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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)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  9 December 1979 (UK)
7.9
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 133 users  
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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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Title: Henry IV Part I (TV Movie 1979)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Henry, Prince of Wales
Rob Edwards ...
...
David Buck ...
...
...
Bruce Purchase ...
Robert Morris ...
Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March
John Cairney ...
Archibald, Earl of Douglas
David Neal ...
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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Drama

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9 December 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Henry IV Part I  »

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Did You Know?

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

Followed by Henry IV Part II (1979) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Excellent, without weakness
11 August 2006 | by See all my reviews

These history plays are the least ambitious of the BBC Shakespeare series in terms of directorial approach - an almost semi-documentary feel accompanies the personalities and political machinations that lead to war. There's no attempt here to replicate Vermeer or some other Old Master. That doesn't short-change the work in any way, and if you're curious about this play, don't hesitate.

Anthony Quayle plays a jolly Falstaff who is also a flinty, manipulative SOB. The approach works like a charm. Jon Finch's King Henry IV is part lion, part water buffalo, but always in charge. The potentially tiresome Hotspur is redeemed with a welcome note of humor by Tim Pigott-Smith. John Cairney's Douglas is marvelously peppery, and Brenda Bruce's Mistress Quickly avoids cliché by bringing out touching warmth and humanity.

When David Gwillim first appears as Prince Hal, you wonder "can this glass of milk really grow into Henry V? Has BBC casting lost its senses?" But in fact, he manages the transition to adult responsibility very well, and by the end of the play he's obviously made of the right stuff. So Shakespeare has fooled us successfully once again.

A special note should be made of Clive Swift, in his pre-"Keeping Up Appearances" days. As Worcester, he personifies the actor's dictum that acting is reacting. His voice is plain and his delivery unremarkable, but oh, that man can listen! As The Dumpy Bald Guy in the Corner With a Silent Grievance, he absolutely invents the category.

We should also note the battle scenes, always problematic in the studio and here quite well done. And the lovely outdoor set, including a steep hillside, bursts the bonds of BBC's TC1. The pace is not fast, but it is reasonable. An excellent production all round.


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