7.8/10
2,242
48 user 21 critic

The Boy Friend (1971)

When the leading lady of a low-budget musical revue sprains her ankle, the assistant stage manager is forced to understudy and perform in her place, becoming a star and finding love in the process.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (musical)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky struggles against his homosexuality by marrying, but unfortunately he chooses a nymphomaniac whom he cannot satisfy.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Dorothy Tutin, Scott Antony, Helen Mirren
Valentino (1977)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Rudolf Nureyev, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips
Lisztomania (1975)
Biography | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt attempts to overcome his hedonistic lifestyle while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas
Mahler (1974)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague
Women in Love (1969)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two best friends fall in love with a pair of women, but the relationships soon go in very different directions.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson
The Rainbow (1989)
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young woman deals in her own personal way with the trials of adolescence and young adulthood in early 1900s England.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Sammi Davis, Amanda Donohoe, Paul McGann
Drama | Romance | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A mysterious woman, fashion designer by day, prostitute by night, and accused of murder, is hounded by two men: a married father of two, and a sexually repressed preacher.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Kathleen Turner, Anthony Perkins, Bruce Davison
Gothic (1986)
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

The Shelleys visit Lord Byron and compete to write a horror story.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Ella Peterson is a Brooklyn telephone answering service operator who tries to improve the lives of her clients by passing along bits of information she hears from other clients. She falls ... See full summary »

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Judy Holliday, Dean Martin, Fred Clark
Biography | Comedy | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The story of the successful Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Bert Kalmar and Harry Ruby is told loosely and lightheartedly.

Director: Richard Thorpe
Stars: Fred Astaire, Vera-Ellen, Red Skelton
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Story of a friendship between an eccentric journalist and a daredevil barnstorming pilot.

Director: Douglas Sirk
Stars: Rock Hudson, Robert Stack, Dorothy Malone
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Christopher Gable ...
Tony
Max Adrian ...
Max
Bryan Pringle ...
Percy
...
Alphonse
...
Mme. Dubonnet
...
Fay
Sally Bryant ...
Nancy
...
De Thrill
...
Tommy
Brian Murphy ...
Peter
...
Michael
...
Maisie
Caryl Little ...
Dulcie
Anne Jameson ...
Mrs. Peter (as Ann Jameson)
Edit

Storyline

The assistant stage manager of a small-time theatrical company (Polly Browne) is forced to understudy for the leading lady (Rita) at a matinée performance at which an illustrious Hollywood director (Cecil B. DeThrill) is in the audience scouting for actors to be in his latest "all-talking, all-dancing, all-singing" extravaganza. Polly also happens to fall in love with the leading man (Tony) and imagines several fabulous fantasy sequences in which the director is free to exercise his capacity for over-the-top visuals in this charming 1920's era flick. Written by Bliss Blood <soundex@sccsi.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EMI-MGM Presents The Return Of Entertainment See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

25 February 1972 (Ireland)  »

Also Known As:

The Boyfriend  »

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (short UK) | (director's cut) | (US) | (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Last film of Max Adrian. See more »

Quotes

Tommy: Hey, Toots! You're quite a hoofer!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Ken Russell's Talking Picture See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Spice World (1997) See more »

Soundtracks

The Riviera
Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson
Performed by The Female Chorus
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Fabulous
30 November 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

The Boyfriend is not just the last great movie musical, but one of the greatest of all movie musicals. And a truly Great film, regardless of genre.

Taking a tuneful but forgettable neo-1930s stage musical as a starting point, Russell created a multi-layered, kaleidoscopic phantasmagoria of a film. It's a movie about movies, about the theater, about creativity and imagination. It's about human nature. It's a love story (of course!). It's trivial, it's deep, it's shocking. It's gloriously excessive, in the best Russell manner. But this is excess with a purpose. Every image, ever musical set-piece works in multiple ways. I've seen it probably a dozen times, and I've never seen the same film twice.

This is definitely a film that needs to be seen in wide-screen. (Until we get a proper Blu-ray, Turner Classic Movies shows a somewhat blurry but complete British print.) Russell out-does Busby Berkeley, with split-screen sequences no other director would dare to attempt. But by making the film as a play-within-a-play, he cleverly adds human drama missing from the original lightweight theatrical script. And creates a deliciously ironic counterpoint between the emotions of the actors and those of the stereotyped characters they portray.

Remarkably, the performances hold up to all this. Twiggy is barely remembered as a 1960s footnote, but here she proves she was not just a remarkably pretty face. (Her fresh and innocent performance sparkles in a way that the polished and rather precious Julie Andrews recording does not.) Tommy Tune does credit to the long-legged Buddy Ebsen specialty numbers. And Russell's perennial favorite Vladek Sheybal is perfect as CB DeThrille, the mildly Mephistophelian embodiment of Russell himself.

Ken Russell was always impressive for his technique, but in The Boyfriend he brought all his abilities to focus in a celebration of film entertainment. It's easily the best movie musical since the days of Singing in the Rain and The Bandwagon, and though it lacks the star power of a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly, it adds a depth and vision that no other musical approaches.

They just don't make 'em like this any more. In fact, aside from Ken Russell, no one ever did.


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?