Billy Liar

John Schlesinger (UK, 1963, 98 min.)

Tom Courtenay's turn as Billy Fisher is the highlight of this classic of 1960s British cinema. His character, nicknamed "Billy Liar" because of his inability to tell the truth and the flights of imaginative fancy that occupy his days, is a young man working in a funeral home in Bradford, England. He imagines himself a hero in the made-up nation of Ambrosia, and spends his time fending off the advances of young women who want him to settle down.

Billy meets Liz (Julie Christie) at the Locarno dance club one night, attempting to avoid the two women he's engaged to who are also out dancing. He spots his boss, Shadrack (Leonard Rossiter) of Shadrack and Duxbury Funeral Parlour, and runs into a photo booth to avoid being seen. The flash goes off twice as Mr. and Mrs. Shadrack pass, and Billy peeks out to make sure they're gone. As he runs down the stairs behind their table, he pantomimes throwing a grenade at them, and we hear the sound of the grenade's flight and explosion on the soundtrack, an effect which is used throughout the film.

Contributed by Brian

Billy (Tom Courtenay) sits in the photo booth as Mr. & Mrs. Shadrack pass by.
The flash goes off as the booth takes a photo of Billy.
Billy looks out to make sure Mr. Shadrack is gone.
Billy pretends to hurl a grenade at the Shadracks' table after leaving the photo booth, visible behind and to the left.
Billy runs down the stairs as the "grenade" hits its mark on the soundtrack.