dickinson, Nancy Allen, Keith Gordon, Dennis Franz, David Margulies, Ken Baker, Susanna Clemm, Brandon Maggart, Amalie Collier ..
Directed by: Brian De Palma
Release date: 1980-07-25


6.5/10 IMDB

A serial killer brutally slays and dismembers several gay men in New York's S&M and leather districts. The young police officer Steve Burns is sent undercover onto the streets as a decoy for the murderer. Working almost completely isolated from his department, he has to learn and practice the complex rules and signals of this little society.

Starring: Al Pacino, Karen Allen, Paul Sorvino, Richard Cox, Don Scardino, Joe Spinell, Jay Acovone, Randy Jurgensen, Barton Heyman, Kirsten Baker ..
Directed by: William Friedkin
Release date: 1980-02-15

American Gigolo

6.3/10 IMDB

Julian makes a lucrative living as an escort to older women in the Los Angeles area. He begins a relationship with Michelle, a local politician's wife, without expecting any pay. One of his clients is murdered and Detective Sunday begins pumping him for details on his different clients, something he is reluctant to do considering the nature of his work. Julian begins to suspect he's being framed. Meanwhile Michelle begins to fall in love with him.

Starring: Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Hector Elizondo, K Callan, Carole Cook, Nina van Pallandt, Bill Duke, Brian Davies, Tom Stewart, Patricia Carr ..
Directed by: Paul Schrader
Release date: 1980-02-08

Bad Timing

6.9/10 IMDB

Alex Linden is a psychiatrist living in Vienna who meets Milena Flaherty though a mutual friend. Though Alex is quite a bit older than Milena, he's attracted to her young, carefree spirit. Despite the fact that Milena is already married, their friendship quickly turns into a deeply passionate love affair that threatens to overtake them both. When Milena ends up in the hospital from an overdose, Alex is taken into custody by Inspector Netusil.

Starring: Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel, Denholm Elliott, Daniel Massey, Dana Gillespie, William Hootkins, Eugene Lipinski, George Roubicek, Stefan Gryff ..
Directed by: Nicolas Roeg
Release date: 1980-03-02

Scooby Goes Hollywood

5.8/10 IMDB

Shaggy and Scooby-Doo quit their Saturday morning TV series in pursuit of Hollywood stardom.

Starring: Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Heather North, Patricia Stevens, Marilyn Schreffler, Rip Taylor, Michael Bell, Joan Gerber, Stan Jones ..
Directed by: Ray Patterson
Release date: 1980-01-01

The Ninth Configuration

6.8/10 IMDB

Col. Vincent Kane is a military psychiatrist who takes charge of an army mental hospital situated in a secluded castle. Among Kane's many eccentric patients is Capt. Billy Cutshaw, a troubled astronaut in the midst of an existential crisis. Although Kane's own grasp on sanity is questionable, he manages to engage Cutshaw in a series of thoughtful conversations about science and faith that deeply affect the lives of both men.

Starring: Stacy Keach, Scott Wilson, Ed Flanders, Neville Brand, George DiCenzo, Moses Gunn, Robert Loggia, Joe Spinell, Alejandro Rey, Tom Atkins ..
Directed by: William Peter Blatty
Release date: 1980-02-29

Prom Night

5.3/10 IMDB

At a high school senior prom, a masked killer stalks four teenagers who were responsible for the accidental death of a classmate six years prior.

Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Jamie Lee Curtis, Casey Stevens, Anne-Marie Martin, Antoinette Bower, Michael Tough, David Mucci, Robert A. Silverman, Pita Oliver, Jeff Wincott ..
Directed by: Paul Lynch
Release date: 1980-07-18

The Mirror Crack'd

6.2/10 IMDB

Jane Marple solves the mystery when a local woman is poisoned and a visiting movie star seems to have been the intended victim.

