The History Boys

Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 105


Audience Score

User Ratings: 35,446
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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.

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Critic Reviews for The History Boys

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (42) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (36)

  • 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.

    Dec 22, 2006 | Rating: 3/5
  • 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.

    Dec 22, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4
  • The film becomes a sermonette on tolerance. But with its one-sidedness, it fails to practice what it preaches.

    Dec 22, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Dec 22, 2006 | Rating: 3/4
  • Full of energy, ideas and fine acting.

    Dec 21, 2006 | Rating: B-
  • 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.

    Dec 17, 2006 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

    Nathan Rabin

    AV Club
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The History Boys

  • Feb 14, 2012
    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 e Super Reviewer
  • Oct 31, 2011
    No big deal, but not bad also. Richard Griffiths did a very good job. The end is quite good.
    Andreia C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2010
    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 J Super Reviewer
  • Aug 14, 2010
    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 H Super Reviewer

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