7.1/10
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54 user 33 critic

Henry V (1944)

The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fifth with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France (original title)
Trailer
6:08 | Trailer
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)
Reviews
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hundreds of locals were hired as extras for the Agincourt battle scenes filmed in neutral Ireland in 1943. The production company paid an additional pound to anyone who brought his own horse. See more »

Goofs

The real Henry V had a large scar on the left side of his face, the result of being struck and nearly killed by an arrow at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. The scar is not shown in this film. 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 closing credits list 'Produced and Directed by' Laurence Olivier in close association with all the other listed members of the crew. See more »

Alternate Versions

A pseudo-widescreen version in Superscope played theatres in the late 1950s. See more »


Soundtracks

Obal din lou Limouzi
(uncredited)
Folk song from the Auvergne, France
Arranged by William Walton
See more »

User Reviews

 
The Gold Standard
1 May 2004 | by jacksflicksSee all my reviews

This is a brilliantly conceived movie-within-a-play-within-a-movie that showcases the genius of Laurence Olivier. Today's audiences are exposed mainly to Olivier the movie actor. But if you want to see a purer form of acting, see Olivier the stage actor. This is possible by watching his Shakespeare plays on film. And these films are by Olivier the "auteur," long before the term was coined. Olivier's is the legacy to which Branaugh and others, who essay Shakespeare on film, must live up to.

And lest you're expecting a camera pointed at a stage, don't worry. Olivier, who produced and directed most of his Shakespeare films, has actually used the film medium to enlarge his plays' visual scope, while maintaining the intimacy that is the essence of live theatre. Also, Olivier is mindful of how daunting the language of Shakespeare is for modern audiences and has modified much of the original script to be more comprehensible, while preserving the feel of Elizabethan English.

Olivier's "Henry V" was to England what Eisentein's "Ivan the Terrible" was to Russia — a familiar history rendered as a national epic, for morale purposes, while audiences were fighting off the Germans during World War II. There are other parallels. For example, both use static, formalized composition, in Henry V's case meant to resemble the images in medieval illuminated manuscripts and books of Hours. (In Ivan's case, according to Pauline Kael, like Japanese Kabuki.) Thus, a sound stage "exterior" backdrop becomes a tableau that serves to enhance, with its flat perspective and subjective scale, the view we have of that fabulous Age of Chivalry for which the play's Battle of Agincourt was the closing act.

I've always scoffed at the extravagant accolades which show business gives its own. But after seeing this film, or his equally brilliant "Hamlet," I can understand why Laurence Olivier was so good, that a knighthood wasn't enough, and so he was raised to the peerage.


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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:

GBP475,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$62,619
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Two Cities Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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