Starring: Angela Lansbury, Geraldine Chaplin, Tony Curtis, Edward Fox, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, Wendy Morgan, Margaret Courtenay, Carolyn Pickles ..
Directed by: Guy Hamilton
Release date: 1980-09-19

The Return of the King

5.6/10 IMDB

Two Hobbits struggle to destroy the Ring in Mount Doom while their friends desperately fight evil Lord Sauron's forces in a final battle.

Starring: Orson Bean, Theodore Bikel, William Conrad, John Huston, Roddy McDowall, Theodore Gottlieb, Paul Frees, Casey Kasem, Sonny Melendrez, Nellie Bellflower ..
Directed by: Jules Bass, Arthur Rankin, Jr.
Release date: 1980-05-11
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : A Strange Harvest

A Strange Harvest

7.8/10 IMDB

Emmy Award-winning hour documentary about the worldwide animal mutilation mystery that has haunted ranchers and law enforcement since the 1950's. TV producer Linda Moulton Howe follows the eyewitness testimonies and the facts where they lead, linking the unusual animal deaths to a non-human intelligence and technology.

Directed by: Linda Moulton Howe
Release date: 1980-11-12

The Private Eyes

6.5/10 IMDB

The lord and lady of a capacious manor are killed, and the lord's ghost seems to have returned to knock off the staff one by one, causing Inspector Winship and Dr. Tart to investigate the wacky house and its inhabitants.

Starring: Don Knotts, Tim Conway, Trisha Noble, Bernard Fox, Grace Zabriskie, John Fujioka, Irwin Keyes, Fred Stuthman, Robert V. Barron, Patrick Cranshaw ..
Directed by: Lang Elliott
Release date: 1980-04-17


6.1/10 IMDB

In this modern-day version of the Rasputin story, David Hemmings plays an up-and-coming senator, Nick Rast, whose young son is terminally ill with leukaemia. A mysterious faith healer, Gregory Wolfe, appears and seems to cure the boy. Rast's wife Sandy falls in love with Wolfe, but the powerful interests behind Rast's career, represented by geriatric monster Doc Wheelan are less happy with events.

Starring: Robert Powell, David Hemmings, Carmen Duncan, Broderick Crawford, Gus Mercurio, Alan Cassell, Mark Spain, Alyson Best, David Hemmings, Carmen Duncan ..
Directed by: Simon Wincer
Release date: 1980-03-28

Death Ship

4.8/10 IMDB

Survivors of a tragic shipping collision are rescued by a mysterious black ship which appears out of the fog. Little do they realise that the ship is actually a Nazi torture ship which has sailed the seas for years, luring unsuspecting sailors aboard and killing them off one by one.

Starring: George Kennedy, Richard Crenna, Nick Mancuso, Sally Ann Howes, Kate Reid, Victoria Burgoyne, Jennifer McKinney, Danny Higham, Saul Rubinek, Murray Cruchley ..
Directed by: Alvin Rakoff
Release date: 1980-03-07

Rough Cut

5.6/10 IMDB

A romantic comedy with action and suspense. Two sophisticated jewel thieves join forces to steal $30 million in uncut jewels. Despite a continuous exchange of quips they eventually become romantically involved.

Starring: Burt Reynolds, Lesley-Anne Down, David Niven, Timothy West, Patrick Magee, Al Matthews, Susan Littler, Joss Ackland, Isabel Dean, Wolf Kahler ..
Directed by: Don Siegel
Release date: 1980-06-19
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Death of a Princess

Death of a Princess

7.8/10 IMDB

A journalist investigates a newspaper story of the execution of an Arab princess.

Starring: Sawsan Badr, Paul Freeman, Judy Parfitt, Samir Sabri, Ismet Raafat, Geoffrey Collins, Paul Copley, Mohammed Tawfik ..
Directed by: Antony Thomas
Release date: 1980-04-09

The Formula

5.6/10 IMDB

While investigating the death of a friend and fellow cop, Los Angeles police officer Barney Caine stumbles across evidence that Nazis created a synthetic alternative to gasoline during World War II. This revelation has the potential to end the established global oil industry, making the formula a very valuable and dangerous piece of information. Eventually, Caine must contend with oil tycoon Adam Steiffel, who clearly has his own agenda regarding the formula.

