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Billy Elliot [DVD] [2000]
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on 3 July 2011
This is a truly awful film. First of all, only one of the actors was a Geordie - and, yes, I know it's difficult to imitate that accent, but surely they could have been coached! The father was particularly appallin. Apart from all the rest (so many things just didn't correspond tIo the reality of the north-east during that period), that boy would never have been accepted by the Royal dancing school. No way! And I agree with another reviewer that, in the end, he looked like a rather camp swan. can't imagine how this film could have been such a success, and I was hugely disappointed.
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on 12 October 2014
Though an ignoramus when it comes to ballet I quite enjoyed this film, however, it was let down by the poor audio levels on my DVD. In a small run down community in the county of Durham there is a miner's strike. Riot geared police far outnumber the citizens of this small town, who gather daily to hurl abuse at the 'scabs' who refuse to strike. In this populace there is a motherless family called Elliot, Father, two sons and grandma. Billy, the younger, is allowed 50p a week to attend the local boxing club, here, in the ring, he is somewhat standoffish, rarely, if ever, throws a punch but prances energetically around the ring, where he ends up on the canvass. In the same room tutu clad young girls have ballet lessons. Billy becomes intrigued and joins in with these dance classes, the instructress soon realizes that Billy is quite talented and gives him preferential treatment. Meanwhile, at home Billy looks after his grandma who is apt to wonder off. Occasionally, he sits at their upright piano and one fingers the odd tune. Billy is most active when out and about instead of merely perambulating along, he breaks out into dance routines, pirouetting, gargouillading, cabrioling, etc. His father hears that over the past few weeks Billy hasn't been attending his boxing lessons, so he goes to the club and finds Billy prancing about in ballet shoes with the young girls, his expression tells it all. Billy desists from this activity for a while However, his teacher thrilled with his progress, enters him for a scholarship, he doesn't turn up. She then visits his family, there is many a choice word bantered around and that seems to be the end of it. Christmas comes along, out comes the piano, into the yard and it is sledge hammered to bits, Heaven forbid, it wasn't a Bechstein, Bosendorfer, Bluthner or Steinway. However, it does provide warmth while they eat their meagre Christmas fare. Billy and his mate, a future transvestite? Go to the boxing club to prance about, he finds a tutu for his friend. It is noticed by passersby that there is a light on at the club so Billy's father goes to investigate. He is shocked by what he sees, Billy goes through one of his dance routines, this seems to really impress his father who pays a visit to Billy's dance teacher, who, in turn arranges an interview for Billy at the Royal Ballet School in London. The father explains to the family that there must be something better in life for Billy than his present lot, so, decides to pawn the family jewels and take Billy to London. Billy doesn't create a good impression at the interview but is nevertheless accepted. We next see him as a young man performing 'Swan Lake' at the Royal Opera House. That's it! Because of the poor sound quality, I give this 4 stars only.
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on 1 August 2014
BILLY ELLIOT [2000] [Blu-ray] One of the Best Movies of the Year! A Triumph!

With 13 BAFTA® nominations. Billy Elliot is a heart-warming tale of an 11 year old coal miner's son Billy Elliot [Jamie Bell] in the North of England, whose whole life is forever changed when he stumbles upon Mrs. Wilkinson's [Julie Walters OBE] ballet class during his weekly boxing lesson. Before long, he finds himself immersed in ballet, demonstrating a raw talent never seen before and reaching for a dream that changes the lives of everyone Billy touches.

FILM FACTS: Awards and Nominations: 2000 British Independent Film Awards: Won: Best British Independent Film. Won: Best Director for Stephen Daldry. Won: Best Newcomer for Jamie Bell. Won: Best Screenplay. Nominated: Best Actress for Julie Walters. 2001 Academy Awards®: Nominated: Best Director for Stephen Daldry. Nominated: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Julie Walters. Nominated: Best Original Screenplay for Lee Hall. 2001 British Academy of Film and Television Arts: Won: Best British Film. Won: Best Actor in a Leading Role for Jamie Bell. Won: Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Julie Walters. Nominated: Best Original Film Music. Nominated: Best Cinematography. Nominated: Best Editing. Nominated: Best Film. Nominated: Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Gary Lewis. Nominated: Best Original Screenplay. Nominated: Best Sound. Nominated: Best Director for Stephen Daldry. Nominated: Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Stephen Daldry. Nominated: Best Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer for Lee Hall. 2001 Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Motion Picture for Drama. Nominated: Best Supporting Actress for Motion Picture for Julie Walters. 2001 Screen Actors Guild Awards: Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role for Jamie Bell. Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role for Julie Walters. Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.

