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 ... 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 (Peter O'Toole) installs his longtime court facilitator Thomas Becket (Richard Burton) as the Archbishop of Canterbury, assuming that his old friend will be a compliant and loyal lackey in the King's on-going 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

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Taglines:

Two of the Most Exciting Stars of Our Time in One of the Most Exciting Dramas of Our Time! 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

There were complaints that the play did not translate well to film, as it was overly talkative, and there were no action scenes at all. See more »

Goofs

The floors in the castle's great hall are clearly shown to be bare flagstone. In the 12th century floors were covered in rushes to absorb spills, garbage, and animal feces. When they got too filthy, fresh rushes were thrown down on top. Henry was known for fits of fury in which he would fall on the floor and "chew the rushes." 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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Alternate Versions

Two different versions of the closing "A Paramount Release" card exist - one print has these words appear inside the standard Paramount logo of the time superimposed in red, while another has these words as plain text with a small version of a completely different Paramount logo (with a full circle of stars), also in red, beneath them. See more »


Soundtracks

Dies Irae
(Medieval Latin Hymn)
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User Reviews

A fine piece of filmmaking!
11 May 1999 | by andy-227See all my reviews

What p****s me off about this film is that it, like "Metropolis", is a forgotten one. Why? Why is it that everything has to be razzle-dazzle eye candy, instead of a subtle, beautiful, fine piece of craftsmanship and storytelling. "Becket" was tough to watch, because of all the grain and clicks on the neglected print. But past all of the distortion of a neglected print, I found a very remarkable and exquisite achievement that ranks among some of the best films ever made! The craftsmanship is just the beginning! It gets better! Peter O'Toole, who ironically, played Henry II years later in "A Lion in Winter", does a superb job. He's so angry, volatile, and above all, whiny. When I saw the Disney version on "Robin Hood", with Peter Ustinov playing the voice of the whiny Prince John, I felt it was directly inspired by Peter O'Toole's Henry II! He was so good at being a great whiner. And Richard Burton, as Thomas Becket, looks so reserved, strong, and reverent, as a friend of Henry II who's faith and belief in God and serving the people, brings a rift in their friendship. I also felt bad that not only was this a crappy print, but also that the beautiful photography seemed so small on the TV. This is the kind of film that needs to be seen on the big screen in order to fully appreciate it. I hope that this gets some more respect and popularity, because it needs it and it has deserved it for years!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English | Latin | Welsh

Release Date:

11 March 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Becket See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,912, 28 January 2007

Gross USA:

$149,327

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$149,327
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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