The Offence

The Offence

Sidney Lumet (1972)

X Certificate


Our Score
Sean Connery turns in one of his finest performances in this blistering psychological drama set in a dreary backwater town in England. The star (fresh from finishing with Bond after Diamonds Are Forever) is a revelation as a tough, long-serving cop whose pursuit of a child rapist pushes him over the edge to brutal effect when he interrogates a suspect (Ian Bannen). Their destructive game of cat and mouse, in which the role of predator and prey subtly changes, is shown in flashback and is stylishly directed by Sidney Lumet from a play by Z Cars writer John Hopkins. Bannen is excellent, too, while Vivien Merchant delivers a painfully nuanced turn as Connery's worn-down, long-suffering wife. The discordant score by Harrison Birtwistle adds to the tangible sense of unease, which builds inexorably to an explosive climax. But it's Connery who dominates: like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse, Now, his experience of death and horror has so warped his moral compass that his disintegration before our eyes is agonising to behold.


A policeman's anger and disenchantment with the world bubble to the surface after years of investigating atrocious crimes. While interrogating a man accused of child molestation, the officer snaps and savagely beats the suspect, leading to his suspension. Drama, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Sean Connery, Ian Bannen, Trevor Howard, Vivien Merchant and Peter Bowles.

Cast & Crew

Detective Sergeant Johnson Sean Connery
Cartwright Trevor Howard
Maureen Johnson Vivien Merchant
Baxter Ian Bannen
Jessard Derek Newark
Panton John Hallam
Cameron Peter Bowles
Lawson Ronald Radd
Janie Maxine Gordon
Director Sidney Lumet
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Contains violence and some swearing.Available on: video, DVD and Blu-ray