Starring: George C. Scott, Marlon Brando, Marthe Keller, John Gielgud, G. D. Spradlin, Beatrice Straight, Richard Lynch, John van Dreelen, Ike Eisenmann, Marshall Thompson ..
Directed by: John G. Avildsen
Release date: 1980-12-19

Fade to Black

6.1/10 IMDB

A shy, lonely film buff embarks on a killing spree against those who browbeat and betray him, all the while stalking his idol, a Marilyn Monroe lookalike.

Starring: Dennis Christopher, Tim Thomerson, Gwynne Gilford, Norman Burton, Linda Kerridge, Morgan Paull, James Luisi, Eve Brent, John Steadman, Marcie Barkin ..
Directed by: Vernon Zimmerman
Release date: 1980-10-14

The First Deadly Sin

5.9/10 IMDB

A serial killer is stalking New York. Inspector Edward X. Delaney is an NYPD detective, nearing retirement, who is trying to put together the pieces of the case. Are the victims somehow linked? What does the brutal method of death signify?

Starring: Frank Sinatra, Faye Dunaway, David Dukes, George Coe, Brenda Vaccaro, Martin Gabel, Anthony Zerbe, James Whitmore, Bruce Willis, Joe Spinell ..
Directed by: Brian G. Hutton
Release date: 1980-10-03
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Night Accident

Night Accident

6.4/10 IMDB

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Starring: Pyotr Velyaminov, Galina Polskikh, Tatyana Pelttser, Lyubov Sokolova, Aleksei Zharkov, Yuri Kayurov, Boris Smorchkov, Valentina Grushina, Nikolai Parfyonov, Natalya Nazarova ..
Directed by: Venyamin Dorman
Release date: 1980-06-06

The Island

5.3/10 IMDB

David Nau leads a band of modern day pirates who raid yachts and sail boats of people on vacation in the Caribbean. When reporter Blair Maynard and his son arrive to investigate the mystery of the disappearing boats, Nau and his band of raiders decide to induct them into their tribe.

Starring: Michael Caine, David Warner, Angela Punch McGregor, Frank Middlemass, Don Henderson, Dudley Sutton, Colin Jeavons, Zakes Mokae, Jeffrey Frank, John O'Leary ..
Directed by: Michael Ritchie
Release date: 1980-06-13
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Oh Heavenly Dog

Oh Heavenly Dog

5.4/10 IMDB

Browning is a PI with a bad cold, who's sent to investigate a case by a mysterious client. He stumbles across the body of a young woman and is stabbed to death, and when he wakes up in heaven, they tell him he's "marginal material," and they can only decide on his final destination through one last assignment: to go back and solve his own murder. As a dog. A cute fluffy little dog (Benji). Undaunted, Browning begins to investigate the case as best he can around his canine disabilities (dialing the phone presents a special challenge) to solve the murders, save the girl, and see justice done.

Starring: Chevy Chase, Jane Seymour, Omar Sharif, Robert Morley, Lorenzo Music, Benjean, Stuart Germain, Alan Sues, John Stride, Donnelly Rhodes ..
Directed by: Joe Camp
Release date: 1980-07-11

The Nude Bomb

5.1/10 IMDB

When KAOS develops a bomb that can dissolve all clothing, Maxwell Smart is brought in to foil the evil plot.

Starring: Don Adams, Sylvia Kristel, Rhonda Fleming, Dana Elcar, Andrea Howard, Pamela Hensley, Norman Lloyd, Bill Dana, Vittorio Gassman, Joey Forman ..
Directed by: Clive Donner
Release date: 1980-05-09

Closet Cases of the Nerd Kind

7.0/10 IMDB

Sewage worker Roy Dreary and an assortment of odd characters meet up with some cute and cuddly extraterrestrials traveling to earth in a giant pie in the sky. Dreary develops an obsession with mashed potatoes, whipped cream and maraschino cherries.

