Quotes from the Movie The History Boys

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.

Hector

Remember boys: festoon your answers with gobbets, and you won't go far wrong.

Hector

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.

Hector

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.

Hector

Foul, festering, grubby-minded little trollop! [hitting Timms with a rolling up paper] Do not use that word!

Hector

I do, sir, I know, but I am far gone in age and decrepitude.

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?

Hector

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.

Irwin

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.

Irwin

It's your eyesight that's bad, and we know what that's caused by.

Irwin

Possibly, it might even be a joke.

Irwin

So, let's summarize. The first World War- what points do we make?

Irwin

So, our overall conclusion is that the origins of the second war lie in the unsatisfactory outcome of the first.

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.

Irwin

What's truth got to do with it? [Scripps laughs quietly] What's truth go to do with anything?

Irwin

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