• R, 1 hr. 53 min.
  • Drama, Comedy
  • Directed By:
    Nicholas Hytner
    In Theaters:
    Nov 21, 2006 Limited
    On DVD:
    Apr 17, 2007
  • Fox Searchlight


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The History Boys Reviews

Dana Stevens
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April 10, 2009
Stephen Garrett
Time Out New York
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Full Review Source: Time Out New York | Original Score: 3/6

February 3, 2007

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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December 30, 2006
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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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 Source: Orlando Sentinel | Original Score: 3/5

December 22, 2006
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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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 Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 2.5/4

December 22, 2006
Bruce Westbrook
Houston Chronicle
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The film becomes a sermonette on tolerance. But with its one-sidedness, it fails to practice what it preaches.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

December 22, 2006
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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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 Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

December 22, 2006
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
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Full of energy, ideas and fine acting.

Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Original Score: B-

December 21, 2006
Nathan Rabin
AV Club
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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 Source: AV Club | Original Score: A-

December 17, 2006
Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
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...It's a rare pleasure to see a film that assumes literacy on the part of its audience.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

December 15, 2006
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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...History Boys manages a neat combination: It has both literacy and spunk.

| Original Score: B

December 15, 2006
Michael Booth
Denver Post
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There are no spontaneous moments on screen: The characters aren't reacting to each other; they're waiting for the cut to deliver a line they've had memorized since [the play] played the London National.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2/4

December 15, 2006
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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The History Boys is best when it crackles with the passion of ideas about the function and importance of ... ideas.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: B+

December 15, 2006
Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
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Although grounded in the fact-based world of academia, The History Boys offers little of substance.

Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Original Score: 2.5/5

December 15, 2006
Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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It's been quite a while since movies have offered such a nice night out at the theater.

| Original Score: 3/4

December 14, 2006
Hedy Weiss
Chicago Sun-Times
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[An] exuberantly free-spirited but faithful movie version of Alan Bennett's masterful hit play about education, class, sex, love, death, memory and that often equally fantastical thing we call history.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 8, 2006
Wesley Morris
Boston Globe
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This is achingly perceptive writing that director Nicholas Hytner, working with the same superb cast that performed in London and on Broadway, brings to life.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 3.5/4

December 8, 2006
Peter Marks
Washington Post
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The movie was made while the actors were still performing the stage version, and they modulate their performances for the screen admirably, even if the film is not quite as engaging as the play.

Full Review Source: Washington Post

December 7, 2006
Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
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If you take The History Boys as a filmed record of a somewhat unexpected stage phenom foremost, chances are you'll relax into and let some performers take it from there.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3/4

December 7, 2006
J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
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... offers a sharp critique of the means and measures of education.

Full Review Source: Chicago Reader

December 7, 2006
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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It gave me the creeps.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

November 27, 2006
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Flunks its most crucial test: the need to properly adapt a stage play to the screen medium.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 2/4

November 24, 2006
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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It's chatty, it's wordy, but a passion for the well-written word lies at the thematic heart of the thing, and cinematic flourishes would only clog the arteries.

Full Review Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 3/4

November 24, 2006
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
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A thrillingly smart and immensely enjoyable screen version of Alan Bennett's celebrated play.

Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal

November 23, 2006
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
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It has a flow and an intimacy that the often awkward theatrical version lacked.

Full Review Source: TIME Magazine

November 23, 2006
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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The movie adaptation has been lifted from the theater with original cast and director Nicholas Hytner intact; the actors interact as cozily as chums on a playing field.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: B

November 23, 2006
Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
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Bennett captures the racy, joshing, embattled atmosphere inside a British boarding school better than anybody has done since Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version.

Full Review Source: Christian Science Monitor | Original Score: A-

November 23, 2006
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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The History Boys is hit-and-miss with each scene. There's no through line, in the sense that the audience never really is made to care about the things the characters care about.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

November 22, 2006
Lou Lumenick
New York Post
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The History Boys is essentially filmed theater, with minimal, and usually clumsy, attempts to take the action out of the classroom.

| Original Score: 2.5/4

November 21, 2006
Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
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Even with multiple trips outdoors and crosstown gropes on Hector's motorcycle, The History Boys is a play pretending to be a movie.

Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Original Score: 2.5/4

November 21, 2006
Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
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The play, however, has been heavily cut and the boys blend together, as director Nicholas Hytner masses them in groups and Bennett provides only the barest of descriptions.

Full Review Source: Newark Star-Ledger | Original Score: 2/4

November 21, 2006
Claudia Puig
USA Today
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The History Boys is an erudite, sharply written film with consummate performances, but its origins on the stage are all too obvious.

Full Review Source: USA Today | Original Score: 3/4

November 21, 2006
Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
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A lively and entertaining disquisition on the purpose and uses of knowledge in a world that cares less about scholarship than quantifiable results.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 4/5

November 20, 2006
Stephanie Zacharek
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Disappointingly overworked and mechanical.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

November 20, 2006
Jan Stuart
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Griffiths' brilliantly rumpled academic with recklessly roving hands is matched by the disarming Samuel Barnett as a sad-sack gay student, and the bull's-eye precise Frances de la Tour, a battle-weary standard bearer for feminist history.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 3.5/4

November 20, 2006
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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The current of intellectual energy snapping through the ferociously engaging screen adaptation of Alan Bennett's Tony Award-winning play feels like electrical brain stimulation.

| Original Score: 4/5

November 20, 2006
David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
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The movie is brilliant and infectious, much like Bennett's voice: English-deadpan but never snide, and generous to a fault.

Full Review Source: New York Magazine/Vulture

November 20, 2006
David Denby
New Yorker
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The History Boys is alive on the screen.

November 20, 2006
David Germain
Associated Press
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The History Boys feels too much like a filmed play, and filmed not all that gracefully.

November 17, 2006
Scott Foundas
L.A. Weekly
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But if The History Boys arrives at a perilous moment for culture and learning, and if the news it brings isn't all good, it nevertheless instills in you hope for the youth of tomorrow.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

November 16, 2006
Rex Reed
New York Observer
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The History Boys is one of the best, most reverent, comprehensive and seamless transfers from stage to screen ever made.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

November 15, 2006
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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Director Nicholas Hytner brings Alan Bennett's London and Broadway smash to the screen with the original stage actors and brings out the frisky best in all of them.

| Original Score: 3/4

November 13, 2006
Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
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Performances border on the theatrical.

November 2, 2006
Leslie Felperin
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Auds coming cold to this largely faithful adaptation of Alan Bennett's clever but contrived classroom comedy won't be so wowed, given pic's irrevocably stagy feel.

Full Review Source: Variety

October 11, 2006
Dave Calhoun
Time Out
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[The film] offers a sly mix of broad comedy, tender wordplay and heartfelt subversion.

Full Review Source: Time Out

October 8, 2006
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