The History Boys

Published September 19, 2010

The History Boys

Film info

  • Title The History Boys
  • Director Nicholas Hytner
  • Year 2006
  • Run time 1hr 47m
  • Genres Drama, Comedy
  • Tagline History, it's just one bloody thing after another

Eight bright, funny history students in the mid 1980s are pursuing an undergraduate place at the country's two finest universities. Their headmaster is obsessed with breaking into the ranks of those schools that regularly send boys up to Oxford and Cambridge and enlists Irwin, a shrewd newcomer, to coach the boys into intellectual shape for the trials ahead. Seduced though they are by the exam-busting bag of tricks offered by the temporary supply teacher, the boys are torn by their loyalty to the hugely eccentric, poetry-spouting English master Hector and the regular diet of nourishing facts and figures dispensed by Mrs Lintott, their history mistress. As they prepare for the daunting admissions process, the journey of the History Boys becomes as much about how education works as where education leads.

Live Blog

Time Comment
1:42 If our roads were empty like that, I would ride a bike everywhere too.
3:47 “Why are you dressed as a milkman?” Uh… surely the only possible answer to that is “Because I’m a milkman.”
5:04 Did I blink and a whole summer passed by?
7:06 PE was introduced in the 80s? I figured it had been around forever.
8:49 I’m assuming this is a boys school as there isn’t a girl in sight.
12:12 Blimey. They speak French better than we ever did at school.
12:35 Of course, we never role-played a brothel.
18:19 All of these kids have gone on to other things. Even James Corden.
22:40 “Have a heart. He’s only five minutes older than we are.” Ah, substitute teachers.
26:52 There’s a statue just like that in Winchester, I have a photo.
30:52 “Most of the stuff poetry is about hasn’t happened to us yet.”
36:05 Interesting that they think a teacher is trying to make them into a more well-rounded human being. That is certainly not the aim of the education system these days.
44:32 He’s a pretty scary headmaster.
46:33 Gobbets is not a nice word.
48:37 That feels like the end of Act 1.
1:00:29 I find it annoying that every single sentence ends with Sir.
1:01:56 Blimey. I wouldn’t know what to do if a teacher started crying. I’d probably run off.
1:06:4 I don’t really understand why they all decided to cover for Hector in the first place.
1:11:31 She’s a very angry history teacher. I suppose there is a lot in history to be angry about.
1:16:47 His ploy didn’t work.
1:18:45 The architecture is nice. He could just say that anyway.
1:19:37 “It’s like a stately home. My parents would love it.”
1:21:43 Life is incredibly random, but also very coincidental.
1:27:05 They all got places?
1:37:25 That is a great way of showing something without showing it. Fade to white, noise only.
1:41:57 Perhaps it should be called Hector’s Boys.
1:42:26 “I’m not happy, but I’m not unhappy about it.”


iPlayer to the rescue, and although I was only vaguely aware of this film/play, I was intrigued by all the many famous people in it - some of them on the way up to stardom. I’m also always interested in how plays make the transition to the big screen.

I’m not going to lie, there was a lot of this that went over my head. Far too much pontificating about things and quoting literature that I don’t know. That’s kind of what you get with plays, of course. That aside, the film was great and I liked it’s subtle, understated nature. Sometimes it’s nice to have watch something calm and intellectual (even if you don’t get all of it).

Rating: 2 / 5

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