Director: Peter Glenville Cast: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud

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A high-class costume drama with a substantive historical basis, Becket is the true story of the friendship between King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and Thomas à Becket (Richard Burton), a royal courtier and confidant whom Henry appoints as Archbishop of Canterbury. As Becket takes his duties with the Church seriously, he finds himself increasingly at odds with the King, who finally orders the death of his once-close companion when he continues to defy the throne. Burton is very good and O'Toole is even better: both men were nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, while Edward Anhalt's screenplay, based on the stageplay by Jean Anouilh, won for Best Adapted Screenplay. The basic theme of separation of church and state still reverberates today, while the top-notch production values ensure Becket's place as one of Britain's better historical epics.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/15/2007
UPC: 0030306105390
Original Release: 1964
Source: Mpi Home Video
Region Code: 1
Time: 2:30:00
Sales rank: 4,312

Special Features

Commentary with Peter O'Toole; Theatrical trailer; Still gallery; Interviews with editor Anne V. Coates and composer Laurence Rosenthal; Archival interviews with Richard Burton; TV spot

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Burton Thomas Becket
Peter O'Toole Henry II
John Gielgud Louis VII
Donald Wolfit Bishop Folliot
Martita Hunt Queen Matilda
Pamela Brown Queen Eleanor
Gino Cervi Cardinal Zambelli
Paolo Stoppa Pope Alexander III
David Weston Brother John
Felix Aylmer Archbishop of Canterbury
Inigo Jackson Duke of Leicester
Sian Phillips Gwendolen
Veronique Vendell Pretty French Girl
Gerald Lawson English Peasant
Jennifer Hilary Peasant's Daughter
Riggs O'Hara Prince Henry
John Phillips Bishop of Winchester
Frank Pettingell Bishop of York
Hamilton Dyce Bishop of Chichester
Linda Marlowe Farmer's Daughter
Geoffrey Bayldon Brother Philip
Graham Stark Pope's Secretary
Victor Spinetti French Tailor
Niall MacGinnis Baron
Percy Herbert Baron
Christopher Rhodes Baron
Peter Jeffrey Baron
Patrick Newell William of Corbeil
Edward Woodward Clement

Technical Credits
Peter Glenville Director
Edward Anhalt Screenwriter
Jean Anouilh Screenwriter
John Bryan Production Designer
Maurice Carter Production Designer
Anne V. Coates Editor
Margaret Furse Costumes/Costume Designer
Laurence Rosenthal Score Composer
Geoffrey Unsworth Cinematographer
Hal B. Wallis Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Becket
1. Opening Credits [1:47]
2. "In the Year 1066" [8:18]
3. The Noble Thomas Becket [10:23]
4. The Thrill of the Hunt [9:40]
5. Gwendolen's Sweet Voice [10:43]
6. Business Before Pleasure [8:18]
7. The Inevitable Conflict of Interest [10:22]
8. The New Archbishop of Canterbury [9:34]
9. A Higher Loyalty [8:40]
10. A Friendship Torn [9:34]
11. Excommunication Leads to Accusations [9:48]
12. The Trial of Thomas Becket [9:01]
13. The Exile [9:21]
14. A Meeting of Old Friends [9:44]
15. The King's Heavy Heart [9:55]
16. The Return From Exile [9:57]
17. A Posthumous Declaration [2:55]

