But when Henry next appoints him Archbishop Of Canterbury, Becket shocks the world by openly defying the King with his newfound faith and compassion. Will a desperate ruler now destroy a beloved friend to save his splintering kingdom? John Gielgud co-stars in this stunning epic based on the Broadway sensation and brought to the screen by Hal Wallis, the legendary producer of ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS, TRUE GRIT and CASABLANCA.
The confrontation between Henry and the clergy is set immediately following the old archbishop's death, when Henry informs the assembled bishops that there will only be one head honcho in England, and that is the king. The bishops are not used to having their power abrogated by anyone outside the church; they answer only to the pope and to God. The king and clergy are on collision course, and Henry, to his chagrin, finds that Becket is solidly on the side of the Church his king has appointed him to represent. There will be no compromise here. The stage is thus set for a fateful confrontation.Read more ›
This is a visually stunning film, perhaps even moreso than (for example) The Lion in Winter (1968) in which O'Toole also appears as Henry II. Granted, the relationship between Henry and Eleanor in that film is quite different from Henry's relationship with Becket. Also, The Lion in Winter covers only a few days during one Christmas season whereas the timeframe in Becket extends over several decades. However, both films focus on conflicting as well as congenial relationships.Read more ›