County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony, take a dim view of 11 year-old second son Billy's poor record in boxing class, which worsens when they discover he sneakily transferred to the neighboring, otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael Caffrey, encourages Billy's desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Only the prospect of a fancy career unimagined in the pauper quarter may twist pa and big brother's opposition to indispensable support.Written by
Julie Walters had no previous experience with ballet before this film. Admittedly, while filming, she went through menopause and hereby struggled with the moves and hot sweats. She felt she reminded herself of the hippopotamus from Fantasia (1940). See more »
At the end of the film, when Jackie and Tony take the tube, they are travelling on the Circle line (which would make sense, if they were travelling East from Victoria Coach Station), but appear to alight at Westminster. They are heading for Covent Garden, the location of the Royal Opera House, home of The Royal Ballet-this would be quite a walk-it would make far more sense to travel East another stop to Embankment, and then walk due North to the Garden. See more »
Have you been playing my records you little twat?
I never played nowt.
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An edited version was released in the USA rated PG-13 that tones down the language. See more »
Billy Elliot is a truly inspirational movie. It reminds us of the human potential to transcend our economic surroundings and the expectations of society by doing something so simple, and yet sometimes so very difficult, as simply being ourselves.
Born in a socially and economically repressed mining town, Billy is told that boys box or wrestle; boys don't dance. But Billy loves to dance and does so every chance that he gets.
Does a love of ballet make you gay? Does it matter if your best friend is a crossdresser? How far will a father go when he realizes the truth about his son? This is a movie of change, growth and emotion, with characters and actors so real and fully developed that they pull your heart forth and place it firmly upon the screen. We literally feel the brittleness of judgement, the despair of lost hope, and the joy of acceptance.
It is easy to see why this small British film has won so many foreign awards and nominations, and I only hope it will be given the chance it deserves to inspire and transform US audiences as well.
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