Review – Who Dares Wins (1982)


Who Dares Wins, is a movie that every lover of British action films from the 70s and 80s will remember. It was produced by Euan Lloyd, the man responsible for two of my favourite movies, The Sea Wolves (1980) and The Wild Geese (1978), both of which i’ll be writing about on the blog very soon..

Lewis Collins, finally makes a leap to the big screen, in a role he was, in my opinion, born to play. Captain Peter Skellen, high ranking member of the S.A.S, is sent undercover, to infiltrate, and help bring down an organistation known as The Peoples Lobby, who are planning a terrorist operation against some visiting American digniataries. In amongst the U.S visitors, we have Richard Widmark as the U.S Secretary Of State, and Robert Webber as General Ira Potter. Also on hand to keep the action moving are Edward Woodward as Police Commander Powell, and Judy Davis as Frankie Leith, head of the Peoples Lobby. We also have Helga played by Countess Dracula and Carmilla herself INGRID PITT !!! This caught me completely by surprise, when i realised who she was, but she is perfect for the role.

Both Davis, who completely owns the screen whenever she’s on, and Pitt, carry off superbly powerful female roles, which go beyond the usual token, “women posing with machine guns”. Pitt’s performance adds a cold, sadistic ominance, whenever she’s on screen, putting me in mind of her roles in those classic 70s Hammer movies, for which she’s best remembered.

Lewis Collins is definetely the star though. He’s handsome, charismatic and the perfect choice for this “kick down the door” action classic, but to me, he will always be remembered as C.I.5 agent Bodie, in The Professionals, and the Bond that never was. I always had a feeling he would have been an excellent 007, but unfortunately it was never to be.

The movie was obviously made in the wake of the Iranian Embassy Siege in London in 1980. Someone at the top must have thought “Wow…..theres an incredible action movie to be made out of this”, and went with it. This is without a doubt one of the best British action movies to come out of the early 80s. The action sequences, though few and far between, are brilliantly handled, and the final 20 minutes, the storming of house, where everyone is being held hostage is breathtaking. In between the action scenes the plot moves along very nicely, thanks to all the leading players, who all do an incredible job.

The legendary Roy ‘Get Carter’ Budd provides the score, which ramps up the overall feel of the movie very nicely. Also whenever i see the name Euan LLoyd, i know i’m in for a great time. The man made some cracking films and this is no exception. Sit back and enjoy…..


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I am passionate about movies and cinema generally. I love talking about them and writing about them.

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4 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Brilliant review!
    Haven’t watched this in some time, but this brought it all back..
    Time to open up the cupboard and get this badboy out and enjoy my Sunday eve!

    • retromovie says:

      Thanks so much Chris. Really appreciate that. My writing isn’t quite how i’d like it to be just yet but it’s going in the right direction. As for the movie, dig it out and revisit it. I reckon times been very kind to it. It’s aged really well considering it’s age. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on here when you’ve had another watch. Thanks for taking the time to comment mate. Love to hear peoples thoughts, not only on my reviews but on the movies. Makes all the effort that goes into them worthwhile.

  2. Guy Jessop-Braithwaite says:

    Cracking stuff matey. I love this film and it’s soundtrack. I also like your idea of Lewis Collins for Bond. That would’ve been great.

    I always kind of see this film as a Bodie spin off, which I don’t mean as a dig at Collins, just the enduring nature of the character.

    • retromovie says:

      Thanks for the feedback Guy. The soundtrack is brilliant for sure and i’ll almost certainly be grabbing hold of it shortly. I reckon Lewis would have made a great Bond. He’d have given 007 a really hard edge way before anyone else had thought of playing it that way. Major missed opportunity there. As for the Bodie spin off, i quite agree. When i read that the guy who directed many of The Professionals episodes had helmed Who Dares Wins, i straight away wondered wether he’d advised Lewis to play it similar to the way he played Bodie, as the characters were fairly similar.

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