The 10th Victim

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The 10th Victim
Italian film poster
Directed by Elio Petri
Produced by Carlo Ponti[1]
Screenplay by
Based on "Seventh Victim"
by Robert Sheckley[1]
Music by Piero Piccioni[1]
Cinematography Gianni Di Venanzo[1]
Edited by Ruggero Mastroianni[1]
  • C.C. Champion
  • Les Films Concordia[1]
Distributed by Interfilm[2]
Release date
December 3, 1965[3]
Running time
92 minutes
  • Italy
  • France[1]
Language Italian
Elsa Martinelli in The 10th Victim (1965).

The 10th Victim (Italian: La decima vittima) is a 1965 Italian-French science fiction film directed by Elio Petri and starring Marcello Mastroianni and Ursula Andress, and featuring Elsa Martinelli in a supporting role. The picture is based on Robert Sheckley's 1953 short story "Seventh Victim". Sheckley later published a novelization of the film in 1966,[5] and two sequels (Victim Prime and Hunter/Victim) in 1987 and 1988, respectively.[6] In the United States, the film was theatrically released by Joseph E. Levine's Embassy Pictures.[7]


In the near future, big wars are avoided by giving individuals with violent tendencies a chance to kill in the Big Hunt, the Hunt is the most popular form of entertainment in the world and also attracts participants who are looking for fame and fortune. It includes ten rounds for each competitor, five as the hunters and five as the victims, the survivor of ten rounds becomes extremely wealthy and retires. Scenes switch between the pursuit, romance between a hunter and a victim, with a narrator explaining the rules and justification of the Hunt.

Caroline Meredith (Ursula Andress) is a huntress armed with a high caliber Bosch shotgun looking for her tenth victim. To maximize financial gain, Meredith wants to get a perfect kill in front of the cameras as she has negotiated a major sponsorship from the Ming Tea Company. Marcello Poletti (Marcello Mastroianni) is the victim, he is reluctant to kill Meredith because he is not sure that she is his hunter; later he is more reluctant because they have become romantically involved.

Differences from the original story[edit]

The original short story was written from the point of view of a man hunting his seventh target, a woman, whereas in the movie she is the hunter, he finds her apparently defenceless sitting in a cafe. Talking to her, she tells him how she is new to the game but could not bear to kill her own target, and now expects to die, the hunter falls in love with his victim, as in the movie, and eventually reveals who he is. She has tricked him; she shoots him, joining the ranks of the "Tens".




In contemporary reviews, the Monthly Film Bulletin praised the visuals of the film, but stated that "the film is never quite as much fun as it should be, possibly because of rather ponderous dubbing and possibly because imaginative camera angles cannot totally make up for lapses in narrative."[1] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes it received a score of 83% based on 6 reviews (5 "fresh" and 1 "rotten").[8] Variety found the film superior to Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville, praising both Mastroianni and Andress, as well as Elsa Martinelli and Massimo Serato.[9] The review also noted the cinematgraphy of Gianni di Venanzo.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

US film poster

In the early 1990s, comedian and actor Mike Myers, along with musicians Susanna Hoffs and Matthew Sweet, started a faux British 1960s band whose members adopted personas from that era. The band named itself Ming Tea, after the company that sponsored Andress' character in the film, the band is best remembered as the first appearance of Myers' famous character Austin Powers.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i P.J.S. (1968). "Decima vittima, La (The 10th Victim), Italy/France, 1965". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 35 no. 408. British Film Institute. p. 4. ISSN 0027-0407. 
  2. ^ a b "La decima vittima (1965)". Archivio del Cinema Italiano On-Line. 
  3. ^ La Stampa, Nov 27, 1965
  4. ^ "Cinema - Club - La Decima vittima". RAI. 
  5. ^ Di Filippo, Paul. "The 10th Victim". Science Fiction Weekly. Archived from the original on November 15, 2007. Retrieved 2007-01-06. 
  6. ^ Frelik, Paweł; Mead, David G. (2007). Playing the Universe: Games and Gaming in Science Fiction. Maria Curie-Skłodowska University Press. p. 134. ISBN 978-83-227-2656-3. 
  7. ^ Bosley Crowther. "Screen: Mastroianni vs. Miss Andress:Futuristic '10th Victim' Opens at 2 Theaters". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ "The 10th Victim (La Decima vittima) (The Tenth Victim)". Rotten Tomatoes. 
  9. ^ a b Willis 1985, p. 194-195: "Review is of 92 minute version reviewed on December 15, 1965"


  • Willis, Donald, ed. (1985). Variety's Complete Science Fiction Reviews. Garland Publishing Inc. ISBN 978-0-8240-6263-7. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]