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The Top Five Sherlock Holmes Movie & TV Adaptations

August 03, 2021
'Elementary, my dear Watson!' Although this line has been said and repeated in countless movies, TV series, and more, no one will forget the original character who first uttered these very words: Sherlock Holmes. For more centuries now, the tale of the noble British detective and his genius way of solving mysteries have captivated audiences over and over again. His story has been made into countless films, TV shows, featured in documentaries, and more. But which among them are the best of the best? Which of the millions of 'Sherlock Holmes' adaptations have made a mark in history? Here are a handful of them!

The Top Five Sherlock Holmes Movie & TV Adaptations

Sherlock Holmes (1984 - 1994)

As far as classic 'Sherlock Holmes' adaptations go, the famous ITV Granada series from 1984 to 1994 is considered the best of them all. Starring Jeremy Brett in what became his most well-known role (his previous best-known role was that of 'Freddy Eynsford-Hill' in the 1964 classic, 'My Fair Lady' starring Audrey Hepburn), the show captivated audiences for an entire decade. It helps that Brett laid out a new identity for Sherlock Holmes, one that not only focused on his famous intellect, but also touched on the detective's psychological complexities. Paired with excellent scripts and amazing shots, it's no wonder this show ran for as long as it did.
Source: Ser Severus YouTube Channel

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

It's no secret that Disney is one to expertly adapt classic stories and turn them into animated masterpieces. But who would have thought they'd give the same treatment to Sherlock Holmes? Though his story is classic, they're by no means the same type of romantic fairy tales that Disney is known for. That is, until the film studio turned the iconic detective into an adorable mouse. In the 1986 film, 'The Great Mouse Detective,' audiences saw Basil, a mouse that lives in Holmes' famous address, take on his notable personal to solve critter-born capers of his own. The result is nothing short of cute and entertaining.
Source: Movie Trailer Locker YouTube Channel

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

Starring the incomparable Robert Downey Jr. in what became his first main titular role after successfully playing Ironman in the first installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise in 2008, the 2009 film, 'Sherlock Holmes' was unlike any other! Maximizing the male lead, who's become known as a superhero by that point in his career, the movie made the iconic detective more of an action hero instead of an intellectual detective. He still made use of his world-famous intelligence to solve mysteries, however, this was the first time audiences saw Sherlock Holmes getting into fist-fights and beating up the bad guys.
Source: Movieclips Classic Trailers YouTube Channel

Mr. Holmes (2015)

When you have an actor as high-caliber as Sir Ian McKellan as the lead, you know you've got a quality movie. In this 2015 film adaptation, audiences see Sherlock Holmes as a somewhat desolate old man suffering from an intense case of memory loss. The once great genius detective has become a shell of his former self, attempting to remember various details of his last case from 30 years ago. Although the movie is more so based on the novel 'A Slight Trick of the Mind' by Mitch Cullen than the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it's become an indelible classic among Sherlock Holmes fans. And it's all thanks to McKellan's emotional, riveting, and uniquely vulnerable portrayal of the beloved character.
Source: Movieclips Trailers YouTube Channel

Sherlock (2010 - 2017)

Without a doubt, the BBC hit series, 'Sherlock,' has become the definitive TV adaptation of the famous detective for 21st century audiences. This modern retelling stars Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, whose arrogant yet lovable portrayal gave the detective a more contemporary feel. Aided by Martin Freeman's slightly comedic chops as Dr. John Watson, the series gave a fresh and more human take on the highly intelligent detective. Cumberbatch's meticulous performances in unlocking each mystery riveted audiences, as did Andrew Scott's maniacal run as the infamous rival, Jim Moriarty. From this point on, when audiences think of 'Sherlock Holmes,' they'll think of this adaptation.
Source: BBC YouTube Channel

As far as famous detectives go, 'Sherlock Holmes' has been the most iconic for more than a few centuries. And that's thanks in large part to the many excellent movie and TV adaptations that continually introduce him to new generations.

Watching these excellent 'Sherlock Holmes' movies and TV series in the comforts of your luxury home would be the absolute best!



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