Death On The Nile Vhs CoverDeath On The Nile Vhs CoverDeath On The Nile Vhs Cover
Cover Title
Death On The Nile
Year of Release
Cat # / Distributor
Format Details
Running Time
135 min (NTSC) (SP)
Original Title / Year
Death On The Nile (1978)
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Videonut324 on 09/01/2014
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Death on the Nile is a 1978 British film based on the Agatha Christie mystery novel of the same name, directed by John Guillermin and adapted by Anthony Shaffer. The film features the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, played by Peter Ustinov, plus an all-star cast.

It takes place in Egypt, mostly on a period paddle steamer on the Nile River. Many of the cultural highlights of Egypt are also featured in the film, such as the Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, and temples at Abu Simbel and Karnak.
Death on the Nile won an Academy Award for its costume design.

The film begins with a meeting between wealthy heiress Linnet Ridgeway (Lois Chiles) and her close friend Jacqueline de Bellefort (Mia Farrow). Jackie wants her fiancé, Simon Doyle (Simon MacCorkindale), to work for Linnet, but he and Linnet have a whirlwind affair and end up marrying. While honeymooning in Egypt, they are continually hounded by the jilted Jackie. In an attempt to get away, the Doyles board a Nile paddle steamer, the S.S. Karnak.
When the passengers venture on-shore to examine a nearby temple, a large stone is pushed off a pillar and narrowly misses Simon and Linnet. They again encounter Jackie, who boards the ship and ignores the warnings of detective Hercule Poirot (Peter Ustinov) to stay away, revealing that she carries a small pistol. After a late-night game of cards in the ship's lounge, Jackie confronts Simon. In a drunken rage she fires and shoots him in the leg. The next morning, Linnet Ridgeway is discovered murdered in her cabin, shot in the head by a similar weapon, with almost everyone aboard the Karnak having had a reason to want to do away with the heiress. The pistol has meanwhile gone missing.

The Times' film critic David Robinson had mixed feelings about the film. Although entertaining, and following the formula of the Murder on the Orient Express film four years earlier, he found it a bit too long and not quite as good. He concluded that screenwriter Anthony Shaffer and director John Guillermin were not quite as suitable to handle Agatha Christie's rich material as Paul Dehn and Sidney Lumet had been when they worked on Murder on the Orient Express.[4]

The film was expected to be popular with audiences following on the heels of Murder on the Orient Express, the most successful British film up to that point. However, the box office return was $14.5 million in the United States, lower than the $25 million high for Orient Express, despite its generally positive reviews and similar formula of exotic locales, sumptuous period detail, and all-star cast.[5]

Death on the Nile has received generally positive reviews by contemporary film critics more than 30 years later, with an 80% fresh rating on Rottentomatoes.com. "Fine entertainment that is lovely to look at and easy to enjoy" and "made more watchable because of its all-star cast". Some reviews mention that it "suffers by comparison" with Murder on the Orient Express.