Murderous, sadistic London gang leader Vic Dakin, a mother-obsessed homosexual modeled on real-life gangster Ronnie Kray, is worried about potential stool pigeons that may bring down his ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vic Dakin
Bob Matthews
Gerald Draycott
Frank Fletcher
Edgar Lowis
Cathleen Nesbitt ...
Mrs. Dakin
Elizabeth Knight ...
Tom Binney
Tony Selby ...
John Hallam ...
Del Henney ...
Ben Howard ...
James Cossins ...


Murderous, sadistic London gang leader Vic Dakin, a mother-obsessed homosexual modeled on real-life gangster Ronnie Kray, is worried about potential stool pigeons that may bring down his criminal empire. The brutal Vic cuts the throat of one bloke who has been a little too loose-lipped, afraid that his gossiping may turn into a grand operatic performance for the coppers. Vic, who enjoys playing at rough trade with his sidekick Wolfe, plans a payroll robbery and directs the blackmailing of Members of Parliament with a taste for unorthodox sex. Scotland Yard Police Inspector Matthews, playing Javert to Vic's Jean Valjean, is moving in on him and the gang. Gang-member Edgar is hospitalized for an ulcer, and Inspector Matthews might be able to make him sing. Will Edgar spill the beans to the coppers before Vic can silence him? Written by Jon C. Hopwood

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet Vic Dakin. Then wish you hadn't. See more »


Crime | Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 October 1971 (Norway)  »

Also Known As:

Burden of Proof  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The archway under the railway viaduct where Vic Dakin shot Edgar Lowis was the exact same one where some of the song and dance scenes took place in S.W.A.L.K. (1971). See more »


The is a clear overdub in the scene where Wolf and Veneita arrive at the country house for the party. As they are walking up the drive they both survey the front of the mansion. Wolf describes the the house as, "fit for a king". Ventia responds, "I bet the bathrooms are freezing". But if you watch her mouth movements closely she is actually completes Wolf's sentence with phrase , "or Queen" . See more »


Bob Matthews: I don't know what you're hoping to achieve, except perhaps an orgasm.
Vic Dakin: Don't be a burke all your life. Take a day off, Sergeant.
Bob Matthews: Inspector.
Vic Dakin: Oh it's come through, has it? That's nice. Bit more on your widow's pension.
See more »


Featured in A Bit of Scarlet (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

"Stupid punters. Telly all the week, screw the wife Saturday"
30 March 2006 | by (Wolverhampton, England) – See all my reviews

I've watched 'Villain' innumerable times since I taped it off a late night Channel 4 screening in 1999. Why? Because it's truly excellent.

Atmosphere, plot, quirky characterisations, violent action, dialogue, squalid sex - brother, it's got the lot. A far, far more interesting film than the same period's 'Get Carter'.

Scripted by venerable British comedy maestros Clement and Le Frenais from an initial novel adaptation by the simian faced American character actor Al Lettieri (and I'm sure there's an interesting story behind that process), 'Villain' is remarkably modern in its tone. We aren't presented with goodies or baddies, simply players of the never-ending game:

Vic Dakin (a darkly humorous Richard Burton) is the good old traditional mother-loving gay psychopath who enjoys slicing up informers with a cut-throat razor;

Wolfie Lissner (a superb Ian McShane, playing probably the most interesting character in the piece) is a survivor who'll do what ever it takes to survive, be it pimping unsuspecting lovelies to the elite, selling pills to late night ravers or taking the brunt of Dakin's sadisitic sexual urges;

Bob Matthews (a wry Nigel Davenport) is the disillusioned copper dedicated purely to bringing Daykin down - "I don't want a fertile imagination, I don't want to know if society's to blame, I just want to catch criminals".

And Gerald Draycott (an eternally eyebrow-cocking, seedily lecherous Donald Sinden) is a charmingly corrupt politician with a weakness for the kind of nubile young girls Wolfie supplies.

The script traces the intertwining fates of these characters after a bungled wages heist with terse, witty precision. Oddball subsidiary figures like Joss Ackland's ulcer-ridden crook (who gobbles pain-relieving hard boiled eggs during a getaway) and James Cossins' bitter, wife-hating clerk garnish the proceedings like tangily flavorous seasoning. The backdrop of grubby and grim seventies Britain is so well sketched that you can almost smell it. Jonathan Hodge's musical score is both percussively minimalist and hauntingly lyrical - very powerful. And its a rare triumph for the otherwise hack-like Michael Tuchner, who directs superlatively here with vigorous assurance.

Look out for stalwarts like Tony Selby, Tim Barlow and an uncredited Johnny Shannon ('Performance's Harry Flowers) as a copper coshing con.

"Got a hard-oh, have ya? DRIVE!!"

17 of 19 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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