Gérard Depardieu not only dubbed the title role in French, he helped to secure distribution for the film in France. In thanks, Kenneth Branagh cast him in Hamlet (1996). Branagh and Depardieu also both went on to play Cyrano de Bergerac.
Contains a flashback scene to (and a paraphrase of) Act 2, scene 4 of William Shakespeare's play Henry IV, Part 1, in which Falstaff jokingly tells Prince Hal (later to become King Henry V) that when he is king, he may stop socializing with all their other friends, but he shouldn't banish Falstaff himself from his company: "banish plump Jack, and banish all the world."
Contains a flashback scene to ACT 1, Scene 2: of William Shakespeare's "Henry IV, part 1", where Jack Falstaff proclaims "Do not thou, when thou art King, hang a thief." This flashback line is instead given to Bardolph, to make it more poignant when Henry hangs him.
Montjoy (Christopher Ravenscroft), the French herald, is expanded from a minor role in the play to a more prominent role in the film, by giving the lines of multiple characters to this one role. For instance, in the film Montjoy brings in the reports of the dead. In the play, this is done by an English herald. Here, this action highlights the increasing civility towards King Henry that is shown in Montjoy and the French nobles and princes alike.
The first of 9 films featuring Richard Briers directed by (and also starring) Kenneth Branagh. Previously, Branagh had directed Richard Briers in a stage production of "Twelfth Night", in which Branagh did not appear; this production was restaged for television and released on DVD in 1988.
Reunites Sirs Ian Holm and Robert Stephens from BBC's radio drama 'Lord of the Rings' (1981). In that play, Frodo Baggins (Holm) was a follower of Lord Aragorn (Stephens); here the roles are reversed, with Stephens playing Auncient Pistol, a low-ranking soldier under the command of Holm's Captain Fluellen.
In this film you actually see the hanging of Bardolph; in the play, this is only told through dialogue and there are no stage directions in the play to show this scene. In the Laurence Olivier version, Bardolph is not hanged, he just disappears from the action with no explanation.