Starring: Stan Greiwe, Hennen Chambers, Debby Danzara, Laurence Wright, Luverne Mitchell, Corey Burton, Steve Erkle ..
Directed by: Rick Harper
Release date: 1980-08-08


5.0/10 IMDB

When Dr. Peter Fales's patients start getting annihilated by an unknown serial killer, he and his daughter Alison both come under suspicion. Julie, a syndicated “Dear Abby”-style columnist, is in one of Dr. Fales's therapy groups. After she receives several ominous letters she not only wonders if Dr. Fales might be behind the killings, she also starts to suspect her estranged husband.

Starring: Klaus Kinski, Donna Wilkes, Marianna Hill, Craig Wasson, Richard Herd, Joe Regalbuto, Christopher Lloyd, Flo Lawrence, Kiva Lawrence, Claude Duvernoy ..
Directed by: David Paulsen
Release date: 1980-09-01
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Return

The Return

3.6/10 IMDB

Two young children and an adult in a small town have an encounter with an alien spaceship. 25 years later the children are reunited as adults in the same town which is now beset by strange cattle mutilations. Matters become worse when the cattle mutilations are joined by human murders and mutilations.

Starring: Jan-Michael Vincent, Cybill Shepherd, Martin Landau, Raymond Burr, Neville Brand, Brad Rearden, Vincent Schiavelli, Ernest Anderson, Darby Hinton, Steven Hirsch ..
Directed by: Greydon Clark
Release date: 1980-03-31
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

Why Didn't They Ask Evans?

7.0/10 IMDB

This intriguing story is set in the 1930s at a country house, where two amateur sleuths, Bobby Jones and Lady Frankie Derwent, try to unravel the mystery behind a tale of murder, suspense and false identities. And the only clues the two have to go on are the puzzling last words of a dying man. Featuring characters created by Agatha Christie, Why Didn't They Ask Evans is a classic crime thriller sure to please murder-mystery fans.

Starring: Francesca Annis, John Gielgud, Bernard Miles, Eric Porter, Leigh Lawson, Madeline Smith, Connie Booth, Joan Hickson, Lynda La Plante, James Warwick ..
Directed by: John Davies, Tony Wharmby
Release date: 1980-03-30

The Hearse

4.8/10 IMDB

A schoolteacher moves into her deceased aunt’s house in a small Californian town, and is harassed by unfriendly locals and a mysterious hearse.

Starring: Trish Van Devere, Joseph Cotten, David Gautreaux, Donald Hotton, Med Flory, Donald Petrie, Christopher McDonald, Perry Lang, Frederic Franklyn, Olive Dunbar ..
Directed by: George Bowers
Release date: 1980-06-01
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Music of Erich Zann

The Music of Erich Zann

6.5/10 IMDB

Charles Dexter Ward, a young student of metaphysics, befriends Erich Zann, an elderly violinist who lives on the floor above him. Ward is fascinated by Zann's sinister yet wonderful music, which he hears late at night drifting down from above. But he discovers more then he bargains for when he peers at what beckons beyond that strange curtained window in Zann's room...

Starring: Robert Alexander, Darryl Warren, Robert Rothman, Barbara Snapp ..
Directed by: John Strysik
Release date: 1980-10-01
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Die Laughing

Die Laughing

4.7/10 IMDB

A San Francisco cab driver find himself in possession of a monkey that is carrying a formula for turning atomic waste into a plutonium bomb. He finds himself framed for a murder and chased…

Starring: Robby Benson, Linda Grovenor, Charles Durning, Elsa Lanchester, Bud Cort, Rita Taggart, Marty Zagon, Larry Hankin, Peter Coyote, Charles Fleischer ..
Directed by: Jeff Werner
Release date: 1980-04-01

Don't Eat the Snow in Hawaii

7.8/10 IMDB

Magnum's old Navy buddy is dead and the Navy says he was a cocaine smuggler. Magnum sets out to prove his buddy was framed.

