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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about being able to express yourself.
Beginning with an exuberant title sequence, this charming, offbeat, coming-of-age story revolves around Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell), the younger of two sons of a widower coal miner (Gary Lewis) near Newcastle in Northern England. It's 1984, and the National Union of Mine Workers is engaged in a long, bitter strike, marked by street battles with riot police and protests...
Published on December 2, 2000 by Chris Lund

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Billy Elliott CD version
I have a copy of the original Billy Elliott in VHS Tape and loved it. I ordered the compact disk over a year ago and didn't watch it due to a move. I was shocked when I watched the CD recently as it has been edited and ruined in my estimation. Some of the raw street language is removed, which showed the contrast between the hardworking rough side of Billy's background and...
Published on January 20, 2012 by R. Evans


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100 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about being able to express yourself., December 2, 2000
Beginning with an exuberant title sequence, this charming, offbeat, coming-of-age story revolves around Billy Elliot (Jamie Bell), the younger of two sons of a widower coal miner (Gary Lewis) near Newcastle in Northern England. It's 1984, and the National Union of Mine Workers is engaged in a long, bitter strike, marked by street battles with riot police and protests against the busloads of scabs crossing the picket lines.
Following the family tradition, Billy is expected to learn boxing at the Everington Boys Club where, instead, the 11 year-old becomes enthralled by the girls' dancing class, led by a chain-smoking teacher (Julie Walters) who soon recognizes his raw talent. He loves watching Fred Astaire in old movies and is instantly drawn towards the ballet class, but when his macho father and rabble-rousing brother (Jamie Draven) discover he's taking ballet classes, they ridicule Billy - "Lads do boxing and football and wrestling, not friggin' ballet!" - forcing him to hide his slippers under the mattress and sneak off to class. Then come the auditions for the Royal Ballet School and Billy's defiantly joyful, foot-stompin' "I Want to Boogie" sequence.
What makes this heartfelt English import such a gem is the collaboration of screenwriter Lee Hall, cinematographer Brian Tufano ("Trainspotting") and former stage director Stephen Daldry ("An Inspector Calls"), who - despite the simplistic predictability of the plot - create eccentric, lovable characters and evocative imagery. One haunting sequences focuses on a little neighborhood girl dragging a stick along a brick wall, which dissolves into a phalanx of plastic police shields. Another involves the father grimly chopping up Billy's mother's beloved piano for needed firewood. While some of the authentic, heavily accented dialogue may be indecipherable to some, the musical soundtrack, combining classical and pop, is terrific.
In the title role, newcomer Jamie Bell embodies awkward determination, juggling grim reality with a surreal fantasy world, explaining, "Just because I like ballet doesn't mean I'm a pouf!" As Billy's father, Gary Lewis ("My Name is Joe") is tough-yet-tender, and Julie Walters ("Educating Rita") scores as Billy's crusty yet compassionate teacher. ("I feel like a sissy," Billy tells her. "Well, don't act like one," she retorts.) Jamie Draven and Stuart Wells lend strong support. Jean Heywood is touching as Billy's senile grandmother, whom he tenderly cares for and who repeatedly recalls, "I could have been a professional dancer."
While the bleak setting, in the 1984 miners' strike in northeastern England, is reminiscent of "The Full Monty," the energetic mood evokes "Flashdance" - and it was a bit hit at both the Toronto and Cannes Film Festivals. On the `Lund Movie Scale' of 1 to 10, "Billy Elliot" is an exhilarating 9. Combining comedy and poignancy, it's all about being able to express yourself.
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Tale of Redemption and the Father-Son Dynamic, April 26, 2002
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
Jamie Bell is pure magic in this wonderful coming-0f-age film that tells the story of a working class English lad who takes up ballet as a way to hone his boxing skills. In the process, he discovers himself, learnes some valuable life lessons, and fills a deep void left by the death of his beloved mum. Despite his family's strong objections (and financial straits) Billy ends up studying dance from a local teacher (the effervescent Julie Walters, who won an Oscar nomination for her work here). Her lessons - both technical and moral - serve as the basis for a devastatingly real connection between Billy and his disgusted macho father. What ensues is a dramatic comedy that inspires us at every turn without condescension or pity. The heartening interaction that develops between father and son is truly evocative, especially so for anyone who ever followed (or didn't) their dreams despite their family's objections. Not only does Billy "Dance!!" for his supper...he befriends the local outcast gay teenager and copes with questions about his own sexual orientation - heady topics for a movie about a dancing teen. All of this is handled in a mature, thoughtful manner, which makes the film a visceral, haunting experience. You can take or leave it's many messages, but theere is no denying its emotional core.
