Appointment with Death (film)

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Appointment with Death
Appointment with Death poster.jpg
Original cinema poster
Directed by Michael Winner
Produced by Michael Winner
Menahem Golan
Yoram Globus
Screenplay by Michael Winner
Anthony Shaffer
Peter Buckman
Based on Novel:
Agatha Christie
Music by Pino Donaggio
Cinematography David Gurfinkel
Edited by Arnold Crust Jr. (Michael Winner)
Distributed by Cannon Film Distributors
Release dates
15 April 1988 (US)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Box office $960,040[1]

Appointment with Death is a 1988 mystery film, made by Golan-Globus Productions and produced and directed by Michael Winner. It is an adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel Appointment with Death featuring the detective Hercule Poirot. The screenplay was by Peter Buckman, Anthony Shaffer and Michael Winner.

The film stars Peter Ustinov as Poirot, along with Lauren Bacall, Carrie Fisher, John Gielgud, Piper Laurie, Hayley Mills, Jenny Seagrove and David Soul.

Gielgud and Bacall had previously co-starred in another big-screen Poirot adaptation, 1974's Murder on the Orient Express.


Emily Boynton, stepmother to the three Boynton children – Lennox, Raymond and Carol – and mother to Ginevra, blackmails the family lawyer, Jefferson Cope, into destroying a second will of her late husband that would have freed the children from her dominating influence.

She takes herself, the children and her daughter-in-law Nadine on holiday to Europe and the Holy Land. In Trieste, the great detective Hercule Poirot meets up with a woman friend, Dr. Sarah King, who falls in love with Raymond Boynton to Emily's disapproval.

Lady Westholme, her secretary Miss Quinton and lawyer Cope are following them too. The children discover the second will and Emily succeeds in rubbing the rest the wrong way, causing much hatred towards her. At a dig, Emily is found dead. Poirot investigates.



The movie received a mixed reception.[2][3][4]

Box office[edit]

The movie was not a box office success.[5]

Critic David Aldridge from May 1988 Film Review magazine classified as "Another loser from Winner, though, to give the man some small due, even a more talented director would have floundered forcing freshness in such formularised fare.". He also criticised Cannon film for production value of exotic location, with the quote: "But, then, it is a Cannon Film and they're not known for spending a penny when a halfpenny would just about do. Good for TV".


The novel takes place primarily in Petra, Jordan whereas the film takes place in Jerusalem and Qumran (near the Dead Sea). This change was made because the production company was Israeli.

Ustinov as Poirot[edit]

This film was Peter Ustinov's sixth and last appearance as Hercule Poirot.

DVD availability[edit]

This is the only one of the six films in which Peter Ustinov portrayed Poirot that has never been released onto Region 1 DVD for US and Canadian home video.


  1. ^ "Appointment with Death". Box Office Mojo. 
  2. ^ Canby, Vincent (15 April 1988). "Movie Review - Appointment With Death - Review/Film; 'Appointment With Death' Recasts Ustinov as Poirot -". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Wilmington, Michael (15 April 1988). "MOVIE REVIEWS : 'Appointment With Death' a Disappointment – Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Variety Reviews – Appointment with Death – Film Reviews – - Review by Variety Staff". 31 December 1987. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Klady, Leonard (8 January 1989). "Box Office Champs, Chumps : The hero of the bottom line was the 46-year-old 'Bambi' – Page 2 – Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 26 June 2012. 

External links[edit]