Starring: Tom Selleck, John Hillerman, Roger E. Mosley, Larry Manetti, Pamela Susan Shoop, W.K. Stratton, Allen Williams, Clyde Kusatsu, Robert Loggia, Dorit Stevens ..
Directed by: Roger Young
Release date: 1980-12-11
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Deadline


5.6/10 IMDB

A horror film about a screenwriter who loses the ability to distinguish between his fantasy world and the real world, with disastrous consequences. As he ruminates on his place in any world and loses his grip, he also loses his wife and his children's respect, and critics tear him apart. The final undoing of this screenwriter is a deadline that must be met at all costs, costs that perhaps are too great.

Starring: Stephen Young, Sharon Masters, Marvin Goldhar, Jeannie Elias, Cindy Hinds, Phillip Leonard, Tod Woodcroft, Bev Marsh, Carole Pope, Kevan Staples ..
Directed by: Mario Philip Azzopardi
Release date: 1980-01-01
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : PSI Factor

PSI Factor

4.9/10 IMDB

Aliens from another dimension cross space and time to come to Earth. A scientist tries to discover what their motives are.

Starring: Peter Mark Richman, Gretchen Corbett, Britt Leach, Dan Sturkie, Betty Ramey ..
Directed by: Bryan Trizers
Release date: 1980-01-01
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Union City

Union City

6.0/10 IMDB

A 1950s accountant with a restless wife grows paranoid after hiding a milk thief's corpse next door.

Starring: Dennis Lipscomb, Debbie Harry, Sam McMurray, Terry Walsh, Cynthia Crisp, Pat Benatar, Everett McGill, Taylor Mead, CCH Pounder, Irina Maleeva ..
Directed by: Marcus Reichert
Release date: 1980-09-26
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Taste of Blood

Taste of Blood

5.6/10 IMDB

In "Sabor a Sangre" (literally, "Flavor of Blood"), Antonio Aguilar plays Mauricio Rosales, whom along his good friend Chelelo (Eleazar García) are traveling towards another friend's ranch. During their trip, they find the dead bodies of a group of men, so they take them to the next town hoping to find some answers. At the town, they are informed that the dead men were a posse sent by police chief Rómulo (José Gálvez) to kill "El Tigre", a mysterious serial killer who has been hunting down the townspeople, viciously killing even women and children. (cont.

Starring: Antonio Aguilar ..
Directed by: Mario Hernández
Release date: 1980-06-26
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Nightkill


5.5/10 IMDB

The wife of a wealthy industrialist finds herself caught-up in a web of intrigue & murder which was created by her own deceit. When she tries to escape the results of her actions, she too falls victim to deception.

Starring: Robert Mitchum, Jaclyn Smith, Mike Connors, Fritz Weaver, Sybil Danning, James Franciscus, Belinda Mayne, Tina Menard, Melanie MacQueen, Michael Anderson Jr. ..
Directed by: Ted Post
Release date: 1980-12-18
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Sicilian Defence

The Sicilian Defence

6.2/10 IMDB

A group of police detectives are trying to prevent shipping abroad of stolen art valuables.

Starring: Nikolai Volkov Ml., Aleksandr Abdulov, Aleksandr Pashutin, Valentin Nikulin, Lyudmila Shagalova ..
Directed by: Igor Usov
Release date: 1980-06-06
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Curse of King Tut's Tomb

The Curse of King Tut's Tomb

4.8/10 IMDB

Egyptologist Robin Ellis and American reporter Eva Marie Saint uncover King Tut's burial site but wealthy profiteer Raymond Burr tries to make sure that the valuable artifacts in its chambers never leave the country.

