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Sitting Target (1972)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | May 1972 (UK)
Imprisoned Harry Lomart is a vicious, brute of a man and yet he is prepared to do his long jail term as he is confident that on his release his beautiful wife Pat will be waiting for him, but a visit from Pat brings him his worst nightmare.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pat Lomart
Inspector Milton
Marty Gold
Gun Dealer
Soapy Tucker
Prison Warder Accomplice
Prison Warder One
Joe Cahill ...
Prison Warder Two
Bob Ramsey ...
Gun Dealer's Bodyguard (as Robert Ramsey)
Susan Shaw ...
Girl in Truck
June Brown ...
Lomart's Neighbour


Escaped convicts Harry Lomart (Oliver Reed) and Birdy Williams (Ian McShane) are lying low before they prepare to skip the country. However, Lomart can't control his rage at being cheated by his wife, Pat (Jill St. John), whilst he was inside, so he decides to kill her and her secret lover before he goes. This causes all sorts of complications to their escape plans. Written by Jonathon Dabell <BC602070@pixie.ntu.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Hit Man never stops till he scores. See more »


R | See all certifications »





Release Date:

May 1972 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

La celada  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The prison sequences were filmed in the abandoned Kilmainham Jail in Dublin, which was also used for " The Italian Job" and " Mcvicar". See more »


Birdy Williams: The spirit is weak, Harry. Flesh even weaker.
See more »


Referenced in Lovelace (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

Oliver Reed, accompanied by Ian MacShane, is bent on revenge and getting his loot
7 April 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Sitting Target" is now available in a widescreen print, a real plus. However, as compared with the earlier foreign TCM full screen print, this one has an added blue filter. This accentuates the blues and bluish-grays and darkens the film, giving it more the appearance of a 90s or even 00s style crime film.

This film is a 70s style noir. It's told entirely from the point of view of the criminals. It has double crosses. It has a very gritty look to it, parts of it being filmed in real prisons. Oliver Reed is obsessed, violent and cannot live without getting back at Jill St. John who deserted him while he was in jail. Reed is a powerhouse in this part, a raging mass of pent-up energy. Ian MacShane delivers a fine performance as his oily, clever-talking and calculating buddy who escapes with him and tones down Reed's rough edges, for his own purposes. A third convict escapes with them, Freddie Jones. He adds a quotient of hardened cynicism in the first part of the picture, and then drops out.

The camera work uses creative shots that add feeling and tension to the atmospheric criminal proceedings. Edward Woodward, always impressive, has a brief few scenes as a cop assigned to protect St. John from Reed's murderous intent. Veteran Robert Beatty puts in an appearance as a gun dealer.

We constantly have two opposing feelings that the film generates. One is a closed-in, confined and almost oppressive feeling. This occurs in jail and in almost all the interiors shown in the movie. This feeling matches the internal rage of Reed and his sometimes wordless tight visage as well as the feeling of untrustworthiness hidden under MacShane's smooth exterior. The other feeling is an explosive kind of feeling when the action shifts to outside. There are in fact several exterior explosions at critical points in the story, but even without them there is a feeling of desperation in trying to move around London while carrying out nefarious plans, as if these men were trying to break invisible bonds and as if Reed's gun could free him.

Confinement and escape, physically and psychologically, come across strongly. In noir, escape is usually very difficult. In the darkest noir, it doesn't happen despite the best efforts of the protagonist, who is here the brutal man played by Reed.

Because the story sometimes flags, "Sitting Target" doesn't get a higher rating from me, but it's definitely a tough Brit noir that has flown under the radar as compared with "Villain", "Get Carter" and more recent entries like "Sexy Beast". It should not be missed by fans of crime stories, 70s movies and 70s style noir.

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