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Henry V (1944)

The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fifth with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France (original title)
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In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director:

Laurence Olivier

Writer:

William Shakespeare (by) (as Will Shakespeare)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leslie Banks ... Chorus
Felix Aylmer ... Archbishop of Canterbury
Robert Helpmann ... Bishop of Ely
Vernon Greeves Vernon Greeves ... The English Herald
Gerald Case Gerald Case ... Earl of Westmoreland
Griffith Jones ... Earl of Salisbury
Morland Graham Morland Graham ... Sir Thomas Erpingham
Nicholas Hannen ... Duke of Exeter
Michael Warre Michael Warre ... Duke of Gloucester
Laurence Olivier ... King Henry V of England
Ralph Truman Ralph Truman ... Mountjoy, The French Herald
Ernest Thesiger ... Duke of Berri French Ambassador
Frederick Cooper Frederick Cooper ... Corporal Nym
Roy Emerton Roy Emerton ... Lieutenant Bardolph
Robert Newton ... Ancient Pistol
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Storyline

In the inspired Olivier concept, Shakespeare's play begins as a performance in the Globe Theatre, shifting in broad cinematic terms to an epic narrative of Henry V, who had developed from a dissolute youth to a purposeful monarch. Proving his ability as a soldier and skillful leader, he unites the dissident factions in the English army and goes on to crush the French, against enormous odds, at Agincourt. Arranging a treaty with the French court, he woos Princess Katharine to whom he is formally betrothed as part of the peace agreement. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Laurence Olivier's Presentation in Technicolor of Henry V


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

28 October 1945 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

Henry the Fifth See more »

Filming Locations:

County Wicklow, Ireland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£475,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Two Cities Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Esmond Knight (the patriotic Welsh soldier Fluellen) was a wounded veteran of the war. He had been badly injured in 1941 while on active service on-board the H.M.S. Prince of Wales when she was attacked by the Bismarck, and remained totally blind for two years. He had only just regained some sight in his right eye. See more »

Quotes

[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, leashed in like hounds, would famine, word, and fire crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that hath dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object: can this cockpit hold the vasty ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The advertising poster for the film's first U.S. run (in 1946) billed it as "A Two City Film" when it should have read "A Two Cities Film", as it does in the film's actual opening credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

In the American release of the film, all references to "bastards" in the dialogue were excised. See more »

Connections

Version of Henry V (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Baïlèro
(uncredited)
Folk song from the Auvergne, France
Arranged by William Walton
See more »

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User Reviews

Creative Adaptation of the Play
2 April 2002 | by Snow LeopardSee all my reviews

Laurence Olivier's production of Shakespeare's Henry V adds some creative and colorful touches to Olivier's usual fine performance in the lead role. Like the play itself, it's not as deep as the best of Olivier's Shakespeare films, but it works quite well and is an entertaining movie.

In the early scenes, the movie combines the play itself with a very detailed look at how the play would have been staged in Shakespeare's own day. It's very interesting, and is nicely done. It takes advantage of the slower parts in the early scenes to draw attention to the stage, the players, and the crowd, giving you a very good feel for what the theater was like then. Olivier also uses this device to liven up considerably the long historical discourse of the Archbishop of Canterbury in the play's second scene.

After the early scenes, when the real action begins, the movie wisely pulls away from the theater setting and concentrates on the story itself. Olivier is always good in this kind of role, and the photography and settings do a good job of setting off the action. It is noticeable, though, that Olivier chose to omit several scenes or portions of scenes that have some of the commands showing Henry's harsher characteristics, so that the movie concentrates much more on the king's heroic side. What's left still works fine, but it does lose a little depth without this balance. The rest of the cast is certainly adequate, though most of them are overshadowed by Henry. A couple of the exceptions are Robert Newton, very well cast as Pistol, and Esmond Knight, who works well as Fluellen.

Some minor aspects may keep it from being one of the best Shakespeare adaptations, but it's creative, distinctive, and good entertainment. You can rarely go wrong with anything that combines Olivier and Shakespeare.


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