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The History Boys (2006)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  22 December 2006 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 17,041 users   Metascore: 74/100
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An unruly class of gifted and charming teenage boys are taught by two eccentric and innovative teachers, as their headmaster pushes for them all to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge.



(screenplay), (play)
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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Parker ...
Clive Merrison ...


In 1980s Britain, a group of young men at Cutlers' Grammar School all have the brains, and the will to earn the chance of getting accepted in the finest universities in the nation, Oxford and Cambridge. Despite the fine teaching by excellent professionals like Mrs Lintott in history and the intellectually enthusiastic Hector in General Studies, the Headmaster is not satisfied. He signs on the young Irwin to polish the students' style to give them the best chance. In this mix of intellectualism and creative spirit that guides a rigorous preparation regime for that ultimate educational brass ring, the lives of the randy students and the ostensibly restrained faculty intertwine that would change their lives forever. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet The Boys Who Are Making History! See more »


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

22 December 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

History Boys  »

Box Office


£2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£794,672 (UK) (13 October 2006)


$2,706,659 (USA) (23 February 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A great number of cast members have also appeared in Doctor Who (2005). Samuel Anderson portraying Danny Pink in Series 8, James Cordon portraying Craig Owens in Series 5 and 6, Russell Tovey portraying Midshipman Frame in Series 4, Penelope Wilton portraying Harriet Jones in Series 1, 2 and 4 and Adrian Scarborough portraying Kahler-Jex in Series 7. Sacha Dhawan, though never appearing in the show itself, portrayed Warris Hussein in the TV spin-off movie An Adventure in Space and Time (2013), which dramatized the creation and early years of the show See more »


The locker room at the school has a passive Infra red detector clearly visible over one of the doors more recently used for intruder alarm systems. This type of device would not have been available until the early 1990s. See more »


[about A.E. Housman]
Timms: Wasn't he a nancy, sir?
Hector: Foul, festering, grubby-minded little trollop! Do not use that word!
[Hector hits Timms on the head with an exercise book]
Timms: But you use it, sir!
Hector: I do, sir, I know, but I am far gone in age and decrepitude.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning of the film, the title - "The History Boys" - is taken letter by letter from random parts of an essay on the dissolution of the monasteries, a common history topic, which the History Boys themselves write later on in the film. See more »


Referenced in (500) Days of Summer (2009) See more »


Written by Lorenz Hart & Richard Rodgers
(c) Chappell & Co. Inc / Williamson Music
Performed by Samuel Barnett & Jamie Parker
See more »

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User Reviews

Almost a First
17 October 2006 | by (UK) – See all my reviews

A very good film - not setting black against white but looking at flawed people and complex arguments. Also brilliantly funny.

Not quite as good as the play because some balance was lost - I think this was due to pressure of time, A lot of the classroom debate and argument was shortened, the glimpses into the present were omitted so that Irwin's descent into pure spin was not seen and a couple of the boys characters weren't fleshed out enough. This combined to throw the obviously shocking scenes, such as Hector's behaviour, too much into the centre of the film. The classroom performances also jarred as a bit too theatrical, whereas on stage they were believable, apt and very funny.

Worryingly realistic sets – I thought I'd put the smell of school classrooms well behind me - and memorable performances from the entire cast. Jamie Parker, Andrew Knott, Samuel Barnett and Frances de la Tour were the standouts for me, but I still can't decide whether it was their performances or the characters they played.

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Favorite History Boy? coin_operated_girl
two hours of sexual tension with NO CLIMAX! colincreevy-1
Auuuggg! This movie.. bagelj
The Subjunctive jesserafe
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