It's rare for a movie to challenge social mores and values by focusing on the dominant male principals. But "Billy Elliot" succeeds on more levels than other underdog-come-from-behind flicks. First, its based on a true story and resonates with truth, integrity and spirit. And, Bell's brash, authentic portrayal is pure magic. His feet literally take over his soul...he dances in the street, mimmicking Gene Kelly, and in the process taps his way into your heart. The performance is so accomplished it's a wonder Bell didn't receive an Oscar nomination. Even Russell Crowe - who won the 2000 BAFTA and Oscar for "Gladiator" - admitted Bell deserved the BAFTA Prize instead. Having resisted "Billy Elliot" at the movies, I finally caught it recently on HBO and was taken in immediately. This is a film your entire family can and should enjoy...if they don't, perhaps a little side trip to an English coal-mining town will help them appreciate this wonderful heartwarming film. Seriously, in this day and age, every one of us could use more Billy Elliots and fewer Scorpion Kings. A keeper!
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55 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SENTIMENTAL DELIGHT, October 30, 2000
By 
R. Penola (NYC, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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If you love intimate, moving character films like Cinema Paradiso, you will love love love Billy Elliot. A small, rousing British film with cleverly written characters, this movie is both sentimental and expertly crafted. The performances, particularly from Julie Walters as the dance instructor, and that winsome, melancholy but excpetionally gifted boy as Billy, will truly steal your heart. The simple premise is instantly grabbing -- an artistic boy, only 11, is unfortunately the most forgotten element in a fractured, sad little family, which includes a pre-Alzheimer's grandmother, an angry older brother and a defeated, sad and tense father. While Dad and bro are on strike, money is tight - the year is 1984 at the height of British strike/tensions. Billy is sent to boxing lessons, where, by happenstance, he discovers a true vent for his budding creativity -- and especially his joy in dancing. Filled with infectiously appealing pop and light-classical music, this film is part Rocky, part Hollywood musical, part Flashdance and part Cinema Paradiso. The chance that these disparate, unlikely approaches might actually add up to something compelling are unlikely, but you must experience this movie to understand how exciting, moving and intensely gratifying it can be. Painted in bold, creative colors and shot with a springy exuberance, Billy Elliot is terrific.
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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A daddy cries..., June 23, 2001
By 
David G. Smith (Fairfax, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
My son dressed up like Beauty(Belle from Beauty and The Beast...not the concept of beauty) for halloween. He dressed like the Mother Superior when we took him to the sing-along Sound Of Music. The other day he got a superman toy and was putting a Barbie Shoe on it. I am living in the world of the unique child.And I know there will be a day where someone will try to change my son........ This is why I cried in Billy Elliot......This is a beautiful film about being different in an uncompromising world. It is a film about economics and society, and how art is developed through frustration and need...but with all that aside it is a truly entertaining and fabulous film. Stephen Daldry, the reknowned theatre director, makes his debut here. The direction is the thing that gives this it's guts. This is a much better film than it needed to be. And the performances....Julie Walters, Jaime Bell and Gary Lewis(such an amazing performance as the dAd)...Just check this out. The movie goes places that you don't expect, and thankfully, places you do. I have just been thinking about the end of the film, and how it is an ugly duckling story...the coolest thing about it is that more than Billy turn into a swan. It seems like the entire community turns swanish. Art and individuality can do that. I was the quasimodo of ducks before my som came along.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Discard your expectations - and enjoy it anyway, April 25, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
You have to ask yourself how lucky Stephen Daldry was to find this particular young gentleman, Jamie Bell, to play the lead role of "Billy Elliot." I can't think of another youthful actor ( much less a dancer ) who could have been so successful in carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Julie Walters does an excellent job as crusty teacher. Some of the best scenes in the film are the moments when student and teacher start in on the verbal battles that can leave you laughing and crying at the same time - a wonderful change from the calm, caring, though eccentric teachers of American film. The soundtrack of the film is very well done, as is the choreography for the dance sequences. The father, brother and ( especially ) the slightly loony grandmother are wonderful characters, as are Billy's best friend Michael, and the teacher's young daughter.
