Thrilling Detective Web Site Summer 2001


  • The Maltese Falcon
  • Chinatown
  • Harper
  • Chinatown (man, I"m predictable).
  • Oh, good grief. I'm afraid if I don't say Chinatown, the boss will take back the Ferrari and fire me.
  • The Big Sleep.
  • Gotta go with the ol' Maltese Falcon. Nobody beats that dialogue. Nobody.
  • Heads, it's Chinatown. Tails, it's The Maltese Falcon.
  • Chinatown -- a conventional and predictable pick, but it's really the best there's ever been.
  • Ties:The Maltese Falcon ,Murder,My Sweet, The Hound of the Baskervilles (1939), The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Terror, Murder by Decree, Darker than Amber,Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Big Sleep (version #1,the release print never shown in theatres).
  • Murder My Sweet & The Maltese Falcon.
  • Farewell, My Lovely.
  • The one-two punch of Chinatown/The Two Jakes. From Chandler to Macdonald in two easy steps. I wonder if the third film will ever be made?
  • The Maltese Falcon.
  • Not sure if a Blade Runner counts as a private eye, so I'll say Chinatown.
  • No doubt about it --Chinatown. "She's my daughter." SLAP "She's my sister." SLAP "She's my daughter AND my sister."
  • The Maltese Falcon.
  • Chinatown. The Maltese Falcon is a close second.
  • The Maltese Falcon.
  • Chinatown.
  • Out of the Past.
  • Chinatown.


  • Eight Million Ways To Die. It's a wonder Oliver Stone ever worked again.
  • V.I. Warshawski.
  • The Last Boy Scout had some good action, but was there a plot?
  • I, the Jury with Armand Assante.
  • 8MM. Just a bad, awkward piece of film that was wasted on what could've been a solid P.I. premise. There's a line between hard-boiled and sadistic. And this movie left that line laying bleeding and twitching in the street after half an hour, along with my brain.
  • Raw Justice. If you think cable's V.I.P. is bad, check out this gobbler. Boobs to the left, boobs to the right, but no thanks for the mammaries.
  • The Big Fix
  • The Long Goodbye. So bad it makes Hudson Hawk look like Citizen Kane. Never a good filmmaker at the best of times, Altman reaches a new low here. What's wrong? Pointlessly updated to the 1970s, its' far more dated now than it would have been if it had been set in the proper period. Casting is terrible,too-beginning with Elliott Gould-cast against type-as Philip Marlowe.He's all wrong--and so is his supporting cast,made up primarily of performers not known for their acting abilities -- ie: Jim Bouton and Nina van Pallandt. Both were in the news at the time, Bouton for his book
    Ball Four and Van Pallandt primarily because she'd been the recent mistress of Clifford Irving during the period when he was famous for his fake Howard Hughes "autobiography". The film is a mess-a jumbled incoherent,self-conscious and pretentious exercise.A pointless waste of time.
    (George Moss)
    You lost me after your claim that Altman was "never a good film-maker."
  • The 70's version of The Big Sleep or Shamus.
  • Charlie's Angels.
  • I really don't much care for Big Sleep#2. And I'm ambivialent about Marlowe.Parts of it work but most of it seems too flippant, too "Hollywood" too inside, for want of a better term. The image of show business as presented by Stirling Sillifant plays up the glamour and not it's downside--unlike in the novel, The Little Sister. I really think Philip Marlowe belongs in his original time period.Updating him just makes him one more PI.What makes him unique tends to get lost in the time shift.
  • The Two Jakes - totally unneccesary and doesn't touch Chinatown.
    Whaddya mean, didn't touch? It's fingerprints are all over it.
  • A toss between V.I. Warshawski and Undercover Blues... no, I'm not much of a Kathleen Turner fan, but even if I were she's too soft and cuddly to be a hard boiled detective.
    But she made a hell of a femme fatale in Body Heat.
  • Lady in the Lake.
    He may be an auteur, but he ain't no actor.
  • 1973'S The Long Goodbye (all the worse because the script was by the ultra-talented Leigh Brackett)
  • Angel Heart, possibly the worst movie ever made.
  • Lady in the Lake.
  • V.I. Warshawski. A lame, excessively watered-down version of "Deadlock," with weak shadows of other Paretsky novels thrown in. A classic example of why studio executives should not be permitted any creative input beyond signing the contract."
    (James Winter from Cincinnati)


  • Does The Big Lebowski count?
  • City Heat with Burt Reynolds and Clint Eastwood (I haven't seen it in a
    while, but I think one of those two is P.I.)
  • Bordello of Blood. Dennis Miller shouldn't ever be cast as a cop or P.I. again. Smarmy ain't a good P.I. trait. Unless you're Spenser, apparently.
  • 8MM. All the quality of a cheapo drive-in grade B quickie, with none of the budget restrictions.
  • The Long Goodbye. See above.
    (George Moss)
  • Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers.
  • Shaft.
    The old one or the new one?
  • The Pink Panther movies, but they are supposed to be!
    Except Clouseau is an inspector, not a P.I.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • VI Warshawski. Is this the same Kathleen Turner from Body Heat?
    Yes, unfortunately. It's one reason so many people had high hopes for this film, Turner included.
  • The Cheap Detective.
  • Hand down Charlie's Angels. It was lots of fun but pure fluff.
  • What's the difference between "cheesy" and "bad" (and, by extension, between "cheesiest" and "worst")? Oh well, if you mean bad but with enough good parts to be irritating, how about Hammett, the disappointing film adaptation of Joe Gores's great novel?
    (Jim Doherty from Chicago, IL)
    Well, Jim, I meant more cheesy in the tacky, so bad it's kinda funny way...
  • Satan Met A Lady - cheesy but still likeable.
  • Lady in the Lake.
  • The Cheap Detective.


  • That's easy. Night Moves with Gene Hackman.
  • No one talks about THE BIG LEBOWSKI on this site, which the Coens say is
    their tribute to the P.I. genre....
    I'll get to it one of these days...
  • Where's Marlowe?. A hilarious little mockumentary starring a clean-cut Miguel Ferrer as loser P.I. Joe Boone.
  • The Yakuza.
  • The Zero Effect
  • The ORIGINAL version of The Big Sleep. The Big Sleep had originally been a coherent,fairly faithful adaptation of Chandler's novel.And the first version was screened by Jack Warner just prior to its release in theatres nationwide and abroad. However, after Warner saw the film he requested changes to reshape it and make it more closely resemble To Have and Have Not, the first screen teaming of Bogey
    and Baby notable in part for it's several flirtatious sequences with the two stars. So, Howard Hawks and Leigh Brackett wrote and filmed new moments for Bogart and Bacall, à la THOHN. But in order to incorporate the new footage,something had to give-- in this case, the film's storyline.The original version went into storage. It was thought lost, until many years later, when Ted Turner purchased the MGM library (along with most of Columbia, RKO and Warner Bros. libraries. It was then that the first version of The Big Sleep was rediscovered and aired on TCM, back to back with the revamped, more familiar version. The differences are remarkable.
    (George Moss)
  • The Yakuza.
  • Gumshoe.
  • The Man With Bogart's Face.
  • Zero Effect.
  • Zero Effect -- I'm sure a lot of Thrilling Detective Web site readers know it, but the general public maybe doesn't.
  • Night Moves with Gene Hackman. He's a PI who does domestic work and his wife is having an affair. "It's always the plumber who's got a leaky faucet at home.
  • Trixie, an odd ball movie with lots of screwball characters and a security guard turned PI who mixes metaphors and packs a mean punch.
    (Marie Salah from Halifax, Nova Scotia)
  • The Killers (1946) because, based as it is on the Hemingway short story, in which nary a private eye figures, nobody knows that THE KILLERS is one of the best PI movies ever made.
    (Jim Doherty from Chicago, IL)
  • P.J. -- not wonderful, but enjoyable and definitely obscure movie with George Peppard as a private eye hired by millionaire Raymond Burr.
    (Dick Lochte from L.A.)
  • Rogue Cop - It isn't exactly a P.I. movie, but excellent noir. Pat Novak, for Hire is of course a radio show, but is excellent.
  • The Late Show.
  • I agree. The Late Show sounds like it should be a lame comedy, and it does play the humor card a lot, but the acting and directing, the tone, the feel, border on noir.