Starring: Eva Marie Saint, Raymond Burr, Tom Baker, Robin Ellis, Harry Andrews, Wendy Hiller, Angharad Rees, Barbara Murray, Faith Brook, Patricia Routledge ..
Directed by: Philip Leacock
Release date: 1980-05-08
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Memory of Eva Ryker

The Memory of Eva Ryker

6.6/10 IMDB

A young woman has spent her life tormented by the death of her mother, who was on a ship torpedoed during World War II. When her father hires an investigator to look into the circumstances of the mother's death 30 years prior, it triggers a new rash of emotional turmoil for the young woman and uncovers a heinous crime.

Starring: Natalie Wood, Ralph Bellamy, Robert Foxworth, Roddy McDowall, Bradford Dillman, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Peter Graves, Mel Ferrer, Morgan Fairchild, Robert Hogan ..
Directed by: Walter Grauman
Release date: 1980-05-05
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Strange Force

Strange Force

6.5/10 IMDB

Starring: Paulo Biagiolli, Gisele Castilho, Pércio da Silva, Genésio de Carvalho, Emílio Di Biasi, Selma Egrei, Ênio Gonçalves, Ari Janishe, Antônio Jesus, Roy Kooger ..
Directed by: Pedro Mawashe
Release date: 1980-09-11
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Plato's: The Movie

Plato's: The Movie

5.7/10 IMDB

Two intrepid female reporters enter Hollywood's most exclusive club, Plato's Retreat West. Between two orgies, they try to elucidate mysterious crimes. Because an assassin would defeat his female partners with the knife after honoring them in the room fantasies.

Starring: Seka, Lisa De Leeuw, Tiffany Clark, Ashley Welles, Becky Savage, Mike Ranger, Greg Michaels, Taurus, Maria Tortuga, Jane Lindsay ..
Directed by: Joe Sherman
Release date: 1980-10-29
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Murder That Wouldn't Die

The Murder That Wouldn't Die

5.2/10 IMDB

William Conrad stars as a retired L.A.P.D. detective who has moved to Hawaii and taken a job as a college security chief and assistant football coach in this pilot to a post-"Cannon" series to have been called "Battles." With the aid of his niece, the school's star football player, a local tough-turned-college student, and the college dean, he investigates two related murders that occurred nearly 40 years apart.

Starring: William Conrad, Lane Caudell, Robin Mattson, Marj Dusay, Tommy Aguilar, Jimmy Borges, Roger Bowen, Sharon Acker, Edward Binns, José Ferrer ..
Directed by: Ron Satlof
Release date: 1980-03-09
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : The Sensuous Detective

The Sensuous Detective

4.7/10 IMDB

Some people think the life of a private detective is filled with cheap thrills and gorgeous babes. And they're right. Take detective Mac Donald for instance. When he's not dodging bullets, he's ducking between the sheets with a beautiful client or two. What a life!

Starring: Serena, John Leslie, Laurien Dominique, Jesie St. James, Lin Loni, Jamie Gillis, Maria Tortuga, Valerie Darlyn, Sharon Kane, Dorothy LeMay ..
Directed by: M.M. Dimitri
Release date: 1980-01-01
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Tales of the Unexpected: Hitchhiker

Tales of the Unexpected: Hitchhiker

0.0/10 IMDB

A fast-car enthusiast runs into trouble after picking up a trampish hitchhiker.

Starring: Roald Dahl, Rod Taylor, Cyril Cusack, John Forgeham ..
Directed by: Alastair Reed
Release date: 1980-03-22
Best Mystery Movies of 1980 : Beat the Deva

Beat the Deva

0.0/10 IMDB

Using film noir, documentary, and animation, focuses on the offbeat artistic and spiritual theories of Russian composer, Alexander Scriabin. Show how a detective/filmmaker, attempting to cash in on the special effects of inner space, becomes obsessed with the idea that he has been chosen to compose Scriabin's "mystery" festival.

Directed by: William Arntz, John Katchmer
Release date: 1980-04-02

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