6 of the best Agatha Christie film and TV adaptations

Posted by CCA International on

Our favourite film and TV adaptations of the Queen of Crime's bestsellers, for you to investigate further…

The first trailer is out for Kenneth Branagh’s new adaptation of Murder on the Orient Express, and it promises to be a lavish and very starry production.

Pulling into cinemas this November, this is the biggest Agatha Christie film adaptations in years. It boasts a cast of A-listers, a glittering mix of modern and classic acting talent. And it’s going to be a blockbuster.

Kenneth Branagh has cast himself as Hercule Poirot, and his supporting cast includes Judi Dench, Johnny Depp, Derek Jacobi, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Olivia Colman and Willem Dafoe.  

We cannot wait! But the original film adaptation, made by Sidney Lumet in 1974 is going to be a tough act to follow. See below for details of the multi Oscar-winner and more of our Christie favourites…

 

Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Sidney Lumet's adaptation is arguably the best adaptation of one of Agatha Christie's most widely read murder mysteries. Albert Finney leads the cast, alongside Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Sean Connery and Vanessa Redgrave.

An American businessman travelling on the Orient Express from Istanbul to Paris tries to persuade Hercule Poirot to investigate death threats he's been receiving. The Belgian sleuth refuses.

The following morning the train is in uproar. The businessman has been stabbed to death while the train was held up by heavy snow – and there is no shortage of suspects among the passengers.

 

Death on The Nile (1978)

No collection of Agatha Christie adaptations is complete without Peter Ustinov as Belgian detective Hercule Poirot! 

Peter Ustinov stars as the film’s Poirot, and unusually brought out the more human side to the character. The supporting cast included a fantastic array of talent including Bette Davies, George Kennedy, Angela Lansbury, David Niven, Maggie Smith and Jack Warden. The film also won an Oscar for Best Costume Design. Controversially though, ITV watchdogs have ruled that due to a suicide scene in the film, it was deemed too violent to be screened on daytime television.

 

And Then There Were None: BBC Mini-Series (2015)

This three-part TV adaptation was commissioned by the BBC to mark the 125th anniversary of Agatha Christie’s birth. It became the most watched show of Boxing Day 2015, with over 6 million viewers.

Ten strangers are invited to an island by a mysterious host, but start to wonder if a killer is among their group when people start being murdered one by one.

Proving to be one of Christie’s darkest TV murder mysteries, the production team was applauded by critics for delivering a thriller unlike the formulaic and cosy TV whodunnits.

 

ITV’s 4:50 from Paddington (2004)

The Emmy-nominated TV film is one of the finest from ITV’s Agatha Christie’s Marple series first broadcast between 2004-2007. BAFTA-winner Geraldine McEwan gives a memorable and witty performance as the elderly sleuth Miss Marple.

In this period drama, a friend of Miss Marple’s is woken suddenly on her train and sees a woman being strangled in a train passing by in the opposite direction. Miss Marple is soon called in to investigate.

 

Witness for the Prosecution (2016)

Sarah Phelps’ two-part BBC adaptation of an Agatha Christie short story is a bloodthirsty tale about a man accused of killing his lover to inherit her wealth.

Only his solicitor, penniless John Mayhew, believes Leonard is innocent even when all the evidence suggests otherwise. Can Leonards wife, an enigmatic chorus girl named Romaine, prove her husband is blameless?

The BAFTA-nominated series currently has a 100% approval rating from critics on review site Rotten Tomatoes, unsurprising as it boasts a brilliantly compelling script and lavish cast bringing Christie’s characters to life

Toby Jones steals the show as the solicitor and the supporting cast includes Kim Cattrall as the glamorous and rich woman found bludgeoned to death. Multi-award-winning Andrea Riseborough was universally praised for her subtle but finely-tuned performance as the fragile witness torn apart about testifying. Will she save her husband or will his infidelity make her seek revenge?  

 

Evil Under the Sun (1982)

This famously flamboyant Christie story centres around a Broadway actress who is found murdered on a luxury island resort in the 1930s. Many faces familiar to Agatha Christie fans return for this production, directed by James Bond maestro Guy Hamilton, including Maggie Smith and Colin Blakely, while stars Roddy McDowall, Diana Rigg, Jane Birkin and James Mason are also added to the glossy line up.

 

These are only a handful of our favourites. Follow the link to browse our complete collection of Agatha Christie adaptations.

And if there’s one film we truly recommend you watch, it’s Murder on the Orient Express. You can then compare it to Kenneth Branagh’s new version…

 

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