Film: Billy Liar pg rating Year: 1963
Billy Liar DVD Cover
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Country: UK Genre: Comedy / Drama
Director: John Schlesinger
Starring: Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Wilfred Pickles, Leonard Rossiter , Rodney Bewes

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Billy Liar Synopsis - Billy Liar is set in a dreary northern town in the early 60's and centres around the life of Billy Fisher. Billy is a young man who lives at home with his mum, dad and nana and works in a funeral parlour. Faced with his dreary and restrictive surroundings he spends most of the time in a dream world that he has named Ambrosia. In Ambrosia he is president, friend of the people and national hero. Alongside being a dreamer he is also compulsive liar, and it is these web's of deceit that keep building up around him, and forces him to invent ever more elaborate stories to hide the real truth (like the fact he is actually engaged to three women at the same time). The only salvation in this maelstrom of deceit and grimy boredom is Liz. She is beautiful, confident, carefree and shares Billy's love of dreaming for dreaming's sake - the only difference is that she wants to live the dreams. Liz wants Billy to go away with her to London to escape the drudgery, but will Billy decide to escape to London before the web of lies collapse in on him, or will his daydreams prove too much of a distraction and comfort?

Review of Billy Liar - Billy Liar is an absolute joy. Although the story itself is a relatively straightforward tale of a young mans dissatisfaction with his surroundings and rejection of his parents values etc (fitting almost neatly into "Kitchen Sink" territory), it is the humour that lifts this film to classic status. The arguments between Billy and his hostile Father (who constantly bemoans the fact that he has brought a work shy layabout in to the world) is hilarious and extremely well played out. Billy's boss Mr Shadrack, whose peculiar mannerisms are expertly bought to life (by Leonard Rossiter) are also a highlight of the film. Added to that you have Julie Christie looking extremely beautiful and playing a delightful character that would be every young mans dream. Subsequently there were two series of Billy Liar made for TV in the 70's (available on DVD) sadly they were pretty dire and very much fell into the "On the Buses" /" Confessions of" style of humour that pervaded at that time, and all the subtlety and clever invention of the film was lost (not even the presence of the brilliant George A. Cooper as Billy's Father was enough to save the TV version).
The reasons I recommend Billy Liar are: 1. A clever and incisive story. 2. The comedic performances of Wilfred Pickles and Leonard Rossiter. 3. Julie Christie.