Rent Becket (1964)

3.8 of 5 from 92 ratings
2h 22min
Rent Becket Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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The story tells of the tempestuous friendship between King Henry II (Peter O'Toole) and Thomas Becket (Richard Burton). The King appoints his trusted companion to the esteemed position of Archbishop of Canterbury, believing his loyalty will give him control over the church. However Becket takes his new duties seriously and his devotion to God soon brings him into direct conflict with the State and his lifelong friend. Now a thorn in his side the King exclaims 'Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?'
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Hal B. Wallis
Voiced By:
Robert Rietty
Jean Anouilh, Lucienne Hill, Edward Anhalt
John Cox, Hal B. Wallis, Edward Anhalt, John Bryan, Geoffrey Unsworth, Maurice Carter, Margaret Furse, Laurence Rosenthal, Robert Cartwright, Patrick McLoughlin, Anne Coates
Second Sight Films Ltd.
Classics, Drama
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1965 BAFTA Best Production Design

1965 BAFTA Best Cinematography

1965 BAFTA Best Costumes

1965 Oscar Best Adapted Screen Play

Release Date:
Run Time:
142 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 2.35:1
  • Peter O'Toole commentary
  • A Tapestry of Music: Laurence Rosenthal on his score for 'Becket'
  • Interview with editor Anne V. Coates
  • Lobby card gallery
  • Original Trailer
Release Date:
Run Time:
148 minutes

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Reviews (1) of Becket

Historical Epic. - Becket review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

The factual inaccuracies transferred from Jean Anouilh's hit play mean that this grand epic is redundant as history. Thomas Becket is presented as a Saxon rather than a Norman and without this misconception the whole structure of the drama would collapse. The story is shaped to present the conflict between Becket and Henry II as popular entertainment.

And of course it is a vehicle for two of the most celebrated actors of the sixties; a theatrical duel between Richard Burton as the eponymous archbishop and Peter O'Toole as the king appointed by god to rule England. Burton takes the honours with his smouldering charisma hinting at unknowable psychological complications, while O'Toole's shrill histrionics get tiresome.

It is a compelling film and it is a particular thrill to see the staging of the murder in the cathedral. But it is most successful as a medieval blockbuster with grandiose sets and locations and a stirring musical score which draws on period Gregorian chants. Peter Glenville was a theatre director but he gets the whole budget up on the big screen.

There is another story behind the legend. Of a sociopath who assumes his divine right to rule, and an ordinary man who discerns that he is in communion with a creator. The greatest epic of all is their elaborate delusion and extravagant cruelty and corruption. We see the majestic pageantry, but Glenville also exposes the deplorable suffering this dystopia validated.

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