The History Boys (2006)
Hector: The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.
Mrs. Lintott: History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket.
Hector: Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.
[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.
[in an art-appreciation lesson, discussing the nudes of Michaelangelo]
Timms: These aren't women. They're just men with tits. And the tits look as if they've been put on with an ice-cream scoop!
[Posner has confessed to Irwin that he thinks he is homosexual and in love with Dakin]
Posner: Do you ever look at your life?
Tom Irwin: I thought everybody did.
Posner: I'm a Jew... I'm small... I'm homosexual... and I live in Sheffield... I'm fucked.
Headmaster: There's a vacancy in history.
Tom Irwin: [Thoughtfully] That's very true.
Headmaster: In the school.
Tom Irwin: Ah.
Dakin: Foreskins and stuff. "Oh, sir, you devil!"
Scripps: Have a heart. He's only five minutes older than we are.
Mrs. Lintott: Actually I wouldn't have said he was sad. I would have said he was cunt-struck.
Mrs. Lintott: I'd have thought you'd have liked that. It's a compound adjective. You like compound adjectives.
[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".
Tom Irwin: The truth was, in 1914, Germany doesn't want war. Yeah, there's an arms race, but it's Britain who's leading it. So, why does no one admit this?
[approaching a war memorial]
Tom Irwin: That's why. The dead. The body count. We don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault cos so many of our people died. And all the mourning's veiled the truth. It's not "lest we forget", it's "lest we remember". That's what all this is about -the memorials, the Cenotaph, the two minutes' silence-. Because there is no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.
Timms: You've got crap handwriting, sir!
Tom Irwin: It's your eyesight that's bad, and we know what that's caused by.
Timms: Sir! Is that a coded reference to the mythical dangers of self-abuse?
Tom Irwin: Possibly. It might even be a joke.
Dakin: A joke, sir. Oh. Are jokes going to be a feature, sir? We need to know as it affects our mindset.
[talking about the Holocaust]
Posner: But to put something in context is a step towards saying it can be understood and that it can be explained. And if it can be explained that it can be explained away.
Mrs. Lintott: Can you, for a moment, imagine how depressing it is to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude?
Posner: [after telling Dakin to pull down his pants] Oh! Quelles belles jambes!
[at a mock interview for entrance to an Oxford college]
Tom Irwin: Um, Rudge...
Mrs. Lintott: Now. How do you define history Mr. Rudge?
Rudge: Can I speak freely, Miss? Without being hit?
Mrs. Lintott: I will protect you.
Rudge: How do I define history? It's just one fuckin' thing after another.
[raucous laughter from the other students, but the interview board is appalled]
Mrs. Lintott: I see. And why do you want to come to Christ Church?
Rudge: It's the one I thought I might get into.
[discussing Posner liking Dakin]
Scripps: Oh, Pos, with your spaniel heart. It will pass.
Posner: Yes, it's a phase. Who says I want it to pass? But the pain, the *pain*.
Scripps: Hector would say it's the only education worth having.
Posner: Yes. I just wish there were marks for it.
Mrs. Lintott: Durham was very good for history. It's where I had my first pizza. Other things too, of course, but it's the pizza that stands out.
Tom Irwin: But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don't see it, and because we don't see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian's jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be... even on the Holocaust.
Scripps: What makes you think he'd do it with you?
Scripps: You complacent fuck.
Dakin: Does the Archbishop of Canterbury know you talk like this?
[about the boys learning Brief Encounter, and Gracie Fields etc]
Hector: Sheer calculated silliness.
Rudge: I did all the other stuff like Stalin was a sweetie and Wilfred Owen was a wuss.
Tom Irwin: You were quoting somebody. Auden, isn't it?
Timms: [Expansively] Was I, sir? Sometimes it just flows out, y'know, brims over!
[In the French scene]
Lockwood: Ma mère! Ma mère!
Akthar: Il appelle sa mère!
Lockwood: Mon père! Mon père!
Akthar: Il appelle son père!
[Timms is trying to duck out of Athletics]
Wilkes: What's the matter with you, lad?
Timms: I've got a note.
Wilkes: How much for?
Wilkes: I don't *do* notes! Get changed!
Wilkes: God doesn't do notes, either. Did Jesus Christ say, "Can I be excused the Crucifixion?" No!
Scripps: Actually, sir, I think he *did*...
Wilkes: One day it will save your life.
Posner: Nothing saves anyone's life sir. It just postpones their death.
[Wilkes puts his hands on Posner's shoulders]
Wilkes: Jesus Christ will save your life, lad, if you only let him into your heart!
Posner: I'm Jewish, sir.
[Wilkes moves instead to put his hands on Akhtar's shoulders]
Akthar: I'm Muslim, sir.
Scripps: Love can be very irritating.
Posner: How do you know?
Scripps: That's what I always think about God. Must get so pissed off, everybody adoring him all the time.
Posner: Yes, only you don't catch God poncing about in his underpants.
Hector: At school you don't get parole. Good behavior just brings a longer sentence.
[Dakin is annoyed because he thinks Irwin doesn't like him]
Posner: But he doesn't understand, Irwin *does* like him. He seldom looks at anyone else.
Scripps: How do you know?
Posner: Because nor do I. Our eyes meet looking at Dakin.
[Scripps is taking the mick out of Dakin for trying to please Irwin too much]
Scripps: Have you looked at your handwriting recently? You're beginning to write like him!
[turns to look at Posner's essay]
Scripps: You're writin' like 'im an' all!
Posner: I am not! Dakin writes like him, I write like Dakin.
Tom Irwin: [after Posner and Scripps act it out] God knows why you've learnt Brief Encounter.
Scripps: It's what you don't do.
Dakin: You don't *not wank*? Jesus, you're headed for the bin.
Scripps: It's not for ever.
Dakin: Yeah? Well, tell me on the big day and I'll stand well back.
Headmaster: On enquiry I find his pupils know all the words of "When I'm Cleaning Windows".
[Fiona walks past. Dakin and Scripps gaze lustfully at her]
Dakin: Lecher though one is - or aspires to be - it occurs to me that the lot of woman cannot be easy, who must suffer such inexpert male fumblings, virtually on a daily basis. Are we scarred for life, do you think?
Scripps: We must hope so.
Dakin: I'm just kicking the tyres on this one but, further to the drink, what I was really wondering was whether there were any circumstances in which there was any chance of your sucking me off... Or something similar... Actually, that would please Hector.
Tom Irwin: What?
Dakin: "Your sucking me off". It's a gerund. He likes gerunds. And "your being scared shitless", that's another gerund.
Tom Irwin: I didn't know you were that way inclined.
Dakin: I'm not, but it's the end of term; I've got into Oxford; I though we might push the boat out.
Dakin: I just wanted to say thank you.
Scripps: So? Give him a subscription to The Spectator or a box of Black Magic. Just because you've got a scholarship doesn't mean you've got to give him unfettered access to your dick.
Timms: I don't always understand poetry!
Hector: You don't always understand it? Timms, I never understand it. But learn it now, know it now and you will understand it... whenever.
[to and about Irwin]
Akthar: You're very young, sir. This isn't your gap year is it, sir?
[about telling his wife about the motorbike/boys]
Hector: I'm not sure she'd be interested.
Headmaster: So the upshot is I am glad he handled his pupils' balls because at least that I can categorise.
Scripps: No more genital massage as one speeds along leafy suburban roads. No more the bike's melancholy long withdrawing roar as he dropped you at the corner, your honour still intact.
Dakin: How do you think history happens?
Tom Irwin: What?
Dakin: How does stuff happen, do you think? People decide to do stuff. Make moves. Alter things.
Tom Irwin: I'm not sure what you're talking about.
Dakin: No? Think about it.
Tom Irwin: Some do... make moves, I suppose. Others react to events. In 1939 Hitler made a move on Poland. Poland defended itself.
Dakin: ...gave in.
Tom Irwin: Is that what you mean?
Dakin: No. Not Poland anyway. Was Poland taken by surprise?
Tom Irwin: To some extent. Though they knew something was up.
[about the motorbike/boys, to Hector]
Mrs. Lintott: Well of course the boys knew, they had it first hand.
Dakin: Next week? Get this man - "You can suck me off next week"! I've heard of a busy schedule but this is ridiculous. God, we've got a long way to go. Do you ever take your glasses off?
Tom Irwin: Why?
Dakin: It's a start.
Tom Irwin: Not with me. Taking off my glasses is the last thing I do.
Dakin: Yeh? I'll look forward to it.
Dakin: So how would you say thank you?
Scripps: Same as you probably. On my knees.
[about to go on the bike with Hector]
Scripps: The things I do for Jesus.
Dakin: Don't think we're shocked by your mentioning the word "foreskin," sir.
Crowther: No, sir. Some of us even have them.
Lockwood: Not Posner though, 'cause he's, well, Jewish. It's one of several things he doesn't have.
Posner: Fuck off.
Lockwood: That's not racist, though.
Lockwood: It's race-related... but not racist.
Dakin: I'm beginning to like him more.
Posner: [hopefully] Who? Me?
Dakin: [contemptuously] Irwin. Though he hates me.
Mrs. Lintott: Unsurprisingly I am Tot, or Totty. Some irony there, one feels.
Dakin: The more you read, though, the more you'll see that literature is actually about losers.
Dakin: It's consolation. All literature is consolation.
Dakin: What happened with Hector? On the bike?
Scripps: As per. Except I managed to get my bag down. I think he thought he'd got me going. In fact it was my Tudor Economic Documents, Volume 2.
[as Irwin prepares to get on Hector's bike]
Dakin: Do you want my Tudor Economic Documents?
