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Best Sherlock Holmes Movies

author
James Smith
• Monday, 25 January, 2021
• 11 min read

When a bored Holmes eagerly takes the case of Gabrielle Valley after an attempt on her life, the search for her missing husband leads to Loch Ness and the legendary monster. Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of deaths at a castle with each foretold by the delivery of orange pips to the victims.

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Contents

In a Manhattan psychiatric hospital a man, convinced he is Sherlock Holmes, is treated by a female doctor who happens to be named Watson. Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of so-called “pajama suicides”.

He knows the female villain behind them is as cunning as Moriarty and as venomous as a spider. Detective Sherlock Holmes and his stalwart partner Watson engages in a battle of wits and brawn with a nemesis whose plot is a threat to all of England.

Sherlock Holmes investigates the murders committed by Jack the Ripper and discovers a conspiracy to protect the killer. The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.

To treat his friend's cocaine induced delusions, Watson lures Sherlock Holmes to Sigmund Freud. A mysterious blonde woman kills one of a psychiatrist's patients, and then goes after the high-class call-girl who witnessed the murder.

He’s been adapted to movies and TV countless times, and we’ve organized all of his works which got a Tomato meter score in chronological order. That includes films from Basil Rathbone’s defining decades-long run accessorized with the deerstalker hat, Robert Downey Jr.’s blockbuster take, and Sherlock‘s modern spin with Benedict Cumberbatch.

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Critics Consensus: Guy Ritchie's directorial style might not be quite the best fit for an update on the legendary detective, but Sherlock Holmes benefits from the elementary appeal of a strong performance by Robert Downey, Jr. Critics Consensus: Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows is a good yarn thanks to its well-matched leading men but overall stumbles duplicating the well-oiled thrills of the original.

Critics Consensus: Mr. Holmes focuses on the man behind the mysteries, and while it may lack Baker Street thrills, it more than compensates with tenderly wrought, well-acted drama. Critics Consensus: Nola Holmes brings a breath of fresh air to Baker Street -- and leaves plenty of room for Millie Bobby Brown to put her effervescent stamp on a franchise in waiting.

Having been portrayed on screen in excess of two hundred and fifty times, producing any list of film titles featuring Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (who first appeared in print in 1887) is no easy task. Billy Wilder’s (who directed and co-wrote) film outing starring Robert Stephenson as Holmes and Colin Blakely as Watson is something of a cult favorite.

The plot comprises two separate stories the main one of which involves the apparent sighting of the Loch Ness monster and the covert building of a submarine. Whilst the plot(s) sound interesting, and the performances are certainly fitting, the finished article is understandably a little disjointed and veers too far into parody.

An interesting addition to the list as the lead character, a widowed millionaire, (played by George C. Scott) actually only believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes. Based on the play by James Goldman (who also wrote the screenplay), the story focuses more on the relationship/interaction between the two leads as ‘ Holmes follows a series of impossible clues.

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The psychological spin and Holmes search for a ‘Moriarty of the mind’ makes the film in some ways comparable to elements of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. Despite the loyal cult following the film has now gained (the U.S. band taking the title for their own name) Goldman always felt the play never quite worked.

Famous mouse detective Basil is assisted by Dr Dawson to foil a plot by arch villain Rattan to take over England using a mechanical queen. Basil in the film is voiced by Barrie Ingham with Vincent Price well suited to supplying the tones for arch villain Rattan.

It followed on from the financial disaster that had been the previous year’s The Black Cauldron, Basil the Great Mouse Detective was a thankful success at the box office, despite the failure of its predecessor leading to the slashing of its own budget during production. However, regardless of the engaging plot, the treats for both Holmes and film fans, fine voice performances and a score from Henry Mancini, this final traditional cell animation from Disney does betray itself with evidence of financial caution and corner cutting.

Although the thrilling final ‘Big Ben’ clock tower action sequence (possibly drawing from 1979’the Thirty Nine Steps) does feature Disney’s first use of CGI animation (The Black Cauldron was however the first to be released) as part of its impressive moving clock cog scenes, this does leave one to speculate if more CGI had been planned in with the original budget. The teaser trailers for director Guy Ritchie’s first Holmes film which featured Sherlock stripped to the waist bare-knuckle boxing, and then describing via narration and slow-motion replay the effects his blows were having on his opponent, sent purists into fits of disdain.

However, the finished film starring Robert Downey Jr with Jude Law as Watson is a commendable production and enjoyable Victorian adventure. The plot follows an investigation into a ritual killing which develops into a grander quest to prevent a mystic taking over the British Empire by supernatural means, this comes to a thrilling conclusion set on top of a partially constructed Tower Bridge in London.

