Mrs. Wilkinson: "I've been thinking about the National Ballet School." Billy: "Aren't you a bit old for that, miss'" Mrs. Wilkinson: "Not for me, for you!"
Total Film - 10/01/2000
"...A heartwarming, toe-tapping delight....Daldry elicits a star-making turn from 14-year-old newcomer Jamie Bell..." -- 4 out of 5 stars
New York Times - 10/13/2000
"...Stephen Daldry anchors [the film's] melodramatic formula in tough, heartfelt realism....Jamie Bell [conveys a] convincing mixture of sullenness and innocent charm..."
USA Today - 10/13/2000
"...If Dickens had written FLASHDANCE after seeing THE FULL MONTY, it probably would have come out something like this infectious, feel-good bundle of ambition in the face of adversity..." -- 3.5 out of 4 stars
Entertainment Weekly - 11/17/2000
"...An inspirational Brit-prole dance fable..."
Box Office - 10/01/2000
"...Gracefully executed....The fleet-footed BILLY ELLIOT illustrates how classic storylines, in the right hands, can work over and over again..."
Rolling Stone - 10/26/2000
"...Daldry scores a sensational film debut....Bell explodes onscreen in a performance that cuts to the heart..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 10/13/2000
"...Jimmy Bell is an engaging Billy, earnest and high-spirited, and a pretty good dancer, too..."
Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell) is an 11-year-old boy living in northeast England in the mid-1980s. While his gruff father and brother are taking part in a massive coal miners strike, Billy goes to boxing lessons and furtively plays his dead mother's piano out of loneliness. One day Billy notices a ballet class nearby. Intrigued, he begins practicing and taking lessons from Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters), a tough-minded teacher. Billy begins to fall in love with ballet but keeps his lessons a secret from his family, who struggle to put food on the table while the strike drags on. When his father finally learns the truth, a family crisis erupts, and Billy struggles to prove that dancing is more than just a hobby--it's his dream. BILLY ELLIOT is a touching and heartwarming story that avoids clichés by setting the story in the grim mining town of northern England amid economic hardship and sacrifice, showing the joy and release that dancing provides for Billy. Newcomer Jamie Bell, who does all his own dancing in the film, deserves special credit for his performance as Billy.
Essential Cinema |
Family Life |
Theatrical release: October 13, 2000.
Filmed on location in Northeast England.
The film was originally titled DANCER but was changed to BILLY ELLIOT shortly before its release.
Some of BILLY ELLIOT is based on screenwriter Lee Hall's experiences growing up in northeast England at the time of the devastating miners strike in 1984 and 1985.
BILLY ELLIOT is the directorial debut of British theatrical director Stephen Daldry.
The filmmakers auditioned more than 2,000 boys looking for their Billy. The winner was Jamie Bell, a 12-year-old from Billingham, England, who had also struggled with being a dancer in a small, conservative town.
BILLY ELLIOT won Best Picture at the 2000 British Independent Film Awards, which also saw Stephen Daldry take home Best Director, Jamie Bell win Best Newcomer, and Lee Hall grab Best Screenplay.
Paul Clinton of cnn.com and Peter Travers of Rolling Stone named BILLY ELLIOT one of the 10 best films of 2000.
The National Board of Review named Jamie Bell Outstanding Young Actor for his work in BILLY ELLIOT. The Broadcast Film Critics Association named him Best Child Performer.
BILLY ELLIOT was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture--Drama, and Julie Walters was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture.