UK

Synopsis

BILLY ELLIOT is a coming-of-age story of a young boy, Billy, who through his unexpected love of dance, embarks on a journey of self-discovery in the world of picket lines, cultural stereotypes, a family in crisis and a headstrong ballet teacher.

When eleven-year-old Billy stumbles across a local ballet class that comes to share the village hall with his boxing club, something in the magic of the movements captures his imagination, and he's soon ditching his boxing gloves to sneak in at the back of Mrs. Wilkinson's lessons. With a sharp eye for talent, Mrs. Wilkinson's zest for teaching is revived when she sees Billy's potential. Rather forgetting the other ballerinas, she's drawn into teaching her raw new protégé. Meanwhile, Billy's father and older brother Tony - both on strike - struggle to put food on the fable. Their pent up frustrations finally explode when they discover Billy has been squandering his boxing money on less than manly pursuits. Banned from ballet, troubled by the escalating senile behaviour of his grandma, and missing his recently dead Mum more than ever, Billy' s relationship, with school friend Michael deepens into a touching friendship, while new pal Debbie, daughter of Mrs. Wilkinson, awakens frightening, but not unpleasant, feelings in Billy.

Mrs. Wilkinson eventually persuades Billy to accept private training, for free, telling him she wants him to audition for the Ballet School. The emotions released in their intensive routines nearly break the both of them, but when the day of the audition comes, Billy is tragically forced to miss it as a result of Tony's scuffle with the police. Taking matters into her own hands, Mrs. Wilkinson calls on Billy's father to explain the extraordinary chance his son is missing, but is thrown out by an irate Tony, much to Billy's humiliation.

Distraught by his family's lack of understanding, Billy unleashes his feelings in a dance meant only for Michael to see, but is caught mid-routine by his father. Rooted to the spot by the power and animation of his son's talent, he solemnly agrees to ensure Billy gets another chance by auditioning in London. With support from the other miners, Billy and his Dad finally make it to London for the gruelling audition, returning home to anxiously await the ballet school's decision.

Fifteen years later, Dad, Tony and Michael watch with pride as the curtain rises an Billy's premiere leading role in London's West End.

Director's Biography

STEPHEN DALDRY makes his feature film debut with BILLY ELLIOT. Christened "the only director who genuinely understands how to excite the young whilst setting impressive standards for the world of theatre", Daldry is now applying his talent to feature films. He was, until recently, Director of the Royal Court Theatre and remains Director of their redevelopment programme. He has produced over a hundred new plays, many of which have subsequently been seen all over the world. His own directorial work at the Court includes David Hare' s "Via Dolorosa" (Broadway), Ron Hutchinson's "Rat in the Skull", Caryl Churchill's "This is a Chair", Arnold Wesker's "The Kitchen", Korder's "Search and Destroy" and for the National Theatre, the multi-award winning "Machinal" and "An Inspector Calls" which is still running in London's West End. Stephen has also directed and produced for BBC Radio and Television and his first short film "Eight" was nominated in 1999 for a BAFTA. Daldry has a first look deal with Working Title Films.
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Cast & Crew

Directed by: Stephen Daldry

Written by: Lee Hall

Produced by: Greg Brenman, Jon Finn

Cinematography: Brian Tufano

Editing: John Wilson

Production Design: Maria Djurkovic

Costume Design: Stewart Meacham

Make-Up & Hair: Ivana Primorac

Original Score: Stephen Warbeck

Main Cast: Jamie Bell (Billy), Jean Heywood (grandma), Jamie Draven (Tony), Gary Lewis (dad), Stuart Wells (Michael), Julie Walters (Mrs. Wilkinson)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Actress 2000
  • European Actor 2000
  • European Film 2000
  • EFA Feature Film Selection 2000