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Don't skip over the interviews with the film's editor Anne Coates and composer Laurence Rosenthal. Coates (7 minutes) has some good stories, and Rosenthal (12 minutes) discusses the influences on his Oscar-nominated score and how he had to teach Gregorian chant to Burton ("He was one of these people whom you really can't teach anything. He had this characteristic that you can only remind him of something he already knows. But he didn't know how to sing Gregorian chant."). In addition to a photo gallery and the four-and-a-half-minute theatrical trailer, MPI's long-delayed DVD looks better than many major-studio classics. --David Horiuchi
Other Peter O'Toole Films
Other Richard Burton Films
More King Henrys on DVD
- Theatrical trailer
- Still gallery
- Interviews with editor Anne V. Coats and composer Laurence Rosenthal
- Archival interviews with Richard Burton
- TV spot
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
Richard Burton and Peter O'toole at their best. Great cinematography.Published 13 days ago by Tommy
Classic! Great to see before going to visit Dover Castle too!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I did not like the script. The psychological change in Becket from being the King's right hand man to Archbishop of Canterbury is not explained and is so abrupt as to be unreal. Read morePublished 2 months ago by George V. Garvin
Remember seeing movie when it first came out. Nice to be able to view it again on a DVD. Good quality.Published 3 months ago by William L. Cowan