Skip to content

The 10th Victim: Morality and Murder With a Light Pop Touch

“An enemy a day keeps the doctor away!”

If you’re trying to make sense of this quote without having seen Elio Petri’s The 10th Victim (La decima vittima) first, you’re probably wasting your time. The 10th victim is a 1965 French-Italian science-fiction film starring Ursula Andress and Italian megastar Marcello Mastroianni. 

What’s the film about? Let me put it this way. What do you do to prevent wars? You strengthen your internal defence? Nope. You become more open and build relationships with other countries? Nah. You become a responsible member of the United Nations? No. 

You make murder legal and give people with violent tendencies a chance to kill. But people won’t just kill for fun - they’ll kill for money. And the murders will be broadcast live, as part of the most popular TV game in the world, “The Big Hunt.” 

In The 10th Victim, Elio Petri creates a dystopian world, where money is king and machine gun bikinis are lethal weapons. With its stunning pop art production design and kitsch charm, the film is unlike anything you’ve seen.

It’s an attack on celebrity culture, media and advertising, by a director who was never afraid to speak up against the corrupt establishment. Even though the film depicts Italy in the 60s, it still feels modern and relevant.

You can watch The 10th Victim on MUBI UK and BFI Player.

Watch also: