Bill Denbrough is the protagonist of the 2017 horror film, It, and its sequel It Chapter Two, and the timid leader of the Losers Club.
Bill has been steadfast for most of his life, using his bravery and instinct to unite his friends in turmoil and is also a talented writer, even from a young age he would write stories in his room with the typewriter his parents gave him. Though he is a brilliant wordsmith, Bill's verbal speech is nowhere near as finely tuned since Bill has a severe speech impediment for the entirety of his childhood.
Bill overcame his stutter during his teenage years due to a private speech therapist, however his stutter returned unexpectedly after having received a call from Mike Hanlon summoning him back to Derry. Bill's stutter noticeably gets worse when he is upset, angry or afraid. The speech impediment will sometimes not be apparent such as he when he is reading a different language, doing a impression (e.g Henry Bowers) or when he is making a speech. It's because of his stutter that caused Henry Bowers and many others to bully Bill viciously. Although upset with being treated in this manner, Bill doesn't mind his friends poke gentle fun at his stutter.
Bill's greatest attribute is undying love for his younger brother Georgie, which only strengthened when Georgie was brutally murdered by IT. Bill uses Georgie's memory as a guiding light to destroy Pennywise. While his love for Georgie is endearing, it's also a great source of guilt, as he feels Georgie died as a direct result of helping Georgie make the paper boat that ultimately led to his death. Though he is told by Richie that it isn't his fault, the guilt follows him throughout his childhood and adulthood and enables IT to torment him by making illusions of Georgie. After Georgie's death, Bill's parents grow distant and begin to neglect him, to the point that he wonders if they ever loved him at all. His relationship with his parents never recovers. Decades later, Bill is still convinced that he is to blame for Georgie's death and doesn't recognise that what his parents did to him was wrong and abusive. This doesn't change until IT forces him to confront his greatest fear by turning into Georgie and accusing him of being the reason Georgie died.
Bill is shown to be reckless and impulsive on multiple occasions, especially when he is face to face with IT. But despite his headstrong demeanour, Bill is extremely intelligent and shows great maturity. He has the power to pull the Loser's Club together through the horrors that IT sets upon them.
The 2017 version further expands on Bill's character flaws, as he shown to be more delusional in thinking that Georgie must have survived and takes the majority of the movie to come to terms with his brother's death. And while he is undoubtedly a good leader and friend, Bill has issues concerning people telling him of Georgie's fate, as he pleaded with his father that it was possible Georgie could be still alive, even showing his father a diagram model of the Derry sewer system to no avail. Bill even punched Richie down when the latter stated Georgie was dead, though he apologized to Richie later when Beverly was captured by IT. Despite his earlier headstrong and reckless behavior, Bill is completely willing to allow Pennywise to feed on him while the others escape, saying it was his fault they were in danger in the first place.
Along with Beverly Marsh, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak, Mike HanLon, Stan Uris and, Ben Hanscom, Bill was a member of the Loser’s Club and one of the main protagonists of IT. Often nicknamed 'Stuttering Bill' (due to his tendency to stutter) by his associates, he stood out among the seven adherents as being the most optimistic and valiant member. As a result, Bill is generally viewed as the undisputed leader of the club. Bill has the foremost desire which his dear friends follow in defeating the ancient demonic entity IT and is driven by his brother's horrific murder to destroy Pennywise.
In the novel, Bill is described as a handsome boy with cropped red hair, blue eyes and a small frame. As an adult, Bill has gone to sea; shaving his head into a buzzcut and also sports a pair of spectacles. Bill is also described to have become quite podgy when entering adulthood.
Bill's appearance is inconsistent in the two film adaptions of the novel. In the 1990 Mini Series, Bill has ash-blonde hair and in the 2017 remake, Bill's hair is auburn.
It (2017 film)
In October 1988, Bill is sick, but makes a paper boat for his younger brother, Georgie, who goes out into the rain sends it sailing through the streets. Unfortunately, it goes right into a storm drain, and Georgie is killed by a clown who pretends to offer to give the boat back to him.
Months later, in June 1989, Bill, hoping that Georgie may still be alive, believes he may have washed up in the Barrens, and asks his friends, Richie Tozier, Eddie Kaspbrak and Stan Uris, to help him investigate, even though they, and Bill's parents, know that Georgie is dead, they pretend to go with his beliefs.
