Retro detective: 20 historical films and series

What could be more exciting than detective films? Only historical detectives in the format of serials! Long running time allows the characters to solve more cases, and saturate the investigations themselves with curious atmospheric details. Such genre cinema gives an idea of ​​the events of bygone days, the prevailing customs, fashion and outlook on life at that time, in general, offers to breathe in the air of the era to the fullest.

Paris Police 1900 (2021)

The events of an interesting new movie take place on the threshold of the 20th century in Paris , engulfed in anti-Semitism, as shown by the recent scandalous trial of Captain Dreyfus. The new prefect, Louis Lepin, is determined to bring order to the French capital. At the same time, Inspector Antoine Jouin starts investigating the murder of a woman whose body was fished out of the Seine in a suitcase. Taking up the search for the murderer, the young policeman did not suspect what high circles they would lead him into.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title:
Paris Police 1900

Actors:
Jeremy Laerte, Evelyn Brochu, Thibaut Evrard …

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.9

Age restrictions:
18+


Moore-Moore (2021)

The historical background of the Russian detective series is the town of Muransk, just liberated from the Nazis in 1944. The German occupiers were replaced by repeat offenders terrorizing local residents. In the absence of men fighting at the front, the bandits are confronted by the employees of the criminal investigation department, popularly referred to as “Mur-Mur” – Maryana, Agata, Sasha and Oksana. Although the girls famously cope with their official duties, the help of Semyon Markov, an officer commissioned for wounding, comes in very handy.

Actors:
Vladimir Yaglych, Svetlana Ivanova, Karina Razumovskaya, Marat Basharov …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7

Age restrictions:
12+


Miss Scarlet and Duke (2020)

In 1880s London, the only decent way for an orphaned girl not to starve to death is to get married. But instead, the independent and determined Eliza Scarlet decides to continue her father’s work in a private detective agency. For women of the Victorian era, many doors were closed, so the heroine enlists the support of Scotland Yard inspector William Wellington, nicknamed the Duke. The strict Eliza and the frivolous Duke make up an outwardly incompatible, but very effective detective duet.

Original title:
Miss Scarlet and the Duke

Actors:
Kate Phillips, Stuart Martin, Kathy Belton …

Country:
Ireland, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Perry Mason (2020)

The series that freely interprets the famous retro detectives of Erle Stanley Gardner deservedly got into the list of the best detective films in historical style. The United States is in the Great Depression, and lawyer Perry Mason can’t get rid of the memories of the horrors of the First World War . His family broke up, his career as a private detective did not work out, and the character drags out a rather miserable existence. But one day, a resonant case of kidnapping and the murder of a child from a wealthy family falls into his hands, which turned Mason into a star of advocacy and investigation.

Original title:
Perry Mason

Actors:
Matthew Reese, Tatiana Maslany, John Lithgow …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Murder according to Freud (2019)

Fans of detective and historical genres should watch the retro-style series, which takes place in the 1900s in magnificent Vienna. The student of Sigmund Freud himself, the young psychologist Max Lieberman, wished to master forensic science. To do this, he got a job as an assistant to an experienced investigator Oscar Reinhardt. At first, the mentor is skeptical about Max’s knowledge, but gradually imbued with the importance of psychoanalysis for investigations.

Original title:
Vienna Blood

Actors:
Matthew Beard, Jurgen Maurer, Jessica De Gau …

Country:
UK, Austria

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.4

Age restrictions:
18+


Rostov (2019)

Inspired by Soviet films about revolutionary romance, this retro Russian detective story follows ex-hijacker Alexei Kozyrev. A criminal element collaborating with the new government is unexpectedly appointed head of the Rostov Criminal Investigation Department, as an expert on the topic from the inside. With the help of the faithful “right hand”, Alexander Vorobyov, nicknamed Ptah, Kozyr recruits a team of simple hard workers and, together with them, masters the profession of detective from scratch.

