The History Boys (2006)



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

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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.
R (for language and sexual content)
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
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Frances De La Tour
as Dorothy Lintott
Jamie Parker
as Scripps
Samuel Anderson
as Crowther
Sacha Dhawan
as Akthar
Andrew Knott
as Lockwood
Clive Merrison
as Headmaster
Penelope Wilton
as Mrs. Bibby
Maggie McCarthy
as Lollipop Lady
Colin Haigh
as Oxford Porter
Iain Mitchell
as Oxford Don
David Killick
as Neighbouring Don
Patrick Godfrey
as Sleeping Clergyman
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Critic Reviews for The History Boys

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (42)

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.

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.

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.

December 22, 2006
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Full of energy, ideas and fine acting.

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

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.

vieras esine
vieras esine

Super Reviewer


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.

Thomas Johnston
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."

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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