Billy Elliot

September 29th, 2000


Billy Elliot

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Behind the Scenes: Director Stephen DaldryBehind the Scenes: Jamie BellBehind the Scenes: Director Stephen Daldry and producer Jon FinnStill of Jamie Bell in Billy ElliotStill of Jamie Bell and Julie Walters in Billy ElliotBehind the Scenes: Jamie Bell & Gary Lewis

A talented young boy becomes torn between his unexpected love of dance and the disintegration of his family.

Release Year: 2000

Rating: 7.7/10 (52,434 voted)

Critic's Score: 74/100

Director: Stephen Daldry

Stars: Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Jean Heywood

County Durham, during the endless, violent 1984 strike against the Thatcher closure of British coal mines. Widower Jackie Elliot and his firstborn, fellow miner Tony, take a dim view of 11 year-old second son Billy's poor record in boxing class, which worsens when they discover he sneakily transferred to the neighboring, otherwise girls-only-attended ballet class. Only one schoolmate, closet-gay Michael Caffrey, encourages Billy's desire, aroused by the teacher, who judged him talented enough for private lesson, to train and try out for the world-renowned Royal Ballet audition. Only the prospect of a fancy career unimagined in the pauper quarter may twist pa and big brother's opposition to indispensable support.

Jamie Bell - Billy Elliot
Jean Heywood - Grandma
Jamie Draven - Tony Elliot
Gary Lewis - Dad (Jackie Elliot)
Stuart Wells - Michael Caffrey
Mike Elliot - George Watson
Billy Fane - Mr. Braithwaite
Nicola Blackwell - Debbie Wilkinson
Julie Walters - Mrs. Wilkinson
Carol McGuigan - Librarian
Joe Renton - Gary Poulson
Colin MacLachlan - Mr. Tom Wilkinson (as Colin Maclachlan)
Janine Birkett - Billy's Mum
Trevor Fox - PC Jeff Peverly
Charlie Hardwick - Sheila Briggs

Taglines: Inside every one of us is a special talent waiting to come out. The trick is finding it.


Official Website: Universal |

Release Date: 29 September 2000

Filming Locations: Canary Wharf Underground Station, Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $5,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £1,541,109 (UK) (1 October 2000) (335 Screens)

Gross: $109,280,263 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Elton John first saw the film at Cannes he immediately pitched the idea of making a stage musical of it to director Stephen Daldry.

Continuity: When Jackie is on the bus taking him back to the mines, the strikers pull the protective cage off the window of the right side of the bus. Moments later when the bus pulls into the coal yard, all the windows on the right of the bus have the protective caging.

Mrs. Wilkinson: Find a place on that bloody wall and focus on that spot. Then whip your head 'round and come back to that spot. Prepare!

User Review

Billy Elliot - The Class of 2000

Rating: 10/10

To say that Billy Elliot is the best movie of 2000 is to damn it with faint praise, since this year's crop is pretty uninspiring. Better to compare it to movies of the past few years, and even then it would stand out. It is a phenomenally good film, and perhaps even groundbreaking in its own way, since it goes against the trend of quirky, violent, sex-obsessed moviemaking that's become so popular recently. We've finally been given a film with a good, almost mythic story, complicated yet believable characters, a masterful blend of emotional intensity and critical restraint, and a series of dance scenes that are authentic, inspiring and completely integral to the plot.

No wonder critics have been falling over themselves in heaping praise on Billy Elliot. No wonder it's been holding its own in the box office despite being shown in a mere handful of theatres (one-quarter to one- sixth as many as the big Hollywood blockbusters) and despite its receiving hardly any promotion at the moment. Its success is being driven by word of mouth. And what is the word? Here is a movie that appeals to your heart, head, funny bone, eyes and ears, and last but not least your feet, for the music and the movement will have you wanting to get up and dance. And it achieves all of this without insulting the intelligence. I sometimes wonder how the movie would have been done by Hollywood: Billy would have been made a more pathetic figure; the people in his life rendered more black and white; characters would have either remained caricatures, or made to develop in the blink of an eye. All such excesses are avoided in Billy Elliot, where the characters develop in a totally believable way, where Billy invites admiration instead of pity, and where the silences, looks and gestures all leave so much to the imagination. The dictum "Less is more" is clearly the guiding principle behind the film.

The buzz for Billy has been so positive that people sometimes come away disappointed that their lives haven't been changed. So don't go expecting a "knock 'em dead" Hollywood rollercoaster. Billy Elliot is far more subtle, though the emotional moments are all the more powerful because of that. You can however believe everything that has been said of Jamie Bell. He has an outstanding screen presence and carries the movie on his little shoulders with breath-taking naturalism. His dancing is honest and powerful, and very masculine. He makes you forget that all the other actors give the performances of their careers in support. If the Oscar were awarded without consideration for age, career, box office draw or Hollywood clout, Jamie and his movie would win hands down.


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