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Henry IV Part I (1979)

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry Surnamed Hotspur (original title)
Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed 'Hotspur'). Henry's son Hal, the Prince ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
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Henry, Prince of Wales
Rob Edwards ...
...
David Buck ...
...
...
Bruce Purchase ...
Robert Morris ...
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March
John Cairney ...
Archibald, Earl of Douglas
...
Norman Rutherford ...
Sir Michael
Richard Owens ...
Terence Wilton ...
Sir Richard Vernon
...
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Storyline

Henry Bolingbroke has now been crowned King of England, but faces a rebellion headed by the embittered Earl of Northumberland and his son (nicknamed 'Hotspur'). Henry's son Hal, the Prince of Wales, has thrown over life at court in favour of heavy drinking and petty theft in the company of a debauched elderly knight, Sir John Falstaff. Hal must extricate himself from some legal problems, regain his father's good opinions and help suppress the uprising. Written by Peter Brynmor Roberts

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9 December 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Henry IV Part I  »

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The week prior to the screening of this episode in both the UK and the US, Richard II (1978) was repeated as a lead-in to the trilogy. The episode also began with Richard's death scene from the previous play. See more »

Goofs

Henry butters his hands while talking to Hal. In the next cut he is wearing gloves. We then see him continuing to butter his hands and only the does he put on the gloves. See more »

Connections

Version of Falstaff (2001) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Good, solid production
26 October 2014 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part 1 (1979) was directed for the BBC by David Giles. Like most of the BBC productions, the acting is solid and the text is respected.

Although the play's title would make you assume that King Henry was the central role, that's not correct. The real story of the play--and the movie--is the coming of age of Henry's son, Hal, the Prince of Wales. A major theme is the contrast of the Prince with his warlike contemporary, another Hal, called Hotspur. (In reality, Hotspur was much older than the prince, but Shakespeare's version is much more dramatic.) Also, of course, this is the play in which Shakespeare introduces the roguish fat knight, Sir John Falstaff.

David Gwillim as Hal, Tim Pigott-Smith as Hotspur, and Anthony Quayle as Falstaff are all excellent. Almost all of the BBC productions are shot indoors, but I think director Giles shot the battle scenes outdoors. As usual with the BBC, the supporting actors are good, as are the actors playing minor roles. Costumes are great, settings are minimal. (It worked for the Globe, and it works for the BBC.)

If you know the play well, you'll be happy with this version. If you don't know the play, Henry IV, Part 1 is a good history play with which to start. (It's not the first play in chronological time, but it's a great introduction to Shakespeare's history plays.)

The BBC films were made for TV, so they work well on the small screen. I saw one scene on a large scene in a classroom setting, and that also worked well.


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