Butley (1974)

R  |   |  Drama  |  April 1976 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 518 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 12 critic

An English professor finds his life crumbling around him.



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Cast overview:
Ben Butley
Edna Shaft
Georgina Hale ...
Carol Heasman
Reg Nuttall
Susan Engel ...
Anne Butley
Simon Rouse ...
Richard O'Callaghan ...
Joey Keyston
Oliver Maguire ...
Man in the Tube
Darien Angadi ...
First Student
Colin Haigh ...
Second Student


An English professor finds his life crumbling around him.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


His wife just left him for another man. And so did his boy friend.




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Release Date:

April 1976 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Simon Gray's Butley  »

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Did You Know?


The original Broadway production of "Butley" written by Simon Gray opened at the Morosco Theater in New York on October 31, 1972, ran for 135 performances and was nominated for the 1973 Tony Award for the Best Play. Alan Bates recreated his 1973 Tony Award winning performance Best Actor in Play in this filmed production based on the Simon Gray play and on the Simon Gray screenplay. See more »


Ben Butley: You know how it exhausts me to teach books I haven't read.
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User Reviews

Astonishing virtuosity

The American Film Theatre was a praiseworthy effort to present classic modern plays to a wide audience. The series petered out when it became clear that there was in fact not enough of an audience to make the venture viable. This left us with a group of films, or rather filmed plays, of varying quality but always interesting, if not only for the wonderful casts assembled for the series. "Butley" was one of the best. After years of oblivion, the series is finally and thankfully being released.

The problem with Simon Gray's very engaging play is that the characters are people one would hardly want to meet. They are a deeply flawed, unlikable bunch. As such we have little sympathy for any of them and hence Gray, intentionally or not, does not allow the viewer to connect emotionally with his characters. He instead allows us to watch as Ben Butley's life slowly disintegrates before our eyes. Despite the enforced detachment, it still remains a fascinating process, thanks to Pinter's precise direction, Gray's very sharp dialogue and Alan Bates delivering an astonishingly virtuoso performance.

It's one of those extremely rare performances in which the actor becomes completely engulfed by the character. It's a feat to behold; almost scary at times. This alone makes "Butley" an unforgettable experience.

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