The lead character in A Man of No Importance is Alfie Byrne, a Dublin bus conductor who entertains passengers with recitations from his favorite author, Oscar Wilde. This middle-ager lives with his sister, who still wonders why he isn't married.

Alfie uses his charm to convince the priest of a local church to let him have rehearsals there for a production of Salome. However, a local butcher decides the play is salacious and blasphemous. He sets out to close the rehearsals down. Albert Finney gives a tour de force performance as Alfie, a repressed homosexual whose life is given depth and meaning by his love of art and beautiful words.

When certain small-minded members of the community turn against him, Alfie's friends rally to his side. They are a lifeline just when he needs them most.