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Billy Liar PG rating

Tom Courtenay is the clerk whose overactive fantasies compensate for a dull provincial life, in this classic film from the British New Wave.

Comedy 1963 98 mins Silent

Director: John Schlesinger



The era of the British New Wave came of age with John Schlesinger’s comedy, one of the enduring films from the movement that crucially combines humour and literary pedigree with its ‘kitchen sink’ realism.

Tom Courtenay is Billy, an undertaker’s clerk with an overactive imagination who’s often lost in a world of Walter Mitty-esque fantasies. Julie Christie is the glamorous girlfriend who urges him to act on his dreams and leave dreary Yorkshire for a new life in London. Schlesinger’s affectionate portrait of an archetypal British character – the loveable loser unable to transcend his provincial life – is a key British film of the 1960s and was voted 76th in a BFI poll of the 100 best British films.