Wilkes: You're letting yourself down. You're letting God down.
Lockwood: What's God got to do with it?
Wilkes: Listen, boy. This isn't your body.
Wilkes: This body is on loan to you from God.
Lockwood: Fuck me!
Wilkes: I heard that. Give me twenty.
Lockwood: Twenty what, Hail Marys?
Wilkes: Do it.
Headmaster: Fuck the Ren-ai-ssance! And fuck literature, and Plato, and Michaelangelo, and Oscar Wilde, and all the other shrunken violets you people line up. This is a school, and it isn't normal!
[talking about the school]
Headmaster: We're low in the league. I want to see us up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Askes, Leighton Park... or is that an open prison?
[Dakin is groping Fiona, using World War I as a metaphor for his "assault" on her body. He moves his hand up her thighs but she pushes it away]
Dakin: What's the matter?
Fiona: No-man's land.
Dakin: Ah, fuck. What do I do with this?
[he points to his erection]
Fiona: Carry out a controlled explosion?
Lockwood: Posner would make a good monk. 'Cept he's a Jew.
Crowther: Do Jews have monks?
Posner: Yes. I'm one now.
Hector: [hector during his general studies class with the boys] i'll let you in on a little secret boys. there is no such thing as general studies. general studies is a waste of time. knowledge is not general. it is specific.
Headmaster: Ah, Irwin! Splendid news!
[pops the cork of a bottle of champagne]
Headmaster: Splendid news! Posner a scholarship! Dakin an exhibition! And places for everybody else!
[cops a feel of Fiona's bum]
Headmaster: It's... it's more then one could have ever hoped for! Irwin you are to be congratulated! A remarkable achievement! Oh and, you too, you too Dorothy of course, you, ah, laid the foundation.
Mrs. Lintott: Not Rudge headmaster.
Headmaster: Not Rudge. Oh, dear.
Tom Irwin: He said nothing, the others have all had letters.
Headmaster: There's always an outside chance. It's a pity, it would have been good to have a clean swoop.
[Rudge appears at the door, but only seen by Mrs. Lintott]
Headmaster: Still as I've said all along, you can't polish a turd.
Mrs. Lintott: [Rudge leaves and Mrs. Lintott takes after him down the hallway] Rudge!
[Rudge stops and turns around]
Mrs. Lintott: You haven't heard from Oxford?
[Rudge shakes his head]
Mrs. Lintott: Perhaps you'll hear tomorrow.
Rudge: Why should I? They told me when I was there.
Mrs. Lintott: I'm sorry.
Rudge: What for? I got in.
Mrs. Lintott: How come?
Rudge: How come they told me, or how come they took a thick sod like me?... I had family connections.
Mrs. Lintott: [incredulously] Somebody in your family went to Christ Church?
Rudge: In a manner of speaking, my Dad, before he got married he was a college servant there. This old, parson, who just been sitting there most of the interview, suddenly said was I related to Bill Rudge who was a scout in staircase seven in the ninety-fifties. So, said he was my Dad, and they said I was the kind of candidate they were looking for. Mind you I did do the other stuff, like Stalin was a sweetie and Wilfred Owen was a wuss. They said I was plainly someone who thought for himself, and exactly what the college rugger team needed.
Mrs. Lintott: Are you not pleased?
Rudge: It's not like winning a match.
Hector: "Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters; enough their simple loveliness for me." Keats.
Crowther: Oh! We won't be examined on that, though, will we, sir?
Mrs. Bibby: Our lord and master, having grudgingly conceded that art may have its uses, I gather, I'm supossed, to give your Oxford and Cambridge boys a smattering of art history.
Hector: Not my bag, Hazel. Irwin's your man.
Tom Irwin: It's really just the icing on the cake.
Mrs. Bibby: Is art ever anything else?
Dakin: [V/O] "How does history happen?" I asked Irwin. And he couldn't answer me. But now he knew. Nothing special.
Mrs. Lintott: The smallest of incidents... the junction of a dizzying range of alternatives... any one of which could have had a different outcome.
[after Hector explains his version of events]
Mrs. Lintott: Hector darling, as much as I love you, that is the most colossal balls! A grope is a grope!
Mrs. Lintott: I'm reluctant at this stage in the game to expose you to new ideas, but having taught you all history on a strictly non-gender-orientated basis I just wonder whether it occurs to any of you how dispiriting this can be? Can you for a moment imagine how depressing it is to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude? Why do you think there are no women historians on TV? I'll tell you why: Because history's not such a frolic for women as it is for men. Why should it be? They never get around the conference table. In 1919, for instance, they just arranged the flowers, then gracefully retired. History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind with the bucket. And I'm not asking you to espouse this point of view, but the occasional nod in its direction can do you no harm.
[Mrs. Lintott smokes in the Teacher's Lounge]
[points to the No Smoking sign]
Mrs. Lintott: Oh, fuck.