IMDb > Becket (1964)
Becket
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Becket (1964) More at IMDbPro »

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Becket -- Trailer for Becket

Overview

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Popularity: ?
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Writers:
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View company contact information for Becket on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
11 March 1964 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
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 »
Plot:
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Won Oscar. Another 14 wins & 22 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A meddlesome priest See more (102 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Richard Burton ... Becket / Thomas Becket

Peter O'Toole ... His King / King Henry II

John Gielgud ... King Louis of France / King Louis VII of France

Gino Cervi ... the Cardinal / Cardinal Zambelli

Paolo Stoppa ... the Pope / Pope Alexander III

Donald Wolfit ... Bishop Folliot

David Weston ... Brother John

Martita Hunt ... Empress Matilda
Pamela Brown ... Queen Eleanor [of Aquitaine]

Percy Herbert ... Baron

Siân Phillips ... Gwendolen (as Sian Phillips)
Inigo Jackson ... Robert de Beaumont

Felix Aylmer ... Archbishop of Canterbury

Niall MacGinnis ... Baron
Christopher Rhodes ... Baron

John Phillips ... Bishop of Winchester
Frank Pettingell ... Bishop of York
Véronique Vendell ... French prostitute (as Veronique Vendell)

Jennifer Hilary ... Peasant's Daughter
David Davenport
Hamilton Dyce ... Bishop of Chichester

Peter Jeffrey ... Baron
Michael Miller ... Baron
Peter Prowse ... Baron
Jack Taylor
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Michael Anthony ... Courtier (uncredited)

Geoffrey Bayldon ... Brother Philip (uncredited)
Roy Beck ... Young French boy (uncredited)
Dave Clark ... Soldier (uncredited)

Ivor Dean ... Monk (uncredited)

Guy Deghy ... Minor Role (uncredited)
Paul Farrell ... Farmer (uncredited)
Laurie Heath ... Boy (uncredited)
Rose Howlett ... Farmer's Wife (uncredited)

Magda Konopka ... Girl on Balcony (uncredited)
Gerald Lawson ... English Peasant (uncredited)

Wilfrid Lawson ... Old Soldier (uncredited)
Paul Layton ... Boy (uncredited)

Tutte Lemkow ... French Courtier (uncredited)
Linda Marlowe ... Farmer's Daughter (uncredited)

John Moulder-Brown ... Boy (uncredited)

Patrick Newell ... William of Corbeil (uncredited)
Riggs O'Hara ... Prince Henry (uncredited)
Frederick Piper ... Monk (uncredited)
Steve Plytas ... Cardinal (uncredited)
Robert Rietty ... Alexander III (voice) (uncredited)

Alex Scott ... Priest (uncredited)
Terence Soall ... Minor Role (uncredited)

Victor Spinetti ... French Tailor (uncredited)

Graham Stark ... Pope's Secretary (uncredited)
Royston Tickner ... Royal Servant (uncredited)
Fred Wood ... Congregation Member (at Bishops Service) (uncredited)

Edward Woodward ... Clement (uncredited)

Directed by
Peter Glenville 
 
Writing credits
Jean Anouilh (play "Becket")

Lucienne Hill (play "Becket" as translated by)

Edward Anhalt (screenplay)

Produced by
Hal B. Wallis .... producer (as Hal Wallis)
Joseph H. Hazen .... executive producer (uncredited)
Peter O'Toole .... co-producer (uncredited)
 
Original Music by
Laurence Rosenthal 
 
Cinematography by
Geoffrey Unsworth (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
Anne V. Coates 
 
Casting by
Sally Nicholl 
 
Production Design by
John Bryan 
 
Art Direction by
Maurice Carter 
 
Set Decoration by
Robert Cartwright (set decorations)
Patrick McLoughlin (set decorations)
 
Costume Design by
Margaret Furse 
 
Makeup Department
Eric Allwright .... makeup artist
Charles E. Parker .... makeup artist (as Charles Parker)
Joan Smallwood .... hairdresser
 
Production Management
Denis Holt .... production supervisor
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Colin M. Brewer .... assistant director (as Colin Brewer)
 
Art Department
Ferdinand Bellan .... scenic artist
Albert Blackshaw .... construction manager
Alan Evans .... scenic artist
Jack Maxsted .... assistant art director
W. Simpson Robinson .... scenic artist
Gilbert Wood .... scenic artist
Peter Mullins .... props (uncredited)
Alan Roderick-Jones .... junior draughtsman (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Buster Ambler .... sound (as A.W. Ambler)
Bob Jones .... sound (as Robert Jones)
Winston Ryder .... sound editor
 
Visual Effects by
Alan Maley .... matte artist (uncredited)
 
Stunts
Peter Diamond .... stunts (uncredited)
Nosher Powell .... stunts (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Ernest Day .... camera operator
Maurice Gillett .... supervising electrician (uncredited)
Peter MacDonald .... focus puller (uncredited)
Bob Penn .... still photographer (uncredited)
Len Prout .... gaffer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
John Wilson-Apperson .... wardrobe master (as John W. Apperson)
Evelyn Gibbs .... wardrobe mistress (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Muir Mathieson .... conductor
Muir Mathieson .... musical director (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Phyllis Crocker .... continuity
Richard McWhorter .... assistant to producer
David Merrick .... producer: New York stage play
Mike Maidlin .... unit publicist (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


