Nominated for twelve Academy Awards, this 1964 film is an historical costume drama of the grandest order. Becket is the story of the friendship and conflict between King Henry II (Peter O’Toole) and Thomas Becket (Richard Burton), a royal courtier and confidant whom Henry appoints as Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content and violence)
Genre: Classics , Drama
Directed By: Peter Glenvill
In Theaters: Wide
Studio: Slowhand Releasing
In a tale of nepotism gone wrong, Henry II appoints his friend Thomas Becket as Archbishop of Canterbury but isn’t prepared for the consequences when Becket takes his commitment to God seriously. Richard Burton plays Becket with a reserve and subtle conscience, and from the first moment he makes the character extremely interesting. He’s helped by a good script that makes who Becket is the focus of the first act. Peter O’Toole is hilarious and at his best playing the madcap king with the kind of gusto that made him famous, and his third act scenes reveal a humanity – a pathos – that makes his character even more interesting. Overall, despite the fine art direction, most of Becket is a character study involving the two leads, and the acting master class that is Burton and O’Toole is enough to carry this film admirably.