  • Jack Nicholson in, no, not Chinatown, but The Two Jakes.
  • Bogey in The Maltese Falcon.
  • Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past. Or is it Farewell, My Lovely?
  • Jack Nicholson in Chinatown and The Two Jakes.
  • Bogie in The Maltese Falcon.
  • Jack Nicholson as Jake Gittes. Classic performance in a classic film.
  • Art Carney in The Late Show.
  • Nicholson as J.J. Gittes in both Chinatown and The Two Jakes.
  • Tie: Basil Rathbone in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Humphrey
    Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, Dick Powell in Murder, My Sweet, Bob Hoskins
    in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Robert Mitchum in Out of the Past.
  • Robert Mitchum in Farewell, My Lovely.
  • Robert Mitchum in Farewell, My Lovely.
  • Bogart in The Maltese Falcon or Jack Nicholson in Chinatown.
  • Call it cliche but Humphrey Bogart (followed closely by Jack Nicholson).
  • Robert Mitchum in The Big Sleep and Farewell, My Lovely.
  • Humphrey Bogart.
  • Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon.
  • Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon.
  • Jack Nicholson - Chinatown.
  • Robert Mitchum - Out of the Past.
  • Jack Nicholson, Chinatown.


  • Kim Novak in Vertigo.
  • Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep.
  • Susan Sarandon in Twilight.
  • Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep.
  • Faye Dunaway as Evelyn Mulwray in Chinatown. Not normally a fan of hers, but she pulled that character off flawlessly.
  • For some reason, I'm drawn to Kathleen Turner's performance in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Lily Tomlin -- The Late Show.
  • Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon, Rachel Ward in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, Gene Tierney in Laura.
  • Lauren Bacall, The Big Sleep.
  • Lauren Bacall in The Big Sleep.
  • Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.
  • Kathleen Turner in Body Heat. Tho' it's not technically a PI film, she's so good, and V.I. Warshawski was so bad.
    (Mark Murnan from West Palm Beach, FL)
  • Lauren Bacall.
  • Faye Dunaway in Chinatown.
  • On the theory that a lead performance in a P.I. film must be AS a P.I., I'd go for Pippa Guard as Cordelia Gray in the 1981 theatrical film version (predating the TV-movie by more than a decade) of An Unsuitable Job For A Woman.
  • Jane Greer - Out of the Past.
  • Claire Trevor - Murder, My Sweet.
  • Faye Dunaway, Chinatown.


  • Sydney Greenstreet in The Maltese Falcon.
  • James Garner in Twilight.
  • James Garner in Twilight.
  • Don Cheadle as Mouse in Devil in a Blue Dress. He was creepy as all hell, as Mouse should be. The best part of that movie.
  • Elisha Cook in a whole bunch of them...this guy deserves to be in the Weasel Hall of Fame...
  • John Huston as Noah Cross in Chinatown.
  • Tie: Sydney Greenstreet as Caspar Gutman and Peter Lorre as Joel Cairo in The Maltese Falcon.
  • Don Cheadle in Devil in a Blue Dress.
  • Fred Ward as L.A. PI H.Philip Lovecraft in Cast A Deadly Spell.
  • Peter Lorre - The Maltese Falcon.
  • Sidney Greenstreet.
  • Peter Lorre.
  • Harvey Keitel in The Two Jakes.
    Oh, that's a good one!
  • Sidney Greenstreet in his Oscar-nominated film debut as Caspar Gutman in The Maltese Falcon.
  • John Huston - Chinatown.
  • John Huston - Chinatown.
  • Harvey Keitel, The Two Jakes.


  • Effie in The Maltese Falcon.
  • Laruen Bacall in Harper.
  • Julianne Moore in Cast A Deadly Spell.
  • Dana Ivey in Everybody Wins.
  • Faye Dunaway - Chinatown.
  • Jane Fonda in Klute.
  • Joyce Holden in You Never Can Tell. (Well, there were so few responses in this category, I had to add something!)
    Actually, You Never Can Tell is a whole lot of fun. A lot of people have been whining for years that the P.I. genre is going to the dogs, but rarely has the proof been presented in such a thoroughly charming and entertaining fashion. Here Dick Powell spoofs his town ough guy image with delightful results. Bring the kids.
  • Rachel Ward in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
  • Claire Trevor as Velda in Murder, My Sweet.
  • Julie Harris - Harper.
  • Melanie Griffiths, Night Moves.


