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Billy T: Te Movie, Movie

Billy T: Te Movie 2011

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Documentary celebrating the life of legendary New Zealand comedian, Billy T James. Directed by Ian Mune (Came A Hot Friday). More

The film explores Billy’s extraordinary talent as musician, singer, comedian, actor, writer and artist (and even attempts to uncover the source of his trademark giggle). The film tells of Billy’s meteoric rise to national fame and his tragic downfall into ill-health and financial collapse.

Featuring digitally re-mastered footage of Billy’s performances and never-seen-before archival images, Billy T’s story is set alongside interviews with his family, friends and colleagues. Hide

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235 votes / 43 comments The Talk

  • 77 %

    Want to See it

    What say you?

    • KIWIreviews

      I grew up laughing to his jokes, and it was the end of an era when he passed away. I will be front row when this comes out!

    • Devo

      Billy T is a kiwi legend; great to see this coming out; can not wait

    • Mark

      I've watched everyway Billy T retrospective and they're never as good as the first time.

    • John Dawson

      A true NZ Cultural Icon, he is sadly missed.

    • Heather

      A must see movie

    • James

      Huhuhuhahaha...What a laugh.

    • Reeltime

      LOVE, LOVE, LOVED BILLY T JAMES... Can't wait to see this!!!!

    • Mike Goodacre

      Billy T was in a class of his own and his humour was enjoyed by everyone of every culture

    • James Whitehead

      A true Kiwi legend...I can't wait to see this!

    • Elna


    • brian

      Billy T. probably the funniest man this coutry has ever known. Genuinely funny.

    • Kat

      Speaking of Came a Hot Friday...when is someone going to release it on DVD or at least play it on tv?!? Now that was great Billy T.

    • little one

      i'm 13 and only just found out about him when he passed... how long ago was this???

    • lawl

      hahaha whats with his laugh?? hawhahahehe

    • Ed-Flicks

      @Kat. Of all the questions we get asked about movie and DVD releases - Came a Hot Friday is the most common. Release it somebody!

    • Ed-Flicks

      UPDATE! We've just learned CAME A HOT FRIDAY is out on DVD on July 6th. Get on it.

    • Darryn

      My favourite line...Get the flock out of here! I feel privileged to have grown up with Billy T's humour. Set a pretty high bar though...

    • Bob

      Good timing! I think the whole nation could use a good dose of Billy T humor..! No one does it better :-)

    • CHURR


    • Ken Sparks

      A doco about one of NZs funniest comedians directed by the master...I'm already in the queue.

    • Stuart

      No NZ comedian compares to Billy T, they would only be 10% of him.

    • lulu

      lol epic laugh

    • moe

      i watched billy when i was young can't wait to watch the movie

    • laure


    • Patrick

      To much bro, miss you heaps brother!

    • Nat

      OM Gosh I love Billy T and have all the avaliable vloumes of the Billy T James show. Just bought a DVD of some of his skits.

    • Mr G

      I've got all the B T movies on DVD (except Came A Hot Friday). Hope this isn't a re-hash of those. But sure miss the Cuz tho.

    • Melany


    • kendra

      He was so COOL. even tho i havent seen him before

    • luciana

      i love him im related to him

    • Cheaky Llama

      Where did I get the movie? I pinched it of course! teeheeheehee

    • Locos

      Awesome! Can't wait to watch this!

    • John Davies

      Watched it last night with my team at the Devonport Victoria, it delivers spectacularly on the trailer!

    • Rene Simpson

      Full of belly laughs, even tho we didn't get to see much of the "real" Billy T

    • Annie

      Loved every minute of it...it is how it was in those days and it is about New Zealand/Kiwiana

    • Gazza Watson

      Hey, I hope this movie is coming to Australia....otherwise I'm going back to NZ. I gotta see this movie. Billy T was my hero...

    • Brian Walden

      Work of great committment, thanks to all. Must have mean't hours of viewing before a script & links were known to work with.

    • SSmithies

      Disappointing at the lack of Billy actually on screen although the insights of his mtaes was interesting.

    • Amanda

      looks great!

    • Carolyn

      Always loved Billy T. Would love to see him again

    • hone heke

      can we sacrifice Hone Hawaira to the gods and bring back Billy??


    Want to see it?


Flicks.co.nz Review



comment / reply
Rebecca Barry Hill Flicks Writer

Ian Mune’s tribute to Billy T James is well-rounded, sensitive and funny. There’s plenty of warm-fuzzies nostalgia, from the source of that famous giggle to the comedian’s stints on Te News and Mune’s Came A Hot Friday; it’s just as amusing looking back at New Zealand in the pre-PC 1980s. Nor does the film shy away from the problems in the star’s life, including the conflict that arose following his death and burial on Mount Taupiri. More

Te Movie paints a picture many won’t have seen of James: a shy man who found his confidence on stage with the Maori Volcanics showband, a man so passionate about comedy it led him to his peril. Remastered footage brings his dual personalities back to life, from his over-the-top satire to his well-spoken everyday nature. But the film is let down by a confusing sequence explaining his family history, with daughter Cherie appearing in much of the archival footage yet no mention of why she’s not interviewed for this. Perhaps she felt she’d said her piece in 1997 when she made the TV doco Billy T: A Daughter’s Story. Much of the editing too is disjointed and distracting, flicking between points of view.

