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The History Boys (2006)

TOMATOMETER

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 105
Fresh: 68 | Rotten: 37

Critics Consensus: While not quite having the impact of its original stage version, The History Boys nevertheless is a witty and involving school drama.

62%
Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 42
Fresh: 26 | Rotten: 16

Critics Consensus: While not quite having the impact of its original stage version, The History Boys nevertheless is a witty and involving school drama.

AUDIENCE SCORE

Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 35,259

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Movie Info

The film centers on an unruly class of bright, funny teenage boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a college degree. Bounced between their maverick English teacher, a young and shrewd professor hired to up their test scores, a grossly out-numbered history teacher, and a headmaster obsessed with results, the boys attempt to sift through it all to pass the daunting university admissions process. Their journey becomes as much about how education works, as it is about where education leads.

Rating:
R (for language and sexual content)
Genre:
Drama , Comedy
Directed By:
Written By:
Alan Bennett
In Theaters:
On DVD:
Apr 17, 2007
Box Office:
$2.6M
Runtime:
Fox Searchlight - Official Site

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Critic Reviews for The History Boys

All Critics (116) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (68) | Rotten (37) | DVD (13)

Taking a production pretty much intact from stage to screen robs it of its surprises. The cast seems to know what's coming, and so do we. There's not a single moment where you sense 'discovery' taking place.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

A funny thing happened to The History Boys on the way to the screen. The players are the same, the dialogue is pretty much identical, but the vibrancy of the play -- its exhilarating immediacy -- has been muted.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The film becomes a sermonette on tolerance. But with its one-sidedness, it fails to practice what it preaches.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Houston Chronicle
Top Critic

The History Boys is a movie that asks questions like 'What is education really for anyway?' and asks them in an altogether witty, brainy way. It turns history into what it really is, the story of our lives.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Full of energy, ideas and fine acting.

Full Review… | December 21, 2006
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

The History Boys boasts a dazzling verbal cleverness%u2014the gleeful rat-a-tat of snappy banter expertly executed%u2014that doesn't keep it from also being deeply, exquisitely sad.

Full Review… | December 17, 2006
AV Club
Top Critic

The play's the thing -- the only thing -- here

Full Review… | July 6, 2010
Metromix.com

In attempting to absolve the perverse actions of a teacher on the basis of his apparent tutoring skills, Alan Bennett has created a dubious work of fiction that is beyond empathy or humor.

Full Review… | April 15, 2009
ColeSmithey.com

The History Boys is much less about lighting and composition than it is about Bennett's sharp, insightful script.

Full Review… | November 20, 2008
Hollywood.com

The transfer from stage to film doesn't always go smoothly, as it's hard to shake the film's theater roots.

Full Review… | December 19, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Movies, unlike plays, tend to be just about a very few things, or they feel rushed and overly sweeping, as this one occasionally did. Plays can linger and chew on their themes and keep the audience engaged much more easily.

Full Review… | September 2, 2007

With the writing way above board and insights fueling the story forward with heart and bawdy comedy, "The History Boys" is amiably off-center, sure, but it finds its core and leaves its mark.

Full Review… | May 1, 2007
Bangor Daily News (Maine)

A hugely enjoyable outing of subtle humour, witty words and a keen insight into human nature and the art of learning.

Full Review… | April 28, 2007
Urban Cinefile

[History Boys] is most potently about the love of teaching, and how the best teachers can help give meaning to existence; and if not meaning in the grand sense, at least an appreciation of what it means to be human.

Full Review… | April 23, 2007
culturevulture.net

What lifts this film above the average is the extremely clever, erudite and witty dialogue.

Full Review… | March 16, 2007
Laramie Movie Scope

.. gentle and sweet, ..all the more charming for its faith in its presumptive audience. It's heartening to come across a popular entertainment ...not pitched at the dull normal demographic.

Full Review… | March 9, 2007
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

refreshing--a film that doesn't insult the audience's intelligence

Full Review… | January 24, 2007
Old School Reviews

I was sad when school let out. The characters are so rich I wanted to spend more time with them.

Full Review… | January 17, 2007

It's too bad that the film loses its way because The History Boys asks some interesting questions about what to learn and how to use it.

Full Review… | January 2, 2007
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

In the world of movies, it's a rare treat to find anything as sophisticated and witty as Alan Bennett's screenplay.

Full Review… | December 28, 2006
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The final delight of The History Boys is realizing that these charming young actors... will now graduate to new things.

December 27, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune

...despite all the earnestness...the characters and their tribulations never engage our sympathy or interest.

Full Review… | December 27, 2006
Sacramento News & Review

The unique duplication of stage cast to screen cast might be the most exciting thing about this conventional classroom exercise.

December 26, 2006

The dialogue in Bennett's script is more riveting than the situational developments.

Full Review… | December 23, 2006
Creative Loafing

Nicholas Hytner (The Madness of King George and The Crucible) adapts Alan Bennett's hit play with the entire stage cast reprising their roles, and leans heavily on Bennett's sharp-witted dialogue and the school performances.

Full Review… | December 22, 2006
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for The History Boys

Entertaining and humorous yet thought-provoking film with a wonderful cast and a brilliant soundtrack. Probably as far removed from reality as I am from Mars, but I don't mind.

vierasesine
vieras esine

Super Reviewer

½

I liked it better as The Dead Poets Society! This movie feels like an English transformation of The Dead Poets Society but at the end I do not want to stand on my desk a say, "Oh Captain, My Captain". It is not a pain or a bore to watch, but it just did not feel original.

Tomassgringo
Thomas Johnston

Super Reviewer

Though the film lacks a central, driving conflict - a problem that we eagerly wait to be resolved - and its foray into a quickly abandoned sex scandal distracts from the best parts of the film, it is nevertheless an absolute pleasure to watch. The main characters are unflaggingly committed to the pleasures of the intellectual life, and the film replaces devotion of the "saving" teacher with a meditation on the question of intellect's usefulness. Headlined by Richard Griffiths's amazing performance, the cast is quite strong. This is surely a film to "pass on."

hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

½

Proficient but rather underwhelming adaptation of the stage play which had some implausible plot points and no flare. Well honed script and the context appealed to me though.

gor41
Gordon A

Super Reviewer

The History Boys Quotes


Dorothy Lintott: Can you for a moment imagine how depressing it is to teach five centuries of masculine ineptitude?
– Submitted by Frances H (2 months ago)
Irwin: What's truth got to do with it?
– Submitted by Frances H (2 months ago)
Irwin: What's truth got to do with it?
– Submitted by Frances H (2 months ago)
Posner: Nothing saves anyone's life, sir. It just postpones their death.
– Submitted by Justine Mari M (9 months ago)
Dorothy Lintott: History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? It's women following behind with a bucket...
– Submitted by Justine Mari M (9 months ago)
Dakin: All literature is consolation.
– Submitted by Anna C (14 months ago)

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