  • That's easy. Huston's adaptation of The Maltese Falcon. And Leigh Brackett's take-no-prisoners take on Chandler's The Long Goodbye.
  • Harper.
  • The Maltese Falcon, based on Dashiell Hammett's book of the same name.
  • Blade Runner. A vast improvemnet on an over-rated "classic."
  • Ties:The Maltese Falcon, Murder, My Sweet and Out of the
  • John Huston's The Maltese Falcon.
  • Devil in a Blue Dress.
  • The Man With Bogart's Face, The Dain Curse.
  • L.A. Confidential.
  • Kiss Me Deadly.
  • No doubt about it: The Maltese Falcon. Was there even a second nomination?
  • The Maltese Falcon.
  • John Huston's script for The Maltese Falcon.
  • John Huston - The Maltese Falcon.


  • Robert Towne's Chinatown.
  • Alan Sharp's Night Moves.
  • Chinatown (but only after Polanski made the changes).
  • Chinatown, by Robert Towne. One of the best scripts ever written.
  • Chinatown -- Polanski's version.
  • Robert Towne's Chinatown.
  • 8mm.
  • Got to be Chinatown. It's almost a primer on how to write a damn good noir story. Start with Gittes's line about following the money, and all the other pieces fall right into place. It's even highly regarded by some real PI's.
  • Zero Effect.
    This was filmed?
  • Night Moves.
  • Night Moves, although The Conversation is pretty good, too. Gene Hackman rules!
  • Chinatown.
  • Robert Towne's script (with uncredited, and unwanted, collaboration from Roman Polanski) for Chinatown.
    And God bless the little nose-slicer for that ending.
  • Bob Towne - Chinatown.


  • The Long Goodbye. Leigh Brackett reimagined everything, and ended up truer to the spirit of the original than many a labored period piece.
  • Hickey and Boggs. Makes Chandler's mean streets look like Disneyland.
  • The Big Lebowski.
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, by George Gipe, Steve Martin and Carl Reiner. I'd have loved to see how they put that one together.
  • The Big Lebowski. Best P.I. film ever with a Viking/bowling dream sequence.
  • Chinatown.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Honorable mention to Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
  • I thought Where's Marlowe was damned clever.
  • I have to say Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It's Chinatown with toons, but no incest. Unless Mike Eisner had something cut out that we don't know about.
  • James Daugherty's Cast A Deadly Spell.
  • Zero Effect.
  • Blade Runner.
    Well, actually, it's an adaptation, although it's a pretty radical one, come to think of it...
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
  • Bob Towne - Chinatown.


