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Top Customer Reviews
A true historical tale of the conflict between the Saxon's of England & their recent
conquest by the Normans - a conflict between Church & State.
Anyone who loves historical movies will surely love this .
Robert The Bruce
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 ›
The title role is played by Burton , Becket the libertine Saxon who loves good things--and good things are Norman, while O'Toole plays Henry the Second, Norman Plantagenet king of England, grandson of William the Conqueror. He's also a libertine, a 'perennial adolescent' but deeply loves the only friend he ever had, the 'man he raised from nothing', Becket , who, unlike Henry, is an intellectual mastermind, loyal to his friend and king but unable to forgive himself for having lost his honor, long ago, when he decided that the good life meant collaborating with the hated Normans.
Whew! (For historical nitpickers Becket was a Norman as well, but never mind, the author needed the contrast and it plays wonderfully)
When The Archbishop of Canterbury dies of old age Henry believes he's hit upon a masterstroke to outfox any rivals to this powerfull post: He'll appoint Becket.
Becket: 'Have you considered what the Pope will say?'
Henry: 'I'll pay his price'
Becket: 'My lord, I beg you do not do this!'
Becket: 'It frightens me'
Henry: 'I thought you had God in the palm of your hand '
And at this point I wish to apologise for not doing enough justice to this masterpiece of wit, plot--and honor...
To say the acting is superb is an understatement.
Unfortunately since both Burton and O'Toole were 'leads' The Academy split and neither won the Oscar for Best Actor.Read more ›
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 ›
Most recent customer reviews
One of my most favourite films ever. Originally considered lost forever, with no prints available for over 20 years, a print of the film was miraculously found in almost perfect... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Timechild Canada
two great stars doing a wonderful job. they interact with each other so well and you believe their every actions.Published 5 months ago by Steve Brass
A great encore for Peter O'Toole after 'Lawrence of Arabia' - having Richard Burton as a co-star is a great plus.Published on April 8 2014 by Thomas Ward
How could a story by Jean Anouilh in a film with Richard Burton, John Gielgud and Peter O'Toole not be worth having on one's shelf? A gem. Read morePublished on Oct. 1 2010 by montrealmichael
The movie is good, though it will likely bore today's average movie-goer to tears. Smart dialogue, very well acted, no action whatsoever; you watch it for the pleasure of seeing... Read morePublished on April 10 2009 by Meagol