Customer Reviews

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4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Mary_T More than 1 year ago
This is the great thing about DVD special editions - Special Features! This DVD includes an audio commentary with the incomparable Peter O'Toole. And what a wealth of information, knowledge, wit and anecdotes he is! From O'Toole we learn that the film is based upon a successful London play of the same name. No big suprise there. But then he explains that the play was not supposed to be about Henry II and Thomas Becket at all! The relationship depicted between two friends with passionate differences is really about two British actors who fell out after a fiery dispute about the artistic direction of the London stage company to which they both belonged. The author simply used the historic schism between Henry and Becket as a framework to hold this completely different story about two completely different men. This explains the many glaring historical inaccuracies in the film script.... it was not originally written as historical fiction at all. This is just another example of the great wealth of information made available to us since movies moved from VHS to DVD. There are lots of other vintage films making it to DVD with added features. I've discovered many gems such as these upon repurchasing DVD versions of several of my long-time favorite VHS films. Three Faces of Eve, Rebecca, Laura, the Adventures of Robin Hood and many more. It's a delight to learn more about a film that's been a favorite friend for so many years. If you want to see Peter O'Toole portray Henry again (when both Peter and Henry are quite a bit older) watch The Lion in Winter. Katherine Hepburn and O'Toole set the story on fire with truly brilliant acting. You'll also enjoy the early performances of a young Anthony Hopkins (Silence of the Lambs), Timothy Dalton (James Bond) and Nigel Terry (Excalibur).
Guest More than 1 year ago
The film ''Becket'' concerns the religious/political tension between Henry II and Thomas Becket -- a far cry from the struggle between Thomas *More* and Henry *VIII*, which is probably what the first reviewer was referring to. That would be A Man for All Seasons, if we're talking well-done Med/Ren movies in the 1960's. The struggle between Becket and Henry II occurs in the mid-1100's; the More/Henry VIII struggle occurs in the early-1500's. Quite a difference in time. However, the movie is simply unique. The excommunication scene is the highlight, followed by Peter O'Toole's Henry. Now that man can shout! Look for him as Henry II, once more, in ''The Lion in Winter'' starring Katherine Hepburn.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Becket is a delightful movie to watch, especially if you're a serious student of history as I am. When I converted to Catholicism a friend advised me to select Thomas Becket as my patron saint. Well, if Archbishop Thomas Becket was even half the man that Richard Burton portrayed him to be in this movie then I made a very good selection!
Firannion More than 1 year ago
Peter O'Toole is mesmerizing Although his portrayal of Henry II in 'The Lion in Winter' is better-known, I think that he nailed this larger-than-life character even better in 'Becket.' The 'Have I no friends?' scene is spine-tingling. Burton is excellent too, but for me, this is one of the performances that truly defined Peter O'Toole's incredible acting career.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Outstanding drama, acting and subject matter. No one else could deliver the line,"Where lies Becket's honor?" like Burton.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've watched this VHS enough times to wear it out and still can't choose the better actor, O'Toole or Burton.One thing's for sure, no matter how many times you watch it you'll never be bored. Having it released on DVD is marvelous and I hope they spent some time improving the sound track.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw this movie when a was in my teens. Mr. Burton and Mr. Harris provide the movie lovers a performence that will stay with them a life time. They are superb in their portrayel of Henry II ( Harris )and The Arch Bishop on Cantonberry ( Burton ). If you love movies, this is one you can't be without. I have searched for it on dvd. However, I was informed the Burton estate withdrew its release in June of 2002.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Richard Burton is excellent in this film, showing more range and depth than in any other his his movies. Burton is only topped by O'Toole who brings a reality to his role that few could. O'Toole forces the viewer to love his awful character by displaying comedy and hurtfullness in this otherwise unredeemable king.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first saw this movie 15 years ago and have been looking for it ever since. I can understand the problem the reviewer (Becket) may have faced - the drama is subtle in many places -however Burton's scenes as he wrestles with his twin loyalties - God and Henry II are breathtakingly poignant In my opinion some of the best acting Burton ever did! O'Toole is equally powerful as he deals with what he sees as a friend and loyal courtier's treason. This is a performance that has stood the test of time. well worth owning. Now why isn't it on DVD!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was privileged to see ''Becket'' on the wide screen in the 60's. Not too long after that, I found a ''duo-biography'' on these two very powerful, political men. To watch Thomas a Becket's tranformation from wenching pal to Henry into a devout archbishop is mesmerizing. It still gives me goose bumps when Henry's men burst into the church and murder Becket.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When the might of man are at odds with the wisdom that comes out of God fear...Beckets's story may then be understood.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although well written and well acted, it lacked excitement. It lasted two and a half hours, and the most exciting scene was the food fight, which lasted not even a minute. The actors were superb, but Burton could have showed a little more pain in his death scene. All in all, it was good, but it was long and quite boring.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Becket is a wondeful story well acted that tells the story of the Protestant turmoil and loyalties in Englnad under Henry VIII. Becket is a must see for anyone interested in the history of the RCC or Protestant Reformation.