  • I'm waiting for the Jack Reacher film series... or maybe Greg Rucka's Shooting At Midnight. George Clooney as Reacher and, as much as I hate to say it, Angelina Jolie might make a good Bridget Logan.
  • I'd like to see Les Roberts' Collision Bend turned into a movie with Ed Harris as Jacovich, with Scott Glen as Marko and Rebecca De Mornay.
  • True Detective, by Max Allan Collins. I just plain NEED to see a Nate Heller movie. And, if successful, look at all the real-life mysteries Heller has dealt with in books. It could be a huge franchise. With Edward Norton, with a light dye-job for Heller's red-brown hair. He's a good enough character actor to make people forget it's Edward Norton, and he can pull off Nate's moral ambiguities quite well.
  • Tommy Lee Jones as Dave Robicheaux. What happened to this one?
  • Burt Reynolds as Spenser. This is the film that should have been made by Reynolds after Deliverance, when both Parker and Reynolds coulda been contenders.
  • Shell Scott. A younger Bill Murray or a toned-down Jim Carrey would capture perfectly the goofball energy.
  • I'd like to see any of the John Straley novels filmed, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Cecil Younger.
  • Stuart Kaminsky's Toby Peters series would make terrific films--with Kevin Pollak as Toby. First film should be Bullet for a Star, although they're all good.
    And it would be a hoot to see current movie stars appearring as the stars of the past.
  • Carroll John Daly's Race Williams should have a couple of movies of his own. maybe The Snarl of The Beast or The Hidden Hand, for instance. Lots of action and narrow escapes.Russell Crowe would be fine as Race, the first American private investigator, and Mike Hammer's forerunner.
  • Herbert Lee and Frederic Dannay's Ellery Queen. Nobody's ever done EQ properly on the screen. Now's the time. These films, at least three, would be period pieces adapting some of the best novels of the series, perhaps those from the 40s,when the books really hit their stride. Brendan Fraser would make a very credible Ellery Queen.
    But Queen isn't a private eye.
  • Robert K.Tannenbaum's Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi, the NYC Assistant DA and his beautiful wife (a nice Catholic girl who curses like a Marine and is a pistol packin' P.I., some of whose family are in "The Family"), deserve their own film series. Or maybe instead of being theatrical films they should be mini-series; 4 hour films shown in 2 parts, for HBO or Showtime. I can't think of anyone for this, although 30 years ago, Connie Selleca would've been perfect as Marlene. Best to use talented
    unknowns here.
  • Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby. This character and his supporting cast-Desmond the reformed safecracker turned valet, and Honey Dorian, Rip's girlfriend, could carry a series of movies easily. Or even a TV series.
  • A.W.Gray's Bino Philips, the Texas defense attorney. An unknown might be good here,too.
  • Philip Marlowe All of Chandler's novels adapted to the screen and set in the proper period. Chandler always wanted Cary Grant to play Marlowe,the dark-haired handsome native Californian. George Clooney is the only actor among the leading men in films today who even comes close to resembling the character. And he's also the right age for the part as well. Might as well remake Poodle Springs and film Perchance to Dream, too.
    I don't think Chandler "always" wanted Grant to play Marlowe, but he did mention that Grant came closest to how he pictured Marlowe. Thing is, Chandler never really described Marlowe in the books, so there's a lot of leeway.
  • Modesty Blaise, Peter O'Donnell's charismatic heroine, a beautiful and deadly mystery woman -and former mastercriminal who now works with MI6. At least 3 films in a series all starring Catherine Zeta-Jones as Modesty and Hugh Jackman as Willie Garvin,her right-hand man.
    While I have no objection to watching CZJ in almost anything, Modesty is, as you said, working for M16, and therefore definitely not a P.I.
  • Glenn Close as V.I. Warshawski. Kathleen Turner, despite all her good intentions, was just too yummy for the part. Close could bring out that hard abrasive coldness that lies at V.I's core.
  • Mickey Spillane's One Lonely Night, set in period, with Michael Madsen (with crewcut) as Mike Hammer.... am I the only one who thinks this way?
  • John D.MacDonald's Travis McGee should return to the big screen. Perhaps an adaptation of The Quick Brown Fox or Pale Grey For Guilt. There are lots of McGee novels that--done right--would make good movies. I see Thomas Jane (61*, Deep Blue Sea) as Travis McGee, with Maury Chaykin as Meyer.
  • Andrew Bergman's Hollywood And Levine.
  • Flood by Andrew Vachss, with, well, I'm not sure, but not Ben Affleck or any other "boy toy" flavor of the week.
  • A Firing Offence (Pelecanos) with: Johnny Depp (No, really.)
    I can see it, actually -- one of the most versatile actors of his generation starring in a film written by perhaps the best detective writer of his.
  • Robert Lee Hall's Exit Sherlock Holmes would make an excellent motion picture--if adapted properly, with Ralph Fiennes as The Great Detective, Nigel Havers as Dr.Watson and Robbie Coltrane as Mycroft Holmes. And Roy Huggins' novels-- featuring L.A. PI Stu Bailey --The Double Take and Lovely Lady, Pity Me are terrific and would make good movies. As for Stu Bailey, Brad Pitt or Billy Crudup would be fine.
    (George Moss)
  • 32 Cadillacs, by Joe Gores (Let him do the screen play).
    Yeah, and with a cast that large, everyone gets to be in it!
  • The Last Good Kiss or any of the Crumley books, with: Nick Nolte, but Brad Pitt might pull it off.
  • I'd love to see a Dave Robicheaux adaptation, but only if they were true to the character. Harvey Keitel might pull it off. I've always envisioned Robicheaux as kind of rough around the edges.
  • Red Harvest. He's getting a bit long in the tooth now, but I think Gene Hackman might still do a credible Op.
  • Chandler's The Long Goodbye - with Michael Madsen, this generation's Robert Mitchum. Altman's movie is ok, but it isn't really the book.
  • A true-to-the book version of The Long Goodbye.


