The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes1970

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes Photos

Movie Info

'Private Life' is both an elegiac evocation of late Victorian England and a boldly modern take on the dark side of the "real" Sherlock Holmes.

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Robert Stephens
as Sherlock Holmes
Colin Blakely
as Dr. Watson
Christopher Lee
as Mycroft Holmes
Geneviève Page
as Gabrielle Valladon
Irene Handl
as Mrs. Hudson
Stanley Holloway
as 1st Gravedigger
Clive Revill
as Rogozhin
George Benson
as Inspector Lestrade
Mollie Maureen
as Queen Victoria
Peter Madden
as Von Tirpitz
Robert Cawdron
as Hotel Manager
Alex McCrindle
as Baggageman
Kenneth Benda
as Minister
Eric Francis
as 2nd Gravedigger
Ina De La Haye
as Petrova's Maid
Anne Blake
as Madame
Daphne Riggs
as Lady-in-Waiting
John Gatrell
as Equerry
Philip Ross
as McKellar
Annette Kerr
as Secretary
Ismet Hassan
as Submarine Crew
Charlie Young Atom
as Submarine Crew
Teddy Kiss Atom
as Submarine Crew
Willie Shearer
as Submarine Crew
Philip Anthony
as Lieutenant Commander
Martin Carroll
as Scientist
John Scott
as Scientist
Jenny Hanley
as a prostitute
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Critic Reviews for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (12)

The entire effort may, I think, be ascribed to an insufficiency of imagination.

February 7, 2018 | Full Review…

The plotting is weak, and ill-served by the movie's generally lackadaisical approach; but the dialogue is witty, and Wilder and Diamond get a lot of mileage out of the idea that Sherlock Holmes is as fragile as he is brilliant.

July 22, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/5

Billy Wilder's endearingly romantic The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is...worth seeing just for Alexandre Trauner's sets, especially a magical Baker Street.

August 14, 2007 | Full Review…
Top Critic

It is in large part old-fashioned, in that it's mile-wide and ancient-history Sherlock Holmes, but it's also handsomely produced and directed with incisiveness by Wilder.

August 14, 2007 | Full Review…

A true evocation of the spirit of the Strand Magazine, this is the best Holmes movie ever made and sorely underrated in the Wilder canon.

December 30, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

A wonderful, cruelly underrated film.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes

There have been many Sherlock Holmes films, but this is one of the best thanks to Wilder and a flawless lead performance by Stephens.

Marcus Woolcott
Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

A different take on the myth if Sherlock Holmes. In this he is all too human: a drug addict, a homosexual, and not even too swift as a detective. At least the film is accomplished with talent, but it leaves a disquieting feeling of dissatisfaction seeing a heroic figure fail so many ways. The character one is lead to empathize with the most with loses at the end ... most irregular. Watch at your own peril.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer


Holmes: We all have occasional failures. Fortunately Dr. Watson never writes about mine.  "My private life is my own affair." The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is a interesting and thoroughly entertaining mystery from the great Billy Wilder. The first half hour is about as much into the private life of Sherlock Holmes as you'll get. The title is a little misleading because this is still a standard Holmes picture. Wilder just added some confusion about Holmes sexuality and the idea that when Holmes is not busy on a case, he likes to indulge in cocaine. After that there is no real difference plot wise, to any other Sherlock Holmes movie, except this better than average. Holmes is bored with no case to take his interest. Then one night a woman arrives at his doorstep. Apparently an attempt was just made on her life, and now she doesn't know much about herself. The next morning she remembers everything. She came to Holmes for him to help her find her husband. This mystery takes us to Scotland and involves a variety of weird things like the Loch Ness monster, midgets and canaries.  The performance by Robert Stephens as Sherlock Holmes is spot on. He portrays the detective brilliantly. Then there's Colin Blakely who is an admirable Dr. Watson, and the iconic Christopher Lee as Sherlock's brother. The plot is pretty cool, with weird occurrences adding to the mystery of the case.  The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes is fun throughout and sporadically funny. Wilder's witty touch is perfect for a Sherlock Holme's film. I was a little disappointed this didn't dive more into the personal life of Holme's, but as a straight detective story, it is a damn good one.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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