Later, at home, Bill tries to convince his dad that Georgie may still be alive, and has washed up in the Barrens, to no avail. At the Barrens, Bill, Richie, Eddie, and Stan find no traces of Georgie, though they do find one of Betty Ripsom's sneakers. Ben Hanscom, who was assaulted and tortured by local bully Henry Bowers, turns up. The four take him into town to attend to his injuries. Leaving Richie with him, Bill, Stan, and Eddie get some supplies from the pharmacy with a little assistance from Beverly, whom he invites to join them at the quarry.
The next day, Beverly unexpectedly joins Bill, Ben, Eddie, Richie, and Stanley to go swimming. Afterwards, they go to Ben's house, where he shows them more of Derry's history. That night, as it is raining, Bill is woken up by water dripping from his ceiling. As he gets a bucket to deal with it, he is distracted by the light in Georgie's bedroom coming on, and then follows a series of footprints going downstairs, where he sees a figure that looks like Georgie, who he follows down to the basement, where he is attacked by Pennywise, barely managing to escape.
In the morning, Bill and the others come to Beverly's apartment, where she shows them her blood-covered bathroom, which they clean. Soon after, they rescue Mike Hanlon as he is being tortured by Henry and his pals. As the fourth of July comes around, they talk about how kids vanishing seems to be all too common, and Ben explains that he pieced together his Derry research and they all discover that some of the major catastrophes in the past only happen every twenty-seven years.
They discuss some of the terrifying things they have seen recently, with Mike stating that his grandpa has always believed that the town of Derry is cursed and that everything terrible that happened in the town is because of something evil. At Bill’s house, they put up a map of the town and discover all the locations of Pennywise’s past attacks are connected by the sewers, which converge at the Well House. Eddie, getting increasingly uncomfortable, tears the map off the wall, much to Bill’s outrage. Suddenly, the projector goes out of control, showing Pennywise on the screen. Without warning, he attacks them, but vanishes after Ben reopens the garage door.
Bill then goes to the Well House alone, eager to do something about It; as he walks towards the house, the others turn up and try to reason with him. He explains that finding Georgie is the only thing that matters to him, and that no one, not even their parents, are going to try and rescue them if Pennywise captures them. Eddie and Richie accompany Bill into the house while Beverly, Ben, Mike, and Stan wait outside. However, they end up being separated, and Eddie gets his arm broken, and is almost devoured by Pennywise. Fortunately, Bill and Richie arrive just in time. Pennywise taunts Bill about Georgie, then attempts to attack them before being stabbed in the head by Beverly. While the others attend to Eddie, Bill chases after Pennywise, and sees him disappear into the well, located in the basement. The seven flee from the house and bring Eddie home, where his mother reprimands them; Bill tries to explain to her that they didn’t do it; but she silences him and refuses to hear their side of the story. Bill then has a falling out with Richie, which leads to Beverly explaining that Pennywise is trying to split them up because they’ll be easier prey alone, and that their best chance of facing him is by staying together, but Richie, too angry to get the message, defects from the group, as do Stan, Ben, and Mike. Bill then spends the next few weeks at home sulking.
When August comes around, Bill bikes to Beverly’s apartment, where he finds her father in the bathroom then discovers bloody writing on her bedroom wall, and realizes in horror that Pennywise has taken Beverly. He runs out of the apartment, then goes to the movie theater where Richie is playing Street Fighter and informs him about Beverly’s abduction; the two then track down and alert Ben, Stan, and Mike, and call Eddie, who is stopped by his mom, but gets the nerve to defy her.
Returning to the Well House, everybody but Stan goes inside, prompting Bill to explain that their only chance is sticking together like Beverly said. The six boys descend into the well, fighting off a now-deranged Henry Bowers, then losing track of Stan; after finding him, Bill spots “Georgie”, who leads him to Pennywise’s inner sanctum, where he discovers Beverly, who had been entranced by It’s true form, before being distracted by “Georgie” again.
