6.9/10
17,839
172 user 112 critic

The History Boys (2006)

Trailer
2:05 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
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.

Director:

Writers:

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

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Tom Peters looks back to 1978, the year in high school that he came out of the closet. Tom's mom is both sweet and intrusive, urging him to take out girls. She also drags him to her ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Lee King
Stars: Matt Nolan, Gwen Welles, Dennis Christopher
Transfixed (2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Bo is a transexual prostitute in Brussels who left home after being abused by her father. She's now in an abusive relationship with a neighbor and suspected by the police in a series of ... See full summary »

Director: Francis Girod
Stars: Richard Bohringer, Robinson Stévenin, Stéphane Metzger
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A bizarre love triangle between a teenage boy, his childlike, ailing mother, and the lonely manager of a desolate caravan park.

Director: Jonathan Wald
Stars: Stephen James King, Susie Lindeman, Daniel Roberts
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Set in 1985, working-class student Brian Jackson (McAvoy) navigates his first year at Bristol University.

Director: Tom Vaughan
Stars: James McAvoy, Alice Eve, Rebecca Hall
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Voyeuristically exploring a relationship between two young men, which falls into the gray area between the sexual experimentation of adolescence and the world of adult emotions, Between the... See full summary »

Director: Jake Yuzna
Stars: Rick Stahlmann, Adam Vanderveen, Thalia Drori
No Way Out (2008)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Joaquin (Polo Ravales), an unassuming fisherman, is forced to confront his homosexuality when his sex-starved wife Cynthia (Althea Vega) returns from her overseas job eager to get pregnant.... See full summary »

Director: Joel Lamangan
Stars: Polo Ravales, Joseph Bitangcol, Emilio Garcia
41 Seconds (2006)
Short | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

What do you do when your girlfriend tells you, your best friend kisses better than you? A young man decides to settle the matter once and for all.

Directors: Tobias Martin, Rodney Sewell
Stars: Alexander Kaffl, Amir Arul
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Based on the life of the young Guy Burgess, who would become better known as one of the Cambridge Spies.

Director: Marek Kanievska
Stars: Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Michael Jenn
Flatmates (2007)
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  

Two friends, Björn and Hampus, decide to move in together. If one ignores the fact that the two men are completely different, theirs is a close relationship. Being in love with your best ... See full summary »

Director: Magnus Mork
Stars: Sven Boräng, Jonas Eskilsson, Emilie Lidgard
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

Sebastien is a small town boy who moves to Paris and begins to explore the gay night life there. When a friend from back home calls to announce he's coming to Paris, Sebastien confronts some unrequited feelings.

Directors: Bernard Alapetite, Cyril Legann
Stars: Benoît Delière, Johnny Amaro, Thibault Boucaux
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963.

Director: Christopher Munch
Stars: David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack
Three Summers (2006)
Short | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Jørgen lives abroad, but every summer he comes back to Denmark with his wife. He invites, as usual, his neighbours and their teenager son,Thomas, for dinner at his place. Only, this time ... See full summary »

Director: Carlos Augusto de Oliveira
Stars: Morten Kirkskov, Simon Munk, Stine Schrøder Jensen
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
...
Clive Merrison ...
...
...
...
Edit

Storyline

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 (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

History. It's just one bloody thing after another. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 December 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

History Boys  »

Box Office

Budget:

£2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£794,672 (UK) (13 October 2006)

Gross:

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

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The cast for this are the same cast who appeared in the original play at the National Theatre in London, UK. See more »

Goofs

In the montage scene in the library, at least three books, Michael Burleigh's "The Third Reich" (2001), Alan Bullock's "Hitler and Stalin: Parallel Lives" (1991), and John Guy's "Tudor England" (1988) are visible, neither of which had been published in 1983/84 when the film was set. See more »

Quotes

[talking about Tom Irwin]
Headmaster: He comes highly-recommended.
Mrs. Lintott: So did Anne of Cleves.
Headmaster: Who? He's up-to-the-minute, more "now".
Mrs. Lintott: [dryly] Now? I thought history was "then".
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 »

Connections

Spoofs Brief Encounter (1945) See more »

Soundtracks

Bye Bye Blackbird
Written by Mort Dixon & Ray Henderson
(c) 1926 (Renewed 1953) All Rights for the Extended Term Administered by the Fred Ahlert Music Corporation on Behalf of Olde Clover Leaf Music
(c) Remick Music Corp.
By kind permission of Ray Henderson Music Inc and Redwood Music Ltd care of Carlin Music Corp.
(c) Warner Bros. Inc. by kind permission of Warner/Chappell Music Ltd.
Performed by Samuel Barnett, Jamie Parker and the History Boys
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A triumphant reflection on the adolescent quest for truth and authenticity
25 December 2006 | by (Portland, Oregon, United States) – See all my reviews

British playwright/screenwriter Alan Bennett, whose scintillating wit first surfaced in his contributions to the 1960 satiric stage revue, "Beyond the Fringe," wrote "The History Boys," a play set in the early 1980s about English secondary school students and their teachers, academic competition and the purpose of education, and the chaotic developments of adolescent sexuality and coming of age.

