Most Famous Movie Detectives

Most Famous Movie Detectives

Detective films have always been a popular genre. They are often not only smart but also mysterious, which audiences love.

For a detective film to sufficiently captivate someone, it needs not only an interesting plot but also a charismatic protagonist.

Undoubtedly, this group includes such icons as Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, and the somewhat eccentric but all the more popular Inspector Clouseau.

Author: Tomáš Bajgar

Sherlock Holmes

There is likely not a person in the world who hasn't at least heard the name Sherlock Holmes.

This private detective, known primarily for his extraordinary deductive skills that allow him to solve any case, is not a creation of Hollywood or any other screenwriters.

He is a literary character who first appeared in 1887 in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." Since then, Doyle has written numerous novels where Sherlock, along with his loyal friend Dr. Watson, solves various mysteries and convicts one criminal after another.

He even managed to defeat the demonic hound of Baskerville and also vanquished his nemesis, Professor Moriarty. It's difficult to highlight the best films and series featuring Sherlock Holmes as the central character.

There are a plethora of them, and very few are outright bad. Current fans particularly enjoy the latest iteration by Guy Ritchie and the BBC series Sherlock.

Both the recent Ritchie films and the famous series take a slightly different approach to the world's most famous detective but do so effectively.

Hercule Poirot

The brilliant mind of Hercule Poirot did not originate from screenwriters but in the mind of English writer Agatha Christie.

The world first met this Belgian detective in the novel "The Mysterious Affair at Styles," published in 1920.

Poirot is popular not only for his excellent deductive skills, which are in no way inferior to the slightly more famous Sherlock Holmes, but also for his unique appearance, accent, and exaggerated neatness.

Interestingly, most stories featuring this detective take place on the British Isles, although Poirot himself is Belgian. People often mistake him for a Frenchman, much to his chagrin.

While Hercule Poirot investigates murders mainly in good old England, his two most famous adventures take place on a journey along the Nile and in the famous Orient Express.

Perhaps that's why the novels "Death on the Nile" and "Murder on the Orient Express" are the most frequently adapted cases of the Belgian detective.

Jacques Clouseau

While the two detectives mentioned above are geniuses in their field, Inspector Clouseau appears to be more of a fool, or at least he seems that way.

Yet, perhaps for that very reason, he is among the most beloved movie detectives of all time. Unlike the aforementioned brilliant minds, Inspector Clouseau has no literary background.

He is a character created for the film "The Pink Panther" and its sequels. Peter Sellers played the main role in the original films, while the less impressive Steve Martin portrays the commissioner in newer films.

In the Pink Panther series, Peter Sellers fully showcased his comedic talent, making his Commissioner Clouseau loved by millions worldwide.


Competition is Fierce

Choosing just the three most famous detectives of the silver screen, or even the television screen, is not at all easy, as there are many good detective stories.

However, Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot should definitely belong to this narrow group, if only because they are also known from novels. Inspector Clouseau also deserves his place in the sun. Although he doesn't possess extraordinary intelligence, he can make broad masses laugh. And that counts too.