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



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Cast overview, first billed only:
King Louis of France / King Louis VII of France
the Cardinal / Cardinal Zambelli
the Pope / Pope Alexander III
Brother John
Pamela Brown ...
Gwendolen (as Sian Phillips)
Inigo Jackson ...
Robert de Beaumont
Felix Aylmer ...
Niall MacGinnis ...
Christopher Rhodes ...


As the story opens, King Henry II, who ruled England from 1154 to 1189 has entered Canterbury Cathedral to do penance at the tomb of his former friend, Thomas Becket. Bare to the waist, the king kneels to receive a flogging from Saxon monks. He begins to reminisce, recalling at first the carefree, promiscuous adventures with Becket, then his favorite drinking and wenching companion. A violently emotional drama that probes the changing relationship between two young men - between two close friends bound together by similar pride of flesh and spirit who become deadly enemies as they pursue their separate destinies . . . that of king . . . and saint. Written by alfiehitchie

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Two of the Most Exciting Stars of Our Time in One of the Most Exciting Dramas 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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Release Date:

11 March 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Бекет  »

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)| (Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Gielgud received an Oscar nomination for appearing in just two scenes. See more »


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 »


[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

An actors duel
27 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

If this movie had won all that Academy Awards that it was deservedly nominated for it would be a well-remembered film today but it seems like a forgotten classic. I haven't seen it shown on TV in years and seldom hear people talk about or reference this film. It won a best screenplay Oscar but was basically shut out. Best Picture, Best Director, two Lead Actor, one Supporting Actor, Art Direction, Cinematography, Editing, Score and Sound nominations that all came up short. Two great Actors Richard Burton and Peter O'Toole during the peak or prime of their careers with the great John Gielgud as a bonus. Wow! What an acting duel between Burton and O'Toole. A great script and great direction. This film has a lot going for it and deserved and should have won most of it's nominations but any other two actors in the lead and I may not have given it a 10 but this is a 10 and I highly recommend it.

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This or 'A Man for All Seasons' jdlugosinski
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