"Becket" is one of my favorite historic films of the 1960's. It follows the realtionship between the uncompromising and highly emotional King Henry II of England (Peter O'Toole, fresh from international acclaim as "Lawrence of Arabia" in the 1962 blockbuster) and his more reasonable, intelligent and honorable friend and chancellor, Thomas Becket (Richard Burton, fresh from his memorable off-screen romance with Elizabeth Taylor in that long and lackluster production of "Cleopatra".)
The film is set in the 12th Century---The Normans have ruled England since the Conquest in 1066 and Henry is William's great grandson. The society has stabalized to the point that Henry Planetgenet's main concerns are regaining his hold over select French cities and taxing and controlling the clergy in his kingdom. The higher clergy, like most institutions of wealth, would rather neither wished to be taxed more nor submit priests accused of crimes to Henry's courts. Henry wants control from Rome minimized--
The movie works as a type of love story---Henry II is a man who doesn't like his family and has felt unloved all his life. Becket is like an older brother to him, even though in the film (and play by Jean Alouilh) he is a base-born Saxon and Henry a Norman. ( Actually, Becket was probably not a Saxon at all, but a Norman of a lower nobility. The playwright knew he was mistaken after he finished the play, but didn't change that little goof because it added to the drama of the story. )
Both Burton and O'Toole are great in their respective roles. Here is a pivotal scene in the middle of the film.