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Butley (play)

Butley is a play by Simon Gray set in the office of an English lecturer at a university in London, England. The title character, a T. S. Eliot scholar, is an alcoholic who loses his wife and his close friend and colleague – and possibly male lover – on the same day. The action of the dark comedy takes place over several hours on the same day during which he bullies students, friends and colleagues while falling apart at the seams. The play won the 1971 Evening Standard Award for Best Play.


Butley may refer to:

  • Butley, Suffolk, a village in Suffolk, England
  • Butley River, a tributary of the River Ore in Suffolk, England
  • Butley (play), a 1971 play by Simon Gray
  • Butley (film), a 1974 film directed by Harold Pinter based on play Butley
  • Butley, Butle (Surname), in India, Maharashtra
Butley (film)

Butley is a 1974 film directed by Harold Pinter, an adaptation from Simon Gray's 1971 play of same name. The film starred Alan Bates, Jessica Tandy, Richard O'Callaghan, Susan Engel, and Michael Byrne. It was produced by Ely Landau and released through Landau's American Film Theatre.

The title character, a literature professor and longtime T. S. Eliot scholar with a recently developed interest in Beatrix Potter, is a suicidal alcoholic, who loses his wife and his male lover on the same day. The dark comedy encompasses several hours in which he bullies students, friends, and colleagues, while falling apart at the seams. Apart from an opening sequence of Butley waking in his flat with a hangover and taking the Underground and occasional shots in the corridor and the pub at lunchtime, the entire film takes place in Butley's office.

In his introduction to the trade edition of the play, the film's director Harold Pinter wrote:

The film lasts 130 minutes and was shot at Shepperton Studios. The Executive Producer was Otto Plaschkes and the cinematographer was Gerry Fisher.