The History Boys

The History Boys

Nicholas Hytner (2006)

107min
15 Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Alan Bennett's hit stage play, about a group of Sheffield grammar school boys being drilled for their Oxbridge entrance exams, makes an efficient transition to the big screen. Utilising the original stage cast, director Nicholas Hytner wisely opts to change as little as possible, resisting the urge to open up the material cinematically. This brilliantly serves Bennett's screenplay, which is a masterpiece of wit and intellect worn feather-lightly; a perfectly balanced blend undercut with the darker subject of general studies teacher Hector (Richard Griffiths) and his sexual attraction to the boys. Which leads to this thoroughly enjoyable film's only flaw: there's something slightly implausible about these pupils who combine a kind of romanticised notion of male adolescence extracted from Goodbye Mr Chips with an incredible nonchalance towards the subject of homosexuality and their teacher's repeated attempts to cop a feel. Still, it's not a documentary, and this niggle is more than made up for by the performances, which are uniformly first-rate.

Summary

Eight unruly grammar school boys preparing to take their Oxbridge entrance exams are exposed to the contrasting teaching styles of two very different schoolmasters - the intellectually enthusiastic Hector, who seeks to instil a love of knowledge for its own sake, and the more cynical new arrival Irwin, who intends to equip them with the specific information they need to get ahead. Comedy drama adapted from Alan Bennett's play, with Richard Griffiths, Stephen Campbell Moore and Frances de la Tour.

Cast & Crew

Hector Richard Griffiths
Dorothy Lintott Frances de la Tour
Irwin Stephen Campbell Moore
Posner Samuel Barnett
Dakin Dominic Cooper
Timms James Corden
Scripps Jamie Parker
Rudge Russell Tovey
Crowther Samuel Anderson
Akthar Sacha Dhawan
Mrs Bibby Penelope Wilton
Headmaster Clive Merrison
Director Nicholas Hytner
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: 20th Century FoxGuidance: Swearing.Available on: DVDReleased on: 13 Oct 2006
Drama Comedy