Actors:
Artur Smolyaninov, Alexei Barabash, Sofya Ardova, Ivan Okhlobystin …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Alienist (2018 – 2020)

The end of the 19th century in New York is marked by the appearance of a serial killer who brutally cracks down on young men who sell their bodies. Alienist Laszlo Kreizler, newspaper artist John Moore and the first policewoman Sarah Howard are taken for high-profile crimes. It is not easy for partners to find an approach to each other, and Sarah even has to blackmail men in order to join the team. But over time, a team led by Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt, the future president, is achieving visible results.

Original title:
The Alienist

Actors:
Daniel Brühl, Luke Evans, Dakota Fanning…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Plague (2018 – 2019)

Highly rated historical series about mysterious crimes during the plague of the late 16th century. Former military Mateo Nunez once fled from Seville, so as not to be burned at the stake by the verdict of the Inquisition. But having given the word to a dying friend to take his son out of his native city engulfed in black death, the hero was forced to return there. The Inquisitors captured Mateo again, but promised to spare his life if he investigated the mysterious murders of local nobles.

Original title:
La peste

Actors:
Pablo Molinero, Patricia Lopez, Sergio Castellanos…

Country:
Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Secrets of Mrs. Kirsanova (2018 – 2019)

In 1878, a young teacher , Larisa Dmitrievna Kirsanova, appeared in the county town of Bogorodsk. Having settled with her beloved aunt, the young lady is looking for her fiancé, a native of these places, who disappeared without a trace on the eve of their wedding. Gradually, Mrs. Kirsanova is drawn into the detective business, showing remarkable detective skills and investigating the most intricate crimes, of which there were a great many in the quiet province.

Actors:
Olga Lerman, Anton Batyrev, Evgeny Shirikov …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2

Age restrictions:
12+


Shadows over the Balkans (2017 – 2020)

An exciting European cinema is a historical detective story, the action of which begins in 1928 in the territory of the future Yugoslavia. The remnants of the defeated Wrangel army settle here, in the hope of an early restoration of the Russian monarchy, they hid the royal treasures in the Belgrade church. When the artifacts are stolen and the priest is killed, inspector Andra Tanasievich and his assistant Stanko Pletikosich are taken to investigate the crime. Serbian police will have to unravel the intricacies of international intrigue.

Original title:
Senke nad Balkanom

Actors:
Andrija Kuzmanovich, Maria Bergam, Dragan Bjelogrlich …

Country:
Serbia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 8.9

Age restrictions:
16+


Golem (2016)

Gloomy London of the Victorian era becomes the scene of brutal murders, but the police are powerless to uncover them in hot pursuit. Superstitious residents of the capital begin to attribute atrocities to the mythical clay creature Golem. The search for the villain is entrusted to an elderly police veteran, John Kildare. But in defiance of duty, he is imbued with sympathy for actress Elizabeth Cree, a possible murderer of her husband. Will he find the real criminal among the suspects, on the list of which there is even Karl Marx, the law enforcement officer?

Original title:
The Limehouse Golem

Actors:
Douglas Booth, Olivia Cooke, Sam Reed …

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.3

Age restrictions:
18+


Anna detective (2016 – 2021)

The heroine of a mystical detective in retro style is a young provincial medium Anna Mironova, the daughter of a lawyer. In addition to cycling, which was unusual for a decent young lady of the late 19th century, the girl mastered the art of spiritualism. Arriving in Zatonsk, the metropolitan investigator Yakov Shtolman is skeptical about the idea of ​​communicating with spirits, but soon recognizes their usefulness in solving criminal puzzles.

Actors:
Alexandra Nikiforova, Dmitry Frid, Sergey Druzyak …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.1, IMDb – 8.0

Age restrictions:
12+


Inspector’s Visit (2015)

Screen adaptation of the classic English play by J. B. Priestley, which is consistently included in the top chamber theater productions. The family of wealthy businessman Arthur Birling gathered around the table to celebrate their daughter’s engagement to a respectable fiancé. But the celebration was rather unceremoniously interrupted by the meticulous Inspector Gul with a story about the suicide of a certain worker, Eva Smith. During an impromptu interrogation, it turns out that almost every one of those present was involved in the death of an unknown girl.

Original title:
An Inspector Calls

Actors:
Sophie Rundle, Lucy Chappelle, Miranda Richardson…

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.4, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
16+


Contribution (2015)

Alternation of historical facts with fictional ones in a Russian retro detective film based on the novel by Leonid Yuzefovich. In 1918, a rather battered White Guard unit under the command of General Pepelyaev occupied Perm. To restore the combat readiness of his people, the general gathers the local elite for donations to the army. A rich widow brings a large diamond, but the next day it disappears. A Bolshevik investigator sentenced to death must find the priceless stone in exchange for his pardon.

Actors:
Maxim Matveev, Elizaveta Boyarskaya, Nadezhda Tolubeeva …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
12+


Ripper Street (2012 – 2016)

The end of the 19th century in London was marked by the brutal crimes of the infamous Jack the Ripper. But one day there is a break in his savage deeds, although the locals are still afraid to leave the house. After some time, another victim is discovered, but detective Edmund Reed suspects that this is not the work of the famous maniac, but his virtuoso imitator.

Original title:
Ripper Street

Actors:
Matthew Macfadyen, Jerome Flynn, Adam Rothenberg…

Country:
Great Britain, Ireland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 8.1

Age restrictions:
16+


Lady Detective Miss Phryne Fisher (2012 – 2015)

The central character of the retro Australian detective series is the 1920s Melbourne detective Phryne Fisher. Clever, beautiful and a dance lover , the heroine is distinguished by her curiosity and talent to get involved in various adventures . Phryne drives a car and a plane, shoots accurately and charms men, which helps her a lot in detective investigations.

Original title:
Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

Actors:
Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Hugo Johnston-Bart…

Country:
Australia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 8.3

Age restrictions:
16+


1790 (2011)

The hero of another foreign detective series is the naval medic Johan Dood, who arrived in Stockholm on a visit from the Russian-Swedish war. The doctor’s peaceful vacation is interrupted by the death of the police commissioner. After examining the deceased, Johan insists that it was not a heart attack, but a murder. He impresses the chief of police with his arguments so much that he receives an offer to take the vacant post of commissioner. Dood agrees, acquiring enemies and a life full of dangers.

Original title:
Anno 1790

Actors:
Peter Eggers, Yuel Spira, Linda Zilliakus …

Country:
Sweden

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 7.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Legacy of the Corval sisters (2010)

Retro style is brilliantly maintained in the Canadian detective series, which takes place at the beginning of the 20th century. Calm Montreal is shocked by the brutal reprisal against the owner of the wax museum with exhibits illustrating the most high-profile crimes. The victim’s heirs are the young sisters Camilla and Florence Corval, who decided to investigate the death of a relative themselves and went on the trail of a serial maniac.

Original title:
Musée Eden

Actors:
Marilou Wulf, Laurence Leboeuf, Eric Bruno…

Country:
Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.6

Age Limits :
12+


Murdoch investigations (2008 – 2021)

The events of the multi-part film take place in Toronto in the 19th century, when the use of the methods of the new science of forensic science was still a curiosity. But the famous detective William Murdoch boldly uses her achievements, studying evidence, fingerprints and traces of blood. Reliable partners help him in his work – Inspector Brackenreid, Constable George Crabtree and Medical Examiner Julie Ogden. Cooperation with them brings amazing results, and communication with Julia is also a heart trembling.

Original title:
Murdoch Mysteries

Actors:
Yannick Bisson, Helen Joy, Thomas Craig…

Country:
Canada, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 8.1

Age restrictions:
12+


Nicolas le Floc (2008 – 2018)

A fascinating costumed story of the provincial detective Nicolas de Floc, who arrived in Paris during the time of King Louis XV. “Policeman D’Artagnan” had with him only a letter of recommendation and an ardent desire to serve in the metropolitan police. Here, dizzying adventures, dangerous investigations, court intrigues and the love of beautiful ladies await a capable and ambitious young man.

Original title:
Nicolas Le Floch

Actors:
Jérôme Robar, Matia Mlekyuz, François Caron…

Country:
France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 8.4

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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