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McVicar (1980)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  August 1980 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,129 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 4 critic

'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. he graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's "Public Enemy No. 1". He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Title: McVicar (1980)

McVicar (1980) on IMDb 6.8/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
John McVicar
Adam Faith ...
Walter Probyn
Sheila McVicar
Joey Davis
Georgina Hale ...
Ronnie Harrison
Brian Hall ...
Terry Stokes
Peter Jonfield ...
Bobby Harris
Matthew Scurfield ...
Streaky Jeffries
Leonard Gregory ...
Jimmy Collins
Joe Turner ...
Jeremy Blake ...
Ronnie Johnson
Anthony Trent ...
Terence Stuart ...
Harry Fielder ...
Harry Aitch


'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. he graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's "Public Enemy No. 1". He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest security prison be able to hold him ? This is the true story of his life, his criminal exploits and his eventual rehabilitation. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Sentenced to 23 years-and he won't accept one day of it


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »




Release Date:

August 1980 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

McVicar  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Although in the book on which the film is based, McVicar was in prison with many infamous criminals of his day, the majority of characters in the film have fictitious names. For example, the character of Cody is based on the notorious Moors Murderer Ian Brady, and his girlfriend, mentioned during the riot scenes (as McVicar and others read the transcription from Cody's trial), is Myra Hindley. See more »


When McVicar escapes, he is running up the street and he passes the same two-tone Bedford van twice. See more »


Prison Officer Rabies Pendel: I suppose you think you got the better of us there. But just remember, kidder, you're in for ten years.
Terry Stokes: Yeah, that's right, Mr. Pendel. But you're in for life, ain't yer?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Comment in opening titles: "The prison escape shown in this film is based on true fact. Certain other events and characters have been fictionalised". See more »


Referenced in Alan Meets Roger Daltrey (2005) See more »


Just a Dream Away
Written by Russ Ballard
Performed by Roger Daltrey
See more »

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User Reviews

Decent, watchable - but one major problem.
22 October 2006 | by (Edinburgh, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

OK. Decent enough film. 'Rock star tries his hand at acting' is so often a recipe for disaster, but Roger Daltrey is convincing here. And he has good support from the rest of the cast and the director. It is a low budget effort, and as such deserves credit for ending up as a very watchable piece of cinema.

I have one major problem with it though. And that is the way most of the convicts are seen as basically decent salt-of-the-earth blokes, while all figures of authority are seen as the harsh, unsympathetic enemy. This is especially so in the first half of the film, when we are expected to sympathise automatically with the prisoners (most of whom are seen as extremely likable chirpy cockneys doing their best against the unfair adversity of being in the nick) against the guards (all very unsympathetically played as tyrants or halfwits).

I'm not a strict moralist. And I don't believe that all people in prison are monsters. But if you watch the film you will see what I mean. There is a subtle balance required in presenting the human side of an armed robber, or even a petty thief, in a film. It can be done, and done well. But here all we get is a lazy 'it's us lovable villains versus them lot' mentality. And what is annoying is that this is 'beneath' the makers of the film. I think they were talented enough to be able to write and play more rounded characters and get a similar message across in a more authentic way.

Anyway: that's my main problem with McVicar. Watch it and see if you agree. It is not a bad film - I've given it a 6, which seems to accord with the IMDb opinion. If anything, it is worth seeing for the curiosity value of Daltrey's decent performance.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Different version? mrbeasley
US DVD? michellemurmurs6244
the quote at the end of the movie labadie-labadie
Straffen = Streaky? norton77
Why listed as 90min but dvd/VHS says over 1h47? p-halley
Very good music joegranby
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