BecketDirector: Peter Glenville
A high-class costume drama with a substantive historical basis, Becket is the true story of the friendship between King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and Thomas à Becket (Richard Burton), a royal courtier and confidant whom Henry appoints as Archbishop of Canterbury. As Becket takes his duties with the Church seriously, he finds himself increasingly at odds with the/i>… See more details below
A high-class costume drama with a substantive historical basis, Becket is the true story of the friendship between King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and Thomas à Becket (Richard Burton), a royal courtier and confidant whom Henry appoints as Archbishop of Canterbury. As Becket takes his duties with the Church seriously, he finds himself increasingly at odds with the King, who finally orders the death of his once-close companion when he continues to defy the throne. Burton is very good and O'Toole is even better: both men were nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, while Edward Anhalt's screenplay, based on the stageplay by Jean Anouilh, won for Best Adapted Screenplay. The basic theme of separation of church and state still reverberates today, while the top-notch production values ensure Becket's place as one of Britain's better historical epics.
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Cast & Crew
|Richard Burton||Thomas Becket|
|Peter O'Toole||Henry II|
|John Gielgud||Louis VII|
|Donald Wolfit||Bishop Folliot|
|Martita Hunt||Queen Matilda|
|Pamela Brown||Queen Eleanor|
|Gino Cervi||Cardinal Zambelli|
|Paolo Stoppa||Pope Alexander III|
|David Weston||Brother John|
|Felix Aylmer||Archbishop of Canterbury|
|Inigo Jackson||Duke of Leicester|
|Veronique Vendell||Pretty French Girl|
|Gerald Lawson||English Peasant|
|Jennifer Hilary||Peasant's Daughter|
|Riggs O'Hara||Prince Henry|
|John Phillips||Bishop of Winchester|
|Frank Pettingell||Bishop of York|
|Hamilton Dyce||Bishop of Chichester|
|Linda Marlowe||Farmer's Daughter|
|Geoffrey Bayldon||Brother Philip|
|Graham Stark||Pope's Secretary|
|Victor Spinetti||French Tailor|
|Patrick Newell||William of Corbeil|
|John Bryan||Production Designer|
|Maurice Carter||Production Designer|
|Anne V. Coates||Editor|
|Margaret Furse||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Laurence Rosenthal||Score Composer|
|Hal B. Wallis||Producer|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is the great thing about DVD special editions - Special Features! This DVD includes an audio commentary with the incomparable Peter O'Toole. And what a wealth of information, knowledge, wit and anecdotes he is! From O'Toole we learn that the film is based upon a successful London play of the same name. No big suprise there. But then he explains that the play was not supposed to be about Henry II and Thomas Becket at all! The relationship depicted between two friends with passionate differences is really about two British actors who fell out after a fiery dispute about the artistic direction of the London stage company to which they both belonged. The author simply used the historic schism between Henry and Becket as a framework to hold this completely different story about two completely different men. This explains the many glaring historical inaccuracies in the film script.... it was not originally written as historical fiction at all. This is just another example of the great wealth of information made available to us since movies moved from VHS to DVD. There are lots of other vintage films making it to DVD with added features. I've discovered many gems such as these upon repurchasing DVD versions of several of my long-time favorite VHS films. Three Faces of Eve, Rebecca, Laura, the Adventures of Robin Hood and many more. It's a delight to learn more about a film that's been a favorite friend for so many years. If you want to see Peter O'Toole portray Henry again (when both Peter and Henry are quite a bit older) watch The Lion in Winter. Katherine Hepburn and O'Toole set the story on fire with truly brilliant acting. You'll also enjoy the early performances of a young Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Timothy Dalton (James Bond) and Nigel Terry (Excalibur).
The film ''Becket'' concerns the religious/political tension between Henry II and Thomas Becket -- a far cry from the struggle between Thomas *More* and Henry *VIII*, which is probably what the first reviewer was referring to. That would be A Man for All Seasons, if we're talking well-done Med/Ren movies in the 1960's. The struggle between Becket and Henry II occurs in the mid-1100's; the More/Henry VIII struggle occurs in the early-1500's. Quite a difference in time. However, the movie is simply unique. The excommunication scene is the highlight, followed by Peter O'Toole's Henry. Now that man can shout! Look for him as Henry II, once more, in ''The Lion in Winter'' starring Katherine Hepburn.
Becket is a delightful movie to watch, especially if you're a serious student of history as I am. When I converted to Catholicism a friend advised me to select Thomas Becket as my patron saint. Well, if Archbishop Thomas Becket was even half the man that Richard Burton portrayed him to be in this movie then I made a very good selection!
Peter O'Toole is mesmerizing Although his portrayal of Henry II in 'The Lion in Winter' is better-known, I think that he nailed this larger-than-life character even better in 'Becket.' The 'Have I no friends?' scene is spine-tingling. Burton is excellent too, but for me, this is one of the performances that truly defined Peter O'Toole's incredible acting career.
I've watched this VHS enough times to wear it out and still can't choose the better actor, O'Toole or Burton.One thing's for sure, no matter how many times you watch it you'll never be bored. Having it released on DVD is marvelous and I hope they spent some time improving the sound track.
Outstanding drama, acting and subject matter. No one else could deliver the line,"Where lies Becket's honor?" like Burton.
I first saw this movie when a was in my teens. Mr. Burton and Mr. Harris provide the movie lovers a performence that will stay with them a life time. They are superb in their portrayel of Henry II ( Harris )and The Arch Bishop on Cantonberry ( Burton ). If you love movies, this is one you can't be without. I have searched for it on dvd. However, I was informed the Burton estate withdrew its release in June of 2002.
Richard Burton is excellent in this film, showing more range and depth than in any other his his movies. Burton is only topped by O'Toole who brings a reality to his role that few could. O'Toole forces the viewer to love his awful character by displaying comedy and hurtfullness in this otherwise unredeemable king.
I first saw this movie 15 years ago and have been looking for it ever since. I can understand the problem the reviewer (Becket) may have faced - the drama is subtle in many places -however Burton's scenes as he wrestles with his twin loyalties - God and Henry II are breathtakingly poignant In my opinion some of the best acting Burton ever did! O'Toole is equally powerful as he deals with what he sees as a friend and loyal courtier's treason. This is a performance that has stood the test of time. well worth owning. Now why isn't it on DVD!
I was privileged to see ''Becket'' on the wide screen in the 60's. Not too long after that, I found a ''duo-biography'' on these two very powerful, political men. To watch Thomas a Becket's tranformation from wenching pal to Henry into a devout archbishop is mesmerizing. It still gives me goose bumps when Henry's men burst into the church and murder Becket.
When the might of man are at odds with the wisdom that comes out of God fear...Beckets's story may then be understood.
Although well written and well acted, it lacked excitement. It lasted two and a half hours, and the most exciting scene was the food fight, which lasted not even a minute. The actors were superb, but Burton could have showed a little more pain in his death scene. All in all, it was good, but it was long and quite boring.
Becket is a wondeful story well acted that tells the story of the Protestant turmoil and loyalties in Englnad under Henry VIII. Becket is a must see for anyone interested in the history of the RCC or Protestant Reformation.