Cast: Jamie Bell, Jean Heywood, Jamie Draven, Gary Lewis, Stuart Wells, Mike Elliott, Billy Fane, Nicola Blackwell, Julie Walters OBE, Carol McGuigan, Joe Renton, Colin MacLachlan, Janine Birkett, Trevor Fox, Charlie Hardwick, Denny Ferguson, Dennis Lingard, Matthew James Thomas, Stephen Mangan, Paul Ridley, Patrick Malahide, Barbara Leigh-Hunt, Imogen Claire, Diana Kent, Neil North, Lee Williams, Petra Siniawski, Merelina Kendall, Zoë Bell, Tracey Wilkinson, Merryn Owen (Michael aged 25), Adam Cooper (Billy aged 25), Dylan Barnes (uncredited), Martin L. Evans (uncredited), Adam Galbraith (uncredited), Darren Jacobs (uncredited), Hendrick January (uncredited), Sharon Percy (uncredited), Ken Richardson (uncredited), Leonard Silver (uncredited), Lee Smikle (uncredited) and Damian Winter-Higgins (uncredited)

Director: Stephen Daldry

Producers: Charles Brand, David M. Thompson, Greg Brenman, Jonathan Finn, Natascha Wharton and Tessa Ross

Screenplay: Lee Hall

Composer: Stephen Warbeck

Cinematography: Brian Tufano

Video Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 [Anamorphic]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 5.1 DTS, Italian: 5.1 DTS, German: 5.1 DTS and Spanish: 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and Dutch

Running Time: 110 minutes

Region: All Regions

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Universal Pictures

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: If we could turn back the clock eleven years, we'd see that there was much talk of ‘Billy Elliot' and a possible mention nod for Best Picture. That never happened, as much as Universal would have liked it to. The film seemed to follow a certain formula, that's usually a shoo-in for a "hit" in films, and that was the story of one `Billy Elliot' [Jamie Bell]. The story takes place in Northern England, a blue-collar town that is currently in the midst of a coal workers strike. They are striking against their union and in the meantime have nothing better to do than taunt and throw eggs at the "scabs," meaning, the people who were working at the coal mine while the strike is going on. Billy lives with his father, brother and Grandmother in their house. The Dad, Jackie [Gary Lewis], and Brother, Tony [Jammie Draven] both are both currently unemployed and are part of the mob that is attacking the scabs on a daily basis. On top of all this, the family has just lost their mother (it never says how) and is coping with the death and her loss in their own ways. We see the town in many ways, and by the end we're used to seeing armed guards with Plexiglas shields line the streets. But all that is just the background. You see...'Billy Elliot' is all about the ballet!

Unlike people in America, where the children tend to play Basketball, Baseball or English Football, and not that horrible "American Soccer" statement, and in England, and sports like Boxing, Wrestling and Soccer are also very popular in England. As a daily activity, Billy goes down to the local gym where he boxes, or at least tries to. His mind is clearly elsewhere. Due to the economic status of the town, the girl's ballet class has been moved to the other half of the gym where Billy and the other boys go to box. After class one day, Billy's curiosity gets the best of him and he starts to watch the girls do their ballet. He is enthralled with it and starts to go on his own time, still under the guise of boxing mind you. As he is more and more taken with ballet, his teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson [Julie Walters OBE] sees something special in him and decides that his "gift" might best be expressed at the Royal Academy of Ballet located in London. Up until now, Billy had been doing a good job of keeping his ballet "secret" from his unsupportive brother and father. However, upon Mrs. Wilkinson's visit to Billy's house, they all learn the truth and what Billy has really been doing.

It's at this time when things start to change for Billy Elliot. His father, sometimes abusive, and certainly very unsupportive of most everything anyone does, has a change of heart. He swallows his pride and becomes a scab to get money to pay for a trip for Billy to go to London. It's also at this time when the film really takes off. ‘Billy Elliot' is a very odd, strange film. Some of the subplots don't seem to make sense to me. Billy and Mrs. Wilkinson's daughter seem to be interested in each other, yet it's never explored. Billy's friend, Michael, is another strange child. He walks in on him dressed up in his sister's dresses and wearing makeup. We later find out that he's gay, or as they say...that insulting word a "poofter." Still, ‘Billy Elliot' has those certain areas of it that liken it to films like ‘The Karate Kid’ or ‘Rudy.’ The film is set in England and I suspect for the Americans the dialects are so thick that it takes a bit of listening to make out everything that's said, so it is best to put up the Subtitles. Still, the underlying theme is there and that's what makes ‘Billy Elliot' well worth watching.

