Becket (1964)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A historical costume drama of the grandest order, "Becket" is the true story of the friendship between King Henry II and Thomas à Becket, a royal courtier and confidant whom Henry appoints as Archbishop of Canterbury. Once proposed for the office, Becket immediately perceives what the King does not: that his job as head of the Church will inevitably bring him into conflict with the King's interests. Until that point, he had been the King's closest friend and beloved companion, serving him faithfully in all things despite Henry's attitude towards the Church. However, he sees that as Archbishop he will be unable to take so nonchalant an attitude, and so vigorously objects to the plan. The basic theme covering separation of church and state reverberates as it did between King Henry VIII and Thomas More, 400 years later [as famously recounted in "A Man for All Seasons"] and still reverberates today. As Becket takes his duties with the church more seriously, their lifelong friendship is strenuously tested. He finds himself increasingly at odds with the King, setting off a chain of events that will culminate in tragedy.
PG-13 (for some sexual content and violence)
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Peter O'Toole
as King Henry II
Richard Burton
as Thomas a Becket
John Gielgud
as King Louis VII
Martita Hunt
as Queen Matilda
Donald Wolfit
as Folliot
Pamela Brown
as Queen Eleanor
Paolo Stoppa
as Pope Alexander III
Gino Servi
as Zambelli
David Weston
as Brother John
Sian Phillips
as Gwendolyn
Inigo Jackson
as Duke of Leicester
Gino Cervi
as Cardinal Zambelli
Felix Aylmer
as Archbishop of Canterbury
Véronique Vendell
as Pretty French Girl
Gerald Lawson
as English Peasant
Jennifer Hilary
as His Daughter
Riggs O'Hara
as Prince Henry
John Phillips
as Bishop of Winchester
Frank Pettingell
as Bishop of York
Hamilton Dyce
as Bishop of Chichester
Linda Marlowe
as Farmer's Daughter
Patrick Newell
as William of Corbeil
Geoffrey Bayldon
as Brother Philip
Graham Stark
as Pope's Secretary
Victor Spinetti
as French Tailor
Magda Knopke
as Girl on Balcony
Niall MacGinnis
as Henry II's Baron
Percy Herbert
as Henry II's Baron
Christopher Rhodes
as Henry II's Baron
Peter Jeffrey
as Henry II's Baron
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Critic Reviews for Becket

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (10)

Ripe with homoerotic undercurrents -- which O'Toole mines with relish in his great hysterical performance, full of cunning, eloquence and mad outbursts.

March 8, 2007
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Becket may seem like a movie of yesteryear, but its timeliness brims over with rousing, meditative discourses between Henry and the church leaders on the separation of church and state.

Full Review… | March 1, 2007
Washington Post
Top Critic

Everything that Doctor Strangelove is -- daring and inspired, vibrant and brilliantly staged -- Becket is not.

Full Review… | February 23, 2007
Boston Globe
Top Critic

The picture is being re-released in 30 cities around the country before finally appearing on DVD after years of online foment from fans.The DVD is due in May, but try to catch it in theaters first. It's worth it.

February 15, 2007
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

Burton is extraordinary in one of his rare good movie roles and O'Toole is regally madcap and larger than life.

Full Review… | February 8, 2007
Christian Science Monitor
Top Critic

How could you hope for better casting than Peter O'Toole and his acting rival/drinking buddy Richard Burton playing opposite each other?

Full Review… | February 8, 2007
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Becket

In a tale of nepotism gone wrong, Henry II appoints his friend Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Caterbury but isn't prepared for the consequences when Becket takes his commitment to God seriously. Richard Burton plays Becket with a reserve and subtle conscience, and from the first moment, he makes the character profoundly interesting. He's helped by a good script that makes who Becket is the focus of the first act. Peter O'Toole is hilarious and at his scenery-chewing best, playing the madcap king with the kind of gusto that made him famous, and his third act scenes reveal a humanity - a pathos - that makes his character even more interesting. Overall, despite the fine art direction, most of Becket is a character study involving the two leads, and the acting master class that is Burton and O'Toole is enough to carry this film admirably.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Becket is a fantastic period piece. It's long and some scenes are very drawn out, but it is well worth the watch. It's visually stunning and there isn't a bad performance in the film. Becket is the true story of the friendship of King Henry II and Thomas Becket. They have a strong friendship until Henry makes Becket the Archbishop of Canterbury. Becket loyalty turns from Henry to God and the King doesn't like that too much. It truly is an epic film.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Two best friends, one an amoral king, the other a man of God. This movie has a great story and great actors for the characters. It's kind of long, but I really liked it, and I recommend seeing it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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