7.4/10
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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

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Courtenay, Ethel Griffies and Mona Washbourne recreated their original stage roles. Courtney reminisced that Griffies would remove her dentures before playing a scene. See more »

Quotes

William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: You've start coming in at night, I'm not having you gallivanting about all hours!
William Terrence 'Billy' Fisher: Who are you having gallivanting about?
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

better than the play
30 May 2002 | by See all my reviews

I saw 'Billy Liar' on stage in London, with Albert Finney, no less, in the role of Billy Fisher. As good as Finney was (check out Frear's 'Gumshoe' for starters), in the role, Tom Courtney, is better. Finney was too laconic. He had the wrong

'build'. Courtney, however, IS Billy Fisher. I can't quite put it into words, but that dour face of his, the pursed lips, and his loopy smile... who else but Tom

Courtney in the role. The plot is simplicity itself. Billy lives in a world of his own making. He's not connected with everyday events - he's a Yorkshire version of Walter Mitty - and who doesn't daydream every now and then? Director, John

Schlesinger (who gave us Darling & Midnight Cowboy), adds some surreal

touches (one comes to mind: Billy's reaction to another of his father's lectures). Julie Christie plays Liz. She understands Billy - thing is, Billy doesn't quite understand her, or if he does, it frightens the pants off him. For all Billy's posturing, he's a home boy at heart. "Billy Liar" is one of the truly great British films of the sixties. It's not often it appears on late night T.V., or on cable. If it does, or you see it on video at your local video store, get it out. See it. then wind it back and see it again!!


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