Butley

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65%

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User Ratings: 732
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Movie Info

Directed by influential British playwright, Harold Pinter, Ben Butley (Alan Bates) is an embittered English professor whose male lover leaves him on the same day his estranged wife (Susan Engel) asks him for a divorce. To make matters worse, Butley must also haggle with his spinsterish colleague (Jessica Tandy) and face the downward spiral of a once promising career. As his life crumbles around him, Butley fights back with the only weapon at his disposal: his razor-sharp wit.

Cast & Crew

Alan Bates
Ben Butley
Susan Engel
Anne Butley
Michael Byrne
Reg Nuttall
Colin Haigh
Second Student
Georgina Hale
Carol Heasman
Lindsay Ingram
Female Student
Patti Love
Female Student
Belinda Low
Female Student
Oliver Maguire
Man in the Tube
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Critic Reviews for Butley

All Critics (2) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (2)

  • We don't pity [Butley], even though we should. He somehow doggedly weathers each crisis, and we even feel a sneaky affection for him. Maybe that's the way the role is written, or maybe it's because of the double-reverse charm Bates brings to it.

    June 18, 2005 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    November 7, 2005 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Butley

  • Jun 29, 2013
    Stagy production would be nothing without the great performance given by Alan Bates.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Apr 05, 2011
    In the beginning, there is the cough, as English professor Ben Butley(Alan Bates) has trouble waking up in the morning and cuts himself shaving. He barely makes the tube train, somehow finding a seat where he can smoke and read, which takes him to his university office which he shares with Joey Keyston(Richard O'Callaghan) along with a bed. I should have known there was something amiss with "Butley" from the opening scene that goes on too long. And if you think that is bad, then the rest of this intermittently witty movie which is set almost exclusively on one set in one running scene is even worse, and somewhat haphazardly directed to boot.(This is one of the American Film Theatre series from the 1970's when the default setting for depicting gay men was bitchy.) As a heavy drinker(it's not the kidneys he should be concerned with...), Butley does slip out down to the pub at one point which is a perfect opportunity for the audience to slip out for a pint or an ice cream sandwich. And as good a performance as Alan Bates gives, it still feels like being trapped in a confined space with a very unpleasant man, giving us a perfect feel for what Joey's life is like on a daily basis. In fact, Butley tries to avoid responsibility whenever possible, playing hide and seek with Carol Heasman(Georgina Hale), a prospective tutorial student, which interrupts him taking stock of the glorious mess of his life in this glorious mess of a movie.
    Walter M Super Reviewer

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