  • Mannix.
  • Mr. Chapel of Vengeance Unlimited, with Michael Madsen reprising the role.
  • What the hell, I'll say Magnum P.I.
  • Well, since the film industry ruins every TV show it touches, I'd have to say The Michael Richards Show. It's the only show I can think of that couldn't possibly turn out worse than it was to begin with.
  • I'd like to see maybe Bill Pullman as Rockford or Harrison Ford as Harry O.
  • Okay, I'm gonna say it, and mock me if you will. Angel. And not as a supporting character in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer flick, but in his own. Something dark and bloody and well-written, the way Angel's intended. That or Vengeance Unlimited. Chapel ruled.
  • Mannix.
  • Peter Gunn, with Guy Pearce as Pete, Charleze Theron as Edie, Peter Reigert as Lt. Jacobi and Joan Plowright as Mother. Original score composed entirely of Mancini compositions.Directed by Richard Donner.
  • T.H.E.Cat, with Billy Zane as T.Hewitt Edward Cat, former circus aerialist turned paladin-for-hire.With original Cat, Robert Loggia, as the proprietor of L.A.'s Casa del Gato-Cat's favorite bar. Original score composed entirely of Lalo Shifrin compositions. Directed by Philip Noyce.
  • The Rogues
  • Checkmate!
  • Hawaiian Eye
  • Is it time for Peter Gunn to return?
  • Banacek--with Bruce Greenwood as the dapper insurance investigator. Also, Myles Banyon and Jake Axminster of Banyon and City Of Angels should each get a shot at the big screen. Along with the PI firm at 77 Sunset Strip-- Stuart Bailey, Jeff Spencer and Gerald Lloyd "Kookie"Kookson III. And Cal Calhoun and Rex Randolph of Bourbon Street Beat.
  • Magnum P.I. - You know it'd be the most, baby!
  • Rockford.
  • Spenser.
  • Remington Steele. What ever happened to that series anyway?
    Bond. James Bond.
  • Mannix.
  • Jim Rockford.


  • That P.I. in Blood Simple.
  • That guy in Blood Simple.
  • Gotta agree with the above and say the P.I. from Blood Simple. That guy was pure evil, man.
    One of us should look up that guy's name, I guess....
  • M. Emmett Walsh as Loren Visser in Blood Simple.
    Thanks, Duke.
  • M. Emmett Walsh as Loren Visser in Blood Simple.
  • L.A. PI Karl Benson,the murder and blackmailer--played by Dan Duryea--in Manhandled(1949).
    Good one! And I think I have a file on that somewhere. I'll see if I can find it....
  • Providing he fits your site's definition of a PI, Leonard Shelby in Memento.
  • SPOILER ALERT - SPOILER ALERT - SPOILER ALERT (don't read this unless you've seen everything Alan Ladd's been in). Granting that the whodunit aspect of The Blue Dahlia isn't entirely convincing, I'd nevertheless have to say Will Wright as shady hotel detective "Dad" Newell in that film.
  • Can't think of any. Maybe Steve Brodie in Out of the Past (and a couple hundred other movies).


  • Bladerunner
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Definitely NOT The Lady In The Lake! A bad idea, poorly executed.
  • 8MM looked really cool in the trailers, it even looked well made.
  • Call me nuts, but I liked the way Harper looked, where Harper/Archer was prowling Santa Monica.
  • Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. I just thought it was great how they tied all those old movies in with the original material, which also had a very authentic look. "You forgot your payamas!"
  • Blade Runner. Chandler's mean streets carried to a logical conclusion...
  • Twilight -- the scene with Newman and Garner in the house overlooking Hollywood.
  • Farewell, My Lovely.
  • Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: Murder Me, Murder You is beautifully photographed -- it's one of the best-looking PI films I've ever seen. Also Blade Runner and Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid have impressive sets and cinematography.
  • L.A. Confidential
    Except, of course, that it's not a P.I. film.
  • Once again, Blade Runner -- if it fits in the P.I. category.
  • Blade Runner. It looked cool, and came highly recommended by a friend, but unfortunatly it put me to sleep.
  • Murder, My Sweet.
  • Vertigo, though I ike the way Twilight got that faded L.A. color just right.


  • The Hot Rock with Redford.... (Dormunder is on your site)
    Yeah, but inclusion on this site doesn't make you a P.I. necessarily.
  • Blood Simple. How could this be unavailable?
    It's being re-released soon.
  • Hickey and Boggs. Cosby and Culp as impotent P.I.s in an L.A. gone mad. A great film, probably locked away, since it wouldn't fit a certain comedian's current image.
  • Hickey & Boggs.
  • Girl On The Run--the pilot film for 77 Sunset Strip.
  • A good edition of The Maltese Falcon.
  • You Never Can Tell. And a loud second to the person who suggested The Hot Rock - yes, Kevin, even if Dortmunder isn't really a PI.
    Hey, I know that. It's a fun film that should be available. In fact, it's a mystery why it's not. After all, Redford's a big name, and there's nothing in this film that would embarass him, unlike Cosby whose cleaner-than-clean image may take a drubbing if Hickey &Boggs is ever released.
  • The original version (with the scene in the DA's office) of the Bogart/Bacall The Big Sleep.
    I don't have a DVD, but isn't this scene included on the DVD version from last year?
  • A toss-up between The Brasher Doubloon (based on Chandler's The High Window) and The Saint's Girl Friday (Is The Saint a PI? Sometimes, like here.)


