Murder in Three Acts

Murder in Three Acts
Written by Agatha Christie
Scott Swanton
Directed by Gary Nelson
Starring Peter Ustinov
Tony Curtis
Emma Samms
Fernando Allende
Diana Muldaur
Jonathan Cecil
Country of origin United Kingdom
United States
Original language(s) English
Running time 94 minutes
Distributor CBS
Original network CBS
Original release September 30, 1986 (1986-09-30)
Preceded by Dead Man's Folly
Followed by Appointment with Death

Murder in Three Acts is a 1986 British-American made-for-television mystery film produced by Warner Bros. Television, featuring Peter Ustinov as Agatha Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Directed by Gary Nelson,[1] it co-starred Jonathan Cecil as Hastings, Tony Curtis, and Emma Samms.

The film is based on Christie's book Three Act Tragedy (1934).


Poirot joins his assistant Hastings in Acapulco, Mexico, where Hastings is staying. They go to a party at which the other guests include the writer Janet Crisp, the American actor Charles Cartwright, a clergyman called Babbington, Daisy Eastman and her daughter Egg, Dr Strange, and Ricardo Montoya. Babbington dies of poisoning, and then Strange is poisoned, too. Poirot hunts the murderer.

Changes to the original story

The main change is the relocation of the action from London to Acapulco. In the book, Poirot's assistant is Satterthwaite, replacing Hastings, but in the film Hastings is reinstated in his usual role. Christie's English theatrical actor Sir Charles Cartwright turns into Charles Cartwright, an American movie star.

A 2010 version made for television starring David Suchet as Poirot restored the title Three Act Tragedy as well as again making Sir Charles Cartwright (played by Martin Shaw) a stage actor from Britain.

Cast of the 1986 version

Ustinov as Poirot

Murder in Three Acts was Peter Ustinov's fifth portrayal of Christie's Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Ustinov played Poirot in a total of six films:


  1. "Murder in Three Acts". TCM database. Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
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