Villain  (1971) - Rotten Tomatoes

Villain (1971)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Richard Burton seethes and barks as Vic Dakin, an unsavory British underworld thug with a mother fixation that only James Cagney's Cody Jarrett from White Heat would appreciate, in this Michael Tuchner-directed crime drama. Vic is bound and gagged to his dying mum (Cathleen Nesbit) with such an intensity that his only outlet outside of his mother's bedroom is by plying a handy razor blade or rooting around in the homosexual rough trade. But Vic is rough enough himself and, when he hatches a plot to rob a payroll, he takes to one of his recruited goons, Wolf Lissner (Ian McShane), in a way that demonstrates his true love for him -- he berates him, slaps him around, and then takes him to bed. Unfortunately for Vic's psychotic anti-social tendencies, a dedicated police inspector, Bob Matthews (Nigel Davenport) has devoted his life to finding something on Vic to put him in the slammer forever. And this heist may be just the ticket.

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Richard Burton
as Vic Dakin
Ian McShane
as Wolfe Lissner
Nigel Davenport
as Bob Matthews
Donald Sinden
as Gerald Draycott
Fiona Lewis
as Venetia
T.P. McKenna
as Frank Fletcher
Joss Ackland
as Edgar Lowis
Cathleen Nesbitt
as Mrs. Dakin
Colin Welland
as Tom Binney
Tony Selby
as Duncan
Stephen Sheppard
as Benny Thompson
Wendy Hutchinson
as Mrs. Lowis
Sheila White
as Veronica
Shirley Cain
as Mrs. Matthews
Godfrey James
as Car Lot Manager
Bonita Thomas
as Strip Dancer
Leslie Schofield
as Detective Constable
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Critic Reviews for Villain

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (6)

Burton's performance [is] cold-eyed and ugly, rejecting sympathy or glamour, admirably conveying the double image of the Capone-style gangster he aspires to be and the common, average-stupid, taciturn braggart he truly is.

September 2, 2020 | Full Review…

[Villain works] as [an illustration] of the shaming condition of a native industry which, perpetually ailing, has never seemed, quite so close to extinction -- at least as a serious creative force.

June 2, 2020 | Full Review…

A ludicrous exposé of the lower depths of London crime, it tarts up the hoariest old gangster clichés with a bit of homosexuality and a lot of thuggery, and manages to be both brutish and maudlin.

March 26, 2020 | Full Review…

In its payroll heists, its car chases, its beatings and in its final confrontation, the movie employs gestures that in other, better films, such as "Get Carter," seemed classic, but here are only second-hand.

March 26, 2020 | Full Review…

Burton is truly creepy in a fascinating in-depth performance...

March 26, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Deadly serious and horribly gripping...

March 26, 2020 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews

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