  • "Forget it, Jake, it's Chintown."
  • "You can just kiss my black ass!" (Shaft)
  • "When you're slapped, you'll take it and like it!" (Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon speaks out, to defend a lady's honour, which is more than she ever did.)
  • At the end of Harper when Newman is walking toward the front door and he
    thinks the lawyer is going to shoot him, the lawyer drops the gun and says
    "Aw, Hell." and when Newman (Harper) realizes he isn't going to be shot also
    says "Aw, Hell."
  • From Where's Marlowe? When Joe Boone (Miguel Ferrer) is discussing the Black Dahlia murder of 1947. After wrongfully choosing the place of her death, several times, gives his theory on the case. "Her boyfriend probably just got all pissed off about something stupid and cut her in half."
  • "I was part of the nastiness now," Chandler's line delivered by Mitchum as Marlowe in the otherwise shit-drenched remake of The Big Sleep.
  • (With the understanding this is a paraphrase, since I haven't seen the film in awhile) "Mr. Gittes, in the right circumstances, some people are capable of -- anything". John Huston to Jack Nicholson in Chinatown.
  • "You're a funny guy, Phil. I bet your dying words'll be a scream." Clancy Brown to Fred Ward's Phil Lovecraft in Cast A Deadly Spell.
  • From Chinatown: "She's my sister AND my daughter!"
  • "His lyrics are trite and his imagery is cliche, to say the least."
    (Ben Stiller talking to his buddy at a bar while discussing the country music stylings of Daryl Zero in Zero Effect.
  • "I'm not bad...I'm just drawn that way"
    (The seductive Toon Jessica Rabbit explains to PI Eddie Valiant after he accuses her of being involved in the murder of Carl Acme,the well-known cartoon producer,and framing her husband Roger--the famous'Toon star--for the crime.)
  • From Chinatown, with irony: "LA's a small town. People talk."
  • "The middle of a drought and the water commisioner drowns. Only in L.A."
    (The coroner to Jake Gittes in Chinatown)
  • Phil Marlowe (Bogart) to a thug in The Big Sleep: "So many guns around town, and so few brains."
  • 1st favorite: In Chinatown, when dining at Noah Cross' (John Huston's) private beach club, PI Gittes (Jack Nicholson) gets served a fish lunch. Cross says he hopes the detective doesn't mind them leaving the head on the fish and Gittes replies something to the effect: "I don't mind, but I'm glad I didn't order the chicken." .
    2nd favorite: In The Big Sleep, Marlowe (Bogart) is trying to talk sense to a thug named Joe Brody. Brody questions Marlowe's line of reasoning and Marlowe hits him with "Don't go simple on me, Joe.".
    Third favorite: In Farewell, My Lovely, Marlowe (Mitchum), standing outside a locked screen door, says to the woman of the house (Sylvia Myles): "Mind if I come in? I feel like a fly out here."
    (Dick Lochte from L.A.)
  • Setting: Kirk Douglas' guest room, where Mitchum is spending the night, in Out of the Past: Jane Greer is trying to explain her returning to live with Kirk Douglas, and mitchum shuts her down with "Just get out, will ya? I have to sleep in this room."
    (Brian Edgar from Elko, NV)