Regardless of the media hype ( which actually does Billy Elliot a disservice with it's use of chliched exclimations ), Billy Elliot does have flaws, some of them glaring and very nearly unforgivable. The script often tends toward the normal, the expected, and even the trite. The background of the coal miner's strike is appropriate, but director Stephen Daldry doesn't always make it clear why he dwells on it for quite so long. DVD specific ( I assume ) there are some problems with sound - often the music covers voice, and the volume between scenes is so radical that it's wise to keep your remote in your hand so that you can alternately hear what's being said and avoid bursting your ear-drums.
For all of the above, "Billy Elliot" finds "Moments of Grace" frequently, where you may burst out laughing, or wipe a quick tear from your eye. They are quick, they are short, they are instant, and they are brilliant - and they ARE worth it - every penny and ever moment and every flaw ... most of them thanks to Jamie Bell ( watch out for his smile - it only happens a few times in the movie, but it's a killer, folks. )
Conclusion: Ignore the media. Ignore the hype. Discard your expectations. Get "Billy Elliot" and take it for what it's worth - in my opinion - a wonderful, sweet film, filled with moments of glory that are well worth your time and effort and appreciation.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most refreshing film of the year, December 26, 2000
By 
L. Hansen (Littleton, CO United States) - See all my reviews
Because 2000 has been the worst year in film since I have been alive, I have been skepical about all films released this year. However, "Billy Elliot" is a pleasant surprise. So pleasant, in fact, that I have seen it four times. And in a year this terrible, I predict many an Oscar nomination for this delight; though in a regular year, I think the Academy would be apt to ignore "Billy Elliot".
Award predictions aside, I have never in my life become so emotionally involved with an entire set of characters; each one of them is to die for. From opening credits in which Billy is bouncing on his bed, all the way through the closing credits in which Billy gives one valiant and triumphant leap, I found myself engulfed by a myriad of emotions. Happiness, frustration, elation, anticipation, sadness, and more than a few tears; I had to remind myself it was just a movie.
Jamie Bell, the amazing young actor who plays Billy Elliot, gives a stellar performance that is beautifully enhanced by the other actors in the cast. Bell's acting, not to mention his dancing, put the skills of any other actor of the year to shame. He may not deserve any top awards for his effort but, WOW--what a stupendous natural talent. Kudos to him for so acutely portraying the importance of self-expression in coping with emoitional pain and living life.
On the whole, "Billy Elliot" is well done. The directing is ace, as is the editing. The soundtrack is perfection. And just for the sake of it, the acting is the best ensemble effort of the year. By far.
Upon first viewing, "Billy Elliot" established itself as a permanant fixture in my Top Ten Favorite films of all time. Not because it is one of the ten best ever, but because in this year of constant let downs, "Billy Elliot" is my knight in shining armour. It arrived just in time to restore my faith in quality filmmaking. It is everything a movie should be and it is everything most movies are not: original, emotional, wonderfully collaborative and above all entertaining.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic feel good film, April 11, 2001
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
Hi there as I am the only one here so far that is English, I thought i would have to write a review. Billy Elliot, is to me the best film of this year,.I loved it so much from the very beginging to the very end, not one bit of the film was boring, it kept up the pace the whole time. Jamie bell is so wacthable, & a good dancer & is so sweet I wanted to give him a great big cuddle. This film will make you cry, beause of Jamie`s performance & because of the story line. Coming from England & reading about the mine strike when i was little made it feel even more real. Also I loved the music & my favouite bit is when the brillant julie walters, (another of my favourite pepole), & billy danced to T~Rex`s "I want to Boogie", I love that song. You will be moved by this film,. There is quite a bit swearing , but its almost fitting in that atmosphere where real pepole went through a lot of suffering. I recomend you buy it or rent it, but wacth it.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One word: Irresistible!, April 23, 2001
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
Billy Elliot is an 11-year-old boy played by Jamie Bell. On his way to a boxing lesson, he happened upon a ballet dancing class. Soon he discovered that he was very good at ballet, and he then wanted to become a dancer despite his family's wishes. This is a really touching and inspirational film about achieving dreams that will leave you cheering!
