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Becket
Becket
Actors: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, Gino Cervi, Paolo Stoppa
Director: Peter Glenville
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
PG-13     2007     2hr 28min

Henry II, King of England, tries to secure his throne by appointing his long-time wenching partner, Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury. Genre: Feature Film-Drama Rating: NR Release Date: 15-MAY-2007 Media Type: DVD

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, Gino Cervi, Paolo Stoppa
Director: Peter Glenville
Creators: Geoffrey Unsworth, Anne V. Coates, Hal B. Wallis, Joseph H. Hazen, Edward Anhalt, Jean Anouilh, Lucienne Hill
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Classics
Studio: MPI HOME VIDEO
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 05/15/2007
Original Release Date: 03/11/1964
Theatrical Release Date: 03/11/1964
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 2hr 28min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 31
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
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Movie Reviews

"The honor of God"
Mike Powers | Woolwich, ME USA | 06/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Becket." Now THERE is a marvelous movie... probably one of the finest "biopics" ever written!! It tells the story of the relationship between two men: King Henry II of England, great-grandson to William the Conqueror, and Thomas Becket, a Saxon nobleman, a close friend of King Henry's, and, ultimately, Archbishop of Canterbury. As our story unfolds, Henry and Becket are inseparable friends. They spend their days feasting at banquets, carousing, wenching, and hunting. Henry (played by Peter O'Toole) appoints Becket (Richard Burton) to the post of Chancellor of England - the equivalent of Prime Minister and Treasurer. Becket is a man completely loyal to the King, and a man with a curious sense of honor. "Honor is a private matter within," he tells Henry early in the film. "It's an idea, and every man has his own version of it." "Becket" is ultimately a story of "the honor of God" versus "I am your king." In an effort to gain the upper hand in the ongoing controversy between the Church and state, Henry names Becket to the post of Archbishop of Canterbury. In Thomas Becket, the King sees a loyal servant who will place the wishes of his monarch before everything else. Unfortunately, the King's hopes for an easy time of it are soon dashed. After becoming the primate of England, Becket rediscovers his personal sense of honor. To Becket, "the honor of God" becomes worthy of defending against all who would attack the Church... even if the attacker is the King. When one of Henry's noblemen kills a priest, Becket orders him haled before an ecclesiastical court. The inevitable showdown between King and Archbishop is at hand. Despite the King's insistence, he refuses to budge from his position that the church courts have jurisdiction in this and all similar cases. His continuing defiance of the King sends Henry into increasingly virulent paroxysms of rage against his former friend. "I am your king!" he repeatedly tells Becket. Ultimately, Becket is forced to flee England, but returns after seven years, having agreed to a series of compromises with the King, but not conceding the main points of his argument. The truce is short lived, however. Becket continues to resist Henry's efforts to intrude into Church affairs. Henry, enraged once again, fills the air with oaths against his new-found foe, asking at one point: "Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome priest?" On December 29, 1170, four of his barons assassinate Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, on the altar of Canterbury Cathedral. "Becket" is based on the stage play of the same name by French playwright Jean Anouilh, and adapted for the screen by Edward Anhalt (who won the 1964 "Best Screenplay" Academy Award for his efforts). It was also nominated for 11 other Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor. This is one of those movies where words can't really convey the depth and quality of the performances turned in by its stars. It's rare to find a film with one performance of such great magnitude; I don't ever recall seeing two such brilliant performances in one movie! For Burton and O'Toole are so very good in their roles as Becket and Henry, that they seem almost to become the very characters they're playing. Their acting is refined, unaffected, completely without ego, almost effortless. "Becket" is one of those good old-fashioned movies so popular forty years ago... the kind with world-class actors delivering lines from a superb screenplay; with an interesting subject at its heart; sumptuous sets; and colorful costumes. Maybe the film doesn't quite match the tastes of today's moviegoers as well as it did 37 years ago; but, if you're looking for some first-rate entertainment by the best actors in the business, "Becket" is indeed an excellent choice!"
Good historical drama
