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The History Boys (2006)

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.



(screenplay), (play)

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Nominated for 2 BAFTA Film Awards. Another 2 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Jamie Parker ...


In 1980s Britain, a group of young men at Cutlers' Grammar School all have the brains, and the will to earn the chance of getting accepted in the finest universities in the nation, Oxford and Cambridge. Despite the fine teaching by excellent professionals like Mrs Lintott in history and the intellectually enthusiastic Hector in General Studies, the Headmaster is not satisfied. He signs on the young Irwin to polish the students' style to give them the best chance. In this mix of intellectualism and creative spirit that guides a rigorous preparation regime for that ultimate educational brass ring, the lives of the randy students and the ostensibly restrained faculty intertwine that would change their lives forever. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Meet The Boys Who Are Making History! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

22 December 2006 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

History Boys  »

Box Office


£2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£794,672 (UK) (13 October 2006)


$2,706,659 (USA) (23 February 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


A great number of cast members have also appeared in Doctor Who (2005). Samuel Anderson portraying Danny Pink in Series 8, James Cordon portraying Craig Owens in Series 5 and 6, Russell Tovey portraying Midshipman Frame in Series 4, Penelope Wilton portraying Harriet Jones in Series 1, 2 and 4 and Adrian Scarborough portraying Kahler-Jex in Series 7. Sacha Dhawan, though never appearing in the show itself, portrayed Warris Hussein in the TV spin-off movie An Adventure in Space and Time (2013), which dramatized the creation and early years of the show See more »


The first time we see Hector giving a lift to one of the pupils on his motorbike, they drive past a house with a satellite dish on the wall. Satellite TV did not exist in the UK in 1983. See more »


[about A.E. Housman]
Timms: Wasn't he a nancy, sir?
Hector: Foul, festering, grubby-minded little trollop! Do not use that word!
[Hector hits Timms on the head with an exercise book]
Timms: But you use it, sir!
Hector: I do, sir, I know, but I am far gone in age and decrepitude.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning of the film, the title - "The History Boys" - is taken letter by letter from random parts of an essay on the dissolution of the monasteries, a common history topic, which the History Boys themselves write later on in the film. See more »


References Gilda (1946) See more »


Papa's Got a Brand New Pigbag
Written by Simon Underwood, Oliver Moore, James Johnstone, Andrew Carpenter, Christopher Hamlyn,
Christopher Lee and Roger Freeman
(c) Mistral Music Ltd / Warner/Chappell Music Ltd
Performed by Pigbag
Licensed courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment (UK) Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Overblown and Euphuistic
23 February 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

With pretensions at loftiness, this film was well-received by the Brits, less so by others, (except for those insecure people who pretend to "get it" in order to feel accepted by the "in" crowd). It has it's moments, but is unrealistic and bombastic in scope. A celebration of borderline gay pedophilia, combined with witty pubescent brainiacs offhandedly spouting obscure literary quotes make this film nearly unwatchable.

Cute in some parts, tediously precocious in others, it's lofty premise is bogged down by a fatal lack of realism, and a story that completely ignores rationality for a weird semi-homo-erotic fantasy-idealism that somehow makes impropriety and perversion ordinary, even acceptable.

And I'm a gay man!

I gave it a rating of 3 for it's beautiful cinematography, its directional excellence and yes, even its cute actors. It has its moments of hilarity, its engaging wit and even a few captivating devices.

But to put the dialog of an educated and seasoned adult into the mouths of these "babes" is laughable. To further portray them in classes that are as randomly unrealistic as these stretches the bounds of credibility. And to further infuse a homosexual pedophilia into the mix as if it were both commonplace and ordinary, "just a bit of fun", as one character defends it, is both offensive and repulsive to me.

If you want to be perceived as smart, chic and trendy, then by all means, sit through this film and rave to your friends about how brilliant, witty and progressive it is. But if you have enough courage to be yourself, then don't bother wasting your time with it.

15 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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