Nicolea Payton

Written by Nicolea Payton

Modified & Updated: 04 Mar 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Becket is a timeless masterpiece that has captivated audiences since its release in 1964. This historical drama, directed by Peter Glenville, tells the riveting story of the complex and tumultuous relationship between King Henry II of England and Thomas Becket, his loyal friend turned Archbishop of Canterbury.

Set in the 12th century, Becket delves into themes of friendship, loyalty, power, and sacrifice. The film boasts a stellar cast, with Richard Burton delivering a mesmerizing performance as Thomas Becket and Peter O’Toole shining as the fierce and charismatic King Henry II.

In this article, we will delve deep into the world of Becket and explore 41 fascinating facts about the movie. From behind-the-scenes anecdotes to historical accuracies, we will uncover the secrets and the magic that make this film a true cinematic gem.

Key Takeaways:

  • Becket, a 1964 film, explores the intense friendship and power struggles between King Henry II and Thomas Becket, offering a captivating glimpse into medieval politics and the enduring impact of true friendship.
  • Becket’s exceptional performances, historical accuracy, and thought-provoking storytelling have solidified its status as a timeless cinematic masterpiece, inspiring a renewed interest in medieval history and setting a new benchmark for historical dramas.
Table of Contents

The movie Becket was released in 1964.

This cinematic gem made its debut on March 11, 1964, captivating audiences with its riveting storytelling and exceptional performances.

Becket is based on a play by Jean Anouilh.

The screenplay for Becket was adapted from French playwright Jean Anouilh’s eponymous play, which enjoyed tremendous success in the theatrical world.

Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton displayed remarkable on-screen chemistry.

The electrifying performances by Peter O’Toole as King Henry II and Richard Burton as Thomas Becket brought their characters’ complex relationship to life, earning them critical acclaim.

Becket was nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

This cinematic masterpiece received widespread recognition and garnered an impressive 12 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Becket triumphed in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, recognizing the exceptional talent and skill in adapting the play into a compelling screenplay.

King Henry II’s turbulent reign is vividly portrayed.

Becket provides a captivating glimpse into the tumultuous rule of King Henry II, a controversial figure in English history.

Becket showcases the Church’s influence on medieval politics.

The movie highlights the strong influence of the Catholic Church during the medieval period and the complex relationship between the Church and the monarchy.

The film explores themes of friendship and loyalty.

Becket delves deep into the complexities of loyalty and friendship, as King Henry II and Thomas Becket’s once-unbreakable bond falters amidst their conflicting roles.

Becket features stunning and historically accurate set designs.

The film’s elaborate and meticulously crafted set designs transport viewers back to medieval England, creating an authentic ambiance that enhances the viewing experience.

The movie’s dialogue is rich and thought-provoking.

Becket’s script is filled with powerful and engaging dialogue that allows viewers to truly immerse themselves in the unfolding drama.

Becket received rave reviews from critics.

Critics across the globe praised Becket for its exceptional performances, compelling storyline, and thoughtful exploration of power dynamics.

The film addresses the clash between secular and religious authorities.

Becket delves into the conflicts that arise when secular and religious authorities collide, capturing the timeless struggle between power and faith.

The role of Thomas Becket was originally played by Laurence Olivier.

Laurence Olivier portrayed Thomas Becket in the stage production of the play, but Richard Burton replaced him in the film adaptation.

Becket accentuates the importance of honor and integrity.

The film explores the profound significance of upholding one’s honor and maintaining integrity even in the face of adversity.

The movie Becket achieved critical and commercial success.

Becket resonated with audiences worldwide, became a box office hit, and solidified its status as a cinematic masterpiece.

The film was shot in various locations in England and France.

To bring the story to life, the production team filmed scenes in iconic locations, including England’s Canterbury Cathedral and France’s Mont-Saint-Michel.

Becket’s cinematography captures the grandeur of medieval times.

The film’s breathtaking cinematography showcases the majesty of medieval architecture and landscapes, adding depth and visual splendor to the narrative.

The movie soundtrack enhances the emotional impact.

The soaring and evocative musical score of Becket amplifies the emotional depth of the film, immersing viewers in the characters’ journeys.

It took seven years to bring Becket to the big screen.

From the initial stages of adaptation to the final production, Becket underwent seven years of development before reaching audiences worldwide.

Becket showcases the struggles of leadership.

The film delves into the immense challenges faced by leaders, exploring the burdens and dilemmas that come with wielding great power.

The chemistry between Peter O’Toole and Richard Burton was unparalleled.

The compelling performances of O’Toole and Burton created an intense on-screen dynamic that captivated audiences and critics alike.

Becket is appreciated for its historical accuracy.

The film pays meticulous attention to historical details, ensuring that the events and settings accurately reflect the time period in which they occurred.

The movie’s screenplay seamlessly blends drama and intrigue.

Becket strikes a perfect balance between riveting drama and captivating intrigue, keeping viewers fully engaged throughout.

