Tom Courtenay is Billy Fisher, the underachieving undertaker’s assistant whose constant daydreams and truth-deficient stories earn him the nickname “Billy Liar.” Deftly veering from gritty realism to flamboyant fantasy, Billy Liar is a dazzling and uproarious classic.
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What an excellent film. I loved Courtenay in Dist. Runner so wanted to see this for some time. Early Christie also peaked my interest. The result is a great gem that serves as a giant middle finger to the British films of yore. Its equal parts funny and sad, and I feel I identify a bit too much with the title character which has me worried my life is passing me by while in fantasy land. Midlife crisis aside, 5 stars
The old world is collapsing and a new world is coming into existence (I love you Julie Christie). Between them, Tom Courtenay is dreaming of a world that doesn't exist. Sad. Funny and sad. An ode to all the weak-willed and escapists of the world. A DVD zone Hillary.
Very entertaining early film from director John Schlesinger with great characters and authentic performances. Smartly-written with superbly subtle black and white imagery - the realistically poignant ending is particularly memorable.
Utterly delightful and at once knowing and innocent. Borrowed if not outright lifted from Walter Mitty, this vehicle for Courtenay captures the willingness we all have to escape from the drab humdrum of everyday life. And who wouldn't be snapped out of a dream state by Julie Christie and agree to meet her at a bus station in the middle of the night?
The best exemple of Free Cinema or what some called the British New Wave. Whether it is Tony Richardson in England, Forman or Wajda elsewhere, even Bellochio at the time, you can feel in those movies how the 60´s was a time of rebellion against the system, a need to reject authority. It is fresh, out of the studio system, full of energy, and bitter in the end. In a word : generational.
Billy Liar has a nice Beatles era 1960's feel. Courtney is excellent and Christie beautiful and perfect, as always. The British cast of quirky character actors and street scenes are what Schlesinger continued to perfect. It's interesting to compare to Midnight Cowboy for the theme of imagination and ambition squelched by everyday reality.
A solid improvement over the previous Sclesinger, mostly due to the tighter script and the even better performances from Tom Courtenay (who eerily reminds me of a young Ewan McGregor) and Julie Christie.