The History Boys

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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 the Holocaust] But to put something in context is a step towards saying it can be understood and that it can be explained. And if it can be explained then it can be explained away.
  • [on his life] I'm a Jew, I'm small; I'm homosexual, and I live in Sheffield. [pause] I'm f***ed.
  • He thinks he is in love with Dakin, however, no-one believes this and thinks it is just a phase
  • I'm not happy but I'm not unhappy about 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. Lintott[edit]

  • History is a commentary on the various and continuing incapabilities of men. What is history? History is women following behind... with a bucket.
  • Durham was very good for history. It's where I had my first pizza. Other things too, of course, but it's the pizza that stands out.


  • 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 Headmaster[edit]

  • They're good... but they're crass. They need polish... edge.
  • I want to be up there with Manchester Grammar, Haberdasher Asks, Leighton Park... or is that an open prison? No matter.
  • One oddity: Rudge. And Christchurch 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.


Timms: [after quoting A.E. Houseman] Wasn't he a nancy, sir?
Hector: Foul, festering, grubby-minded little trollop! [hitting Timms with a rolling up paper] Do not use that word!
Timms: But you use it, sir.
Hector: I do, sir, I know, but I am far gone in age and decrepitude.
Dakin: You're not supposed to hit us, sir. We could report you.
Hector: I know, I know.
Crowther: Yeah. You should treat us with more respect. We're scholarship candidates now, sir. We're all going in for Oxford and Cambridge.
Hector: Oxford and Cambridge? What for?
Lockwood: Old, sir. Tried and tested.

Hector: Now... who goes home? [all the boys gather their things ignoring him] Well, surely I can give somebody a lift. Who's on pillion duty? Dakin?
Dakin: Not me, sir. I'm going into town.
Hector: Crowther?
Crowther: No, I'm off for a run, sir.
Hector: Akhtar?
Akhtar: Computer club, sir.
Posner: I'll come, sir.
Hector: Oh, no, never mind.
Scripps: [reluctantly] I'll come, sir.
Hector: Ah, Scripps.
Scripps: [to the boys as he grabs a helmet] The things I do for Jesus. [he follows Hector]
Posner: It's never me.
Lockwood: You're too young still.
Dakin: It'll happen. Now that you've achieved puberty.
Lockwood: If rather late in the day.
Dakin: Mr. Hector is likely, at some point, to try to put his hand on your knee. This is because Mr. Hector is a homosexual and a sad fuck. The drill is to look at the hand and go, "And what does Mr. Hector want?" He has no answer for this, and so, will desist.

Headmaster: There's a vacancy in history.
Irwin: That's very true.
Headmaster: In the school.
Irwin: Ah.

Lintott: I just wish I had been told.
Felix: He comes highly recommended.
Lintott: So did Anne of Cleves.
Felix: Who? He's up to the minute, Dorothy, more "now."
Lintott: Now? I thought history was "then."
Timms: [at lunch with Akhtar] Felix.
Felix: Anne of Cleves- remind me.
Akhtar: Fourth wife of Henry VIII, sir.
Felix: Of course.
Timms: She was the one they told him was Miss Dish, only when she turned up she had the face like the wrong end of a camels turd.
Felix: Quite.

Wilkes: What's the matter with you, lad?
Timms: [not dressed for gym] I've got a note, sir.
Wilkes: How much for? I don't do notes. Get changed.
Timms: Sir...
Wilkes: God doesn't do notes either. Did Jesus say, "Can I be excused for the crucifixion"? No.
Scripps: Actually, sir, I think he did.
Wilkes: [to Timms] Change. [to the rest] One day, it'll save your life.
Posner: Nothing saves anyone's life, sir. It just postpones their death.
Wilkes: [putting his hand on his shoulders] Jesus Christ will save you life, lad, if you only let him into your heart.
Posner: I'm Jewish, sir.
Akhtar: [as Wilkes is about to put his hands on his shoulders] I'm Muslim, sir. [Wilkes walks away]

Wilkes: You're letting yourself down. You're letting God down.
Lockwood: What's God got to do with it?
Wilkes: Listen, boy. This isn't your body.
Lockwood: No?
Wilkes: This body is on loan to you from God.
Lockwood: [walking away] Fuck me!
Wilkes: I heard that. Give me twenty.
Lockwood: Twenty what, Hail Marys?
Wilkes: Do it.

