Young detectives: 20 detective films for the whole family

Mysterious stories with unpredictable endings are loved by both adults and children. Of course, serious stories about the confrontation between detectives and villains may seem too boring and incomprehensible to kids. In our new selection, we have included exciting films that can bring both old and small to the screen. In the best family detectives, the investigation of crimes is always combined with adventure, and good always wins over evil.

Enola Holmes (2020)

On the day of her 16th birthday, a lively and smart girl discovers the disappearance of her mother. The elder brothers – the famous detective Sherlock and the high-ranking official Mycroft – want to place the indefatigable person in a boarding school for noble maidens. Restless Enola makes an escape to find the missing parent, and at the same time to investigate another mysterious crime.

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

Original title:  
Enola Holmes

Genre:  
Adventure, detective, crime

Actors:  
Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, Helena Bonham Carter…

Country:  
United Kingdom

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:  
12+


Timmy Fail: Mistakes Made (2020)

A foreign novelty of cinema is a fantasy detective story for the whole family from the Disney+ streaming service. A provincial 11-year-old boy considers himself a real detective genius , although others consider the strange tomboy just an inventor and dreamer. In pursuit of his dream, the boy creates a detective agency and, together with an imaginary friend – a huge polar bear – starts investigating.

Original title:
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Genre:
Detective, comedy, adventure

Actors:
Winslow Fegley, Ophelia Lovibond, Wallace Shawn …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.5, IMDb – 6.1


Pokémon. Detective Pikachu (2019)

An excellent detective comedy based on one of the computer games Detective Pikachu from the popular franchise. The famous private investigator has disappeared without a trace. The son of the missing – a young insurance agent – is trying to figure out a mysterious incident. In unraveling criminal mysteries, the faithful companion of the disappeared father comes to the rescue – the talking electric Pokemon Pikachu.

Original title:  
Pokémon Detective Pikachu

Genre:  
Fiction, fantasy, detective, adventure, family

Actors:  
Ryan Reynolds, Justice Smith, Katherine Newton …

Country:  
USA, Japan

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.6

Age limit:  
6+


Dora and the Lost City (2019)

Top detectives for family viewing continues an interesting story full of secrets and adventures. Young Dora spent her childhood with her explorer parents in the jungle . Wildlife tempered the character of the girl, but the disappearance of dad and mom and entering a school where envy and rivalry flourish will give the young lady a lot of intractable problems.

Original title:  
Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Genre:  
Comedy, detective, adventure

Actors:  
Isabela Merced, Eugenio Derbez, Michael Peña, Eva Longoria…

Country:  
USA, Mexico, Australia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 6.1

Age restrictions:  
6+


Nancy Drew and the Secret Staircase (2019)

Screen adaptation of Caroline Keene’s book about the world-famous young detective. Smart and shrewd Nancy Drew moves from Chicago to the countryside with her lawyer father. In a new place, the girl is trying to help an elderly neighbor rid the house of ghosts . Common sense suggests that there are no supernatural phenomena at all, but the disclosure of one secret leads to the emergence of new ones.

Original title:  
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase

Genre:
Horror, fantasy, detective

Actors:  
Sophia Lillis, Zoe Renee, Mackenzie Graham

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:  
6+


Exhibit Adventures (2019)

A Russian film about child detectives will keep the attention of the whole family until the last minute. A seventh-grader excellent student has always been a quiet and exemplary student, but the mysterious disappearance of his museum father makes the teenager step out of his comfort zone. Having joined forces with his ill-wisher – a school bully, the boy starts a search, and on the way to unraveling the children will face many dangers and adventures.

Genre:
Adventure, comedy, drama

Actors:  
Dmitry Gushchin, Artem Koshman, Masha Lobanova …

Country:  
Russia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.7

Age restrictions:  
12+


Lost and Found (2016)

Two brothers are forced to go on summer vacation to a distant relative. An eccentric uncle lives on a secluded island far from civilization. Even in such a backwater, curious guys do not get bored. The guys learn about the existence of an old family legend and go in search of lost treasures that once belonged to their distant ancestors a long time ago.