Viewers are left with a respect for two things: the legacy of the incredible Billy T James, and the difficulties of telling a story about a man no longer with us. Hide

The People's Reviews


8 ratings and 10 reviews


comment / reply

Wait for the DVD

Coraliee Flicks Superstar (?)

This was more a doco than a movie. And although an interesting doco...the interviewee's (is that a word?) were mostly old collegues he worked with, a relative he wasn't that close to, and various other people he came across during his life at various stages. So not so sure I can take all they say with a pinch of salt. But it was nice to 'flick' back now again to some 80's comedy scenes, and see Billy again. However I have some of the old Billy T dvds, and they make better watching.


comment / reply

Made me cry

KAitchison1 Wannabe (?)

I actually didn't realize this is a doco of Billy T life...it made me cry and also showed me how politically correct we are these days, what Billy T got away with as funny is amazing..He's still laugh out loud funny and an icon of NZ History. Great movie.


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Great Entertainer

GrahamP Flicks Superstar (?)

Well put together.A good doco which is easy to watch.It shows more of the man than his sketches.


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Billy T a New Zealand legend

bigspendakev Flicks Superstar (?)

This is more a story told by his friends and colleages about the man behind the image Billy T was must see tv for any kiwi in the early eighties If you havent heard or seen anything that Billy T was in i suggeset you go down to the local video shop and rent out his dvds you will soon be enthralled by his catchy laugh to his very funny wit my favourite Billy T moment is when he goes and buys a car from a car dealer and the Te News section Billy you will always be the man


comment / reply

Most loved comedian

WaitakereLynda Wannabe (?)

There can be few Kiwis who were so universally loved as Billy T James. Even now, twenty years after his death (can it REALLY be 20 years?), people remember with great affection his ability to poke fun, the infectious giggle and the no-holds-barred professionalism.

This film shows just how passionate and professional Billy was about his craft, why he was so funny and how he made it look so easy (when actually it's darned hard work).
We also get to know a little about the private Billy T, the quiet, contemplative man who conquered his shyness to become a star.
Nor does the movie forget the problems which occurred after his untimely death and perhaps gives viewers unfamiliar with Maoritanga, an insight into the heartfelt views which led to the dispute.
All in all a wonderfully reminiscent film about the private and public life of a man we all loved and who is still greatly missed.


comment / reply


Tania1 A-Lister (?)

A good movie for any New Zealander to see


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Funny and Sad

timotheus Nobody (?)

Well worth watching to appreciate again a great entertainer and comedian (with excerpts from his performances). He really was a funny man.

But also a great and sad watch to learn about his life and background, leading to his early death.


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Lack of actual Billy

SSmithies Nobody (?)

Disappointing at the lack of Billy actually on screen although the insights of his mtaes was interesting. Billy was a great entertainer. It's a shame his finances weren't managed better.


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Great look at a New Zealand Icon

PhilMoore Flicks Superstar (?)

Now I was only 5 years old when Billy T died. But I have seen lots of footage of him over the years and he was truly larger than life. This film took a great look at a gifted comedian that stole New Zealand hearts. It interviewed a lot of family and friends about his story. It included his huge rise and sad fall into financial collapse and ill health. I enjoyed this film and recommend it to fans of Billy


comment / reply

Very enjoyable doco

Stew_P Nobody (?)

I liked this quite a lot. It's no Bill Cunningham New York (which is BRILLIANT), but it's entertaining & interesting & really is a celebration of Billy T as an entertainer & commedian. Gives a good insight into his two very different personas - Billy T the character & the very private William Taitoko. Most Kiwis with a memory of Billy T should enjoy this & even those young 'uns coming in fresh should enjoy the un-PC, self deprecating humour that he was so famous for & that we seem to love as a nation.

Billy T: Te Movie

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Press Reviews

NZ Herald (Peter Calder)

Certainly it covers the ground, starting with the early years in Leamington, near Cambridge (where Maori were not exactly thick on the ground in 1949), and ending with a sensitive treatment of the conflict over his body - a matter sickeningly sensationalised by news media at the time. It also usefully reminds us of his astonishing musicianship. Full review.

Stuff.co.nz (Louise Risk)

No aspect of Billy's life was glossed over and despite his wife Lynn not being interviewed, I think this documentary was well-rounded and definitely worth a watch. Full review.