McVicar (film)


Film poster
Directed by Tom Clegg
Produced by Roy Baird
Bill Curbishley
Roger Daltrey
Written by John McVicar
Tom Clegg
Starring Roger Daltrey
Adam Faith
Cheryl Campbell
Music by Roger Daltrey
Various Artists
Edited by Peter Boyle
The Who Films
Distributed by Brent Walker PLC (UK)
Crown International Pictures (USA)
Universal Pictures (2004, DVD)
Release dates
  • August 1980 (1980-08)
Running time
108 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

McVicar is a British drama film released in 1980 by The Who Films, Ltd., starring Roger Daltrey of the Who in the title role of John McVicar.

John McVicar was a 1960s armed robber turned writer whom Scotland Yard publicly announced to be Public Enemy Number One and "wanted dead or alive". The film was directed by Tom Clegg, and was based on the non-fiction book McVicar by Himself, which John McVicar wrote to describe several months of his experiences in prison. Bill Curbishley and Roy Baird acted as producers, and the film received a nomination in 1981 for Best Picture at MystFest, the International Mystery Film Festival of Cattolica.

Plot synopsis

The film is set in two halves, the first in Durham prison and the second half whilst McVicar is on the run in London. The first half of the film focuses on relations between the prison officers and inmates and also McVicar's plotting and eventual prison escape.

Roger Daltrey, (the lead singer of the British rock group, the Who) and ‘60s pop star and actor Adam Faith play the two lead roles of John McVicar and Walter Probyn respectively. The supporting cast includes Billy Murray, Brian Hall, Steven Berkoff, Georgina Hale, and Cheryl Campbell as Sheila McVicar.

The latter half of the film is set in London after McVicar has escaped from Durham. Here he re-establishes relationships with his wife and young son and he eventually decides to try to escape from his life of crime by trying to fund a new life in Canada.

Eventually, however, McVicar is forced to fund his family’s relocation plan by returning to crime. Soon the Metropolitan Police are hard on his heels and he is eventually recaptured when one of his colleagues in the crime world informs the police officer in charge of McVicar's recapture of his whereabouts.

McVicar is returned to prison and his sentence is increased, but during this time he studies for a BSc, and he is eventually released.



The film's soundtrack, a Roger Daltrey solo album, was released as McVicar and featured contributions by the other three extant members of The Who, Pete Townshend, John Entwistle and Kenney Jones, along with other musicians. The music was conducted by Jeff Wayne. The songs are:

  1. "Bitter and Twisted", written by Steve Swindells
  2. "Just a Dream Away", written by Russ Ballard
  3. "White City Lights", written by Billy Nicholls and Jon Lind
  4. "Free Me", written by Russ Ballard
  5. "My Time Is Gonna Come", written by Russ Ballard
  6. "Waiting for a Friend", written by Billy Nicholls
  7. "Without Your Love", written by Billy Nicholls
  8. "McVicar", written by Billy Nicholls

See also

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