Original title:
Lost & Found

Genre:
Drama, detective, adventure

Actors:
Justin Kelly, Benjamin Stockham, Celeste Desjardins…

Country:
Canada, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.6, IMDb – 5.5


Supilinna Secret Society (2015)

A detective family film with elements of comedy and fantasy will gather both kids and adults at the screens. A company of children is going to have a fun summer, enjoying fun games and interesting quests. A mysterious virus turns all adults into playful kids. Only real 10-year-olds can cope with a terrible threat – strong friendship and faith in goodness will help to defeat even the strongest opponent.

Original title:
Supilinna Salaselts

Genre:
Fantasy, thriller, detective

Actors:
Olivia Viikant, Arabella Anton, Hugo Soosaar …

Country:
Estonia, Finland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 6.7


House of Crocodiles (2012)

An interesting German film about the mysteries of a gloomy old mansion inherited by a family with children from their uncle. Of course, in such an ominous building that holds ancient secrets, supernatural phenomena are simply bound to occur. Little Victor discovers a tattered diary from a longtime occupant of a mysterious mansion. A girl who died several decades ago left clues that could help unravel the secret that leads to the past.

Original title:
Das Haus der Krokodile

Genre:
Detective, adventure, family

Actors:
Christo Ferkich, Joanna Ferkich, Viessna Ferkich…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:
6+


Time Keeper (2011)

The list of the best family detectives continues with an incredible story from the highly rated Gangs of New York and Goodfellas director. An orphaned boy lives in a closet at the station and steals food. One day the boy discovers a strange mechanism. An attempt to understand the device of an amazing unit leads to finding real friends and the start of stunning adventures.

Original title:
Hugo

Genre:
Drama, detective, adventure

Actors:
Asa Butterfield, Chloe Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley …

Country:
UK, USA, France

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.9, IMDb – 7.5

Age restrictions:
12+


Focus (2010)

Having visited a magic show, an 8-year-old boy became seriously interested in the art of illusionists . Especially the young lover of magic was fascinated by the disappearance trick. However, something extraordinary soon happens. During the performance, a girl disappears without a trace. Magic is clearly not involved here – there is only someone’s evil criminal intent. A little lover of tricks is taken to find out how everything really happened.

Original title:
Het geheim

Genre:
Fantasy, comedy, detective

Actors:
Thor Brown, Theo Maassen, Chantal Janzen …

Country:
Netherlands

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.7


Three Investigators and the Secret of the Horror Castle (2009)

A fascinating film based on a book from the popular series of children’s detective novels. Among the birthday presents, the boy received a strange video cassette. On the recording, the missing parents left clues for their son related to their disappearance. In the company of three friends, the boy goes to an abandoned castle, where an eccentric inventor lives far from civilization .

Original title:
The Three Investigators and the Secret of Terror Castle

Genre:
Detective, adventure, family

Actors:
Chancellor Miller, Nick Price, Cameron Monaghan…

Country:
Germany, South Africa

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 5.7


Keith Kittredge: An American Girl Mystery (2008)

A comedy film in the detective genre, suitable for home viewing with children, takes viewers back to the Great Depression. Due to the economic crisis, even the rich had a hard time. The daughter of a wealthy man, forced to change his place of residence in search of work, made acquaintances with several vagabonds. The impoverished wanderers turned out to be not bad people, but it is on them that the police want to hang a series of robberies .