Bill then converses with “Georgie” as Ben, Richie, Stan, Eddie, Mike, and a revived Beverly catch up with him. Realizing he’s not really Georgie, he shoots him in the head, revealing him to be Pennywise; the seven try to fight back, but are overpowered. Pennywise offers to spare the others in exchange for Bill, who apologizes for putting them in danger and urges them to save themselves. They refuse to back down and fearlessly fight against It, defeating him and sending him into hibernation. Bill then finds what’s left of Georgie’s raincoat and breaks down in tears as he acknowledges his brother is dead; Richie, Beverly, Ben, Mike, Stan, and Eddie join Bill in mourning for his brother.
In September, Beverly tells the others that while she was entranced, she envisioned them as adults, fighting against Pennywise, which inspires Bill to have them all make a blood oath that should Pennywise return, then they will reunite to vanquish him for good. After Stan, Eddie, Mike, Richie, and Ben leave one by one, Bill talks with Beverly about her moving to Portland the next morning. As she leaves, Bill runs up and kisses Beverly; she passionately kisses him back, then continues on her own path as Bill watches her with a fond smile.
During the course of the next two decades, Bill marries film star Audra Phillips and becomes a writer. At the set of a new movie his wife is working on, one of the producers snaps at him for not completing the story. All of a sudden, Bill gets a phone call from Mike Hanlon to return to Derry. Due to being away from Derry for two decades, Bill’s recollection of It has dwindled slightly.
Meeting up with his old friends at a Chinese restaurant, everyone’s memories of their childhood start to come back to them.
While Ben, Beverly, Eddie, and Richie find a hotel to stay at, Mike takes Bill to the library, where he shows him that he has made a living space for himself in the attic, and reveals he has been doing research on It, also meeting with a Native American tribe who told him about the Ritual of Chüd, which can destroy Pennywise forever. They just need to find seven items from their childhood.
Going by Beverly’s old apartment, she and Bill talk about their childhood, remembering that there was that time when they were divided after their first incursion at the Well House.
Searching the town, Bill goes to a local store, where he buys back the bike he had when he was a kid. He takes it for a ride, feeling young again, coming to the storm drain where Georgie encountered Pennywise and died nearly twenty-eight years ago, where he meets a young boy named Dean, who now lives in Bill’s old house and says that he’s been hearing voices coming from the drain and seeing a clown come out of the shower, and recovering his item, the paper sailboat he made with Georgie that day.
Bill meets up with the others before realizing that Pennywise is going after Dean, then hurries to a carnival to save him, only to witness the boy’s gruesome death at the hands of Pennywise. Guilt-ridden, he goes to the Well House to fight It alone. The others find out his intentions, follow him, and convince him to let them help.
Shortly after entering, they are separated and attacked by Pennywise, but manage to fight him off. Journeying back down to Pennywise’s Lair where they first fought him, they discover a new passageway leading deeper underground, to a cave containing the remains of the meteor that brought Pennywise to Earth, where they perform the Ritual, burning their items in a vessel taken from the Native American tribe; it appears to work, but Pennywise’s deadlights escape, and Pennywise takes on a gigantic spider-like form after forcing Mike to reveal that he killed the tribe when they let their fears overtake them. Bill, Ben, and Beverly are put in frightening predicaments, with Bill witnessing his younger self telling Georgie he pretended to be sick to avoid playing with him. Bill shoots his younger self, getting over his guilt about Georgie’s death, while Ben reveals his feelings for Beverly and that he wrote the love letter for her, then rescues her.
Meanwhile, Richie manages to save Mike from being paralyzed by Pennywise’s deadlights, getting paralyzed himself; Eddie throws a spiked metal pole at Pennywise, saving Richie. Unfortunately, Eddie is then stabbed in the chest and fatally injured. He reveals that there is another way to eliminate Pennywise: mocking him and making him feel powerless. The other five members of the group do so, causing It to shrink until he gets small enough for them to rip out his heart and crush it. With his heart destroyed, It shrivels up and crumbles. The five of them are forced to leave Eddie’s corpse behind when Pennywise’s death causes the cave and the Well House to collapse.
Bill, Ben, Beverly, Mike, and Richie go swimming at the same lake they went to as kids. They then go back to their normal lives; Beverly marries Ben, Richie carves Eddie’s name at the Kissing Bridge as a memorial for him, and Bill improves his novel while getting a call from Mike as he leaves Derry, revealing that Stan wrote to each of them before committing suicide, explaining he did it to ensure they would have a better chance against Pennywise, and asks them to just remember the good times they had together, as their friendship will last forever.