Young Sherlock Holmes

1985 film by Barry Levinson

Young Sherlock Holmes (also titled as Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear) is a 1985 American mystery adventure film, based on the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The movie depicts a young Sherlock Holmes and John Watson meeting and solving a mystery together at a boarding school.

Directed by Barry Levinson. Written by Chris Columbus.
The first exciting adventure of the world's greatest sleuth! taglines

John Watson

  • Well, I knew it. This is the end of my medical career. My father's going to be furious. I always knew that making friends with you would end up in disaster.

Older Watson (narrator)

  • It was a cold, snowy day in early December. Lack of funds had forced my old school to close. I was being sent to a new one in the middle of term. I was accustomed to the open, relaxed expanse of the country, and now I was in the heart of London at the height of the Victorian Era. The streets were teeming with every activity imaginable. I was very taken by what I saw. As I stepped from my carriage, the sight of my new school filled me with fear and apprehension, yet, I was swept with a wave of curiosity. However, nothing could prepare me for the extraordinary adventure that lay ahead, or the extraordinary individual who would change my life.
  • A few days later, they buried Professor Waxflatter. I had never been to a funeral before, though unfortunately, I've been to many since. Holmes could not publicly attend the funeral. His expulsion from Brompton prevented such a thing. The death of his mentor and friend had taken its toll on Sherlock Holmes. In my entire life, I have only seen Holmes cry on two occasions. Today was the first.
  • [final lines, as Sherlock leaves] As I watched Holmes settle into his seat, a sudden feeling came over me - that I would most certainly be seeing him again. So ended my first adventure with Mr. Sherlock Holmes. As I watched his carriage disappear into the distance, I realised that I had forgotten to thank him. He had taken a weak, frightened boy and made him into a courageous, strong man. My heart soared. I was filled with confidence. I was ready for whatever mystery or danger lay ahead. I was ready to take on the greatest and most exciting adventure of them all, and I knew it was bound to involve Sherlock Holmes.


  • Professor Rathe: [after defeating Sherlock in a fencing match] My game, Holmes. Now, gentlemen, Mr. Holmes lost because of one important factor: his emotions took over. He ignored discipline. Never replace discipline with emotion. Well played, Holmes.
  • Rupert Waxflatter: Elementary, my dear Holmes... elementary.


Sherlock Holmes: You're the new boy.
John Watson: Yes, I transferred from another school. My name is...
Sherlock Holmes: Wait - let me. [observes him for a moment] Your name is James Watson. You're from the north of England, your father is a doctor, you spend a considerable amount of leisure time writing, and you have a particular fondness for custard tarts. Am I correct?
John Watson: My name isn't James, it's John.
Sherlock Holmes: James, John - what's the difference?
John Watson: A great deal!
Sherlock Holmes: Very well, so your name is John. How did I do on the others?
John Watson: You were correct. On every count. How is it done? Is it some sort of magic trick?
Sherlock Holmes: [chuckles] No magic, Watson. Pure and simple deduction. The name-tag on your mattress reads "J Watson". I selected the most common name that begins with "J" - "James". Or "John", that would have been my second choice.
John Watson: Of course.
Sherlock Holmes: Your particular style of shoes are not made in the city. I've only encountered them once before during a brief visit to the north of England. The middle finger of your left hand is indented with a callus, the trademark of a writer. And you were carrying The Hunter's Encyclopedia of Disease - a handbook not available to the general public, only to practising physicians. Since someone of your age obviously hasn't been to medical school, I concluded that it was given to you by an older person, someone very dear to you who is concerned for your health: your father, the doctor.
John Watson: And the custard tarts?
Sherlock Holmes: Simple. There's a distinct stain of yellow custard on your lapel. That particular colour of custard is used in the making of custard tarts, and, uh... well, your shape convinced me you've eaten many of them before.
John Watson: There's no need to be rude!

Older Watson: [narrating] It was the beginning of my second week at Brompton. With each passing day, my fascination with Sherlock Holmes and his world continued to grow. On this occasion, the entire school was bursting with excitement. Dudley had challenged Holmes to a test of ingenuity, skill, and perception. Dudley had snatched the school's fencing trophy and hidden it in a secret place. He gave Holmes sixty minutes to find the trophy. Holmes accepted the challenge with confidence.
Sherlock Holmes: The game is afoot!

