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Billy Elliot (2001)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 115
Fresh: 98 | Rotten: 17

Billy Elliot is a charming movie that can evoke both laughter and tears.


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Critic Reviews: 34
Fresh: 30 | Rotten: 4

Billy Elliot is a charming movie that can evoke both laughter and tears.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 278,714

My Rating

Movie Info

Brassed Off meets My Name Is Joe in this gritty coming-of-age drama about a young son of a poor English coal miner who dreams of being a ballet dancer. The film is set during a 1984 miners' strike in Durham county, where angry clashes between picketers and cops in riot gear are nearly daily occurrences. Among the most vociferous protestors are Tony (Jamie Driven) and his dad (Gary Lewis), who nags his youngest son Billy (Jamie Bell) into taking boxing classes. Though the kid can do some fancy


Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy

Lee Hall

Apr 17, 2001


Universal - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (135) | Top Critics (38) | Fresh (98) | Rotten (17) | DVD (18)

Bravo! to everyone involved.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The best dance film in ages.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of those rare movies that earns its feel-good ending without turning a blind eye to the compromises and little sorrows of everyday life.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Julie Walters ... is spirited and colorful as the ballet teacher, and Gary Lewis is somehow convincing as the dad even when the screenplay requires him to make big offscreen swings of position.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie brims with visual wit.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Terrific story of young ballet dancer has strong language.

December 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

The film about atypical artistic pursuits in a blue-collar community that "The Full Monty" sought to be. Peter Darling's choreography dexterously captures the defiance in the dancing - rage against economical and emotional repression in a motherless home.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

When sticking with Billy and his inspirational story, director Stephen Daldry hits all the right steps.

October 14, 2007 Full Review Source:

Daldry coaches an astonishing performance from Bell.

June 10, 2003 Full Review
Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL)

The story is familiar, to be sure, but director Stephen Daldry and writer Lee Hall tell it so persuasively it's irresistible, and the movie's score of vintage T. Rex classics could do for glam-rock what "The Full Monty" did for disco.

June 15, 2002 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

Billy Elliot earns every one of its sentiments and emotions without getting overly manipulative or preachy

April 19, 2002 Full Review Source:

A feel-good movie that should have felt even better.

November 16, 2001 Full Review Source: Movie Boeuf
Movie Boeuf

Billy Elliot is charming and entertaining. It's a bit of British fluff, enjoyable and lightweight.

September 20, 2001 Full Review Source: Movie Habit
Movie Habit

For every boy who played with dolls or performed an activity once thought 'girly;' for every girl who played sports or was considered a 'Tom boy...'

September 11, 2001
Cinema Sight

Because the story is so entirely straightforward, the beauty is more in the performances and in the subtle touches than in the journey itself.

June 15, 2001 Full Review

Daldry can piece together a competent montage sequence, but he has no idea how to hold your attention without resorting to inspid, watery melodrama.

April 19, 2001 Full Review Source: Matinee Magazine
Matinee Magazine

I always say to people at home with regards to prejudice that the theatre is wonderful, because it embraces everybody.

April 3, 2001 Full Review Source: PopcornQ

Billy Elliot es una oda al espíritu humano, así como un recordatorio divertido y sincero de la importancia de luchar por los sueños

March 14, 2001 Full Review Source: Moviola

maintains a delicate balancing act between the comical tale of a boy's desire to be a ballet dancer and the backdrop of hard-edged, violent realism against which it is set

February 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

While it flirts with melodrama here and there, the heart-warming payoff worked for me.

February 15, 2001 Full Review
Norman Transcript

...basically just sits there for a good long hour before it picks up any sensible speed. Is it all worth it, though? In ways.

February 7, 2001 Full Review Source:

The most emotionally satisfying film of the year.

February 7, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Billy Elliot

The film that started it all...well for this particular franchise/story that is. One of many films that has become a great success and followed on with even greater success as a musical theatrical production. I think this film may have been one of the first to kick start that trend as it were, can't quite remember.

The tale of a humble miners son whose aspirations to become a male ballet dancer are frowned upon by his blue collar father and similar blue collar brother. Set in north eastern England around 1984-85 during the miners strikes against a powerful Thatcher led Conservative regime...errr I mean government. Billy is destined to become a miner like his older brother and father and is pretty much forced to take part in boxing at school by his father. His dad obviously wants more for his boy with the possibility of boxing but he knows the pit beckons.