Jeffrey Ellis | Richardson, Texas United States | 10/14/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This 1964 film deals with the murder of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, after his old drinking buddy, King Henry II, famously asked, "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest!?" Its been a matter of great debate whether Henry actually meant to order the murder of his old friend and, to me at least, this film almost makes the case that Henry's words were just the impulsive, possibly drunken words of a rather immature man thrust, by heredity, into a position of power he was not yet ready for.One might think that the political murder of a priest in a pre-Reniassance England would make for a rather dry, humorless film. Luckily, Becket proves them wrong. Though director Peter Glenville was not a flashy stylist and occasionally does allow the film to become a bit stagey, he was also a wonderful director of actors and manages to get wonderful lead performances from a young Peter O'Toole (as Henry) and even from the normally diffident Richard Burton (as Becket). When the film begins, it feels very much like a comedy. When we first meet Becket and Henry, they are two young, spoiled friends who spend most of their time drinking and wenching. Though, as expected, O'Toole is hilarious as the fun-loving monarch, even Burton manages a few slyly sardonic line readings. Years later, in an interview with David Letterman, O'Toole would admit that both the lead actors were drunk during the majority of the shooting and basically just having a grand old time of it. Their sense of fun in these early scenes is easily translatable to the audience and its hard not to like these two immoral rogues and, perhaps, to even secretly want to find a time machine and go hang out with them. O'Toole and Burton were friends in real life and the mutual affection the two shared is especially obvious and endearing and serves to make the film's later events all the more tragic.The film takes a serious turn when the previous Archbishop dies and Henry, seeing a way to make things easier for himself, appoints his old friend Becket to the position. However, once installed, Becket discovers his soul. He becomes a rare example of a man who power does not corrupts but instead serves to purify. As a leader, Becket discovers his lost integrity and tragically, this leads to his own martyrdom and later canonization. Fittingly, this man redeemed by the church (and who would guess that this would be the premise of such a hilarious, entertaining, and downright fun film?) becomes patron saint of the clergy. That said, this isn't really a film about religion as much as its about friendship and the price one pays for taking a stand. This is one of the best historical films I have ever seen and should be seen by anyone interested in either a good story or just some of the best acting ever put on screen. There's something beautiful about a film that surprises you by defying your expectations and Becket is a great example of one of those films."
Becket coming out on DVD
P. L Slice | Jordan, AR, USA | 07/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Becket" has been restored (thankfully) and is sked for DVD issue 01/05/2005. This is great!!! The Film Foundation has been in the process of restoring and re-issuing projects. Rec'd confirmation from them that the DVD is, in fact, coming out.
They also attached this information "The Film Foundation provides substantial annual support for preservation and restoration projects at its member archives * the Academy Film Archive, George Eastman House, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, UCLA Film & Television Archive * and affiliated organizations * the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the AFI and the National Film Preservation Foundation. These institutions have mounted ambitious programs of preservation and restoration and serve as a vital link for public access to our nation's film treasures. The Film Foundation's efforts have resulted in saving over 300 endangered films, including Hollywood features, silent films, independent, documentary and experimental films, as well as newsreels and other historical films whose titles may not be widely known but whose importance to our film heritage is no less significant.""
True Drama: Round As An Apple.
Steve Guardala | ????? | 08/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a true historical epic, it has everything the viewer could want. Superb acting, suspense, sexcapades, court intrigue,, fine cinematography, a dysfunctional family, pageantry, betrayal, & murder. King Henry the second{Peter O'Toole}, the Norman grandson of William the conqueror is locked in a "church & state battle with his longtime Saxon friend Thomas Becket{Richard Burton}." The turmoil begins after Henry appoints Thomas against his will to the newly vacant position of Archbishop of Canterbury. Soon, a priest is arrested by lord Gilbert for dishonoring a young girl. Becket protests that the church should judge the priest, rather than the state. Meanwhile, the priest is killed trying to escape. Becket excommunicates lord Gilbert, & the battle is set. The egos are absorbed into the church & state quagmire.

I won't reveal anymore of the story, buy it & you will enjoy this period piece. The soul of this tale is the bond of two friends torn apart by their own manipulations & circumstances beyond their control. For me it is a sin against logic that neither Peter O'Toole & Richard Burton ever won the acadamy award. For their performances in this classic alone, the academy should be ashamed!"