  • I really like the actual drowning pool scene in The Drowning Pool, when Harper and
    his lady friend are nearly drowned in the morgue.... It was a real feeling of claustrophobia.
  • I like the scene in The Big Sleep where Marlowe's grilling a witness, and the guy refuses to look him in the eye, but Marlowe refuses to stay out of his face. Not the biggest action scene in the movie, but one of the funniest.
  • The final scene in The Maltese Falcon, between Bogey and Mary Astor, as he attempts to explain why he's pushed the case as far as he has, and lays it all out on the line for her. Great explanation of hard-boiled P.I. mentality as well.
  • That scene in The Drowning Pool where Harper (Paul Newman) is told by the rich guy to turn around and see all his oil wells pumping away, and Harper doesn't budge, doesn't even turn his head. The rich guy insists, and Harper says, "I already saw them" or something like that. To me this sums up a lot of the P.I. mythos -- the unflinching awareness of the world around him, the stubborn pride, the refusal to be impressed or pushed around by wealth and power.
  • Climax of Chinatown.
  • The final scene of The Maltese Falcon between Spade and Brigid. "I won't play the sap for you."
  • Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak in Vertigo. The scene when Kim Novak emerges out of the darkness in the dress and hairstyle that Jimmy Stewart got for her, making her look just like the girl he can't stop thinking of. Haunting scene, and the way Stewart looks at her is still one of the most unsettling images I've ever witnessed on film.
  • The renunciation scene between Bogart and Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon.
  • In Peter Bogdanovich's unjustly overlooked, They All Laughed, there's a sequence when the two young private eyes (John Ritter and Blaine Novak) double-tail a suspect. Not only is it beautifully shot and edited, the way the sleuths alter their appearances on the run (Novak tucking his electrified do under a cap, the two of them exchanging jackets, etc.) and use hand signals should have paved the way for a new updating of the genre.
    (Dick Lochte from L.A.)
  • End scene of the Maltese Falcon, where Bogart fast talks Astor into a confession, then turns her over to the police.
    (Brian Edgar from Elko, NV)
  • Alec Baldwin as Dave Robicheaux in Heaven's Prisoners, confronting a bartender harrassing him: "You're a funny guy, Jerry. I think I'll use your face as a toilet brush." (Mark Murnan)


  • "PI's that need to be on the big screen, preferably by independent film makers or at least with the authors doing the screenplay: Jacovich, Scudder (done right this time, which I understand they're trying again), Noah Milano, V.I. (assuming they base it on a novel and not Kathleen Turner's whims), Elvis Cole, Zen Moses, Burleigh Drummond, and Marlowe, whom we haven't seen in awhile. I'd also like to see them do Archer without changing his name this time."
    (James Winter from Cincinnati)
    Actually, what I heard is that it was the studio who demanded the script changes in V.I. Warshawski, not Turner, who hated the end product (as did almost everyone else).
  • Hey, Kev, where have all the P.I.s gone?
    (Duke Seabrook, somewhere on the Atlantic)
  • "I think Zero Effect is a brilliant film and should be considered one of the all-time greats as far as creativity and originality. And any of Andrew Vachss' Burke novels would be great for the big screen. If you haven't read Flood, do so now!
    (Kevin Pauley from Charleston, West Virginia)
  • "It has to be said. I just saw The Two Jakes the other night, and the only thing wrong with that film is that it's not Chinatown. Based on that, I should probably avoid Citizen Kane and Silence of the Lambs, since they, too, are not Chinatown. This was definitely one of the best PI films of the 90's, true to its predecessor in a time where Scudder and V.I. Warshawski got cinematically screwed. Nicholson did a terrific job stepping into the director's role, despite an occasional anachronism. All in all, a fine, yet vastly underrated, film, and one of my favorites."
    (James Winter from Cincinnati)
  • "When I first read "The PI Pole" I thought, damn this might be interesting. Then I find out its about movies and worse yet TV. I don't rent movies and I can't fucking stand TV. I read, everything else is pablum. Make a poll for books or I'll get C.W. Sughrue after your ass.
    (Jerry Miller from Manitoba)
    Hey, Jerry, chill out and scan some previous poll results here. (Oh, and judging from C.W.'s recent performances, he couldn't find even his own ass without a roadmap, never mind mine....)
  • Some potential categories you left out, and my answers:
    Best Movie Marlowe: Dick Powell
    Best Movie Hammer: Mickey Spillane (unless TV-movies are counted, in which case it's Stacy Keach)
    Best Movie Spade: Well, duh! Bogie, of course.
    Most Overrated P.I. Movie: Kiss Me Deadly
    Radio Show To Film:
    Pat Novak For Hire (with Miguel Ferrer as Pat)
    (Jim Doherty from Chicago, IL)
  • "Just saw Heaven's Prisoners last night, with Alec Baldwin as Dave Robicheaux in the adaptation of James Lee Burke's novel. Great style, got the booze part right, great atmosphere as Baldwin kick's tail to avenge his wife's murder. Baldwin also co-produced, so I hope there are more to come. New Orleans is such a great spot for noir films."
    (Mark Murnan)

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