- Rated: Unrated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 38 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: July 10, 2001
- Originally Released: 1963
- Label: Criterion
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Single Side - Dual Layer - RSDL
- Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen - 2.35
- Aspect Ratio: Letterbox - 2.35
- Additional Release Material:
- Shorts: Excerpt from "Northern Lights," an episode of BBC series HOLLYWOOD U.K.: BRITISH CINEMA IN THE SIXTIES
- Audio Commentary: John Schlesinger - Director, Tom Courtenay - Star, Julie Christie - Star
- Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Sight and Sound - 05/01/2002
"...Schlesinger's production remains involving..."
Empire - 09/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "Skulking between temerity and timidity, callousness and innocence, Tom Courtenay dominates the picture..."
Total Film - 06/01/2013
5 stars out of 5 -- "Directed with gear-shifting gusto by John Schlesinger, BILLY LIAR vividly captures an England in transition..."
BILLY LIAR was an immediate sensation as first a novel, then a hit play--both written by Keith Waterhouse, who also served as screenwriter on the film. Director John Schlesinger's screen version was a British landmark in the fertile cinema of the late 1950s and early '60s, and launched the career of Julie Christie, who plays Liz, one of Billy's flames. A young Englishman named Billy Fisher (Tom Courtenay) dreams of escaping from his dull working-class family and his dead-end job as an undertaker's assistant. In constant conflict with his parents and with the many women with whom he is romantically involved (he is engaged to two), Billy regularly escapes into a rich fantasy world. Sometimes he imagines himself to be the powerful dictator of a small country. In another fantasy, he wants to become the scriptwriter for a popular comedian on television. Unfortunately, he often blurs the line between fantasy and reality, which is exactly the reason that everybody calls him "Billy Liar."
Comedians / Comediennes |
Fantasy Worlds |
Television Personalities |
- Theatrical Release: December 16, 1963.
- Tom Courtenay took over the role originally created on the stage by Albert Finney.
- Source writer Keith Waterhouse based some parts of his main character's life on the years he spent clerking for an undertaker. He claims he took the job mainly to get access to a typewriter.
- Julie Christie at first was rejected for the part of Liz, but the actress who was chosen subsequently suffered a nervous breakdown. Director John Schlesinger then asked Christie back, thus sparking her career. David Lean, upon first seeing BILLY LIAR, immediately cast her in his upcoming film, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, which also featured Tom Courtenay.
- BILLY LIAR is included on the British Film Institute's list of One Hundred Favorite British films.