Victim (1961)

TOMATOMETER

Critic Consensus: Further elevated by a strong central performance from Dirk Bogarde, Victim offers an eloquent and emotionally affecting argument against prejudice.

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Movie Info

In its time, this movie was considered as daring a film as had ever been made in England. Dirk Bogarde plays a lawyer who agrees to defend a friend on a theft charge. What set this film apart is that the lawyer had once been his client's gay lover.

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Cast

Dirk Bogarde
as Melville Farr
Dennis Price
as Calloway
Anthony Nicholls
as Lord Fullbrook
Peter Copley
as Paul Mandrake
Norman Bird
as Harold Doe
Donald Churchill
as Eddy Stone
Derren Nesbitt
as Sandy Youth
John Barrie
as Detective Inspector Harris
Alan MacNaughtan
as Scott Hankin
Alan MacNaughton
as Scott Hankin
Margaret Diamond
as Miss Benham
Noel Howlett
as William Patterson
Dawn Beret
as Sylvie
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News & Interviews for Victim

Critic Reviews for Victim

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (6)

Victim may seem archaic. But even its compromises teach us something about the era that produced it.

Mar 22, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

[Victim] has a careful performance by Bogarde, and it pursues with eloquence and conviction the case against an antiquated statute.

Feb 6, 2013 | Full Review…
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Bogarde is subtle, sensitive and strong. Syms handles a difficult role with delicacy.

Feb 27, 2009 | Full Review…
Variety
Top Critic

There are many pleasures to be found in the quirky supporting cast, expressive, noir-style lighting and an effectively suspenseful opening.

Jan 26, 2006 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

The very fact that homosexuality as a condition is presented honestly and unsensationally, with due regard for the dilemma and the pathos, makes this an extraordinary film.

May 9, 2005 | Full Review…

Recent critics find Victim timid in its treatment of homosexuality, but viewed in the context of Great Britain in 1961, it's a film of courage.

Aug 12, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Victim

This brave, if somewhat dour, film dramatizes the persecution of homosexuals in '60s England. The Web tells me that homosexuality was not only frowned upon but officially illegal in England until the Sexual Offences Act was passed in 1967 (six years after this film was released). Specifically, "Victim" depicts how closeted homosexuals with enviable careers and community standing were often blackmailed. Dirk Bogarde gives one of his marvelously controlled performances as Melville Farr, a prominent lawyer on the verge of a Queen's Counsel promotion. He has an attractive wife (Sylvia Sims) but also a history of homosexual affairs. When blackmailers drive a gay youth to suicide, Farr must choose whether to stay quiet and uphold his reputation, or follow his heart and risk everything to expose the culprits. The script and actors deserve much credit for resisting stereotypes and showing that homosexuals can be "normal," refined, suit-wearing citizens. But this subtlety also can be a minus: The action is a bit sluggish, since most dialogue is so flattened with that well-known British reserve. Quite controversial in its day, "Victim" works as both social commentary and as an effective whodunnit. Of course, it's also a must for Bogarde fans.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Will we ever stop trying to legislate morality? A brave role for Bogarde.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

Groundbreaking in it's time and still a strong film today, excellent performances particularly Bogard's.

jay nixon
jay nixon

Super Reviewer

A man risking his career to expose a blackmailer is the focus of this story. Interesting enough, and more so because the risk is a barrister being exposed as a homosexual when such exposure is grounds for arrest and prison. Intelligently done, with the gay men (there are several being blackmailed) not portrayed as fey mincing freaks as they are in so many films, but as regular men. The film shows both sides of the homosexual issue -- the men who beg to be understood that they can't help what they are, and the prejudices of others who don't and won't understand. I was surprised to see Dirk Bogarde -- or any well-known actor -- in a part like this. Even now there are sometimes issues with actors playing gays in films, especially if they are secretly gay themselves. I can imagine the problems in 1962. I don't know Bogarde's orientation, nore does it matter. I'm just impressed that he would take such a risky role. I guess life imitates art in this case.

Cindy I
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

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