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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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Cast

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

The play - and indeed the film - are riddled with factual inaccuracies as Jean Anouilh did practically no research once he learned the gist of the real story. See more »

Goofs

Contrary to one of the film's central plot lines, Thomas Becket was a Norman (Thomas Bequet), not a Saxon. Jean Anouilh admitted he discovered this after having finished his play, having based it on the outdated 1825 work "The History of the Conquest of England by the Normans", by Augustin Thierry; but he decided that it made a better story the way he had written it. 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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Connections

Referenced in What's New Pussycat (1965) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Top Notch Historical Drama
29 July 2004 | by (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) – See all my reviews

BECKET (4 outta 5 stars)

Classic historical drama with excellent performances from the two leads... Peter O'Toole as King Henry II and Richard Burton as his best friend turned nemesis, Thomas Becket. From the start Henry II is not the most benevolent of kings... he steals young girls from their families for his own carnal pleasures... and even tricks Becket into sending the woman he loves to the King's bed. King Henry gets the idea that it might end his problems with the church if he names his best friend Archbishop... but he underestimates Becket's faith (as does Becket himself). Eventually Becket has to choose between his duty to the King and his duty to God... an unenviable choice that bodes ill no matter which choice he makes. Obvious homoerotic undertones to the relationship between the two strong-willed individuals... hard to imagine that this sort of material was palatable to audiences in the early 60s. Great script, great actors, great sets and costumes... a must see!


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