In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.


Kenneth Branagh


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





Cast overview, first billed only:
Derek Jacobi ... Chorus
Kenneth Branagh ... King Henry V
Simon Shepherd ... Duke Humphrey of Gloucester
James Larkin 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)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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:

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Did You Know?


Kenneth Branagh (King Henry V) is the last actor to receive an Academy Award nomination for his role in a Shakespearean film. He was nominated for Best Actor but lost to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance in My Left Foot (1989). See more »


The French herald, Montjoy, is with Henry V when he receives the lists of the dead. This is immediately followed by the tracking shot of Henry walking over the battlefield, part-way through which he passes Montjoy who bows to him. Unless Montjoy did some pointless off-camera sprinting, he could not have got ahead of Henry in time. See more »


[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.
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Referenced in At the Movies: Simpatico/The Third Miracle/Titus (2000) See more »

User Reviews

Powerful ode to St. Crispian's Day: 'We few, we happy few'...
13 March 2006 | by roghacheSee all my reviews

While not much of an historical expert on Henry V and not having even personally read Shakespeare's play, I presume this film, from its appearance, to be quite a stellar adaptation. Battle movies, whether Shakespearean based or not, are not normally my favorite genre though this tale seems very well executed. I found the actual battle scenes quite long and graphic with plenty of mud, sweat, blood, and tears, even though it was doubtless exactly thus at Agincourt in 1415. The scene where the surviving soldiers from each side collect their dead from the battlefield for burial is a vivid depiction of the tragedy of war.

This Shakespearean play made for all time, whether accurately or not, a noble and just hero out of the historical figure Henry V (just as Shakespeare firmly established Richard III as a villain). From my amateur perspective, Kenneth Branagh gives a brilliant performance in all facets of the king's action, whether back in England dealing with political / military issues following an insult by the King of France, eventually at the end wooing the French princess (daughter of said French king), and most especially rallying his weary, demoralized troops at Agincourt.

Of course the English victory at the bloody Battle of Agincourt, despite superior numbers of French forces, is legendary. Henry's rallying St. Crispian's Day speech prior to the battle is, from my standpoint, a fitting example of Shakespeare's genius. I can still picture 'We few, we happy few, we band of brothers...', delivered by Branagh with such eloquence and intensity.

The scene in which Henry refuses to spare his friend, who has been caught stealing from the French church, is also dramatic and shows the king's efforts, undoubtedly painful to him, to remain impartial when disciplining his troops. This soldier was in fact Falstaff, whom I recall vividly as 'Prince Hal's' (later Henry V's) friend from the earlier play, Henry IV, Part I, which I DID read in school, so found the incident particularly touching.

However, for me the scenes of Henry hobnobbing incognito with his troops before the battle, his own conflicted emotions about his military decisions, and the subsequent rousing St. Crispian's speech are indeed the definite highlights in this memorable adaptation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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English | French

Release Date:

8 November 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Henry V See more »


Box Office


$9,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$64,933, 12 November 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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