This is easily one of the best movies I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few considering that I'm only 14. "Billy Elliot" is very similar to "October Sky", which is another great movie. (Even the kid's dad is a coal miner!) But it is also very different in the way that it is much more complex and subtle. I have noticed that because this is a British movie, it seems to be a lot more daring than most American movies, with a lot of things that Americans might consider extraneous. But that's what I like about it; Every character is so well developed even if they have a very small role (e.g. Billy's supposedly gay friend). These little aspects of these minor characters add a really nice touch to the already powerful story.
Also, DON'T let the R-rating fool you. THIS IS A FAMILY MOVIE. This movie is NOT pornographic, or violent, or chock-full of coke-sniffing. It just contains some language that little kids shouldn't use. Even so, the profanity is used very maturely. It is never gratuitous or unnecessary, it's just how these British people speak. And the film never seems to glorify the use of such language.
This film was WAY overlooked at the Oscars. It's definitely better than "Gladiator". "Gladiator" may have cool combat actoin, but it's got a very straightforward plot which doesn't make you think. I have NO IDEA why Jamie Bell wasn't nominated for his act. He has a very auspicious start in his filom career with this movie!
If there's one thing to criticize about this movie, it's the fact that the dialogue is spoken with heavy British accents, making it hard to understand at times. But that's not enough to keep me from saying that this is one of the best movies I have ever seen! Watch "October Sky" first, to give you an idea of how an American movie tells a dream, then watch "Billy Elliot" for a more sophisticated British idea.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billy Sir, Billy Eliott, February 10, 2001
By 
stephen Garry (Manchester England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Billy Elliot (DVD)
What can you say about Billy Elliot other than it deserves to win every award going. The main part played be an unkown Jamie Bell has helped this film as he has put his heart in to it and made Billy have a special place in all of our hearts. The story of how a boy who lives in a poor area in the middle of a coal mining strike is pushed into doing boxing when he really wants to dance is a bit different to the action films that are always being churned out. The storyline is sensitive to loads of different areas that will make this appeal to everyone. Julie Walters has to be commended for her part as the ballet teacher, i feel that she was the best person for the part. (chain smoker and full of sarcasim) The sound track that was selected for the film is the best that i have ever seen for any film. Stephen Gately provided the song I Believe which is fantastic which is followed up by The Jam And if that wasn't good enough that is backed up by T-Rex. Overall Billy Elliot is the film that has captivated everyone and this is a film that everyone should own as it will be one that can be watched repeatedly without you getting bored. (i went to the cinema 7 times)
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Men DO Dance!, November 19, 2002
By 
Tiggah "the Anglophile" (Calgary, Alberta Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Billy Elliot [VHS] (VHS Tape)
Set during Northern England's miners' strike of 1984, Billy Elliot is a heart-warming, inspiring story about an eleven-year-old boy from a poor working-class family who aspires, despite the odds, to be a ballet dancer. Billy, however, lives with his elder brother and his father, both of whom are striking miners and neither of whom can abide let alone comprehend Billy's desire to take ballet lessons. It simply isn't done. It's not for a lad, and that's that.
Billy struggles to follow both his heart and his innate talent in order to break free from a less-than-ideal (and at times even violent) home life and the prospects of a bleak future. As a result, walls, cages, barriers and other images of entrapment figure prominently in the film, underscoring his predicament, and his dancing (by which means he struggles to break free) is powerfully juxtaposed with scenes of the violence, rage, and hatred in the community at the time.
The Special Edition of the video contains a 20 minute blurb (after the closing credits) with the show's stars, producers, and director talking about the film, the characters, and the situation in England at the time, all of which is interspersed with brief clips from the film.
The film is a 2000 BBC co-production with a running time of 111 minutes. Apart from a superb storyline that is powerfully portrayed, the acting is absolutely first rate by all involved. The Northumberland accents may be a little difficult at first for some, but it's nothing that can't be overcome with close attention, and it's well worth the effort.
In short, I'd highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a moving and inspiring yet rough-around-the-edges story of a lad intent upon breaking free and following his dreams in spite of the odds. This is not some slick but gooey, maudlin Hollywood-style production, and in my opinion it's all the better for it. The production is extremely well done--all the more so for being done in a manner so sensitive to the subject matter and the setting.
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Billy Elliot
Billy Elliot by Stephen Daldry (DVD - 2001)
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