The History Boys (film)

2006 film by Nicholas Hytner

The History Boys is a 2006 British film about an unruly class of gifted and charming teenage boys who pursue sex, sport, and higher education.

Directed by Nicholas Hytner, who directed the original production at the Royal National Theatre in London. 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.
Meet The Boys Who Are Making History!taglines


  • The best moments in reading are when you come across something — a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things — that you'd thought special, particular to you. And here it is, set down by someone else, a person you've never met, maybe even someone long dead. And it's as if a hand has come out and taken yours.
  • Remember boys: festoon your answers with gobbets, and you won't go far wrong.
  • I would hate to turn out boys who, in later life, would claim to have a love of literature, or speak of the lure of language, and their love of words. Words, said in a way that's somehow... Welsh.
  • Pass the parcel. That's sometimes all you can do. Take it, feel it, and pass it on. Not for me, not for you, but for someone, somewhere, one day. Pass it on, boys. That's the game I want you to learn. Pass it on.


  • But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don't see it, and because we don't see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian's jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be... even on the Holocaust.
  • The truth was, in 1914, Germany doesn't want war. Yeah, there's an arms race, but it's Britain who's leading it. So, why does no one admit this?

That's why. The dead. The body count. We don't like to admit the war was even partly our fault 'cause so many of our people died. And all the mourning's veiled the truth. It's not "lest we forget," it's "lest we remember." That's what all this is about — the memorials, the Cenotaph, the two minutes' silence. Because there is no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it.


  • [on Hector being sacked] No more genital massage as one speed along leafy suburban roads. No more the bike's melancholy long withdrawing roar as he dropped you at the corner, your honor still intact.


  • How do I define history? It's just one fuckin' thing after another.

Mrs. LintottEdit

  • History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind... with a bucket.


  • The more you read, though, the more you'll see that literature is actually about losers... It's consolation. All literature is consolation.
  • Turning facts on their heads. It's like a game.

"Felix" The HeadmasterEdit

  • They're good... but they're crass. They need polish... edge.
  • I want to be up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Askes, Leighton Park... or is that an open prison? No matter.
  • One oddity: Rudge. And Christ Church of all places! Might get into Loughborough... on a bad year... otherwise all brights!
  • I said it from the start: you can't polish a turd! (About Rudge)
  • On enquiry I find his pupils know all the words of "When I'm Cleaning Windows". And Gracie Fields, Dorothy, Gracie Fields.
  • I was a geographer. I went to Hull.


  • Meet The Boys Who Are Making History!
  • History. It's just one fucking thing after another.


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