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Death on the Nile (1978)

Peter Ustinov , Mia Farrow , John Guillermin  |  PG |  DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Ustinov, Mia Farrow, Simon MacCorkindale, Jane Birkin, Lois Chiles
  • Directors: John Guillermin
  • Writers: Agatha Christie, Anthony Shaffer
  • Producers: John Brabourne, Norton Knatchbull, Richard B. Goodwin
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 27, 2001
  • Run Time: 140 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000059LGC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,813 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Death on the Nile" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Featurette: The Making of Death on the Nile
  • Interview with Peter Ustinov and Jane Birkin

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Following Albert Finney's quirky and compelling performance as Agatha Christie's Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in 1974's Murder on the Orient Express, Peter Ustinov capably took over the role in this 1978 adaptation of Christie's river-bound whodunit. While on a pleasure cruise along the Nile with a taciturn companion (David Niven), Poirot slips into action following the murder of a much-despised heiress (Lois Chiles). There's no shortage of suspects... until, that is, they also start dying off, obfuscating the investigation by suggesting that several killers may be at work. With a disciplined screenplay by Anthony Shaffer, the film is solid enough (certainly better than its 1981 follow-up, Evil Under the Sun) and is graced immeasurably by a glittery cast including Bette Davis, Maggie Smith, Mia Farrow, Olivia Hussey, Jack Warden, and Angela Lansbury. Directed with customary efficiency by John Guillermin (King Kong, The Towering Inferno). --Tom Keogh

Product Description

Peter Ustinov makes his debut as Agatha Christie's brilliant Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, in this lavish and star-studded follow-up to MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

As Poirot enjoys a luxurious cruise down the Nile, a newlywed heiress is found murdered on board and every elegant passenger becomes a prime suspect. Can Poirot identify the killer and motive before the ship of clues reaches the end of its murderous journey?

Bette Davis, David Niven, Angela Lansbury, Maggie Smith, Mia Farrow, George Kennedy, Olivia Hussey, Simon MacCorkindale, Jane Birkin, Jack Warden, and Lois Chiles co-star in this sumptuous Oscar-winning classic, adapted by Anthony Shaffer (SLEUTH) and filmed on location throughout exotic Egypt.


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Sinister Shipboard Slaying November 14, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
Agatha Christie wrote "Death on the Nile" in 1937, one year after "Murder in Mesopotamia", and to all appearances "Death on the Nile" was intended as a prequel to "Murder in Mesopotamia", which itself was a prequel to the 1934 classic "Murder in the Orient Express". The three stories make up a satisfying trilogy of mysteries as Poirot tours the Near East finding murder everywhere he goes.
All three of the stories follow Christie's tried-and-true formula: She introduces the cast of suspects, gives each of them a dark secret and a motive to lie, and piles up the circumstances in such a way that the flying fickle finger of suspicion points to every one of them at some time or another. She compounds the confusion by supplying false leads and deliberatly glossing over hot clues. In each case Poirot holds his cards close to his vest, tantalizes the reader/listener with cryptic comments, and finds the most inconsequential-appearing facts to be highly significant. Eventually Poirot airs everyone's dirty laundry, explains his chain of deductive reasoning, reconstructs the crime in all its improbable complexity, and gets a confession.
Of the three stories, however, "Death on the Nile" presents the most feasible modus operandi for the murder, as well as the most likely motivation for murder. This is a roudabout way of saying that "Death on the Nile" is the most realistic of the three.
The Peter Ustinov movie stays faithful to the plot and gives the viewer some excellent scenes of Egyptian ruins along the Nile. The star-studded cast turns in good performances. Having first seen David Suchet as Poirot, I could not help but be somewhat disappointed with Peter Ustinov as Poirot. Of all the Poirot movies starring Ustinov, however, this is the best.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Elegant Fun August 12, 2005
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
If you can accept this adaptation of Agatha Christie's "Death on the Nile" in the spirit it was intended, you'll have a good time. Faithful followers of her great books may find a lot of little details to nit-pick over but as a fun murder mystery this one is truly grand.

