Out of work actor Joe volunteers to help try and save his sister's local church for the community by putting on a Christmas production of Hamlet, somewhat against the advice of his agent ... See full summary »
As Macbeth rides home from battle three witches stop him. They tell him that he will soon rise in power, first becoming Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. King Duncan has just ... See full summary »
Rosalind, the daughter of Duke Senior (the banished duke), is raised at the court of Duke Frederick (who is younger brother to Duke Senior and took over his dukedom), with her cousin Celia ... See full summary »
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 <email@example.com>
Stanley Kubrick preferd this adaptation over the Laurence Olivier version ( whom he had listed as one of his top 10 favorite films in 1963 ). See more »
French soldier wearing blue dies twice of an arrow in the back. See more »
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.
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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
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