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History Boys
     

The History Boys

4.6 9
Director: Nicholas Hytner

Cast: Richard Griffiths, Frances de la Tour, Stephen Campbell Moore

 
An unruly collection of clever but crass Thatcher-era English high-school students seek to earn the scores needed to enroll in Oxford and Cambridge in director Nicholas Hytner and screenwriter Alan Bennett's screen adaptation of Bennett's Tony-winning play. The History Boys focuses on a group of eight students, all of them deemed by their overeager headmaster (

Overview

An unruly collection of clever but crass Thatcher-era English high-school students seek to earn the scores needed to enroll in Oxford and Cambridge in director Nicholas Hytner and screenwriter Alan Bennett's screen adaptation of Bennett's Tony-winning play. The History Boys focuses on a group of eight students, all of them deemed by their overeager headmaster (Clive Merrison) to be the best and the brightest. Though they've been coddled by their humanities-loving instructor, Hector (Richard Griffiths), and their acerbic history teacher, Mrs. Lintott (Frances de la Tour), the boys are deemed in need of additional tutoring; thus, the brash, young Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore) is recruited to challenge them further. The subtle power games the boys used to their advantage with their previous tutors are of no use with Irwin, whose wit borders on the callous. Meanwhile, Irwin's presence -- and a hush-hush scandal -- forces all of the faculty members to reassess their position at the school. Hytner shot The History Boys shortly after the play's Broadway run, to capitalize on the enthusiasm and energy exhibited in the live shows.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The History Boys was shot over five weeks after the close of the original West End run of the play, and while there is stray evidence of its hurried creation and theatrical origins, the appeal that led to its success is largely preserved. In listing the film's assets, one should probably start with Alan Bennett's script, a treatise on education and character as fate that incorporates ample humor, repressed sexuality, boy-falsetto renditions of early 20th century pop standards, and French brothel classroom exercise that shows the lifelong British humorist author's skills at stories both piquant and sweet. The actors playing the titular boys perform their roles with infectious enthusiasm, though their parts are unevenly conceived. Samuel Barnett as Posner, a sensitive and premature gay student, and Dominic Cooper as Dakin, Posner's crush and the school's resident ladies' man, are the clear standouts as the leads. In a smaller role, Russell Tovey as the dull thick-headed Rudge uses his few scenes to push his character's overlooked complexity. Of the adults, Richard Griffiths and Frances de la Tour movingly embody the idealism, cynicism, and resigned melancholy of elder faculty in a mostly underachieving public school. Director Nicholas Hytner has shown more visual ingenuity in adapting plays to the screen, but his on-the-fly television-feature approach at least emphasizes his handling of the actors and gives the action a low-key accessible warmth that only makes the characters more endearing. The ending feels a little cheap and its translation from the stage too literal for a movie, but the characters are so engrossing and sympathetic that one may be too enchanted to overlook such minor faults.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/17/2007
UPC:
0024543425199
Original Release:
2006
Rating:
R
Source:
Fox Searchlight
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen, Color]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:52:00

Special Features

Audio commentary with director Nicholas Hytner and writer Alan Bennett; History Boys around the World: Tour Diaries featurette; Pass It On: The History Boys on Screen featurette

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Griffiths Hector
Frances de la Tour Dorothy Lintott
Stephen Campbell Moore Irwin
Samuel Barnett Posner
Dominic Cooper Dakin
James Corden Timms
Clive Merrison Headmaster
Jamie Parker Scripps
Russell Tovey Rudge
Samuel Anderson Crowther
Sacha Dhawan Akthar
Andrew Knott Lockwood
Penelope Wilton Mrs. Bibby
Adrian Scarborough Wilkes

Technical Credits
Nicholas Hytner Director,Producer
John Beard Production Designer
Alan Bennett Screenwriter
Andrew Dunn Cinematographer
George Fenton Score Composer
John Wilson Editor
Damian Jones Producer
Miles Ketley Executive Producer
Kevin Loader Producer
Justine Luxton Costumes/Costume Designer
Andrew Macdonald Executive Producer
John Midgley Sound/Sound Designer
Charles Moore Executive Producer
Ian Neil Musical Direction/Supervision
Daniel Phillips Makeup
Jack Ravenscroft Asst. Director
Allon Reich Executive Producer
David M. Thompson Executive Producer
Toby Whale Casting

