->''"Andrew... remember... be sure and tell them... it was only a bloody game."''
-->-- '''Milo Tindle'''

A 1970 mystery/thriller play by Anthony Shaffer, which has twice been adapted for the screen.

Andrew Wyke, a mystery writer, realizes his wife is having an affair with the middle-class[[note]](his actual occupation varies from version to version)[[/note]] Milo Tindle. He finds in Milo the opportunity to divorce his wife, but he needs to avoid having to pay alimony. So, he challenges the younger man to rob his house; Milo can get rich off his loot, while the insurance company will handsomely reimburse Andrew. Milo complies; but just as he pulls it off, things get really complicated.

Shaffer himself wrote the adaptation for the 1972 film, which was directed by Creator/JosephLMankiewicz and stars Creator/LaurenceOlivier as Andrew and Creator/MichaelCaine as Milo. The second film version, released in 2007, was directed by Creator/KennethBranagh and scripted by Creator/HaroldPinter; Michael Caine stars again, this time as Andrew, with Creator/JudeLaw appearing as Milo.

!!The play features examples of:

* AndYouThoughtItWasAGame: Several times the line between game and real life thread becomes blurred.
* BlatantBurglar: The first disguise Andrew proposes for Milo to wear during the staged burglary is the classic outfit complete with striped jersey and a bag with SWAG written on it.
* TheChessmaster: Both Milo and Andrew.
* ChromosomeCasting: A male example. Granted, it does have a MinimalistCast.
* DisneyDeath: [[spoiler:Milo. He's not so lucky the second time.]]
* EvilPlan[=/=]KansasCityShuffle: [[spoiler:The scheme in the opening paragraph was just a precursor to Andrew's real scheme: to humiliate Milo, by means of shooting him with blanks, because he, a middle-class son of immigrants, dared to mingle with the upper class.]] It's the former because it starts and drives the plot. It's the latter because the one being schemed thought they knew where to look and what was going on but the real scheme is coming from another direction. From there it gets a lot more complicated.
* FamousLastWords: [[spoiler:After being shot for real, Milo lasts long enough to get out a victorious, "Game, set, match".]]
* GenreSavvy: Both characters try to use their knowledge of detective stories to their advantage.
* GoldDigger: Marguerite, according to Andrew.
* HeWhoFightsMonsters: Milo, who initially disapproves of Andrew's gameplaying, starts playing back to prevent Andrew getting the last laugh, and proves disconcertingly adept.
* INeverSaidItWasPoison: Discussed during Inspector Doppler's conversation with Andrew.
* MeaningfulName: [[spoiler:Inspector Doppler.]]
* MinimalistCast: It has only five characters. [[spoiler:And only two actors.]]
* MoodWhiplash: The initial burglary plot is quite silly, as Milo disguises as a clown and makes a mess of the robbery attempt, but after the first or second plot twist it becomes extremely dark.
* MostWritersAreWriters: Andrew, has become wealthy as a successful writer of popular, though now old-fashioned, crime fiction novels, which feature an aristocratic amateur detective, St. John Lord Merridew.
* OnlyOnePlausibleSuspect: When Inspector Doppler turns up and announces that [[spoiler:Milo has been murdered]], Andrew is the only plausible suspect; since he and Milo are the only two significant characters up this point, and it obviously wasn't Milo, the rules of drama dictate that nobody could have done it if not Andrew. [[spoiler:Subverted: nobody ''did'' do it; it's all a bit of fakery as part of Milo's revenge.]]
* PoliceAreUseless: Early on Milo complains that in Andrew's detective books the Police are always incompetent and leave the work to the amateur sleuth. Later he has to experience the fact firsthand.
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain: Relatively subtle, but in addition to being a snob in general, Andrew throws some anti-Italian slurs at Milo.
* ReasonYouSuckSpeech: Andrew gives Milo a "Reasons Why I Hate You" speech at the end of the first act.
* ReverseWhodunnit: The theme of the second act, as the inspector arrives to unravel the events shown in the first act. [[spoiler:Subverted as no actual murder happened. In fact, the inspector is actually the supposed victim in disguise, putting his own plan in motion to get even.]]
* RichSuitorPoorSuitor: Sort of. Andrew sees it this way.
* ShutUpHannibal: Andrew lectures Milo about the upper class being smarter and better, and believes his amateur sleuthing is superior to real-life detective work. Milo and Inspector Doppler [[spoiler:basically the same person]] go out of the way to prove Andrew so ''very'' wrong about both.
* ThanatosGambit: [[spoiler:In reprisal for the KansasCityShuffle, Milo manipulates Andrew into killing him for real and getting caught red-handed.]]
* TheCakeIsALie: The jewels are a lie!

!!The 1972 film adds examples of:

* BloodFromTheMouth: Milo in the final scene.
* BriefAccentImitation: Laurence Olivier gets to do several.
* CastingGag: More of a casting pun, one of the [[spoiler: fake]] names in the credits is Eve Channing, a reference to director Mankiewicz's Film/AllAboutEve.
* ConcealingCanvas: Discussed. When looking for the safe, Milo dismisses the painting of Andrew's wife as the hiding place as he has [[GenreSavvy seen it too often on TV]].
* CreepyCircusMusic: Playing in the closing scene.
* FamousLastWords: The same circumstances as in the play, but the words themselves are different: [[spoiler:in fact, this is where Milo says the page quote]].
* MobileMaze: Andrew's got one.
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: [[spoiler:An In-Character example. Michael Caine struggles a bit with Milo's Inspector Doppler accent.]]
* PsychopathicManchild: Andrew. The creep factor is dialed up with long shots of his moving, dancing, watching-you toys.
* ShoutOut: Andrew, a popular detective writer, has a sign that reads "221 B Baker Street" in his basement.
* SpoilerOpening: [[spoiler:Subverted; despite what the credits may tell you, Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine are the only actors who appear in the film.]]

!!The 2007 film adds examples of:

* AntiHero: Milo is revealed to be a sociopath on Andrew's level.
* CastingGag: Creator/MichaelCaine, who played Milo to Creator/LaurenceOlivier's Andrew in the 1972 film, starred as Andrew to Jude Law's Milo in the 2007 version. Jude Law had played Michael Caine's part in the remake of ''Film/{{Alfie}}''.