John Watson: I can't afford to jeopardise my medical career!
Sherlock Holmes: Weasel.
John Watson: I'm not a weasel. I am... practical.
Sherlock Holmes: Weasels are practical. And I imagined you courageous and stout of heart.
John Watson: I am courageous. And I'm stout of heart. It's just that... oh, all right. I'll do it.

Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes, jealous? My dear, that word does not enter my vocabulary.
Elizabeth Hardy: Neither does punctuality.

Sherlock Holmes: A great detective relies on perception, intelligence, and imagination.
Lestrade: [amused] Where'd you get that rubbish from?
Sherlock Holmes: It's framed on the wall behind you.

Lestrade: I despise your arrogance.
Sherlock Holmes: And I despise your laziness.

Sherlock Holmes: You're sitting in a room with an all-southern view. Suddenly, a bear walks by the window. What colour is the bear?
John Watson: Red! The bear is red!
Sherlock Holmes: Why on Earth would the bear be red?
John Watson: The southern sun is very hot. The bear would be terribly burnt!
Sherlock Holmes: [laughs] That is the most absurd answer I've ever heard.

Sherlock Holmes: Just have a quick look at these. [hands Lestrade two obituaries]
Lestrade: A suicide and a carriage accident.
Sherlock Holmes: I suspect foul play.
Lestrade: Why? The two instances are completely unrelated.
Sherlock Holmes: Wrong. Both men graduated from the same university in 1809.
Lestrade: Coincidence.
Sherlock Holmes: Neither of their deaths fit their personalities. According to his obituary, Bobster was a happy man, content with his life, his career, his family. Why would he commit suicide? He didn't even leave a note. And Reverend Nesbitt is described by friends as "warm, loving, peaceful". And yet the carriage driver insists that he was crazed, insane, in a state of panic when he ran out into the street.
Lestrade: Holmes, a mere fluctuation of character is hardly sufficient evidence to begin an investigation. And if you want my advice, you'll keep your nose out of the Times and into your schoolbooks.
Sherlock Holmes: I appreciate your time, Mr. Lestrade. I suggest you hold onto these. [Lestrade shakes his head as Holmes tips out the contents of a small container; the contents are some of the poison darts used against Rathe's enemies, which were also used on him, Watson and Elizabeth] If I were a detective sergeant trapped in this room all day up to my neck in boring paperwork, I would be doing everything in my power to seek out that one case, that one investigation that could promote me to inspector.
Lestrade: [irately] Good day, Holmes.

John Watson: [working out a riddle about seeing a bear from a room with an all-southern view, which has been recurring throughout the movie] Holmes, wait! I know why the bear is white!
Sherlock Holmes: And why is that, Watson?
John Watson: Well, the only room with an all-southern view would be at the North Pole. It's a polar bear!
Sherlock Holmes: Bravo, Watson. You have the makings of a great detective.

Sherlock Holmes: [after defeating Professor Rathe/Eh Tar, only to discover that Elizabeth is fatally wounded thanks to Rathe/Eh Tar shooting her] Someday we'll be reunited. In another world, a much better world.
Elizabeth Hardy: I'll be waiting. And you'll be late... as always. [dies]

John Watson: What have I got myself into?
Sherlock Holmes: The adventure of a lifetime, Watson.

[Over the credits, there has been footage of a horse-drawn sleigh moving through snowy Switzerland. Just as the credits finish, the sleigh stops at a hotel, where the passenger gets out and goes inside.]
Receptionist: Can I help you?
Passenger: I'd like a room, please.
Receptionist: Please, sir...[gestures at the guestbook on the desk] to sign here.
[The passenger does so, signing the name "Moriarty". He is revealed to be none other than Eh-Tar/Professor Rathe, who will go on to become Holmes' archenemy, as he menacingly breaks the fourth wall.]

About Young Sherlock Holmes

  • The thing that was most important to me was why Holmes became so cold and calculating, and why he was alone for the rest of his life ... That's why he is so emotional in the film; as a youngster, he was ruled by emotion, he fell in love with the love of his life, and as a result of what happens in this film, he becomes the person he was later.
    • Chris Columbus [1]


  • The first exciting adventure of the world's greatest sleuth!
  • On his first murder case, a brilliant schoolboy is swept into a perilous adventure!
  • Before a lifetime of adventure, they lived the adventure of a lifetime.
  • The game is afoot!


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