Becket is regarded as one of director Peter Glenville’s finest works.

Peter Glenville’s masterful direction in Becket solidified his reputation as a talented filmmaker, garnering praise from audiences and critics alike.

The film draws from real historical events.

Becket is based on the true story of the tumultuous relationship between King Henry II and Thomas Becket, adding authenticity and depth to the narrative.

Becket received the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Drama.

The film’s exceptional storytelling and memorable performances earned it the prestigious Golden Globe Award in the Best Motion Picture – Drama category.

Becket established Peter O’Toole as a legendary actor.

Peter O’Toole’s stunning portrayal of King Henry II in Becket solidified his status as one of the greatest actors of his generation.

The film explores notions of power and corruption.

Becket delves into the corrupting influence of power and the moral dilemmas that arise when individuals are entrusted with authority.

The movie Becket sparked a renewed interest in medieval history.

The film’s immersive storytelling and historical accuracy sparked a resurgence of interest in the medieval period among viewers and scholars alike.

Becket highlights the enduring power of friendship.

Despite the challenges that arise between King Henry II and Thomas Becket, their deep bond underscores the lasting impact of true friendship.

The film’s costumes are meticulously designed.

The exceptional costume design in Becket accurately reflects the fashion and style of the medieval period, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

Becket explores the complexities of human nature.

The film delves into the multifaceted nature of human behavior, highlighting the flaws, strengths, and contradictions within each character.

The movie’s intense courtroom scenes add depth to the narrative.

Becket features gripping courtroom sequences that expose the power dynamics and legal intricacies of the time, adding layers to the story.

Becket’s success led to a stage revival of the play.

The film’s popularity rejuvenated interest in Jean Anouilh’s play, leading to numerous stage adaptations worldwide.

The movie Becket continues to inspire future filmmakers.

Becket’s enduring impact on the film industry is evident in the works of contemporary filmmakers who draw inspiration from its powerful storytelling.

Becket broke new ground in historical dramas.

With its nuanced performances and realistic portrayal of historical events, Becket set a new benchmark for future historical dramas.

The movie Becket remains a must-watch for history enthusiasts.

For those passionate about history, Becket offers a compelling and immersive journey into the turbulent times of King Henry II and Thomas Becket.

Becket’s screenplay preserves the essence of the original play.

The film’s screenplay successfully captures the essence and power of Jean Anouilh’s play, creating a seamless transition from stage to screen.

Becket’s performances continue to captivate audiences today.

Decades after its release, the performances in Becket continue to resonate with viewers and remain a testament to the actors’ incredible talent.

The movie holds a special place in cinematic history.

Becket’s enduring legacy cements its status as an influential film that will continue to be celebrated by generations of movie enthusiasts.

Becket showcases the power of faith and conviction.

Throughout the film, faith and conviction play a pivotal role, illustrating their profound impact on individuals and society as a whole.

The movie Becket has left an indelible mark on the film industry, earning its place among the greatest historical dramas of all time. The remarkable performances, breathtaking visuals, and thought-provoking storytelling continue to captivate audiences, making Becket an essential viewing experience for all lovers of cinema and history alike. Dive into the rich tapestry of this cinematic masterpiece and witness the fascinating story of King Henry II and Thomas Becket unfold before your very eyes.


Becket is a remarkable film that delves into the complex relationship between King Henry II and Thomas Becket. With its stellar performances, gripping storyline, and stunning cinematography, this movie has earned its place as a classic in the historical drama genre. From its accurate depiction of the historical events to the deep exploration of power and loyalty, Becket has left a lasting impact on audiences for decades.

By shedding light on the turbulent dynamic between Henry II and Becket, the film raises important questions about the balance between personal desires and duty to the greater good. The memorable performances by Richard Burton and Peter O’Toole bring these historical figures to life, showcasing their conflicting emotions and moral dilemmas.

Whether you are a fan of historical dramas, a lover of compelling storytelling, or simply looking for a thought-provoking movie experience, Becket is a must-watch. This film stands as a testament to the power of cinema in capturing the complexities of human nature and exploring historical events with nuance.


Q: Is Becket based on a true story?

A: Yes, Becket is based on the play of the same name by Jean Anouilh, which in turn is based on real historical events surrounding the life of Thomas Becket.

Q: Who are the main actors in Becket?

A: The film stars Richard Burton as Thomas Becket and Peter O’Toole as King Henry II. Their mesmerizing performances earned them critical acclaim and cemented their status as acting legends.

Q: When was Becket first released?

A: Becket was released in 1964 and quickly became a critical and commercial success. It received multiple Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for both Burton and O’Toole.

Q: What is the significance of Becket in history?

A: Thomas Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Henry II. His murder in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 led to his canonization and made him a martyr for the church.

Q: Is Becket available to stream online?

A: Becket is available on various streaming platforms, such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, making it easily accessible for viewers to enjoy this timeless masterpiece.

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