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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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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The screen explodes with rage and passion and greatness! 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?


While it won a screenplay award, this film still holds jointly a record for the most Oscar category losses - 11. The other joint holders with 11 category losses are The Turning Point and The Color Purple. See more »


The floors in the castle's great hall are clearly shown to be bare flagstone. In the 12th century floors were covered in rushes to absorb spills, garbage, and animal feces. When they got too filthy, fresh rushes were thrown down on top. Henry was known for fits of fury in which he would fall on the floor and "chew the rushes." 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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Referenced in The Black Adder: The Archbishop (1983) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Towering performances by 2 actors at the zenith of their powers.
13 June 2004 | by (Brooklyn, New York) – See all my reviews

My comments here tend to be Misremembrances of things past. I know I saw "Becket" decades ago while I must have been suffering from a periodic bout of reviling Richard Burton. Having recently seen "Cleopatra" again, I will forgive myself. Still, there are movies that I've enjoyed - "The Spy Who Came in from the Cold" and "The Night of the Iguana", to name 2 - so I thought I'd give "Becket" another try.

Historical movies are among my favorites, although the IMDB parameter of not spoiling restricts me from discussing plot. But this is a movie that made me click on here to see who directed it...since directing Burton and O'Toole must have been like being a meterologist tracking a tornado and a hurricane. Their synergy is astounding...but whereas O'Toole launches himself on occassion into a thespian stratosphere it is Burton's performance that is incandescent. There are scenes..."inner monologues" - queries to God, where the ribald Burton is transformed into a man illuminated by a spiritual puzzle - he cannot believe that he is becoming who he is becoming - and it is Burton's challenge to share that bewilderment with us.

Well, I'm comforted that I can now stretch the glory days of historical film-making at least to "Becket." Any film in which John Gielgud, Martita Hunt, Felix Aylmer and Pamela Brown are "supporting" - how do I put it, "supporting" performances such as these are most other actors' triumphs. The costumes and sets are sumptous. Finis.

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This or 'A Man for All Seasons' jdlugosinski
Becket. martyr or fool paladin0110
They don't make 'em like this any more david__T
Another great Christian movie. moovyfellow
Becket was a Norman??????? bobcan653
Becket on DVD alan-stageberg
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