Wilkes: [Irwin gives him a note] What's this?
Timms: Do you need a hand with that, sir?
Akhtar: Is it joined up writing?

Timms: You've got crap handwriting, sir.
Irwin: It's your eyesight that's bad, and we know what that's caused by.
Timms: Sir! Is that a coded reference to the mythical dangers of self-abuse?
Irwin: Possibly, it might even be a joke.
Dakin: A joke, sir? Oh. Are jokes going to be a feature, sir? We need to know as it affects our mind-set.
Akhtar: You don't object to our using the expression "mind-set," do you, sir? Mr. Hector doesn't car for it.

Dakin: What happened with Hector, on the bike?
Scripps: [laughs] As per. Except I managed to get my bag down. I think he thought he'd got me going. In fact it was my Tudor Economic Documents, Volume 2. [he and Dakin laugh]

Irwin: So, let's summarize. The first World War- what points do we make?
Crowther: Trench warfare.
Lockwood: Mountains of dead.
Posner: On both sides.
Dakin: Generals stupid.
Posner: On both sides.
Akhtar: Armistice. Germany humiliated.
Irwin: Keep it coming.
Crowther: Mass unemployment.
Akhtar: Inflation.
Timms: Collapse of the Weimar Republic, internal disorder and the rise of Hitler.
Irwin: So, our overall conclusion is that the origins of the second war lie in the unsatisfactory outcome of the first.
Timms: Yes. Yes.
Irwin: First class. Bristol welcomes you with open arms. Manchester longs to have you! You can walk into Leeds! But I'm a fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford, I've just read 70 papers, they're all saying the same thing, and I'm asleep.
Scripps: [raises his hand]But it's all true.
Irwin: What's truth got to do with it? [Scripps laughs quietly] What's truth go to do with anything?

Scripps: You can't explain away the poetry, sir.
Lockwood: No, sir. Art wins in the end.

Scripps: Love can be very irritating.
Posner: How do you know?
Scripps: It's what I always think about God. He must get so pissed off, everyone adoring him all the time.
Posner: Yes, only you don't catch God poncing around in his underpants.

Headmaster: How are young men coming along? Are they on stream?
Irwin: Yes, I think so.
Headmaster: You think so? Are they or aren't they?
Irwin: It'll always be something of a lottery.
Headmaster: A lottery? I don't like the sound of that. Irwin, I don't want you to fuck up. We've been down that route too many times before.

Scripps: [after Dakin talks to Irwin] You flirt.
Dakin: I don't understand it. Never wanted to please anybody the way I do him, girls not excepted.

Dakin: Are we scarred for life, do you think?
Scripps: We must hope so.

Scripps: Have you looked at your handwriting recently?
Dakin: Why?
Scripps: You're beginning to write like him [meaning Irwin].
Dakin: I'm not trying to, honestly.
Scripps: [addressing Posner] You're writing like him, I know.
Posner: No, I'm not. Dakin writes like him. I write like Dakin.
Dakin: It's done wonders for the sex life. Apparently, I talk about him so much, Fiona gets really pissed off. Doing it's about the only time I shut up.
Scripps: Would you do it with him? [again meaning Irwin]
Dakin: Yeah, I wondered about that. I might. Bring a little bit of sunshine into his life. It's only a wank after all.
Scripps: What makes you think he'd do it with you? [Dakin gives him a look and Scripps laughs] You complacent fuck!
Dakin: Does the Archbishop of Canterbury know you talk like this?

Scripps: Oh, Pos, with your spaniel heart. It will pass.
Posner: Yes, it's a phase. Who says I want it to pass? But the pain, the pain.
Scripps: Hector would say it's the only education worth having.
Posner: Yes. I just wish there were marks for it!

Dakin: [after asking Irwin out] I just wanted to say thank you.
Scripps: So? Give him a subscription to The Spectator or a box of Black Magic! Just because you got a scholarship, doesn't mean you have to give him unfettered access to your dick!
Dakin: Well, how would you say thank you?
Scripps: I... On my knees, probably, same as you. I shall want a full report.

Lockwood: I might try the army.
Timms: You?! You're a shambles.
Lockwood: No, but they put you through college, apparently. Pay your fees and everything.
Akhtar: Yeah, provided you kill people afterwards.
Lockwood: We won't go to war again. Who's there to fight?
Scripps: I don't know about a career. I've got to get fucking out of the way first.
Crowther: That goes on.
Posner: Or doesn't.


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


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