The production is visually pleasing and the star-studded cast are all fun to watch. At its center is Peter Ustinov's fine portrayel of Christie's greatest creation, Hercule Poirot. His interpretation of the Belgian detective with the little grey cells is both smart and humorous. The film is great fun for murder mystery fans.

On vacation in Egypt, Poirot overhears one conversation after another about the rich and selfish Lynette. It seems almost everyone has a reason for wanting her dead. Among Lynette's many trophies is her best friend's boyfriend. She is suing a sexpot writer for slander, is on the verge of finding out her attorney is swindling her, and is keeping her servant girl from happiness with another. Poirot knows this trip to Egypt will be no vacation when Mia Farrow, the jilted lover of Lynette's husband, tells him: "If love can't live in your heart, evil will do just as well."

The period production is sumptuous in its presentation of both Egypt and their excursion by boat down the beautiful Nile River. It is resplendent and elegant fun and the cast is allowed to play it out with gusto. Ustinov gives Poirot a droll humor even after a close brush with a cobra, planted in his cabin by the murderer.

Angela Lansbury and Betty Davis both ham it up in appropriate fashion and Lois Chiles is good as the not so deep Lynette. Jack Warden, George Kennedy, Maggie Smith, Olivia Hussey, and John Finch join David Niven, as Poirot's old pal, in a great ensemble cast of movie legends.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Murder Mystery Superb! December 26, 1999
Format:VHS Tape
I'm an Agatha Christie fan, and DEATH ON THE NILE is also one of my favorite movies. In this follow up to the fascinating MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS, Peter Ustinov plays a more dapper Hercule Poirot, who is only one of the passengers on a steamer going down the Nile in Egypt. Rich and much loathed newlywed Linnet Doyle and her husband Simon are aboard, and when Linnet is murdered, it seems that everyone had a motive for doing her in. Tremendous fun and guessing follow as Poirot and Colonel Race, played to a T by David Niven, try and sort out the clues as two more people are killed. Stellar story and acting, with a wonderful cast that includes, Bette Davis, Angela Lansbury, Mia Farrow, Maggie Smith, Simon MacCorindale, George Kennedy, Olivia Hussey, and Jane Bilken make up the guilty suspects. Great murder mystery in an exotic location. Enjoy this gem.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular! March 6, 2001
Format:DVD
The novel Death On The Nile ranks as my favorite of all of the Christie novels I've read, and so I was hoping that this movie was faithful to the original material. I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed.
The performances of the many actors are great. Simon MacCorkindale's portrayal of Simon Doyle is wonderful, and Angela Lansbury as Salome Otterbourne is very entertaining. Maggie Smith and Bette Davis as Miss Bowers and Miss Van Schuyler, respectively, have some wonderful scenes together and have great chemistry. David Niven as Colonel Johnny Race is great and makes for a good Watson to Poirot. Jack Warden as Dr. Bessner and Jon Finch as Jim Ferguson, while don't have a ton of screentime, still portray their characters perfectly, and of course Peter Ustinov as the great Belgian detective Hercule Poirot is great.
The scenery is beautiful. The scene where Simon and Linnet Doyle are climbing the pyramid is simply breathtaking.
The extras on the DVD are pretty good. The 24-minute featurette "The Making of Death On The Nile" is interesting, and the interviews (both in French with subtitles) with Peter Ustinov and Jane Birkin (who plays Louise Bourget), while not extremely interesting, are still a nice addition.
There are a few flaws in the movie. The largest one is the fact that they cut out Tim and Mrs. Allerton. For those of you who have read the book, you'll know that cutting out Tim Allerton changes a few important things. Cornelia Robson is also cut out, as well as James Fanthorp and Signor Richetti (which again changes a few things). While I did like these characters a lot in the book, during the movie, these characters were hardly missed.
The movie runs approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, and despite the PG rating, has some slightly graphic violence in it.
I would highly reccomend buying this DVD, however, I would suggest reading the book first.
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