7.4/10
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Billy Liar (1963)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 16 December 1963 (USA)
A lazy, irresponsible young clerk (Sir Tom Courtenay) in provincial Northern England lives in his own fantasy world and makes emotionally immature decisions as he alienates friends and family.

Director:

John Schlesinger

Writers:

Keith Waterhouse (screenplay), Willis Hall (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:
Tom Courtenay ... Billy Fisher
Wilfred Pickles ... Geoffrey Fisher
Mona Washbourne ... Alice Fisher
Ethel Griffies ... Grandma Florence
Finlay Currie ... Duxbury
Gwendolyn Watts Gwendolyn Watts ... Rita
Helen Fraser Helen Fraser ... Barbara
Julie Christie ... Liz
Leonard Rossiter ... Emanuel Shadrack
Rodney Bewes ... Arthur Crabtree
George Innes ... Stamp
Leslie Randall Leslie Randall ... Danny Boon
Patrick Barr ... Insp. MacDonald
Ernest Clark ... Prison Governor
Godfrey Winn Godfrey Winn ... Disc Jockey
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Storyline

A young British clerk in a gloomy North Country undertaker's office, Billy (Sir Tom Courtenay) 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 (Julie Christie). 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 to be doomed to failure. The only person in his life capable of bringing him down to... 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:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 December 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Lažov Bili See more »

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Considering this movie's uses of "pissed", "bastard", and numerous "bloody"s, it was passed with an "A" (now PG) cinema certificate by the BBFC after the removal of one line of dialogue. This was "What you wanted me to do that night", and was said by Liz (Julie Christie) to Billy (Sir Tom Courtenay) during their walk in the park. The line was later restored in all video and DVD releases. See more »

Quotes

Rita: [after Billy reopens the door] You rotten. lying, crossed-eyed git. You're nothing else.
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: [clearly not wanting her to come inside] Hello, Rita. Sorry, I can't ask you in. We're havin' our chimney swept.
Rita: They'll be havin' you swept before I finish.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rushmore (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Song of the Clyde
(uncredited)
Lyrics by R.Y. Bell
Music by Ian Gourlay
Performed by Kenneth McKellar
See more »

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User Reviews

Very Original Early Schlesinger Work
10 July 1999 | by SushimanSee all my reviews

Billy Liar is basically an autobiographical film for anyone who loves to daydream and get away with mischief. I loved Courtenay's performance and the style of comedy in the film(Billy as a soldier fantasizing about killing the annoying people in his life)is funny and original


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