That’ll Be the Day is a 1973 British coming of age drama film directed by Claude Whatham, written by Ray Connolly, and starring David Essex, Rosemary Leach and Ringo Starr. Set primarily in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the film tells the story of Jim MacLaine, a British teenager raised by his single mother.
Jim rejects society’s conventions and pursues a hedonistic and sexually loose lifestyle, harming others and damaging his close relationships in the process. The cast also featured several prominent musicians who had lived through the era portrayed, including Starr, Billy Fury, Keith Moon, and John Hawken. The success of That’ll Be the Day led to a sequel, Stardust, that followed the life of Jim MacLaine through the 1960s and 1970s.
In an urban area in early 1940s England, a young child, Jim MacLaine, lives with his mother Mary (Rosemary Leach) and his grandfather. Jim’s seaman father returns, spends time with him, and works in the family’s grocery shop. However, Jim’s father finds himself unable to settle down, and soon leaves again for good, abandoning his wife and son. Mary continues to run the shop and raise Jim on her own.
The Los Angeles Times called it “a Very special, strange and fascinating movie.” The film was a hit at the box office.