Blu-ray Video Quality – I can remember watching this film on a standard inferior PAL DVD and now on this brilliant Blu-Ray package and being thoroughly impressed with the transfer. The opening sequence looks even better on Blu-Ray and the 1.85:1 aspect ratio transfer is certainly a step up (or definitely a leap?) in quality from its inferior PAL DVD counterpart. I'd forgotten how dull some of the scenes look, though it's not a fault of the transfer, rather just the grey skies in Northern Ireland in general. There are still a few specs of dust and grain in a few selected scenes, namely the outdoor shots, but by and large Universal Pictures has given this a definite royal treatment.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – Though the film has received an upgrade in the audio department, it still sounds a bit on the shallow side. This new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix gives a bit more clarity to the vocals, though the thick Irish accents do tend to prevail and take front and centre. The movie isn't a total loss, however, Billy's statement of "I like to boogie..." sequence does still resonate throughout and really injects a bit of much needed depth into the film, speaking in terms of audio, of course. Surrounds are used, though not very often.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: The Real ‘Billy Elliot’ Diaries [2005] [20:28] Here is a portrait of the three boys playing Billy on stage are George Maguire, James Lomas and Liam Mower. It shows them at home and describes the audition process. Other contributors include Jimmy Carr, Stephen Daldry, David Furnish, Sir Elton John and Ashley Lloyd.

Special Feature: From Screen to Stage [2000] [19:26] Covers the process of converting the story into a musical, including interviews with Stephen Daldry, Lee Hall, who wrote the book and lyrics of the stage show and Sir Elton John, who wrote the music.

Special Feature: ‘Billy Elliot’ Making of Breaking Free [2001] [21:35] Your heart sinks, as it begins with a quote-heavy saccharine narration that begins "Once in a while there comes a movie..." Fortunately it gets better than that, with some worthwhile interview clips from Stephen Daldry and others. For those who weren't around in 1984 Britain, it does give you enough information you need to know about the miners' strike. Ardent Thatcherites will certainly disagree, but I suspect they won't be watching this film anyway. Still less will they be lining up for a musical with a song like "Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher" in it. This is the only extra carried over from the original DVD release. It betrays its age by the fact that Stephen Daldry's hair seems to have gone completely grey in the last five years. Other contributors include Jamie Bell, Julie Walters OBE, Jonathan Finn, Gary Lewis, Greg Brenman and Peter Darling. Narrated by Brent Selzer.

Special Feature: The Music [2000] Shows each musical number in the film, with a commentary from Stephen Daldry on how the music was chosen. T.Rex was in Lee Hall's original script, though songs like "London Calling" and The Jam's "Town Called Malice" were added in editing. Each musical number can be played separately, but there is a "Play All" function. Stephen Daldry is a very lucid commentator, so it's a pity that he hasn't provided one for the feature itself. All the extras are in 4:3, with extracts from the film in non-anamorphic 1.85:1.

Special Feature: Extended Deleted Scenes with Director's Commentary [2000] There are three subdivided sections are as follows: Billy's Story [9:39], Tony's Story [7:17] and Dad's Story [5:35]. The middle section indicates that Jamie Draven's performance as Tony has been hampered to some extent by pre-release cutting, which Stephen Daldry acknowledges in his commentary. There are also three extended scenes, totalling 5:40.

