6.9/10
4,451
92 user 59 critic

Murder by Decree (1979)

Trailer
4:16 | Trailer
Sherlock Holmes investigates the murders commited by Jack the Ripper and discovers a conspiracy to protect the killer.

Director:

Bob Clark

Writers:

Arthur Conan Doyle (characters), John Hopkins (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson join the hunt for the notorious serial killer, Jack The Ripper.

Director: James Hill
Stars: John Neville, Donald Houston, John Fraser
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

The Mafia tries to take revenge against a man who testified against them in court.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Bo Svenson, Robert Culp, John Colicos
Tribute (1980)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A shallow Broadway press agent learns he is dying just as his son by his ex-wife arrives for a visit.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Robby Benson, Lee Remick
Comedy | Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A drunken Sherlock Holmes is really just a cover for the real detective, Dr. Watson.

Director: Thom Eberhardt
Stars: Michael Caine, Ben Kingsley, Jeffrey Jones
Adventure | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

To treat his friend's cocaine induced delusions, Watson lures Sherlock Holmes to Sigmund Freud.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Alan Arkin, Vanessa Redgrave, Robert Duvall
Adventure | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When a bored Holmes eagerly takes the case of Gabrielle Valladon after an attempt on her life, the search for her missing husband leads to Loch Ness and the legendary monster.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Robert Stephens, Christopher Lee, Colin Blakely
Dead of Night (1974)
Drama | Horror | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young soldier killed in Vietnam inexplicably shows up to his family home one night.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Richard Backus
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

A soldier is forced to take estrogen and wear lingerie when he's blackmailed by a violent transvestite.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Leslie Marlowe, Wendy Roberts, Dorian Wayne
Now & Forever (2002)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Against a backdrop of clashing cultures, John Myron and Angela Wilson find each other and over the years form a powerful bond. One tragic night, John rescues Angela from a wicked act of ... See full summary »

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Mia Kirshner, Adam Beach, Gordon Tootoosis
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A Canadian living in London is trying to succeed as a prizefighter, without much luck. He meets the sister of a local mob leader, and she soon draws him into the gang's activities. When he ... See full summary »

Director: Vernon Sewell
Stars: Faith Domergue, Lee Patterson, Rona Anderson
Crime | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A serial killer is murdering women in the Whitechapel district of London. An American policeman is brought in to help Scotland Yard solve the case.

Directors: Robert S. Baker, Monty Berman
Stars: Lee Patterson, Eddie Byrne, Betty McDowall
Comedy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Six friends in a theatrical troupe dig up a corpse on an abandoned island to use in a mock Satanic ritual. It backfires with deadly consequences.

Director: Bob Clark
Stars: Alan Ormsby, Valerie Mamches, Jeff Gillen
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Plummer ... Sherlock Holmes
James Mason ... Dr. John H. Watson
David Hemmings ... Inspector Foxborough
Susan Clark ... Mary Kelly
Anthony Quayle ... Sir Charles Warren
John Gielgud ... Prime Minister Lord Salisbury
Frank Finlay ... Inspector Lestrade
Donald Sutherland ... Robert Lees
Geneviève Bujold ... Annie Crook
Chris Wiggins Chris Wiggins ... Doctor Hardy
Tedde Moore Tedde Moore ... Mrs. Lees (as Teddi Moore)
Peter Jonfield Peter Jonfield ... William Slade
Roy Lansford Roy Lansford ... Sir Thomas Spivey
Catherine Kessler Catherine Kessler ... Carrie
Ron Pember Ron Pember ... Makins
Edit

Storyline

Sherlock Holmes investigates London's most infamous case, Jack the Ripper. As he investigates, he finds that the Ripper has friends in high places. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sherlock Holmes unveils the secrecy of Jack the Ripper - clue by clue - murder by murder. See more »

Genres:

Mystery | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sherlock Holmes and Saucy Jack See more »

Filming Locations:

Greenwich, London, England, UK See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

CAD5,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The "Masonic" theory concerning the Jack the Ripper murders, namely, that there was a cover-up arranged by the Ancient Order of Freemasons, has now been largely discounted. See more »

Goofs

When Watson questions the ladies in the Black Horse Tavern a Salvation Army band is playing "Onward Christian Soldiers" in the street. But the tune "St. Gertrude" was not composed and published by Sir Arthur Sullivan until after the purported time setting of the film (1888). See more »

Quotes

Dr. John H. Watson: [Offended by the booing of the Prince of Wales by the theater gallery] It's a damn disgrace!
Sherlock Holmes: On the contrary. I prefer bad manners in the theater to active violence in the streets.
See more »

Connections

Version of A Study in Terror (1965) See more »

Soundtracks

Onward Christian Soldiers
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Sullivan
Arranged by Edrich Siebert
KPM Music Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

"There is still decency." A marvellous film.
4 September 2000 | by simon-118See all my reviews

This is a remarkable little movie that has never reached classic status for some reason. Aside from an incredible cast, all of whom suit the dignified proceedings admirably, there are two other stars who lift this film above the level of an excellent thriller. One is the production design. The old Hollywood style of foggy streets and dark alleys, with sinister cabs skulking along, is the stuff nightmares are made of. The East End is horrible, a hell on earth. The other unsung hero is the music. A beautiful soundtrack which ranges from chilling strings and harps to the charming end music. Christopher Plummer is fabulous as Holmes, heroic and ingenious but with a strong sympathy which no other actor in the role apart from Jeremy Brett has captured. His scenes with Mason are a joy; the pair really work together, complete with catchphrases and a mutual respect. Donald Sutherland is also captivating as Robert Lees...his eyes are those of a man living in helpless terror. The film's finest moment is the scene between Holmes and Annie Crook. Genevieve Bujould is heartbreaking in the role,a perfect piece of casting despite her accent, and Holmes' reaction to her plight is deeply moving. Make no mistake, the theory of the Ripper murders is barmy, but wonderful entertainment. It does slander Sir Charles Warren and Lord Salisbury unbelievably; Anthony Quayle puts in a gloriously over the top turn in repulsive corruption. There is an interesting subtext to the film as well, namely the fight between decency and corruption. Annie's innocence and goodness is uncorrupted even by her plight, and the decency of Mary Kelly is a ghost that hangs over the last half an hour. The end credits are beautiful, with gorgeous theatrical and old-fashioned cast and credits, such as "Frank Finlay was Inspector Lestrade." There is decency in the most unlikely of places, and Holmes and Watson are the solid rocks while around them people sink and swim in the chaos. A moving, brilliantly realised and frightening film.


55 of 60 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 92 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed