57 user 27 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.


Ken Russell


Ken Russell (screenplay), Sandy Wilson (based on the musical play by)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Twiggy ... Polly
Christopher Gable ... Tony
Max Adrian ... Max
Bryan Pringle ... Percy
Murray Melvin ... Alphonse
Moyra Fraser ... Mme. Dubonnet
Georgina Hale ... Fay
Sally Bryant Sally Bryant ... Nancy
Vladek Sheybal ... De Thrill
Tommy Tune ... Tommy
Brian Murphy ... Peter
Graham Armitage ... Michael
Antonia Ellis ... Maisie
Caryl Little Caryl Little ... Dulcie
Anne Jameson Anne Jameson ... Mrs. Peter (as Ann Jameson)


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


EMI-MGM Presents The Return Of Entertainment See more »


G | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Polly has a photograph of Charles Laughton on her dressing room mirror. See more »


Polly: Blimey! There's more on stage than in the bloomin' audience.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Ken Russell's Talking Picture See more »

Alternate Versions

CBS edited 38 minutes from this film for its 1975 network television premiere. See more »


References City Lights (1931) See more »


The Boy Friend
Music and Lyrics by Sandy Wilson
Performed by Twiggy (as Twiggy Lawson) and Girls with Barbara Windsor and Boys
(Tommy Tune, Murray Melvin, Brian Murphy, and Graham Armitage)
See more »

User Reviews

Some films age superbly
3 June 2003 | by chris-1124See all my reviews

Russell's homage to the twenties has aged better than most of his films because the tone is so right. The orchestration is period-perfect, and the costumes (by Russell's then-wife, Shirley) are astounding. Likewise the amazing sets echo the designs of Clarice Cliff, Lucy Atwell and a host of others. Twiggy is that rare star, a model who made a great transition to film, and she's supported by a Who's Who cast of English performers, especially bad girl Antonia Ellis, who went on to star in the British stage version of 'Chicago'. To cap it all, the film works on three distinct levels, the backstage musical, the onstage drama and the fantasy version. Some lines have even become catchphrases. Sandy Wilson, the original show's author, wrote a sequel called 'Divorce Me, Darling', which parodied the thirties. Some prints are shown without the 'Woodland Pastoral' dance sequence.

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English | French

Release Date:

24 December 1971 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boyfriend See more »


Box Office


$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Russflix See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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