Specifically, eight boys qualify for the Oxbridge entrance exams, an unprecedented number for this particular school. Proud of this but, more importantly, out to capitalize on the enhanced prospects for the school's future that could follow if all eight are accepted into Oxford or Cambridge, the Headmaster hires a special tutor to prepare the boys for the exams. It is in the midst of this cram course that the drama unfolds.

Produced by Britain's National Theatre, and led by NT Director Nicholas Hytner, "History Boys" became a smash stage hit in London (in 2004) and New York (in 2006). In between the launching of these two productions, Hytner, with his theater cast intact and working from a screen adaptation by Bennett, directed this filmic version of the play.

Most such segues from stage to screen don't work out well because of the vast differences between these two mediums in their requirements for effective dramatic expression. What may be spellbinding stagecraft can become deadly stasis in the movie house, to everyone's dismay. I'm absolutely delighted to report that the film, "History Boys," is a glorious exception to this general tendency.

One major reason is the stupendous cast, led by Richard Griffiths as the porcine, motorcycle riding, gay English teacher, Hector. Other teachers are played quite brilliantly by Frances de la Tour (an acerbic history teacher, Mrs. Lintott, lone advocate for women's achievements in this testosterone tinged cloister), Clive Merrison (the cynical, dyspeptic Headmaster, a classic administrator, utterly out of his element among scholars), and Stephen Campbell Moore (Irwin, a hired gun brought in to coach the boys for the Oxbridge exams, whose appeal to them is not only to lie to get ahead, but, more positively, also to recognize one's uniqueness, one's special qualities, and play them up). Mr. Griffiths and Ms. De la Tour have reaped numerous theater awards for their roles. The student contingent is led by Dominic Cooper (Dakin, the pretty boy), Samuel Barnett (Posner, the fretful one) and Russell Tovey (Rudge, the jock).

I think the film works primarily because of the snappy interactions and byplay among the ensemble of the eight students whose odyssey is the principal subject of the story. The boys are dissimilar types but all are energized as only high spirited adolescents can be. And it is this energy - the constant quipping, antics, and small dramas of daily life among them and in their encounters with their teachers – which so richly infuses the movie with the active pace and rhythms of movement that film demands.

Bennett also helps the film's proceedings immensely by avoiding the drawn out speechifying that can succeed on stage but kill off a movie in nothing flat. His screenplay sparkles with laser-like little zingers. Examples. Dakin is described by a teacher as "cunt struck." Rudge, who appears more dull witted than is in fact the case, when pinned down to define history, gives the notorious reply that has been used in adverts for the productions: "History is just one f***ing thing after another." Or this one, uttered by a teacher during a class field trip to inspect the war memorial at Coventry: "While we may speak of 'Remembrance Day,' the real purpose of war memorials, like Coventry and the Cenotaph, is to aid forgetting (of the realities of war), not remembering." (I immediately thought of Maya Lin's Vietnam War Memorial on the D. C. Mall, which so presciently violates this formula.) There is also plenty of suspense here to keep film viewers attentive. Naturally there's the question of whether the boys will succeed on the exams, what the future holds for each. There's also philosophical tension, embodied in the clash of pedagogic values and motives between Hector (the quintessential scholar, the advocate of mastering knowledge for knowledge's sake) and Irwin (the pragmatic, win-at-any-cost, success coach, for whom victory most assuredly trumps truth seeking).

And there is sexual tension aplenty among this group as well. Bennett deftly explores a variety of sexual expressions, primarily homophilic, among the teachers and students. There is Hector's frank attraction to the boys, never mind the presence on the scene of his "unexpected" wife. And Irwin's more latent homophilia, which is not the only important matter hiding in his personal closet. Among the students there is Posner's dawning, hesitant realization of his queer impulses, and Dakin's more confident and polymorphous sexual appetites. "History Boys" is a triumphant reflection on the adolescent quest for truth and authenticity, about the world and about oneself. My grades: 9/10 (A) (Seen on 12/22/06)


114 of 154 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Favorite History Boy? coin_operated_girl
two hours of sexual tension with NO CLIMAX! colincreevy-1
Auuuggg! This movie.. bagelj
The Subjunctive jesserafe
Those who don't understand French... historymaker19
Scripps, The 'On my knees' line jimbond-1
Discuss The History Boys (2006) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page