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- History Boys
1. Main Titles/Final Grades
2. Culture and Class
3. General Studies
4. Contract Teacher
5. French Lesson
6. A Ride Home
7. Boring and Dull
8. The History Boys
9. Western Front
10. Longing
11. Well-Rounded
12. Nicknames
13. A Problem
14. Field Trip
15. Early Retirement
16. Poetry
17. Breakdown
18. Teaching the Holocaust
19. Studying
20. Practice Interviews
21. The Subjunctive
22. Oxford Exams
23. Colleagues
24. Acceptance Letters
25. Dakin's Propositions
26. History is What Happens
27. Hector's Boys
28. Pass the Parcel/End Titles

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The History Boys 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JessZ More than 1 year ago
I bought the History Boys after seeing a clip on youtube from the movie and hearing so much about the broadway play. After seeing the movie, I wish I could see the play now as some scenes are apparently cut out and I would love to see it in its entirety. I was surprised by some of the content but, if you're open minded and old enough for sexual material and language, I'd recommend seeing it. If you like intellectual dialogue, the classroom scenes are definately up your alley.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who can watch the rolling credits at the end of THE HISTORY BOYS without tearful eyes simply hasn't been paying attention to this intelligent, richly comic, philosophical and tender tale of eight boys ostensibly preparing for exams but also preparing for life. The writing by Alan Bennett closely adapted from his prize winning play that was on the boards of theaters around the globe before being captured for posterity on film is 'rich and strange' and so full of those values of achieving a true education that it serves not only the audience well but presents a gold standard for educators pondering how to transform their pupils into thinking, creative members of society. Very briefly, THE HISTORY BOYS are eight brilliant but 'crass' young men in Cutler's Grammar School, each coming from backgrounds not considered 'quality' by the British class standards. These boys are rowdy but committed to gaining admission to Oxford - a step toward erasing their class standing and proving their worth. The headmaster (Clive Merrison), himself not too well educated, is bound to get these eight bright boys into the best schools and in that light he hires a new teacher Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore) to buff the boys into a classy group who will be able to pass their essays and oral examinations. The existing teachers are the testy, frank Mrs. Lintott (a fine Frances de la Tour) and the massively obese Hector (Richard Griffiths in a stunning performance) who teaches 'general studies', a time when he lovingly coaxes the boys to embrace poetry, music, sentimentality, drama, art, and in general everything that allows them to take the moment and live it fully. The boys are torn between Irwin's pragmatic 'teach them how to take exams' approach Hector's teach them how to embrace intelligence and life. Hector is known among the boys for fondling and the knowledge is accepted by the lads until Hector is seen fondling one of the boys on his motorbike and reported. This opens all manner of avenues of introspection, one of the boys confides to Irwin that he is homosexual, another of the lads declares that Irwin is gay and attempts a physical liaison with him, and the permutations move an down the line. But the exams come and the joy of accomplishing goals puts a different twist on matters and the ending is a touching as any on film. The entire cast is the original group that started the play and in addition to the fine performances by the adults, the boys are extraordinarily fine: Dominic Cooper (Dakin), Jamie Parker (Scripps), Samuel Barnett (Posner), James Corden (Timms), Sacha Dhawan (Akhtar), Samuel Anderson (Crowther), Russell Tovey (Rudge), and Andrew Knott (Lockwood). There is an obvious camaraderie among the actors that obviously grew from their long association with the roles. But the most impressive performance is the polished veteran actor Richard Griffiths who has created a role that will long remain in everyone's heart long after the movie has passed playing. For this viewer this is one of the very finest films of the past year! Highly Recommended. Grady Harp
Raena_ More than 1 year ago
I love this movie. It is a sharp and witty film that doesn't shy away from real life. The story is a brilliant telling and doesn't rely on over acted melodrama to make us laugh or cry.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The History Boys is a great story about a group of boys and the teachers that inspired them to go into the future by "passing on" the past. The boys are exceptionally smart, all trying to get into Oxford or Cambridge, and the movie does not leave much for the average viewer. The movie mixes Birtish humor and slang with several French lines for a couple confusing moments if one is not acustomed to this. However, the brilliant acting and directing is enough to provide everyone with enough information to understand the story. This is not a typical American comedy and should not be watched by someone who is looking for one. But if you are looking for a great, touching story with suberb acting, I highly recommend this movie.
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