Billy Elliot is a 2000 British drama film written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. Set in the fictional town of ‘Everington’ in the real County Durham, UK, it stars Jamie Bell as 11-year-old Billy, an aspiring dancer, Gary Lewis as his coal miner father, Jamie Draven as Billy’s older brother, and Julie Walters as his ballet teacher. In 2001, author Melvin Burgess was commissioned to write the novelization of the film based on Lee Hall’s screenplay. The story was adapted for the West End stage as Billy Elliot the Musical in 2005; it opened in Australia in 2007 and Broadway in 2008.
The film was theatrically released by the Motion Picture Association of America with an R rating for “language”, when released on video, the film was re-cut to a PG-13 for “some thematic elements”; this cut version removes many of the used F-words.
The film is set during the UK miners’ strike (1984–1985) and centres on the life of Billy (Jamie Bell), his love of dance and his hope to become a professional ballet dancer. Billy’s father (Gary Lewis) and brother Tony (Jamie Draven) are both out on strike. Billy’s mother is no longer alive and Billy and Tony’s nan (Jean Heywood) also lives with the family.
Billy is taken to the boxing gym by his father, but he finds out that he doesn’t really like the sport. Part of the boxing gym is used by a ballet class because their usual studio in the basement of the sports centre is being used as a soup kitchen for the striking miners. He is drawn in by the ballet teacher (Julie Walters), and with her help, secretly starts taking ballet class. Billy’s father finds out after the boxing teacher makes comment of Billy’s absence. Billy is then forbidden to dance but continues secretly because he is becoming passionate about it.
As a consequence of Tony being arrested during a confrontation between police and striking miners, Billy misses an important audition for the Royal Ballet School. His ballet teacher goes to their house to tell his father about the missed opportunity. Billy’s father and brother, fearing that Billy will be seen as a “poof”, become outraged at the idea of him becoming a professional ballet dancer.
Once having seen Billy dance however, his father understands that ballet is Billy’s passion; and he takes him to an audition for the Ballet himself. Billy is accepted to the Royal Ballet, and moves out on his own at age 11 to attend the school.
The film ends with a scene that takes place about 14 years later, where Billy has finally reached his goal through dancing: the older Billy (dancer/actor Adam Cooper) takes the stage to perform the lead in Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake as his father and brother watch in the audience.
* Jamie Bell as Billy Elliot
* Julie Walters as Mrs. Georgia Wilkinson
* Gary Lewis as Jackie Elliot
* Jamie Draven as Tony Elliot
* Jean Heywood as Grandma
* Stuart Wells as Michael Caffrey
* Nicola Blackwell as Debbie Wilkinson
* Colin Maclachlan as Mr. Tom Wilkinson
* Billy Fane as Mr. Braithwaite
* Janine Blirkett as Jenny Elliot
* Adam Cooper as Billy Elliot, age 25
* Merryn Owen as Michael Caffrey, age 25
* Stephen Mangan as Dr Crane
This movie is surely one of the most encouraging story I’ve ever seen, the struggle of a Billy Elliot in achieving things that he wants to do is really remarkable. Even though his father and his brother were against him, but they eventually came around and even supported him no matter what.
A picture of Jamie Bell, then and now
Mrs. Wilkinson: So. Do we get the pleasure of your company next week?
Billy: It’s just, I feel like a right sissy.
Mrs. Wilkinson: Well don’t act like one. 50p please. And if you’re not coming again give us your shoes.
Billy: [thinks] No, you’re all right.
Mrs. Wilkinson: Right.