On the other hand Billy discovers his love for dancing in ballet and wants to follow that path. Naturally this disgusts his strong proud father and gets him into trouble for disobeying. The whole plot could be the tale of many many northern born men within England at any point in time really. I have lived up north in the UK and it can indeed be a bit bleak with little job prospects for youngsters (no offence to the north).

The whole film is one big stereotype really, but a very real and truthful stereotype. Billy's tough working father is a typical northern bloke who likes beer boxing and a good plate of drippin' sandwiches. The area they live in is of course very working class with small terrace housing along steep hills and flatcaps everywhere and the general attitude of all the men is somewhat old fashioned. Boys partake in football rugby and boxing, girls do ballet and sewing, there is no middle ground...dare I say homophobia is lightly touched upon too.

I am exaggerating yes? well not really, as I said I've lived up north for many years and in some areas this is exactly what its like to this day. Thinking back to 1984-85 it would have been ten times worse!.

The main crux of the story is Billy's struggle against 'the norm' and his fathers rules. He wants to be a ballet dancer, his school dance teacher thinks he's good enough but the money isn't there to fund it any further and his father hates the fact his boy might be a sissy. I think many people will be able to relate to this story as I said, but not just with dancing, with many areas. The scenes where Billy fights against his dad are naturally emotionally strong and really hooked me. There are many scenes where Billy gets into trouble by playing with his homosexual friend whom he doesn't understand is homosexual, not going to boxing lessons, going to ballet lessons and the intense strike sequences which are all terrifically acted out and really sucked me into the moment.

The moments of spontaneous dance from Billy are really cool to watch, I really found myself wanting to dance too, yeah maybe I can do what Billy does!. Every character is wonderfully portrayed, Bell is a little bit too full of himself at times, a bit too eager to please by over acting perhaps but he's certainly fun to watch. The only character I thought was maybe a bit off was Billy's dad played by Gary Lewis. I really thought this character needed to be much harsher, stricter, he was tough but I didn't really fear him or his rule. I'm not saying there should have been nasty beatings but he just didn't sell the gruff northerner aspect to me despite the fact he's Scottish. I think the fact he is actually Scottish (and in the film it seems) means he doesn't have the REAL English northerner spirit inside him, unlike a real Geordie, Yorkshireman, Mackem etc...

The build up to the finale is quite moving and did pull on my heart strings I can't deny. Its all very cliche but it damn well works...damn it!. The whole notion of anyone trying to simply make their father/mother proud by their good actions or dedication to something is a warm path to tread and guaranteed hanky dampener at the movies. Again many will be able to relate to the lovely final curtain sequence as Billy finally shows his family what he has achieved, it does put a lump in your throat and made me wish I could do the same with my own father.

I think you will get more out of this film being British and knowing of the north south divide and stereotypical views within the UK. I think if you live up north then you will certainly know the vibe this film gives off and will be able to relate and hopefully enjoy. It can be a feel good film but at the same time it can also be a slightly depressing film on various aspects...the miners strikes, being on the breadline, the grim north and being a youngster trying to break out of a situation. In the end the film is a joy to watch and should leave you upbeat. I hope I have not upset any of my northern countrymen, my dad is a Yorkshireman born n bred so I have experience ^_^
February 19, 2014

Super Reviewer

It comes as a truly delightful surprise how a simple story like this can be made into such a wonderful, captivating film that makes us cry and laugh in equal doses, and the best thing is that it never resorts to easy clichés or shows things in black and white like many would.
September 7, 2013

Super Reviewer

A young boy defies his father and takes ballet classes during a a mining strike.
On its surface this is a charming film, but there are quite a few gritty, dramatic scenes, at the heart of which is Gary Lewis whose stern demeanor and rough exterior make Dad the heart of much of the film's conflict. Julie Walters's turn as a tough, chain smoking dance instructor isn't the stuff Disney films are made of.
I liked the film, enjoying the dance sequences and the aforementioned performances, but I wondered about why the film needed to include uncertainty about Billy's sexuality. it seems natural that ignorant characters would automatically equate ballet with being a "poof," but I didn't see any motivation for Billy to internalize these criticisms.
Overall, Billy Elliot is a good film that is darker and more dramatic than first meets the eye.
May 18, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

The opening credit sequence backed with "Cosmic Dancer" was the only thing that grabbed my attention the whole movie.
February 4, 2012
John Hein

Super Reviewer

    1. Dad: He could be a genius!
    – Submitted by Lucas B (10 months ago)
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