7.4/10
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67 user 46 critic

Billy Liar (1963)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 16 December 1963 (USA)
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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Billy Fisher
... Geoffrey Fisher
... Alice Fisher
... Grandma Florence
... Duxbury
Gwendolyn Watts ... Rita
Helen Fraser ... Barbara
... Liz
... Emanuel Shadrack
... Arthur Crabtree
... Stamp
Leslie Randall ... Danny Boon
... Insp. MacDonald
... Prison Governor
Godfrey Winn ... Disc Jockey
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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 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 December 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lažov Bili  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,785, 19 November 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$35,609, 3 December 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Courtney and Julie Christie would later appear together in Doctor Zhivago (1965) See more »

Quotes

William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: [wearning a monocle and speaking in a posh voice] Cabinet change imminent I see.
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: You'll be bloody imminent if you don't start getting up in the morning.
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Connections

Referenced in Midsomer Murders: A Tale of Two Hamlets (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Twisterella
Performed by Muriel Day (dubbed by unknown vocalist)
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User Reviews

 
Moments of joy interspersed with gloomy kitchen-sink dramatics...
25 January 2008 | by See all my reviews

Tom Courtenay is colorless as a member of the British working class who daydreams his way out of the monotony of his life; Julie Christie is thoroughly charming as a local girl whose life really is a fairy tale. Adaptation of Keith Waterhouse's novel (which he co-wrote along with Willis Hall, having originally turned the material into a play), this mixture of stuck-in-a-rut reality with flights-of-fancy never quite finds its cinematic niche. The deceptively simple, 'non-flashy' flashy technique used by director John Schlesinger and his editor was quite fashionable for its time, and consequently very popular abroad, but the picture tends to flag whenever the scenario is purposefully drab (or whenever Christie is not on-screen). Courtenay just isn't interesting enough as a personality to carry this callow conceit, although he gets good support from Finlay Currie and Wilford Pickles. ** from ****


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