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Becket (1964)

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King Henry II of England comes to terms with his affection for his close friend and confidant Thomas Becket, who finds his true honor by observing God's divine will rather than the King's.

Director:

Peter Glenville

Writers:

Jean Anouilh (play), Lucienne Hill (play) | 1 more credit »
Won 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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 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 Inigo Jackson ... Robert de Beaumont
Felix Aylmer ... Archbishop of Canterbury
Niall MacGinnis ... Baron
Christopher Rhodes Christopher Rhodes ... Baron
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Storyline

Debauched King Henry II installs his longtime court facilitator Thomas Becket as the Archbishop of Canterbury, assuming that his old friend will be a compliant and loyal lackey in the King's ongoing battles with the church. But Becket unexpectedly finds his true calling on the ecclesiastical side, and aligns himself against the king's selfish wishes, causing a rift and an eventual showdown not only between the two men, but also the institutions they represent. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Latin | Welsh

Release Date:

11 March 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Бекет See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$9,164,370, 31 December 1964
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is one of only eight movies to receive more than one Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. In this instance, Peter O'Toole and Richard Burton were so nominated. The other seven movies were Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) for which Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone were nominated, From Here to Eternity (1953) for which Montgomery Clift and Burt Lancaster were nominated, Judgment at Nuremberg (1961) for which Maximilian Schell and Spencer Tracy were nominated, Sleuth (1972) for which Sir Laurence Olivier and Sir Michael Caine were nominated, The Dresser (1983) for which Tom Courtenay and Albert Finney were nominated, Amadeus (1984) for which F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce were nominated, and Network (1976) for which Peter Finch and William Holden were nominated. Of the actors in question, Schell, Finch, and Abraham won the Academy Award for Best Actor for their relevant performances. See more »

Goofs

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. 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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Connections

Remade as Namak Haraam (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(Medieval Latin Hymn)
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Detailed studio about the tumultuous relationship between Henry II Plantagenet and Archbishop of Canterbury , Becket
20 March 2009 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

¨In the year 1066 William of Conqueror crossed from France with his Norman army and conquered the Saxons of Britain at the battle of Hastings , Henry II his great grandson continued to rule over the oppressed Saxons peasants . Backed by the swords of his Barons and by the power of his imported Norman clergy¨ . This historic picture is based on real events , a studio detail about Becket (1117-1170) who was chancellor of Henry II Plantagenet but then he opposed to sign the rules of Clarendon (1164) that established superiority of king over clergy , he was then banished France and when he returned succeeded the tragedy . Henry II (1133-1189) dominated nobles and clergy , he married Eleanor of Aquitaine that caused the confrontation with Louis VII (an eye-catching playing by the veteran John Gielgud) of France . Becket (flawless acting by Richard Burton) is named Archbishop of Canterbury and his religious mission is strictly taken with opposition to Henry II (a first-rate performance by Peter O'Toole and similar king role to 'Lion in Winter') of Plantagenet who governed England from 1154 to 1189 ; this leads to notorious and sparkling phrase by the king: 'Who will rid me of this turbulent archbishop' .

This is a splendid rendition of Jean Anouilh's play , as translated by Lucienne Hill , produced upon the New York stage by Merrick and good detailed artistic direction made at Shepperton studios -England- . It deals about the stormy friendship between Becket , appointed as Archbishop of Canterbury , and king Henry II . Although the film depicts Becket as a Saxon , he was actually a Norman like King Henry II . The closeness between King Henry and Becket is depicted as being a purely platonic one ; homosexuality was still illegal in the UK when the film was made in 1963, and any suggestion of that would have fallen foul of the censor . However it is still implied that Henry is in love with Becket . Magnificent studded-secondary-star cast , as Donald Wolfit as bishop , Paolo Stoppa as Pope Alexander III , Gino Cervi as the flamboyant Cardinal , Pamela Brown as Queen Eleanor , Martita Hunt as Queen Mother , Percy Herbert and Neal McGinnis as the Barons ; plus , Sean Phillips married to Peter O'Toole . Atmospheric , appropriate cinematography by the great Geoffrey Unsworth . Evocative musical score with religious chores by Laurence Rosenthal and usual musical conductor by Muir Mathieson . The picture obtained Academy Award , 1964 , to adapted screenplay and Golden Globes to dramatic actor for Peter O'Toole and the best film drama . The flick was stunningly directed by Peter Grenville who reflects correctly an exciting slice of history . Rating : Better than average . This is a superior and powerful historic drama to be liked by historical cinema buffs .


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