Henry V

Henry V

Kenneth Branagh (1989)

131min
PG Certificate
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Review

Our Score
It's hard to recall the furore that greeted this film on its original release. Almost everyone compared first-time director Kenneth Branagh with Laurence Olivier, who made his own debut behind the camera with the same play 45 years earlier. The knives were clearly out for the pretender to Olivier's throne, yet he managed to produce a version that was as much of its time as Olivier's had been. Instead of the booming patriotism of the wartime flag-waver that was served up by Olivier, Branagh decided to focus on the savagery and futility of war. He thoroughly merited his best actor Oscar nomination: although the critics stood firmly behind Olivier's grandiloquence, Branagh gave the more subtle and rounded performance. His inclusion in the direction category, however, was more than a little flattering, as his showy use of camera and slow motion too often betrayed the naivety of the debutant. But that quibble aside, this is a solidly mounted production, with the contrasts between the finery of the court and the grime of the battlefield as striking as the excellent cast of noted thespians.

Summary

The English king leads his armies into war to reclaim control of France - culminating in a pivotal confrontation with much larger enemy forces on the fields of Agincourt. Adaptation of Shakespeare's historical play, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh. With Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed, Emma Thompson, Ian Holm, Robert Stephens and a young Christian Bale.

Cast & Crew

Henry V Kenneth Branagh
Chorus Derek Jacobi
Exeter Brian Blessed
Captain Fluellen Ian Holm
French King Paul Scofield
Dauphin Michael Maloney
Ely Alec McCowen
Katherine Emma Thompson
Alice Geraldine McEwan
Gloucester Simon Shepherd
Bedford James Larkin (1)
MacMorris John Sessions
Boy Christian Bale
Williams Michael Williams
Bardolph Richard Briers
Nym Geoffrey Hutchings
Pistol Robert Stephens
Sir John Falstaff Robbie Coltrane
Mistress Quickly Judi Dench
Constable Richard Easton
York James Simmons
Westmoreland Paul Gregory (2)
Archbishop of Canterbury Charles Kay
Cambridge Fabian Cartwright
Scroop Stephen Simms
Grey Jay Villiers
Erpingham Edward Jewesbury
Gower Danny Webb
Jamy Jimmy Yuill
Bates Shaun Prendergast
Court Pat Doyle
Mountjoy Christopher Ravenscroft
Director Kenneth Branagh
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Some violence.Available on: video and DVD
Drama