Henry V (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Biography, Drama  |  8 November 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 22,542 users   Metascore: 83/100
Reviews: 108 user | 45 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

In the midst of the Hundred Years' War in 1415, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Larkin ...
Charles Kay ...
Fabian Cartwright ...
Stephen Simms ...
Jay Villiers ...
Edward Jewesbury ...
Gower (as Daniel Webb)


King Henry V of England is insulted by the King of France. As a result, he leads his army into battle against France. Along the way, the young king must struggle with the sinking morale of his troops and his own inner doubts. The war culminates at the bloody Battle of Agincourt. Written by Liza Esser <essereli@student.msu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The great adventure of a king who defied the odds to prove himself a man.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a bloody battle | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

8 November 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Enrique V  »

Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)


$10,161,099 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The famous London costume house Angels & Bermans provided most of the costumes for the film, just as they had done 45 years earlier for the Laurence Olivier version Henry V (1944). See more »


During the battle scene, a horseman's sword is seen bending severely when striking another sword, clearly revealing that it is rubber or plastic. See more »


[first lines]
Chorus: O! For a Muse of fire, that would ascend; The brightest heaven of invention; A kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene. Then should the war-like Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars; And at his heels, leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire crouch for employment.
See more »


Featured in CinéMagique (2002) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Once seen never forgotten
20 February 2001 | by (Scotland) – See all my reviews

This film surely must be in the frame for a number of best ever categories - best Shakespeare film adaptation, one of the best ever war films AND one of the best ever performances by a male actor. It's truly stunning to see how Shakespeare's words, which seemed dull and difficult to understand at school, can be spoken as passages of such depth, beauty and power. Not one in a thousand actors could do this convincingly - but Kenneth Branagh can.

I think this far outshines the Olivier version from 1944 (very good though that was). Branagh convinces (where Olivier does not always) as he gives a wider range of emotional responses to Henry - self questioning, compassionate, sad at the harsh realities of life. You can really believe that here is a young man who used to be a playboy now faced with having to grow up and behave as a king of England. As others have said, he gives such fire and charisma to the battle speeches that you want to march straight into battle yourself! And importantly, Branagh also convinces utterly in the romantic wooing of the French princess.

Naturally enough, the film focuses on the main actor playing Henry, but the supporting actors are also excellent. Derek Jacobi, particularly, does wonderfully in a difficult role. If I had to give one very slight caveat however, it would be that Emma Thompson (who I love as an actress), does not quite convince as a native French speaker, though she makes a good try at speaking the language rapidly. Perhaps Juliette Binoche would have been better here? But overall the obvious rapport between Branagh and Thompson (who were married at the time) is more important than any slight problems with the accent.

The only Shakespeare performance that tops this movie is seeing Branagh give a live performance on stage - I was privileged to see him (with Emma Thompson) perform Much Ado About Nothing in the late 1980s, and that's still the best I've ever seen.

Don't just see this - buy or record a copy. If you see it once, you will most likely want to see it over and over! 10/10

29 of 38 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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