The History Boys (film)

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The History Boys
The History Boys (film).JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Nicholas Hytner
Produced by Damian Jones
Kevin Loader
Nicholas Hytner
Written by Alan Bennett
Starring Richard Griffiths
Clive Merrison
Frances de la Tour
Stephen Campbell Moore
Samuel Anderson
Samuel Barnett
Dominic Cooper
James Corden
Sacha Dhawan
Andrew Knott
Jamie Parker
Russell Tovey
Music by George Fenton
Cinematography Andrew Dunn
Edited by John Wilson
Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release dates
13 October 2006 (2006-10-13)
Running time
104 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £2 million
Box office $11,121,000

The History Boys is a 2006 British comedy-drama film adapted by Alan Bennett from his play of the same name, which won the 2005 Olivier Award for Best New Play and the 2006 Tony Award for Best Play. It was directed by Nicholas Hytner, who directed the original production at the Royal National Theatre in London, and features the original cast of the play.

The school scenes were filmed in Watford in the two grammar schools, Watford Grammar School for Boys and Watford Grammar School for Girls. The film uses the uniform of Watford Boys. Locations in Elland and Halifax, West Yorkshire are used to create the broader landscape of Sheffield in which the story is set.


In a boys' grammar school in Sheffield in 1983, students Crowther, Posner, Dakin, Timms, Akthar, Lockwood, Scripps, and Rudge have recently obtained the school's highest ever A-level scores and are hoping to enter Oxford or Cambridge, taking a seventh-term entrance exam in History. The General Studies teacher, known by staff and boys alike by his nickname "Hector" (Richard Griffiths), is their favourite, and works alongside their deputy head and regular History teacher, Mrs Lintott (Frances de la Tour).

As part of their General Studies the class acts out scenes from romantic films and literature, and Posner (Samuel Barnett) sings a love song – Rodgers and Hart's "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" – which he pointedly directs towards Dakin (Dominic Cooper). Dakin, who characterises himself as an aspiring lecher, is currently pursuing an affair with the headmaster's secretary, Fiona (Georgia Taylor). He is not displeased by Posner's attention, but finds himself interested in Irwin. Gradually, Dakin's quest to impress Irwin on an intellectual level evolves into a flirtatious, potentially sexual pursuit of his young teacher – who is visibly attracted to Dakin.

Dakin then proceeds to the Headmaster's office and, by threatening to reveal Felix's own sexual harassment of Fiona, forces him to reinstate Hector.

The boys prepare to leave the grammar school at the end of that term, and Hector agrees to give Dakin a ride home on the motorbike "for old times' sake". However, before they leave, the headmaster runs out and stops them, saying that Hector should not take one of the boys. He suggests that Hector take Irwin instead. Dakin gladly hands the helmet to him, and the screen fades to white as they drive off, the boys waving happily and laughing.



According to Time,[1] the film is better than the original play, as the transformation to film improved the 'flow and intimacy' of the production, while preserving the messages it seeks to convey. Rolling Stone[2] notes that some sense of familiarity with the subject of the film is lost in the cutting of nearly an hour from the original play, but the dialogue remains witty and pointed as is the customary style of the author. New York[3] describes the film as 'brilliant and infectious', and filled with Alan Bennett's customary deadpan humour. The author writes as though he simultaneously envies the extrovert characters he has created, yet is happy to stand apart from them. Hector's classes ramble, but manage to inspire the boys to the extent that they are pleased to adopt his approach to learning, and contentedly go along with his eccentric behaviour. The film is peppered with literary references and carries an encouragement to engage with life.


The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures named The History Boys one of the Top Ten Films in its 2006 awards.[4]

The film was nominated for the 2007 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Film – Limited Release.[5]

Griffiths and de la Tour received BAFTA nominations for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress, respectively.


Title[6] Performed by[6]
"L'Accordéoniste" Samuel Barnett, Jamie Parker
"Bewitched" Samuel Barnett, Jamie Parker
"Now Voyager" Jamie Parker
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor – Adagio Sostenuto Jamie Parker
"Wish Me Luck (As You Wave Me Goodbye)" Cast
"Bye Bye Blackbird" Samuel Barnett, Jamie Parker, cast
"Wish Me Luck (As You Wave Me Goodbye)" Gracie Fields
"Blue Monday" New Order
"This Charming Man" The Smiths
"Mustapha Dance" The Clash
"Never Stop (Discothèque)" Echo & the Bunnymen
"A Forest" The Cure
"Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag" Pigbag
"Bewitched" Rufus Wainwright


  1. ^ Schickel, Richard (22 November 2006). "TIME review". TIME. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  2. ^ "The History Boys". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  3. ^ "The History Boys". New York. Retrieved 17 April 2007. 
  4. ^ "National Board of Review of Motion Pictures :: Awards". Retrieved 7 December 2006. 
  5. ^ "GLAAD: 18th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Nominees". Archived from the original on 9 February 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2007. 
  6. ^ a b "IMDB – The History Boys – Soundtrack". Retrieved 18 August 2009. 

External links[edit]