(1989)

Critic Reviews

83

Metascore

Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
Straightforward, energetic, updated Bard. 28-year-old star-director-adapter Kenneth Branagh's spellbinding version of Shakespeare's Henry isn't superior to Olivier's 1944 version - it's different, and complementary to it.
90
Big and pretty, vigorous, thoughtful, this Hamlet expands the story with helpful flashbacks.
90
Most astounding, though, is the power of the film's leading actor. While Branagh's direction is forthright and articulate, his acting is brash and flamboyant.
88
What works best in the film is the over-all vision. Branagh is able to see himself as a king, and so we can see him as one.
88
Boston Globe
One of the things that make [Branagh's] Henry V so thrilling is his audacity in trying to turn it into an antiwar play - a view that would have astounded Shakespeare. Astonishingly, he pretty much brings it off, emerging with steadily growing power as the young king who isn't afraid to bloody his hands. [15 Dec 1989]
80
Chicago Reader
The cast - including Derek Jacobi as the modern-dress chorus, Paul Scofield, Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Emma Thompson, and Robbie Coltrane in an effective cameo as Falstaff - is uniformly fine without any grandstanding.
80
Empire
Branagh's Henry V must, however, be counted a success - it might never be as famous as Olivier's, but it should carry considerable clout for years to come.
80
Mr. Branagh has made a fine, rousing new English film adaptation of Shakespeare's ''Henry V,'' a movie that need not apologize to Laurence Olivier's 1944 classic.
80
Variety
Henry V is a stirring, gritty and enjoyable pic which offers a plethora of fine performances from some of the U.K.'s brightest talents.
80
An alert, rousing interpretation of "Henry V," Branagh beats down the doors of high art and drags the sleeping bard into the light of modern day.

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