7.5/10
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Henry V (1989)

Trailer
2:15 | 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:

Kenneth Branagh

Writers:

William Shakespeare (by), Kenneth Branagh (adapted for the screen by)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Chorus
Kenneth Branagh ... King Henry V
Simon Shepherd ... Duke Humphrey of Gloucester
James Larkin ... Duke John of Bedford
Brian Blessed ... Duke Thomas Beaufort of Exeter
James Simmons ... Duke Edward of York
Paul Gregory ... Westmoreland
Charles Kay ... Archbishop of Canterbury
Alec McCowen ... Bishop of Ely
Fabian Cartwright Fabian Cartwright ... Earl Richard of Cambridge
Stephen Simms Stephen Simms ... Lord Henry Scroop
Jay Villiers ... Sir Thomas Grey
Edward Jewesbury ... Sir Thomas Erpingham
Ian Holm ... Captain Fluellen
Danny Webb ... Gower (as Daniel Webb)
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Storyline

King Henry V of England (Sir Kenneth Branagh) is insulted by King Charles VI of France (Paul Scofield). 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 <essereli@student.msu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The great adventure of a king who defied the odds to prove himself a man.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for a bloody battle | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sir Kenneth Branagh's Best Actor Oscar nominated performance was the only one in the category not in a Best Picture nominee that year. See more »

Goofs

One of the "dead" soldiers lying in the field after a battle winks. 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, leash'd in like hounds, should famine, sword, and fire crouch for employment.
See more »

Connections

Version of Television World Theatre: The Life of Henry V (1957) See more »

User Reviews

 
A Kingly Feast for the Eyes and Ears
7 December 2004 | by artemis_5See all my reviews

"Henry V" marks Kenneth Branagh's greatest achievement to date. Branagh not only directs this rich and visually stunning film, he stars as the title character. The movie opens with Derek Jacobi (Branagh's Shakespearean mentor) in modern garb passionately delivering the prologue. Then we are taken into the dark, dank rooms of Henry's castle. The king makes his dramatic entrance, complete with a Darth Vader style cape.

The entire film is filled with grandeur and pomp, with any faults in the story line being attributable more to Shakespeare himself than Branagh. Henry V as I remember it from my college English class is a decidingly pro-British play (and film). There is little question that France should be conquered, and Henry speaks of his war against France as if it were France that attacked England. Indeed, Henry's famous "St. Chrispin's day speech" is so rousing, that it has been quoted often and inspired the name of the "Band of Brothers" miniseries about World War II. This is no surprise, since Shakespeare's prose is famously beautiful.

There is definitely a difference in the way that both sides of the conflict are presented. The French, at least in Branagh's movie are presented as arrogant (and somewhat effeminate), while on the side of the English, even children are filled with manly courage. Henry is presented as noble, fair, and merciful. True he threatens the mayor of one French town, telling him that if he does not surrender the town, the English will do terrible things to its residents, but does not carry out his threat. He also hangs the one English soldier who steals from a French church, refusing to show favoritism for him just because he was his friend. Apparently mercy towards your own countrymen was not a virtue that Henry saw particularly important.

The films greatest attribute is its soundtrack, particularly the use of music in the scene following the battle of Agincourt in which the warring parties collect their dead for burial.

All in all, a fascinating look inside the mind of a king.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

8 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Henry V See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,933, 12 November 1989

Gross USA:

$10,161,099

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,161,099
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo

Color:

Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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