8.0/10
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103 user 45 critic

Becket (1964)

King Henry II of England comes to terms with his affection for his close friend and confidant Thomas à Becket, who finds his true honor by observing God's divine will rather than the king's.

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Writers:

(play), (play) | 1 more credit »

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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the Cardinal / Cardinal Zambelli
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the Pope / Pope Alexander III
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Pamela Brown ...
Queen Eleanor [of Aquitaine]
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Gwendolen (as Sian Phillips)
Inigo Jackson ...
Robert de Beaumont
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Christopher Rhodes ...
Baron
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Storyline

Debauched King Henry II installs his longtime court facilitator Thomas Becket as the Archbishop of Canterbury, assuming that his old friend will be a compliant and loyal lackey in the King's ongoing battles with the church. But Becket unexpectedly finds his true calling on the ecclesiastical side, and aligns himself against the king's selfish wishes, causing a rift and an eventual showdown not only between the two men, but also the institutions they represent. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An age of rampant lusts, abandon, runaway passions. An age brought bristling to life by two of the most exciting stars of our time! See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

11 March 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Бекет  »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A point not mentioned in the play is that Queen Eleanor's first marriage had been with King Louis VII of France; the marriage was later dissolved for reasons of common ancestry, although Henry was exactly as close a relation as Louis had been. See more »

Goofs

The film seems to assume that Henry and Thomas speak English. The French girl Marie is clearly depicted as speaking a different language. In fact, the native language of both Becket and Henry was French, and Henry spoke no English at all. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
King Henry II: Well, Thomas Becket. Are you satisfied? Here I am, stripped, kneeling at your tomb, while those treacherous Saxon monks of yours are getting ready to thrash me. Me - with my delicate skin. I bet you'd never have done the same for me. But - I suppose I have to do this penance and make my peace with you. Hmm. What a strange end to our story. How cold it was when we last met - on the shores of France. Funny, it's nearly always been cold - except at the beginning, when we were friends....
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User Reviews

Magnificent acting and complexity of plot

After having read the other comments, I hardly feel able to improve upon what has already been so eloquently expressed. For anyone who enjoys high-caliber acting, intriguing dialogue, and complex relationships in a film, this is a must-see. I agree with a comment that Burton was shafted the oscar for his performance of Becket. It does seem at times that the Academy veers from rewarding darker, complex, mercurial characters in favor of anaesthitized heroic caricatures. It is one of the greatest tragedies of film-making that the talented are often unrewarded and forgotten. Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole are perfect foils in this film. The souring of their friendship makes a deeply moving story. Historical inaccuracies I can easily forgive; this is a dramatic film, not a documentary, and a director and screenwriter must condense lives into a believable and appealing plot. It is far better to make alterations than to have nothing such as this produced... (Having exposed myself thus, I must own that I am also a history scholar and usually a stickler regarding more inferior productions.) All in all, I recommend this film to anyone who enjoys superior acting and thought-provoking drama.


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