- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 52 minutes
- Video: Color
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Released: June 16, 2009
- Originally Released: 2006
- Label: Fox Searchlight
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Aspect Ratio: Widescreen - 1.85
- Dolby Digital 5.1 - English
- Dolby Digital Surround - Spanish
- Subtitles - English, French, Spanish - Optional
- Additional Release Material:
- Audio Commentary: Nicholas Hytner - Director; Alan Bennett - Writer
- Trailers: Previews
- "Pass it On: THE HISTORY BOYS on Screen"
- "History Boys Around the World: Tour Diaries"
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Total Film - 11/01/2006
3 stars out of 5 -- "THE HISTORY BOYS is at its most moving in the quieter, more reflective moments..."
Premiere - 12/01/2006
3 stars out of 5 -- "THE HISTORY BOYS is a pretty grand and juicy entertainment....There's no one today writing English dialogue as sharp as Bennett's..."
Rolling Stone - 11/30/2006
3 stars out of 5 -- "Bennett's dialogue sparkles and skewers with killer wit. Dig in."
Box Office - 12/01/2006
"[G]iven flesh and substance by veteran dramatist Alan Bennett's witty and muscular way with dialogue."
New York Times - 11/21/2006
"[F]erociously engaging....The acting is wonderful. Mr. Moore's avid Irwin and Mr. Griffiths shambling Hector are matched by the extraordinary Frances de la Tour as Dorothy Lintott..."
Entertainment Weekly - 12/01/2006
"The movie adaptation has been lifted from the theater with original cast and director Nicholas Hytner intact; the actors interact as cozily as chums on a playing field..." -- Grade: B
Movieline's Hollywood Life - 11/01/2006
"THE HISTORY BOYS preserves some of the best writing to grace the theater in many years....The movie is highly entertaining."
Ultimate DVD - 03/01/2007
4 stars out of 5 -- "THE HISTORY BOYS is an exhilarating experience; one that delivers the vivid pyrotechnics of language, and challenges the intellect..."
THE HISTORY BOYS, a clever look at a British school system's attempts to produce Oxford and Cambridge-worthy graduates, is based on the play of the same title by Alan Bennett. Bennett's play provides an interesting springboard for a film about youth, growing up, education, identity, and the complexities of the student-teacher relationship. Set in Sheffield, England, in the early 1980s, the story follows a class of college-bound high-school boys as they prepare for the rigorous entrance exams. Feeling the boys need grooming beyond what the absurd Mr. Hector (Richard Griffiths) and sarcastic Mrs. Lintott (Frances De La Tour) can offer, the headmaster (Clive Merrison) brings in Mr. Irwin (Stephen Campbell Moore) to fill in the gaps. As a finishing school teacher of sorts, it becomes Irwin's job, through innovative history lessons and bold techniques, to turn children into men. But like his colleagues, Mr. Irwin is not without doubts and of his own, and his inevitable attraction to one of his students is something that he continually struggles with.
Not what you'd expect from a film about teenagers, the story veers away from traditional notions of youthful rebellion, instead focusing on more mature issues of sexual orientation, life philosophies, and mortality. The film's cast of truly talented actors is headed by Richard Griffiths, whose performance as the tragically flawed yet loveable Mr. Hector forms much of the story's heart. Each student is played to perfection by young actors who include Samuel Barnett, Dominic Cooper, James Corden, and Russell Tovey. Filled with intellectual horsing around, rampant homosexual tension, and particularly lenient faculty, this day school appears to have little in common with the typical American high school. THE HISTORY BOYS should be especially refreshing to American audiences used to seeing adolescence exploited as it so often is in today's gross-out comedies.
- Theatrical Release: November 22, 2006