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Additional Details

Also Known As:
MPAA:
Rated PG-13 for some sexual content and violence (2007)
Runtime:
148 min | Argentina:150 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System) | Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Certification:
Argentina:Atp | Australia:PG | Australia:A (original rating) | Finland:K-16 | Hungary:14 | Iceland:16 | Portugal:17 | Sweden:15 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (tv rating) | UK:PG (video rating) (1986) (2007) | USA:Not Rated | USA:PG-13 (certificate #43577) (2007) | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Trivia:
When the film premiered, director Peter Glenville was aghast to discover that producer Hal B. Wallis had inserted an intermission break about halfway through the film.See more »
Goofs:
Anachronisms: Although the story takes place in the late 12th century, the armored helmets that King Henry's children play in are right out of the 15th century, the same as one might see in films about Joan of Arc, or Henry the IVth and Vth. This choice by the costumers must have been purely aesthetic because the armor of the last 100 years of medieval times was by far the most splendid visually.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...
See more »
Movie Connections:
Remade as Prana Mithrulu (1967)See more »

FAQ

MIDWEST PREMIERE HAPPENED WHEN AND WHERE?
See more »
69 out of 82 people found the following review useful.
A meddlesome priest, 31 January 2006
Author: kurt_messick from Bloomington, Indiana

The tale of Thomas Becket has had many incarnations over time. T.S. Eliot's 'Murder in the Cathedral' is but the most recent acclaimed literary treatment; each revisitation seems to draw new elements forth from the story. Edward Anhalt won the Oscar for best screenplay (adapted from other material) for this film. This film shows Henry and Thomas Becket roughly equal in age (at variance from history, for in this time the age difference of 15 years is practically a generational difference). Becket is shown as being a guide to Henry, but less from a master/pupil standpoint as it is a clever diplomatic with a utilitarian and almost Machiavellian sense about him. Henry is presented as coarse and unrefined, uneducated and in need of assistance, but historically this is unlikely.

Becket is played admirably by Richard Burton; Henry II is portrayed by Peter O'Toole. Both were nominated for the best actor Oscar, but neither won. In addition to these nominations and the best screenplay award, the film was nominated for nine other Oscars, running the list from costumes, music, directing, best picture, and a best supporting actor nod for John Gielgud, whose cameo as the King of France is rather interestingly presented.

Indeed, the movie has a remarkable realistic feel to it, particularly for a film from the 1960s, when cinema was as likely to portray stylised and idealistic images of the past. The sets are in bare stone with a minimum of ornamentation, as would have been the case in Plantagenet times; likewise, the ceremony around the royal person is much less grand, and the church rather grand, which is both accurate and serves to highlight the underlying conflict of the story in the film.

Becket is portrayed as a man of ambiguous loyalties -- a man of principle who has yet to find principles worthy of loyalty. Finally, in the role of archbishop, he finds a calling from the honour of God (and in so doing is not unlikely many priests who see their path to ordination as the means of spiritual grace; indeed, many are disappointed that the faith does not come with the office). Whether Thomas Becket actually experienced a spiritual conversion that made him a strong champion of the church, or in fact saw the power of the church as a means to an end of dominating the country, we will perhaps never know.

In the film, Becket is often disparaged as being a Saxon; this is perhaps overstated, given his Norman lineage, which is never hinted at in the film. While he does not come from Norman nobility, he is far from being a simple Saxon. Burton's portrayal of Becket shows the change from worldly chancellor to spiritual archbishop in unsubtle terms. Even so, there is an ambiguity that plays out marvelously in both his performance, and the reactions of the other characters who constantly question his sincerity.

O'Toole's performance is not as polished as Burton's; when he plays an older, wiser Henry II in 'The Lion in Winter' four years later, the acting is much more dramatic and effective. It perhaps goes without saying that Pamela Brown does not make the same impression on the screen as Eleanor of Aquitaine as Katherine Hepburn does in the later film, but Eleanor is an incidental character in Becket in any case.

Music in this film is not a prominent feature -- various trumpet and brass flourishes announce events or major scene changes in parts; a lot of chant (long before Gregorian chant achieved popular status) accompanies church scenes -- indeed, I credit this film for giving me my first real taste of Gregorian chant. The scene with Sian Phillips as Becket's love Gwendolyen is accompanied by period string instruments -- again, Phillips is a remarkable actress who is under-utilised in this performance.

Done in a flash-back manner, there is a resolution in the film -- Becket is dead, made a saint, honour is satisfied as the King does penance, and the people are happy. We know what is going to happen, but then, anyone with knowledge of history would likely know the story already. In fact, Henry's reign was rarely without challenge, but he was always powerful, and much more effective after Becket's death than before. Reigning for nearly twenty years after Becket's death, he left a very powerful Western European coalition of lands that soon fell apart, and embroiled England and France in war for centuries later. The tensions between church and state carry forward to this day; while the specifics of the challenges faces Becket and Henry II are very different from issues today, the principle of the relationship between church and state is far from definitively resolved.

Also, the side-line issue of class warfare and racial prejudice (teased out with subtle nuance between the Normans and Saxons, who, ironically, look exactly the same on the screen) are addressed in an interesting, pre-civil rights sort of manner. This issue is never resolved in the film, as indeed it wasn't in the 1960s, either.

This is an intriguing film, with great acting and great production values, and an interesting story that, even if not completely historically accurate, does not alter the history so much that it becomes a parody of the subject.

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