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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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.
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.
how can you not scrap the whole rest of the movie and make it all about Julie Christie after filming her (brief) scenes? of course then after this Schlesinger made Darling and Far From the Madding Crowd
In many ways an echo of I Vitteloni, another film I also enjoyed. I found myself urging Billy on in the final scene, willing him to stay on the train, which made his deliberate decision to remain all the more disappointing. Definitely one of my new faces.