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The film was followed by a sequel ‘ Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows’ in 2011, this arguably lacked the same balance of action and plot and weighed too heavily on stunts and spectacle. ‘ Holmes is going to solve the crime!’ Declares a jolly schoolboy from a side window of an English boarding school, and indeed he does, as a teenage Homes (Nicholas Rowe) becomes acquainted with new boy John Watson (Alan Cox) as the duo take on an underground Egyptian cult in snowy Victorian London.

Visuals aside, there is some genuine character and depth to the script, the young Holmes of this story possesses all the powers of deduction fans are familiar with but here he is frequently emotional and impulsive with the outcome of a romantic subplot going someway to explain the cool nature of the older Sherlock. With hundreds of movies and series already crowding the Sherlock Holmes canon, it takes expert sleuthing to determine which rank above the rest.

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London’s Roger Johnson called the newly restored flick “a wonderful treat.” The first small-screen American take on Conan Doyle’s stories starred Ronald Howard as Holmes and H. Marion Crawford as Watson.

Multiple Shylockian admitted to having a soft spot for this “hilarious” reimagining that flips the personalities of its dynamic detective duo, featuring Ben Kingsley’s Watson as the brain and Michael Caine’s Holmes as the bumbling student. For one of the most recent big-screen adaptations, Linger paid particular kudos to Jude Law, who plays “one of the very best Watson sever” opposite Robert Downey Jr.'s Holmes.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson investigate the legend of a supernatural hound, a beast that may be stalking a young heir on the fog-shrouded moorland that makes up his estate. The master sleuth hunts his archenemy, Professor Moriarty, who is planning the crime of the century.

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Sherlock Holmes investigates a series of deaths at a castle with each foretold by the delivery of orange pips to the victims. When a valuable pearl with a sinister reputation is stolen, Sherlock Holmes must investigate its link to a series of brutal murders.

When a gentlewoman is found dead with her throat torn out, the villagers blame a supernatural monster. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson must protect a Swiss inventor of an advanced bomb sight from falling into German hands.

Sherlock Holmes investigates when young women around London turn up murdered, each with a finger severed. Scotland Yard suspects a madman, but Holmes believes the killings to be part of a diabolical plot.

When the fabled Star of Rhodesia diamond is stolen on a London to Edinburgh train and the son of its owner is murdered, Sherlock Holmes must discover which of his suspicious fellow passengers is responsible. During WWII several murders occur at a convalescent home where Dr. Watson has volunteered his services.

He summons Holmes for help and the master detective proceeds to solve the crime from ... See full summary ». Holmes is recruited to escort the heir to a European throne safely back to his homeland after his father's assassination.

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Sherlock Holmes sets out to discover why a trio of murderous villains, including a dangerously attractive female, are desperate to obtain three unassuming and inexpensive little music boxes. Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson travel to Washington D.C. in order to prevent a secret document from falling into enemy hands.

When a Nazi saboteur jeeringly predicts to the nation new depredations via the radio 'Voice of Terror', the Homeland Security Inner Council summons Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone) to help ... See full summary ». The reason why, to paraphrase the esteemed Sherlock, is mere “elementary.” Arthur Conan Doyle’s brainchild is the basis for all modern detection, from the analysis of fingerprints and ballistics (which eventually became forensic procedure) to the pipe and deerstalker cap that’s since become a symbol for stalking criminals.

Doyle reportedly based the character on real life mentor Joseph Bell, but from his first screen appearance in the 1900’s Sherlock Holmes Baffled, the Sherlock role has been open to interpretation. Of the 70 performers who’ve had the pleasure, many, including Christopher Lee, Roger Moore, and Charlton Heston have donned the deerstalker to less than stellar results.

With that in mind, we’ve picked what we believe to be the finest adaptations to date, so that one can binge detect while waiting for BBC’s Sherlock to return this winter. Set in New York City, Miller plays Sherlock as an eccentric who was forced to relocate in the wake of rampant drug use and wanting a fresh start.

Partnered with protege Joan Watson (Lucy Liu), the duo traverse a slew of mysteries both classical and original-- especially with the added twist of Moriarty being a vivacious female (Natalie Dormer). Response to Elementary was initially mixed, especially in comparison to BBC’s Sherlock, but it's proven a sleeper success due to Miller’s psychologically tainted performance.

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The British actor brought a bundle of new Sherlock details to the table; namely, the detective’s father issues, his mother’s history with opium, and his field experience with MI6 (between seasons 2 and 3). Played with haunting authority by English actor Rupert Everett, this Holmes is not a man easily amused by life’s finer things.

In fact, given the TV lineage before him, Everett decides to emphasize the character’s lesser qualities: patronizing arrogance, emotional indifference, and of course, fluctuating drug use. Silk Stocking pulls this card instantly in the opener, which shows Holmes lounging in an opium den to pass the time.

