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Billy Liar (1963)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 3,437 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 58 user | 45 critic | 5 from Metacritic.com

A lazy, irresponsible young clerk in provincial Northern England lives in his own fantasy world and makes emotionally immature decisions as he alienates friends and family.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Title: Billy Liar (1963)

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Nominated for 6 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Wilfred Pickles ...
Mona Washbourne ...
...
Grandma Florence
...
Duxbury
Gwendolyn Watts ...
Rita
Helen Fraser ...
Barbara
...
Liz
...
Rodney Bewes ...
Arthur Crabtree
George Innes ...
Stamp
Leslie Randall ...
Danny Boon
Patrick Barr ...
Insp. MacDonald
Ernest Clark ...
Prison Governor
Godfrey Winn ...
Disc Jockey
Edit

Storyline

A young British clerk in a gloomy North Country undertaker's office, Billy is bombarded daily by the propaganda of the media that all things are for the asking. This transparently false doctrine, coupled with the humdrum job and his wild imagination, leads him on frequent flights to "Ambrosia," a mythical kingdom where he is crowned king, general, lover or any idealized hero the real situation of the moment makes him desire. His vacillating commitment and post-adolescent immaturity have created situations which make Ambrosia all the more attractive. He's succeeded in becoming engaged to two different girls, simultaneously, while in love with a third, Liz. He's in hot water with his employer, having spent a rather large sum of postage money on his personal frivolities. And last, but not least, his dream of becoming a highly-paid, famous scriptwriter in London seems doomed to failure. The only person in his life capable of bringing him down to earth is Liz, and she's having a difficult ... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

one guy... three girls... one ring!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A hazudós Billy  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$10,785 (USA) (17 November 2000)

Gross:

$35,609 (USA) (1 December 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

First feature film of George Innes. See more »

Quotes

Arthur Crabtree: Hey, I got those things for you.
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: What? What things?
Arthur Crabtree: Passion pills - what I said I'd get you.
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: Let's have a look. Where'd you get them?
Arthur Crabtree: This mate of mine fetched them from Singapore.
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: I bet they're bloody aspirins.
Arthur Crabtree: What?
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: [Billy swallows some] Eh, steady on! They'll give yuh the screamin' abdabs. One of these, two two-and-nines at the Regal, bag of chips and you're away!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Look of Love (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Casanova: Nun's Chorus
(uncredited)
Performed by Anni Frind
See more »

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User Reviews

Highly recommended early Schlesinger film
13 March 1999 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Billy Liar

John Schlesinger's excellent British comedy-drama concerns Billy (Tom Courtenay), a middle class young man who despises his position as a funeral parlor bookkeeper. Billy spends the majority of his time daydreaming of a much more interesting life filled with conquests, esp. of women. He'd love to quit his dead-end job and become a writer, but when the opportunity arrives, is he too content living in his head and telling lies to embellish his otherwise mundane existence? Too afraid to realize his dreams? This quirky slice-of-life is thematically similar to Le Distrait (The Daydreamer), a 1975 French release with an entirely different conclusion. A young, glowing Julie Christie appears briefly in Billy Liar, injecting color, life, and hope into Billy's dreary, black and white existence. Highly recommended. -- David Ross Smith


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