Original title:
Kit Kittredge: An American Girl

Genre:
Drama, Comedy, Family

Actors:
Abigail Breslin, Julia Ormond, Chris O’Donnell…

Country:
USA, Canada

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.1, IMDb – 6.5

Age Limits :
0+


Nancy Drew (2007)

The cool film is based on a series of detective novels by Caroline Keene about the famous detective girl. A respectable lawyer, along with a restless daughter, temporarily moves to California for work and settles in the mansion of a movie star killed many years ago. The father asks the girl to behave like an ordinary teenager and not stir up other people’s secrets, but Nancy Drew will not rest until she finds the killer.

Original title:  
Nancy Drew

Genre:
Thriller, romance, comedy

Actors:  
Kennedy McMann, Lea Lewis, Maddison Jaizani …

Country:  
USA

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.4

Age restrictions:  
18+


Three Investigators and the Mystery of Skeleton Island (2007)

The exciting German film is based on the popular series of children’s detective adventure novels. The three guys set up their own detective agency headquartered in an old trailer. Investigation of another mysterious atrocity will lead a friendly trinity of detectives to the mystical island of Skeletons, which hides many frightening stories.

Original title:
The Three Investigators and the Secret of Skeleton Island

Genre:
Detective, adventure, family

Actors:
Chancellor Miller, Nick Price, Cameron Monaghan…

Country:
Germany, South Africa

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 5.6

Age restrictions:
12+


Pink Panther (dilogue, 2006 and 2009)

After a victorious match, the coach of the French national football team was killed, and a ring with an expensive diamond disappeared from the hand of the deceased. The police chief instructed an eccentric inspector to conduct the investigation, hoping to solve the case on his own and receive a reward. However, the clumsy detective Jacques Clouseau is not as simple as it seems. In the sequel, the protagonist will continue to hunt for the jewel at the head of a team of experienced investigators.

Original title:
The Pink Panther

Genre:
Comedy, crime, detective

Actors:
Steve Martin, Kevin Kline, Jean Reno …

Country:
USA, Czech Republic

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 5.7

Age restrictions:
6+


Treasure (2003)

Comedy detective for family viewing is based on the popular American novel by Louis Saker. All men of the same kind are under an ancient curse, dooming them to get into unpleasant situations. So teenager Stanley, on a false charge, ends up serving his sentence in a labor camp. The guards force their wards to dig strange holes. An inquisitive teenager is trying to figure out what is behind the administrative quirks.

Original title:
Holes

Genre:
Drama, comedy, detective

Actors:
Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.0

Age restrictions:
12+


Find the Key (2002)

The heroine of a funny family comedy writes a gossip column in the school newspaper, and in order to get exclusive materials, she often spies on others. When a school teacher goes missing, the girl’s skills come in very handy. Who else will be able to collect all the evidence, interview all the witnesses and shed light on a tangled mystery that haunts even adults!

Original title:
Get a Clue

Genre:
Comedy, crime, detective

Actors:
Lindsay Lohan, Bug Hall, Ian Gomez…

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.7, IMDb – 5.1

Age restrictions:
12+


Scooby-Doo (dilogue, 2002 and 2004)

An American film with an explosive mixture of mysticism and comedy based on the popular cartoon franchise. The famous team investigating all sorts of mysterious incidents is reunited after a discord. The astute company must find out why on an island equipped for tourists in the style of horror, cheerful students turn into diligent bores. In the second part of the dilogy, the masters of the detective will have to face the revived monsters from the Museum of Criminology.

Original title:  
Scooby-Doo

Genre:
Fantasy, comedy, detective

Actors:  
Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Matthew Lillard, Isla Fisher…

Country:  
USA, Australia

Rating:  
Myreleasedate – 5.9, IMDb – 5.1

Age restrictions:  
12+


Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)

Fantastic detective, great for family viewing, combines hand-drawn animation with live action. In a fictional world, people live side by side with “cartoons”. Roger Rabbit is accused of killing the owner of an animation studio. A private detective must find the real villain and help an innocent eared creature get rid of false slander.

Original title:
Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Genre:
Cartoon, fantasy, comedy

Actors:
Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy …

Country:
USA, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.8, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
6+


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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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