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Victim (1961)

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A prominent lawyer goes after a blackmailer who threatens gay men with exposure (homosexual acts still being illegal). But he's gay himself...



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Title: Victim (1961)

Victim (1961) on IMDb 7.8/10

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Melville Farr
Anthony Nicholls ...
Lord Fullbrook
Paul Mandrake
Norman Bird ...
Harold Doe
Peter McEnery ...
Donald Churchill ...
Sandy Youth
John Barrie ...
Det.Inspector Harris
John Cairney ...
Alan MacNaughton ...
Scott Hankin (as Alan MacNaughtan)
Frank Pettitt ...
Barman (as Frank Pettit)
Mavis Villiers ...


A plea for reform of England's anti-sodomy statutes, this film pits Melville Farr, a married lawyer, against a blackmailer who has photos of Farr and a young gay man (who is being blackmailed and later commits suicide) in Farr's car. After the suicide, Farr tracks down other gay men being extorted for money by the same blackmailer. The well-educated police Detective Inspector Harris considers the sodomy law nothing more than an aid to blackmailers, and helps Farr in calling his blackmailer's bluff. The movie, far ahead of its time, ends with Farr and his wife coming to terms with his homosexuality after the public exposure he faces in the blackmailer's trial. Written by Mike Mills <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Daring Picture About the World's Most Un-talked About Subject.


Crime | Drama


See all certifications »




Release Date:

11 October 1961 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A Vítima  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (pre-censored) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Jack Hawkins, James Mason and Stewart Granger turned down the role of Melville Farr. Then it was decided to make the character younger and Dirk Bogarde accepted the part. See more »


Camera shadow on the back of a patron as Barrett exits the phone/toilet room. See more »


Detective Inspector Harris: Someone once called this law against homosexuality the blackmailer's charter.
Melville Farr: Is that how you feel about it?
Detective Inspector Harris: I'm a policeman, sir. I don't have feelings.
See more »


Referenced in A Kind of Loving (1962) See more »


Long Stringy Baby
Written by Trevor Peacock
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User Reviews

A milestone in gay cinema
3 April 2004 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

"Victim" is probably the first mainstream film on either side of the Atlantic to feature a gay hero. Granted, Dirk Bogarde plays a married closet case who hasn't actually engaged in a homosexual act in many years. Nonetheless, it's fairly amazing that, given what we know about attitudes toward gay people in the 1950's that a film this affirming of gay rights could have been made in 1961. It's a movie that's much more about "gay" as an identity than it is about sexuality; it centers on a blackmail ring that includes our closeted hero, a star of the London theatre, a lonely old barber, a Rolls-Royce salesman, and others. As a group, the gay men are intermittently desperate, proud, accepting, self-loathing, and scared -- which said more to me about 1961 than it said about gay men. The title is interesting to me; it seems that the journey of Bogarde's character seems to be the road out of victimization and toward (if this isn't too corny) self-actualization. It's a mildly entertaining movie, but a fascinating historical artifact.

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