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4.7 out of 5 stars125
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 24 July 2009
I wonder what Guy Ritchie would give to be able to make a prison/gangster flic like this. I bought this on VHS more years ago than I care to remember and I still have the soundtrack album on vinyl somewhere. The excellent British cast including Adam Faith and Tony Haygarth as the despicable "screw" "Rabies" are all excellent. Terry the chef from Fawlty Towers is also in the mix as one of the Lags doing time with McVicar and co. For those unfamiliar with the story John McVicar was an armed robber sentenced to a lot of years and took it upon himself to challenge the brutish and largely oafish prison staff to a battle of wills before escaping. Aside from being exciting and making you want McVicar to get away there are many scenes that are really funny. Having watched this film many times it still bothers me that in the opening shots you clearly see a 1977 R reg Ford Cortina being driven in London. This model came out roughly seven years after the film was set. My only gripe. Perhaps I need to get out more.
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on 24 October 2003
He is sentenced to 23 years but won't accept a day of it
and as a consequence society has deserved a well earned break from his activities.
A hidden gem of a film in which Daltrey and Faith combine to produce a great double act. The film opens with the powerful soundtrack of 'Free Me' as McVicar is driven over the moors in a Ford Cortina on his way to his new prison home.
Full of great lines such as 'We don't want you Macaroning you pants again do we?', 'Would you like eggs with that that John?' and 'I want my f***in' trainers!'.
We are introduced to a brutal and harsh prison world and the people who inhabit it. Jeffrey's and his Uncle Ronnie, Collins, and of course John and Wally.
So buy this film now, make yourself a nice pot of Rosie and you'll not be going home because you'll be having a wonderful time.
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on 12 July 2005
Anyone who loves British films will love this.
A fantastic film that is at times violent, sentimental and hilariously funny with some great diologue that you will find yourself quoting again and again, (or is it just me?)
The cast is full of characters from the Geordie screws to the London Gangsters who are banged up in Durham Prison.
Roger Daltrey is great in the title role and the soundtrack is full of some seriously good rock songs that really relate to the story. This film for some reason is not as well known as Scum and Quadrophenia but is up there with both as a classic movie of this era.
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on 20 May 2008
Mcvicar was a grammar schooled lad who went astray and ended up doing some of the most vicious bank jobs in the time of the "supercrooks" the krays, richardsons, the great train robbers et-ol john mcvicar wrote the script for this exellent film himself and his book (by himself) also spawned the idea of the shawshank redemption for stephen king. this film is a great look at to how mcvicar was locked up in durham goal in the sixties, he wouldn't accept been locked away so planned his escape with the help of wally (adam faith) along with some quality acting (berkoff) and (faith) roger daltrey really captures the part of the no-nonsense john mcvicar right from the start with the now legendry line "alright who's got my trainers" then the "i aint going anywhere till i get me fackin trainers" truly gripping in all and even had caracters loosly based on ian brady (cody) "sex case sex case hang him hang him hang him" . after mcvicar made his escape he went back to his armed robbery as a means to an end but the law was onto him and in the ens one of his closest pals turned "grass" and gave him in where he went back to prison and wrote his book which is also exellent i would advise you to buy the book and the dvd as it is a facinating read
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on 9 August 2015
This is a good film that is probably typical of the late 70's early 80's, a gritty drama based upon true occurrences. I remember Roger Daltrey mentioning the possibility of doing this in interview before the film was released but unfortunately I was too young to see it when it came out on general release. Seen it loads since and it never fails to grip the viewer while it also doesn't seek to glorify the subject matter in any way. Some recognisable faces in this film, Cheryl Campbell, Billy Murray, Adam Faith and the soundtrack supports the film really well.
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on 27 March 2016
I do enjoyed this movie. Roger Daltrey acts so well that I forgot he is a famous rock singer. He was McVicar, a rebel man as Roger was from "My Generation". I do love the scenes that Roger throws a orange several times which remind me of George Raft in Scar Face. I want to know if the director or the scenario writer this about that. A very well-made movie.
[...]
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 August 2011
Can't you hear that's what I say.

John McVicar is a tough uncompromising armed robber, after being sent to a maximum security prison for 23 years he dreams of escaping every day. As his reputation grows and friendships are formed, it would appear that his friend Wally Probyn may have figured a way out of this tough rigid prison.

In 1979 America had The Warriors and The Wanderers, at pretty much the same time us British had Quadrophenia and McVicar to hold dear to our hearts, both films produced out of The Who Films Ltd, both films eminently quotable to a certain age group that were of the teenage persuasion. I love McVicar, I really do, based on the true life story of McVicar, well from his own accounts written in his book, "McVicar by Himself", the film boasts a Who soundtrack and a script that positively sparkles with wit and anger speak. Yes the charges of the film making hardened criminals seem likable characters is a fair one, but not only does the film show the disgust {and rightly outright hatred} for sex offenders, it also showcases just what a hard job the prison officers have, this is something that many of the user comment writers here have failed to acknowledge.

Roger Daltrey takes on the role of McVicar and dons a career best, gruff, perfectly in shape and a wide boy arrogance that comes off as gold dust in this particular piece. Backing him up is wonderful turns from Brian Hall {comic gold}, Steven Berkoff {clearly enjoying himself}, Matthew Scurfield {frighteningly unnerving} and Peter Jonfield. Once the escape happens the film switches in tone as McVicar tries to make some sense of his life, it's an emotional switch that tones the film down but never the less takes us successfully to the highly accomplished finale. We are then left with a wonderful quote from John McVicar himself and we are told just what this tough as nails armed robber actually did with himself from that point on.

Perhaps it's because I was a teenager when the film came out, that I love it so much? Or maybe the script just appeals to me on a very primal level? Either way I'm always going to be a fan of it, and McVicar remains to me, along with Quadrophenia and Scum, British standards to revisit every single year.

I don't care how late it is I'm not going home 8/10 Comment Comment | Permalink
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on 12 March 2002
Forget your 'Lock Stock' this is what a British film full of Londoners should be like, even if it is set in Durham ! Violence, quality swearing, great one liners and above all a gripping storyline.Roger Daltry steals the show, with strong support from Adam Faith, if you haven't seen it DO SO NOW !!
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on 1 September 2015
This Gritty Story of John McVicar not only has Roger Daltrey in the title role but He also produces this picture.Though it has its moments its Directed with the Usual "Shat Yo Maff" Hard Man Cliché and is spoiled by over the top performances.
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on 9 April 2016
If you remember catching a bit of this film on TV and are considering buying it, then just buy it. It is as good as your memory thinks it is. What a performance by Mr Daltrey. You could almost think you were watching a documentary.
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