It also helps that the actor’s “hawk-like nose”, “sharp and piercing eyes”, and chin of “prominence and squareness” all check out with Conan Doyle’s literary description. Based on the book by Nicholas Meyer, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) takes the drug angle a step further by forcing Holmes (Nicole Williamson) to undergo psychiatric treatment.

Williamson gets to cut loose as the famous detective, bypassing the Stoic norm for a performance that’s riddled with jittery antics and rambling tirades. Their presence, along with Akin and Vanessa Redgrave, helped The Seven-Per-Cent Solution convey it's risky premise and net two Academy Award nominations (including Best Adapted Screenplay).

Unfortunately, Granada Studios was beginning work on their show around the same time, and the resulting legal disagreement was eventually settled out of court for the cost of the Mantra mysteries that did get made: The Hound of the Baskerville and The Sign of Four. These 1983 films had their minor gripes; from the occasional happiness to the vocal dubbing, but the lead presence of Ian Richardson proved a saving grace.

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Long before he rose to fame for the original House of Cards (1990), Richardson brought a light, reaction nature to the role of Sherlock. Nevertheless, Wilmer’s performance was widely hailed for its sardonic bite and no-nonsense demeanor-- traits that his series replacement, Peter Cushing, would later absorb.

The idea of depicting the detective’s early years had “80s gimmick” written all over it, but the efforts of screenwriter Chris Columbus and director Barry Levinson ensured the film would be a fun family adventure. Young Sherlock Holmes follows the titular teen (Nicholas Rowe) as he enters the prestigious Brampton Academy and befriends John Watson (Alan Cox).

Levinson has fun scrambling Sherlock lore to fit his new origin story, while the surprise inclusion of Lestrade (Roger Ashton-Griffiths) and, in a twist that will go unspoiled, Moriarty, add lightweight excitement. Guy Henry previously played a juvenile Holmes for Granada’s Young Sherlock, but Rowe still remains the one and only sleuthing youth.

Sherlock’s emotional journey dictates the 2015 dazzler, and the ghost of an unsolved case serves to drive this point home in the final act. With Watson, Mycroft, and everyone else he knew deceased, there’s an innate sadness to these Holmes, and the actor conveys so much through his lined face it can be heartbreaking to witness.

Arriving at the tail end of Billy Wilder’s career, the film takes a slightly satirical look at the detective, playing up the distinction between the “real” Holmes and the one that Watson documents in The Strand magazine. In his lone deerstalker outing, the actor presents a man with ambiguous sexuality and a general melancholy that’s surprising given some of the film’s more comedic moments.

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Unable to save the woman before she was killed by Jack the Ripper, it’s a display that lets the audience connect with Holmes in lieu of simply observing him. He and close friend Vitaly Solomon were cast as the leads in the 1979 show The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and the overwhelming response led them to reprise their roles in subsequent TV movies.

Famous for his deep, resonant voice and Ernest friendship with Watson, Ivanov is the only Sherlock actor to become an Honorary Member of the British Empire. Instead, driven by the energy of director Guy Ritchie, this version much prefers a brawl and a few set pieces before donning a trench coat and fedora.

In fact, the trio are reuniting for next year’s still untitled Sherlock Holmes 3, proving that action, comedy, and a winning star are more than enough to excuse a few major liberties. Blessed with cavernous bone structure and an elderly grace, Cushing refused to stray from the source material by playing up two core components: arrogance and impulse.

This rigid approach caught the attention of BBC in 1968, who then cast the actor in the third season of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Before Rathbone, guys like John Barrymore and Raymond Massey were playing a generic type-- the genius with a pipe and a brooding attitude.

In BBC’s Sherlock, the detective ditches the deerstalker for a long coat and scarf, while typically slicked hair takes a holiday for a mess of darkened curls. In episodes like “The Blind Banker” (2010) and “The Sign of Three” (2014), the duo creates a chemistry that's at once contemporary and cleverly in line with Conan Doyle’s original work.

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He plays pompousness and profound sadness with such ease it's impossible to deny, even when proving a thorn in Watson’s ongoing love life. The show’s fourth season is set for a January release, and given the rabid anticipation, it's safe to say Cumberbatch will stay atop the Sherlock list for a great many more years.

Upon being cast in Granada’s 1984 series, the actor did extensive research and invented an imaginary life the detective could fill between televised cases. The wildly talented Brett was born to play Sherlock, and the parallels he experienced in his own life-- bipolar disorder and depression-- helped inform his sudden shifts from boredom to heightened interest.

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Sources
1 www.gamestop.com - https://www.gamestop.com/video-games/xbox-one/games/products/world-war-z/10173234.html
2 news.xbox.com - https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2019/12/17/world-war-z-new-zombie-the-bomber/
3 www.metacritic.com - https://www.metacritic.com/game/xbox-one/world-war-z