Finally, `Billy Elliot,' well what can I say and that is it has danced its way into my heart. I laughed, I cried, and I did all the god-awful things typically associated with generic film-critic quotes. But Stephen Daldry's Adult rated film, Oscar-nominated coming-of-age jig isn't at all what I expected, and I suspect it won't be what most newcomers expect either. Funnier, darker, more sobering and more poignant than your average puppet-strings tear-jerker, its portrayal of a struggling family, an out-of-work widower and a bright-eyed boy who dares to dream a dancer's dream is quite the moving film. The fact that ‘Erin Brockovich’ was nominated for Best Picture over ‘Billy Elliot’ still rubs me up the wrong way and totally insulting. Ah well, that is life. Universal Pictures Blu-ray release is worth the cost of admission, despite a so-so video presentation and a single extra. This is a film that, despite whatever you may think going in, deserves an audition in your home theatre. Give it a shot and see just see how difficult it is to resist its charms, which is why I have loved this film so much ever since I viewed on the British Television, especially when I was actually around at the time when the 1984 - 1985 Miners' Strike was in full swing and seeing this film brings it all back, especially with the struggle between the Prime Mister Margaret Thatcher and the NUM [National Union of Mineworkers] Union Leader Arthur Scargill and the film really shows the hardship the miners went through and Billy Eliot's emotional struggle with his strong willed heterosexual family. The film builds nicely in a pace over the course of the 1 Hour 51 minutes to a rapturous finale at the Royal Ballet auditions, topped off with a rousing emotional rollercoaster that will have audiences fumbling for their tissues and cheering in the aisles at the same time. Stephen Daldry's direction is flawless, energising the dance sequences, choreographed brilliantly by Peter Darling, and catching its breath during the sequences between Billy and his family. This is a total triumph. And that is why it is a great magical honour to add this to my ever expanding Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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on 3 June 2012
I havent got it. Still waiting!!!Maybe some day it will come.Still waiting!!!!Still Waiting!!!!!I hope it comes some day. Maybe? God
knows. Please, help me. I need Your help!!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 April 2013
After revisiting this film again recently, I stick my chest out and state proudly that the film touches me on so many levels that my emotions go all over the shop. For a film that is in essence a feel good coming of age drama it is mightily impressive that the film never veers down that street known as sickly boulevard.

Set against the grim backdrop of the English Coal Miners strikes the film tackles an array of subjects, class struggles, fear of homosexuality, youthful adventure in discovering potential adulthood, and the universal joy that music and dance can bring to us all, even in the most trying of circumstances. So many great scenes here that are both happy and sad, Billy's father feels he has to break the strike to give Billy a chance in life, this leads to a truly heartbreaking scene between him and his eldest son, I weep unashamedly at the realism of it all, the dancing is just wonderful, with too many great scenes to only pick just one out, the film is a seamless classic that ticks every box that I personally require from a film like this.

The cast are magnificent, Jamie Bell perfectly layers the lead role of Billy by fusing confusion, joy, fear, hope, and sorrow into one almighty performance. Julie Walters is up to her usual standard of greatness, whilst Gary Lewis as the father is nothing short of tremendous, they all can take a bow for making such a wonderful movie. The soundtrack is music gold, you can never have enough T-Rex in your life, ever, and I ask if there has ever been a more appropriate use of music than the use of The Jam's-Town Called Malice? Paul Weller's up tempo beat belies it's sombre lyrics, the song is about a town besieged by unemployment, a great scene accompanies the song as Billy dances out his frustrations down the street; "you either cut down on the beer or the kids new gear, it's a big decision in a town called Malice".

Brilliant! Maybe I'm biased because I remember the miners strikes, a sad and desperate time for the industry that was about to go under, perhaps I love it for the sheer sympathy the characters garner, or could it just be that it's an incredibly human story that is laid out fantastically well with an ending that demands a positive response from the viewer? Either way it rates 10/10 for me and it always will.
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on 13 June 2011
Ballet is one of my passions and so I did not like this film. How on earth could Billy have been accepted into the Royal Ballet SchooL? When asked to dance before the selection board he pranced about with no control and appeared to have no knowledge of classical technique although he had been studying at a local ballet school. When asked why he wanted to dance he didn't seem to know and gave a very unconvincing answer. It would have been interesting to see how he got on once he was in the Royal Ballet School, but no! Instead we jumped to the final scene where Billy is an adult and has succeeded as a dancer. But what do we get? Instead of a virile classical male dancer in a role like Albrecht in 'Giselle' for example, we see him cavorting around as a male swan in a hideous camp production of 'Swan Lake'! I'm sorry, but I don't think the Royal Opera House would ever put on one of those male productions of 'Swan Lake'. Swans should be danced by women!

