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McVicar (1980)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  August 1980 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 1,127 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?


In 1981, the film was nominated for Best Picture at MystFest, the International Mystery Film Festival of Cattolica. See more »


At the end of the film a caption says that McVicar was arrested in 1970. This means that the action in the film took place in the late 1960s before his arrest. However throughout the film, in the street scenes, there are cars from a later date. This is most notable in a scene where the E-type Jag turns right, behind what appears to be a Mark IV Cortina - a late 1970s model. See more »


John McVicar: Make sure you're not involved, woncha? Cos I'll put a tool right in your belly!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Quote by John McVicar in the closing credits: "Being a thief is a terrific life. But the trouble is they put you in jail for it." See more »


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


"Free Me'
Written by Russ Ballard
Performed by Roger Daltrey
See more »

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User Reviews

A Misfiring Biopic
5 August 2005 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

A way back in the early 1980s word of mouth was spreading about a great and violent Brit flick ( In those days things were really grim for British film making unlike the late 1990s ) called MCVICAR the true story of armed robber John McVicar who was branded Britain's public enemy number one . I eventually got to see it on video in 1983 and was thoroughly disappointed by it

Some people may say that if there's any failings it's down to a rock star being cast ( I'll come to that in a moment ) but for me it's the story that's at fault or more specifically the way the story is told . John McVicar faces many years in prison and plans his escape . So in effect the audience are not watching a biopic of Britain's most feared criminal , we're watching a film not entirely different from COLDITZ or ESCAPE FROM ALCATRAZ . In fact this was produced round about the same time as the Eastwood star vehicle and I can't help thinking this had much to do with it being produced . Tellingly MCVICAR has three producers and three executive producers and one can't help thinking too many cooks have spoiled this prison broth . That's the problem too much prison and not enough meat in the broth

As for Roger Daltry's performance I know some people who think he absolutely ruined the movie but if memory serves me right ( I haven't seen this movie for several years ) while not exactly being an Oscar worthy performance I don't think he's as bad as some people claim . If I have a problem it's just that he comes across as over emphatic when he's nasty and can only really be described as poor when after having a tantrum in the hall picks up an orange and tries to act all cool . Is there anything more unconvincing than a man getting cool with an orange ?

The one other thing I remember after first viewing is how this managed to get a X certificate ( It's an old version of the 18 cert ) from the British Board Of Classifiers . No one is killed , there's no explicit sex though there is a lot of bad language . I guess that's because it deals with a real life British criminal and no one wants to be seen glorifying crime . John McVicar is still alive today and makes frequent television appearances . He's certainly comes across as friendly old gentlemen who's very much of the old school type of criminal , that is he had strict codes of not hurting women and kids and not turning stool pigeon . In days like these where the British legal establishment seems more interested in the rights of paedophiles and terrorists more than the rights of their victims you really do find yourself forgiving the sins of an armed robber very quickly

7 of 18 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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