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Billy Liar

Released Dec 16, 1963 1h 38m Comedy Drama List
95% Tomatometer 21 Reviews 83% Audience Score 2,500+ Ratings
A young Englishman dreams of escaping from his working class family and dead-end job as an undertaker's assistant. A number of indiscretions cause him to lie in order to avoid the penalties. His life turns into a mess and he has an opportunity to run away and leave it all behind. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (21) Critics Reviews
Peter Harcourt Sight & Sound Finally, of course, the film is Tom Courtenay's. In this, his finest part so far, no praise could be too much and yet all seems impossible. Feb 11, 2020 Full Review Ryan Gilbey New Statesman It's the director's most assured work, and it includes Courtenay's greatest performance. The young actor balances zestiness and frustration, levity and rage, and never soft-pedals his character's more unsympathetic tendencies. May 31, 2013 Full Review Empire Magazine Rated: 4/5 Aug 17, 2007 Full Review David Parkinson Radio Times A hit on page and stage, Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall's Billy Liar was brought to the screen by John Schlesinger as a faultless blend of social realism and satirical fantasy. Rated: 5/5 Jun 7, 2024 Full Review Penelope Gilliatt Observer (UK) There is nothing sentimental in the film, which is buoyantly accurate and finally very bitter. Tom Courtenay's gritty performance is one of the things that contribute to its seriousness: he's too good an actor to try to make a character sympathetic. Mar 9, 2024 Full Review Kat Halstead Common Sense Media Billy Liar takes what could be a wildly unlikable character and creates an antihero it's possible to root for, his frustration and rage making him more sympathetic than his selfish tendencies should allow. Rated: 4/5 Sep 13, 2023 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (173) audience reviews
Audience Member Billy is a compulsive liar and day dreamer. He also lives a bigger life than pretty much anyone so he's probably the real winner. A lovely film with a lot of heart and some funny moments. Enjoyed it Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Audience Member Hugely influential and the movie's observations about a particular kind of lazy young male dreamer will be eternally relevant. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/13/23 Full Review William L Wonderfully imaginative, with a protagonist that is simultaneously empathetic and detestable. The main character's penchant for self-delusion, initially comical, is gradually revealed to be a debilitating personal fault, that dooms him to eternal dissatisfaction, and the conclusion is ultimately quite poignant. (4/5) Rated 4 out of 5 stars 08/12/20 Full Review Audience Member Loved this movie. Hilarious at time and poignant at others - one of Julie Christie's best. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 02/07/23 Full Review Audience Member Ouch. It's hard to watch the selfishness of Billy. He's just so spoiled and trashy. Everyone has a little of that side to them, but Billy is 99% dirty devil and pretty much always listens to 'em. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/29/23 Full Review s r Quirky, but entertaining. A nice time capsule. Rated 3 out of 5 stars 03/31/23 Full Review Read all reviews
Billy Liar

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Cast & Crew

Alfie 97% 76% Alfie Two Daughters 100% 88% Two Daughters Petulia 86% 80% Petulia The V.I.P.s 0% 44% The V.I.P.s Only Two Can Play 80% 60% Only Two Can Play Discover more movies and TV shows. View More

Movie Info

Synopsis A young Englishman dreams of escaping from his working class family and dead-end job as an undertaker's assistant. A number of indiscretions cause him to lie in order to avoid the penalties. His life turns into a mess and he has an opportunity to run away and leave it all behind.
Director
John Schlesinger
Producer
Joseph Janni
Screenwriter
Willis Hall, Willis Hall, Keith Waterhouse, Keith Waterhouse, Keith Waterhouse
Distributor
Continental Distributing Inc., Rialto Pictures
Production Co
Anglo-Amalgamated Productions, Vic Films
Genre
Comedy, Drama
Original Language
English
Release Date (Theaters)
Dec 16, 1963, Wide
Release Date (Streaming)
Sep 2, 2014
Box Office (Gross USA)
$35.6K
Runtime
1h 38m
Sound Mix
Mono
Aspect Ratio
Scope (2.35:1)