So a lousy film full of mushy sentiment and the Ken Loach type social realism which is starting to become a bit boring.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 4 January 2014
Billy Elliot is one of those films it is a pleasure to see again, it is such an affirmation that things can turn out well in life and talent can come to fruition against all the odds. The final scene with dancer Adam Cooper is a real coup, as he is an amazing figure in the dance world and at that time had just been the lead in Matthew Bourne's all-male Swan Lake, which was quite radical in its way. This film also has that edge by saying that boys can do ballet without being 'sissy', and in a neat reversal it is Billy's friend, who doesn't dance, who has some proto-gay feeling, presented without any negative judgement or angst, whereas the completely easy-going Billy seems to be attracted to a girl in the ballet class. But the pleasure of the film is not so much in its pressing all the correct political buttons; rather, it is in the joy of a young person finding the courage to pursue what he wants to do, and being thoroughly likeable with it, without any ingratiating ploys in the script. It seems to nod towards Kes in the social background and the shared bedroom with the stroppy older brother, although here the drabness is downplayed, perhaps unrealistically. The sole parent figure is also the father rather than the mother, and is presented uncannily well by Gary Lewis, who gives the film its most emotional moments. Julie Walters is also outstanding, right from her opening "Nice, pretty arms!" delivered as only she could, as she encourages her ballet class to be graceful. But above all it wouldn't be the same film without Jamie Bell in the central role, spirited right from the off as we see him bouncing on a trampoline to T-Rex, kindhearted, occasionally bolshy, but always getting the viewer's full support without having to try.
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on 11 April 2011
A gritty, heartwarming, and engaging movie, one of the best of it's decade about the struggles of Billy Elliot, to establish himself in his love of ballet against the opposition of his father and brother, and the wider struggles of the British working classes and Billy's family against the backdrop of the 1984-1985 Miners strike in County Durham
Billy (Jamie Bell) has recently lost his mother, and his family are struggling to survive, it is 1984 and the miners in Yorkshire are struggling against the disintegration of their way of life as a result of Margaret Thatcher's callous closure of British coal mines without providing any alternative livelihood or compensation for those dependent on the industry. Billy's father (Gary Lewis) and brother (Jamie Draven) are strongly involved in the miner's strike and the future of the family and community looks bleak. Billy's father scrapes together money to send him to boxing classes, but he doesn't enjoy them and being captivated by the girl's ballet dances he transfers to the latter, while concealing this from his family.
But his dance teacher, the abrasive but big hearted Mrs. Wilkinson (Julie Walters) notices Billy's talent and is determined he should be enrolled in the Royal School of Ballet in London. The resistance of Billy's father breaks down when he see's Billy's incredible talent and he will do anything to get Billy to be able to follow his passion and have a chance at a better life
Together with a few gems like 'This England' this is one of the few movies to focus on Britain's ever neglected and abused white working class, betrayed first by Margaret Thatcher and then by the liberal and left middle class elit, on account of Third world immigrants and Muslims, Britain's white working class have been abused and kicked around by both conservatives and the left. Scenes of poverty, such as the little blond girl with her rag doll, who stands outside the council houses, add a gritty reality to a wonderful, heartwarming, inspiring and passionate movie. Notable scenes include the clash between Mrs Wilkinson and Billy's brother tony, when Billy runs away and shakes his body in angst and rage to the tune of 'A Sound like Malice'. One of the best movies of 2000 and accompanied by a really powerful soundtrack, this is a highly recommended movie to watch again and again.
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on 18 March 2001
Billy Elliot can be seen as a film on the same lines as "Four Weddings and A Funeral" or "Notting Hill" because it is a British based and allows you to be attracted to themes bringing you closer to home.
Luckily though, this film goes beyond those levels and into ones which are only reached by the best of the best. The acting is fantastic and Jamie Bell deserves all the credit he is getting for his superb performance.
The storyline has two themes, the famous boxer come ballerina one and the picket-mining aspect which help you follow the whole family in their personal and financial problems whilst raising Billy. Billy wants to be a ballerina but his Dad and brother refuse the idea as they have been brought up with boxing and coal mining. Billy is helped through in an emotional but hilarious story, by his dance teacher played brilliantly by Julie Walters.
This is a must-see film and go more then once so you can digest all sides of the story and for two hours watch a little boy become a star.
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on 19 December 2017
One of the best All Audience British films ever made. Jamie Bell brings a wonderful energy to the role, setting an athletic standard and paving the way for the audience "expectations" of many a theatre's young actors taking on the role of Billy. It's a "Seen it Already, Enjoying it again" Feelgood Film. The pace is wonderful, the emotional range blends everything from adolescent imagiative indignation to "pensioner power" during Hard Times in Yorkshire at teh time of the Coal Miner's Strikes. It's a film many generations can relate to from those whose families lived through and were part of those 1980's strikes, to the modern day kids who are generally more tolerant of those who are bisexual or trangendered, There's a bittersweet contrast in who Billy's best friend is & how he relates to him, and how differently he copes under stress when he thinks a boy is calling him gay.

BILLY ELLIOT is Classic British Filmaking at it's best.
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