Movie Review: Appointment With Death (1988)

“Appointment with Death” is a 1988 mystery film based on the Agatha Christie novel of the same name. Directed by Michael Winner and starring Peter Ustinov as Hercule Poirot, the film follows the detective as he investigates the murder of a wealthy American woman, Mrs. Boynton, while on vacation in the Middle East. In this review, I will discuss the plot, characters, performances, and my overall impression of the movie.


The movie follows the same basic plot as the novel, with a few minor changes. The story is set in the Middle East, where a group of travelers, including the famous detective Hercule Poirot, are vacationing. One day, Mrs. Boynton is found dead, and it is revealed that she was poisoned. Everyone in the group is a suspect, and Poirot takes on the case to find the murderer. As he investigates, he uncovers a web of lies and secrets that make the case more complex than he originally thought. Eventually, he discovers the truth and exposes the killer.

The movie does a good job of staying faithful to the novel’s plot, although there are some changes to the characters and the order of events. For example, the character of Lennox Boynton is changed to a female character, Nadine Boynton, and some of the other characters’ backstories are altered. Overall, though, the changes do not significantly impact the story or its resolution.


The characters in the movie are well-cast and well-acted. Peter Ustinov is excellent as Hercule Poirot, bringing his signature wit and charm to the role. He has a great chemistry with the other actors and makes the character his own, despite the fact that he was not the first actor to play Poirot on screen.

The other characters in the movie are also well-acted, with notable performances from Lauren Bacall as Mrs. Boynton and Piper Laurie as Emily Boynton. The movie does a good job of portraying the complex relationships between the characters and their various motives for wanting Mrs. Boynton dead.


The performances in the movie are generally strong. Peter Ustinov is the standout, bringing his unique brand of humor and intelligence to the role of Poirot. He is a pleasure to watch and carries the movie with ease. Lauren Bacall is also excellent as Mrs. Boynton, bringing a sense of menace and control to the character. Her scenes with the other actors are some of the most memorable in the movie.

Piper Laurie is another standout, playing the role of Emily Boynton with great skill. She brings a vulnerability to the character that is not present in the novel and makes the audience sympathize with her plight. The other actors in the movie are also good, although some of the supporting characters are not given as much to do as they are in the novel.

Final Impressions

“Appointment with Death” is a solid adaptation of the Agatha Christie novel. The movie captures the spirit of the book and the character of Hercule Poirot. The performances are strong, and the pacing of the movie is well-done. The Middle Eastern setting is also well-portrayed, with beautiful locations.

That being said, the movie is not without its flaws. Some of the changes to the characters and their backstories may be jarring to fans of the novel, and the movie is not as complex as the book in terms of its plot and themes. Additionally, the movie does not explore the characters’ relationships with each other as deeply as the novel does.

“Appointment with Death” is a satisfying mystery movie that is worth watching for fans of Agatha Christie or Peter Ustinov.

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