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Villain (1971)

In 1970s London, the Scotland Yard orchestrates the downfall of mob boss Vic Dakin after he crosses the line by blackmailing Members of Parliament.

Director:

Michael Tuchner

Writers:

Dick Clement (screenplay), Ian La Frenais (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Burton ... Vic Dakin
Ian McShane ... Wolfe Lissner
Nigel Davenport ... Bob Matthews
Donald Sinden ... Gerald Draycott
Fiona Lewis ... Venetia
T.P. McKenna ... Frank Fletcher
Joss Ackland ... Edgar Lowis
Cathleen Nesbitt ... Mrs. Dakin
Elizabeth Knight ... Patti
Colin Welland ... Tom Binney
Tony Selby Tony Selby ... Duncan
John Hallam ... Terry
Del Henney Del Henney ... Webb
Ben Howard Ben Howard ... Henry
James Cossins ... Brown
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

By the time he's ready to kill you, it's an act of mercy. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 October 1971 (Norway) See more »

Also Known As:

Burden of Proof See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The critical and financial failure of this film ended Richard Burton's viability as a box office star. See more »

Goofs

There is a clear overdub when Wolfe and Venetia arrive at the country house for the party. As they are walking up the drive they both survey the front of the mansion. Wolfe describes the house as, "fit for a king". Venetia responds, "I bet the bathrooms are freezing", but if you watch her mouth movements closely, she actually completes Wolfe's sentence with the phrase , "or queen" . See more »

Quotes

[final scene: Vic Dakin has shot and killed Edgar Lowis because he thinks he has betrayed him. He tries to run but realises that the police have got the place surrounded so he walks up to Inspector Matthews and throws down his gun]
Bob Matthews: See them?
[camera shows shots of various onlookers]
Bob Matthews: And them. And them. You can't put the frighteners on *all* of them. Not all the time.
Vic Dakin: Why not?
Bob Matthews: You call 'em punters. We call 'em witnesses.
Vic Dakin: You know, if I looked at one of them, they'd piss in their pants. Because I'm...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Dame Edna Treatment: Episode #1.5 (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The start of many tough gangster films over the 70s.
27 September 2005 | by joegranbySee all my reviews

British gangster films have always been with us, but in the case of this very rare and hardly ever shown on TV classic, VILLAIN was to be the real start of many vicious gangster films to follow. For some insane reason Richard Burton never got any real film awards for any films he did. His films were very varied indeed. And it probably came as a shock to many when he stepped into the role of vicious London crime boss Vic Dakin. It's a performance with such frightening menace, that you wonder why this film is not shown more on television. It is also not on DVD and videos of the movie are hard to find, or of a very high price sold by collectors who wish to make a profit on this very rare gem. People go on and on about Get Carter, another great film, and I agree on it also being a classic, but for me Villain is just as good. If you can watch this film and can get hold of a copy, I urge you to do so. You won't be disappointed.


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