Becket

1964

Action / Biography / Drama / History

62
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 76%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 89%
IMDb Rating 8 10 12209

Synopsis


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Cast

Elizabeth Taylor as Village Extra with Blonde Wig
Peter O'Toole as His King / King Henry II
Richard Burton as Becket / Thomas Becket
Siân Phillips as Gwendolen
1080p.BLU
2.06 GB
1920*1080
English
PG-13
23.976 fps
2hr 28 min
P/S 5 / 16

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by blanche-2 10 / 10

A bizarre love triangle - Henry II, Becket and God

Richard Burton is "Becket" in this 1964 film starring Peter O'Toole as Henry II and John Gielgud in a small role as the King of France. King Henry creates a Frankenstein monster when he makes his best friend, Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, believing this will solve all of his problems with the Church. It's a decision he lives to regret. Becket finds that he loves serving God and is in his rightful place, living a life of prayer, retreat, and helping the poor and the needy. When he comes up against the King, his response is not what Henry expects. Becket now serves another master - God.

This is such a beautiful film, not only the sweeping landscapes and muted colors but the stunning, sometimes stark images throughout of the two men, the scene on the beach toward the end in particular.

"Becket" is a clash of two titan actors and historical figures. O'Toole and Burton, so different in their acting approaches, are a match made in heaven, with O'Toole playing Henry as a childish, selfish rogue in a very overt performance and Burton playing Becket with an internalized quiet strength and resolve. They are both magnificent. Both deserved the Oscars for which they were nominated; they didn't receive them. O'Toole would go on to play Henry II again in Lion in Winter, giving him an interesting place in cinematic history - he's the only actor to play the same character in two completely different films, neither one of which was a sequel or prequel (before you invoke the name of Al Pacino).

Much is made in these films of historical inaccuracies. What makes these period movies so wonderful is whether or not you watch them knowing much of the history, after you've seen them, you rush to the Internet to read more. I was most interested in the homoerotic aspects of the relationship between Becket and Henry - but none was mentioned in anything I read. It was, however, very apparent on the screen.

The '60s was really a time of these great historical dramas, similar to that period later on when Merchant-Ivory produced their many sweeping films. In a time of Spiderman and Transformers, these wonderful character-driven films are sorely missed. This is a particularly fabulous one.

Reviewed by martinchorich 4 / 10

Will No One Rid Me of this Picture?

This movie showing its age after 800 years. Visually, it's completely static and claustrophobic. The script is densely wordy, yet no one on this thread has identified any quotable lines.

In terms of plot and story arc, it plays as if Stanley Kramer did the middle ages, with a lot of anachronistic business about ethnic/class differences, separation of church and state, and the corruptions of power. Despite the set piece tension between the supposedly Saxon Becket and the Norman Richard, it turns out that the real, historical Becket, too was a Norman. Never mind!

As for the acting, get ready for some of the most egregious scenery chewing in Hollywood history. Peter O'Toole is particularly guilty of a when-in-doubt-shout performance. When he gazes guiltily up to heavens, he clearly must be thinking of the soul destroying self betrayals required to win an Oscar. I'm sure that's the hidden meaning behind the penance scenes.

Reviewed by Ian 7 / 10

A Battle of Dialog

(Flash Review)

This film showcases the battle of King vs Church with King Henry II back in the 1100's. Henry is at odds with the church who refuses to contribute to his war fund and he is unsettled by their tax-free status. He has a very loyal friend, Becket, who he strategically appoints as an Archbishop to maneuver his viewpoints inside the church. He had not planned on Becket, who is a very honorable man, to take his new role and title as Archbishop extremely seriously. Thus, he and Becket are at odds as he sides with the Church, rather than his close friend the King. Much of the film are sharp linguistic interactions that are more or less soliloquies as the O'Toole and Burton orate with power. The screenplay writers must have had a great time flexing their muscles as well. Will Henry persuade or outfox Becket to drive his agenda or will his impulsive emotions get the better of him? This film has the feel that it could translate easily onto the stage as dialog, rather than action, drove the story. For those in the mood for acting and dialog, this will meet your needs.

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