Billy Liar

Synopsis: A young British clerk in a gloomy North Country undertaker's office, Billy is bombarded daily by the propaganda of the media that all things are for the asking. This transparently false doctrine, coupled with the humdrum job and his wild imagination, leads him on frequent flights to "Ambrosia," a mythical kingdom where he is crowned king, general, lover or any idealized hero the real situation of the moment makes him desire. His vacillating commitment and post-adolescent immaturity have created situations which make Ambrosia all the more attractive. He's succeeded in becoming engaged to two different girls, simultaneously, while in love with a third, Liz. He's in hot water with his employer, having spent a rather large sum of postage money on his personal frivolities. And last, but not least, his dream of becoming a highly-paid, famous scriptwriter in London seems doomed to failure. The only person in his life capable of bringing him down to earth is Liz, and she's having a difficult t
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Director(s): John Schlesinger
Production: Continental
  Nominated for 6 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 1 nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes:
98 min

Good morning, housewives.

And a very special good morning

to the housewife who lives

at 26 Fairmile Road, Derby.

Yes, it's you, Mrs. Beryl Heseltine,

your great day, because

I've got birthday greetings for you

from your husband Charles,

your son Harry,

not forgetting the girls next door.

'They've chosen for you

'Kenneth McKellar singing

"Song of the Clyde".

'And here he is. '

# I'll sing of a river

I'm happy beside

# The song that I sing

is the song of the Clyde

# Of all Scottish rivers

it's dearest to me

# it flows from the hills

all the way to the sea

# It borders the orchards

of Lanark so fair

# Meanders through meadows

with sheep grazing there

# But from Glasgow to Greenock

in towns on each side

# The hammer's ding-dong

is the song of the Clyde

She likes to sing

when she does her housework.

That applies to a lot of you.

But, actually, I'm talking

to Mrs. Ritchie of Flat 43,

Priory House, West Bromwich.

'Your niece Eileen has written to me

asking for your favourite tune

'and it's coming up now. '

'Now, I've quite a few names.

'There's Mrs. Joyce Tucker

of 74 Clement Attlee Way, Nottingham.

'Mrs. Rhoda Elliott

of London Road, Slough.

'There's Mrs. Rose Chester

of Cartmell Drive, Lincoln.

'And last but not least,

Mrs. Betty Bullock.

'Now, congratulations for you,

Mrs. Bullock, on your 70th birthday.

'I don't know your address,

but wherever you're listening,

'I hope you and the neighbours

will enjoy hearing Litolff's scherzo'.

- Ee, they've never sent my book.

- Here's your tea, Mother.

They've not played

that record of mine yet.

It must be at the bottom

of the pile, my name.

- Them curtains could do with a wash.

- Oh, shut up, Mother.

Where's his bloody Lordship?

She wants to go up with a wet dishcloth

and wring it over his face.

- He wants a bloody good hiding.

- I've shouted him three times.

That'd shift him.

He'd have to get up then.

Every morning the same!

Hey, you up there, come on!

Get out of it!

'It was a big day for us.

'We had won the war in Ambrosia.

'Democracy was back once more

in our beloved country. '

Go up and kick him out.

He's bloody idle.

- She lets him do just as he likes.

- Go up to him yourself.

Do you hear me?

Bloody well get up!

Squad, eyes left!

Eyes left!

Battalion, by the left, salute!

'It is often wondered

how left-handed salutes,

'peculiar to our republic,


'This is a tribute to the seven

survivors of the Battle of Wakefield,

'all of whom, by coincidence,

have lost their right arms. '

By the left...



your boiled egg's stone cold!

Well, come on, then!

It's nearly half past nine.

I'll not tell you again.

All right, I'm coming.

'Today is a day of big decisions.

'I'm going to start writing me novel,

'2,000 words every day.

'I'm going to start

getting up in the morning.

'Well, I might as well

cut that for a start.


'Today is a day

'of big decisions. '

Don't go making fresh tea for him.

You've enough to do

without cooking six breakfasts.

That was a blackie postman

just went past the window.

Ee, they're all darkies now.

There's blackie bus conductors

and blackie nurses.

They can't get work, you know,

in South Africa.

- Ee!

- Go on, ignorant, knock her over.

A cabinet change is imminent.

You'll be imminent

if you don't get up.

- Good morning, Father.

- Get on with it, lad.

You're half an hour late already.

Good morning, Mater.

How are you?

- She lets him do as he likes.

- I'm your most obedient servant.

You can stop that bloody game.

Hey, it's you I'm talking to!

What time did you get in last night?

More like this bloody morning!

I really couldn't say.

About half past eleven.

Yeah, more like one o'clock.

I'm not having you

gallivanting about all hours.

- Who are you having gallivanting about?

- I'll give you a thick ear!

And what were you doing down

at Foley Bottoms at nine last night?

- Who said I was at Foley Bottoms?

- Never mind who says.

You were there, and it wasn't

that Barbara you were with.

He wants to make up his mind

who he's with.

He goes out with too many lasses.

He's like a lass himself.

You want to tell whoever saw me

to mind their own fizzing business.

It is our business,

and don't you be so cheeky.

If Barbara's coming for tea,

I shall tell her so don't think I won't.

You never play fair with that girl.

I'm surprised she bothers with you.

He's not old enough

to stop out half the night.

- One.

- It's every bloody night alike.

- Two.

- Come in at a proper bloody time.

- Three.

- Or live somewhere else.

- Perhaps I will do.

- You what?

I've been offered a job in London.

Ee, there's been a lot

of twins born lately.

I said I have been offered

a job in London.

- What bloody job?

- How do you mean?

A job scriptwriting.

Scriptwriting! He can't write his name

so that anybody can read it.

How do you mean, scriptwriting?

I've told you. Boon, Danny Boon,

the television comedian.

He's in town

opening the new supermarkets.

I sent him some of me scripts.

He's read 'em.

He's read 'em and he likes 'em.

Sent me this letter... Look.

He's offered me a job in London.

He likes my material.

How do you mean,

he likes your material?

This is Danny Boon, right?

And this pepper pot

is my material, right?


Danny Boon sees my flaming material

so he flaming well asks me for it!

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Keith Waterhouse

Keith Spencer Waterhouse CBE (6 February 1929 – 4 September 2009) was a British novelist and newspaper columnist, and the writer of many television series. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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