6.6/10
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Villain (1971)

In 1970s London, 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:

You are looking at the face of a Villain. 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:

19 September 1971 (UK) 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 film was inspired by White Heat (1949). See more »

Goofs

The flowers on the hearse move from being on top of the car to the ground, as too the position of the two policemen is not the same. See more »

Quotes

Henry: Big tough lads.
Frank Fletcher: From the local rugby club.
Henry: Yeah, well they'll be short on Saturday.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

One of the Best British Gangster Films
10 July 2002 | by shotguntomSee all my reviews

Michael Tuchner's "Villain" is everything a gangster film should be; tough, violent, grim and filled with loathsome characters who have no redeeming features. The film is clearly influenced by the Krays and does an excellent job of creating a vision of what the real underworld is like, with no comical scenes or foolish characters - the overall tone is ice cold.

The film's plot is pretty familiar with Richard Burton playing Vic Dakin, one of the top crime bosses in London, who is seeking more power through controlling a prominent politician (Donald Sinden) and planning a major robbery.

The film benefits hugely from the casting of Richard Burton in the lead role of Vic Dakin who, like Ronnie Kray, is a gay, mother-fixated psychotic. Although the Welsh Burton does struggle with the Cockney accent, he is totally believable as the character and must be commended for his no-holds-barred performance, which few other Hollywood stars would have dared risk their career on. It is testament to Burton's performance that a former Kray henchman rates it as the most realistic portrayal of a British gangster on screen and very close to what Ronnie Kray was really like. In other words not a very nice man as the film stated at the time - "Meet Vic Dakin, then wish you hadn't."

Why "Villain" has become so forgotten is a mystery. It was made in the same year as "Get Carter" in 1971 but neither film was a hit. However "Get Carter" eventually found a large cult following and is now widely regarded as a British classic. Although "Villain" is one of the top five British gangster films it is not quite in the same league as "Get Carter", "The Long Good Friday" and "Brighton Rock" but it does deserve wider recognition.


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