The History Boys (2006)

R   |    |  Comedy, Drama, Romance

The History Boys (2006) Poster

An unruly class of gifted and charming teenage boys are taught by two eccentric and innovative teachers, as their headmaster pushes for them all to get accepted into Oxford or Cambridge.




  • Nicholas Hytner at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Dominic Cooper and Stephen Campbell Moore in The History Boys (2006)
  • Richard Griffiths at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Nicholas Hytner at an event for The History Boys (2006)
  • Stephen Campbell Moore in The History Boys (2006)
  • Samuel Barnett at an event for The History Boys (2006)

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5 April 2011 | DesbUK
| Witty observation on the English education system
The English duo of Nicholas Hytner and Alan Bennett last collaborated on 1994's Oscar and BAFTA winning THE MADNESS OF KING GEORGE. This 2006 collaboration abbreviates Bennett's own 2004 Royal National Theatre play into a fast- moving account of how a group of Yorkshire teenagers from a state school pass the now defunct Oxford/Cambridge entrance exam. This is England in 1983. It's the zenith of Thatcherism. It was also the year of the film EDUCATING RITA, in which a working class housewife betters herself through an Open University degree. Things have obviously changed in the country since the Victorian times of Thomas Hardy's JUDE THE OBSCURE, where university is not a thing for the working class.

But the social, political and cultural milieu of the era is kept in the background (it's much less evocative than THIS IS ENGLAND, made the same year and also set in 1983). This is as much a fantasy of education as DEAD POET'S SOCIETY. These are classes full of the expectational, bright and articulate. Bennett never really finds the authentic voice of the 18-year olds - they speak the words of older, wiser men. But the performances - Richard Griffiths, Stephen Campbell Moore and Frances De La Tour as the teachers tutoring them in various ways towards university and, amongst other a pre-stardom Domonic Cooper and James Corden as the students - are uniformly excellent. The dialogue is witty in its observations on the education system and the purpose of education. Bennett's own adaptation wisely drops the two flashes forward which opened the play's first and second acts (Campbell Moore's character as a TV historian in the present day).

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Box Office


GBP2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$100,803 26 November 2006

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:


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