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/Drama, UK/USA, 1964, 148 min.

Tagline An age of rampant lusts, abandon, runaway passions. An age brought bristling to life by two of the most exciting stars of our time!

Synopsis In 12th-century England, King Henry II, descendant of Norman conquerors, is at odds with the church because he spends most of his time hunting, drinking, and womanizing with his Saxon friend Thomas Becket, who also advises him on matters of state. Antagonism between church and state mounts when the church refuses to allocate funds for Henry's battle with France. To tie Becket closer to his court, Henry makes him Chancellor of England, and from this position Becket fights the church on Henry's behalf. The two continue to rule England as steadfast friends until Henry impetuously demands payment for a past favor and asks for Becket's mistress, Gwendolen. The honor-bound Becket submits to the king's request, but Gwendolen takes her own life. Following the death of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Henry appoints Becket to the archbishopric, despite the protests of most of the clergy and Becket himself, who claims that he cannot serve both God and the king. Becket assumes his office with religious dignity and, finding himself in opposition to Henry's interference in the church, resigns as Chancellor of England. Furious because he mistakenly believed that installing his best friend as archbishop would give him control of the church, Henry joins forces with Becket's enemy, Folliot, the Bishop of London, in an attempt to bring Becket to trial on false charges of embezzlement. Becket escapes to France where King Louis VII helps him reach the Vatican. Pope Alexander III offers him sanctuary in a monastery, and Louis arranges for a final meeting between Becket and Henry. The confrontation between the two former friends is an emotional one, and Henry guarantees Becket's safe conduct back to England. There, the Saxons give Becket a warm welcome. The frustrated Henry impulsively calls for the elimination of the meddlesome priest, however, and four barons murder Becket before the altar in Canterbury Cathedral. Stricken by the loss of his friend and filled with guilt, Henry allows himself to be flogged by Saxon monks and then proclaims Becket a saint.

Directed by Peter Glenville  

Starring Richard Burton, Peter O, John Gielgud, Gino Cervi, Paolo Stoppa, more...

Movie awards
1964, Oscar, nejlepší adaptovaný scénář, Edward Anhalt
1964, Nominace na Oskara, Best picture

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