Henry V (1989)



Critic Consensus: Pehaps Kenneth Branagh's most fully realized Shakespeare adaptation, Henry V is an energetic, passionate, and wonderfully acted film.

Movie Info

Kenneth Branagh makes his feature-film directorial debut with this adaptation of William Shakespeare's +Henry V. After the Chorus (Derek Jacobi) introduces the play, young king of England Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) begins an angry dialogue with King Charles of France (Paul Scofield). The king's son, Dauphin (Michael Maloney), insults Henry and the argument escalates into war. In flashback, Henry is seen as a young man drinking in a tavern with Falstaff (Robbie Coltrane), Bardolph (Richard … More

Rating: PG-13 (for bloody battle)
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Kenneth Branagh
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 18, 2000
MGM Home Entertainment

Watch it now


as Exeter

as Fluellen

as Duke of Gloucester

as Bedford

as Earl of Westmoreland

as Archbishop of Canter...

as Bishop of Ely

as Sir Thomas Erpingham

as Capt. Gower

as Capt. MacMorris

as Court

as Williams

as Lt. Bardolph

as Ancient Pistol

as Sir John Falstaff

as Falstaff's Boy

as Mistress Quickly

as French King

as Duke of Burgundy

as Duke of Orleans

as Grandpre

as Constable of France

as Princess Katherine

as Governor of Harfleur

as Messenger

as Duke of Berri

as Soldier #1

as Soldier #2

as Capt. Glower
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Henry V

Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.


Critic Reviews for Henry V

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (8)

A stirring, gritty and enjoyable pic which offers a plethora of fine performances from some of the U.K.'s brightest talents.

Full Review… | July 1, 2008
Top Critic

The cast -- including Derek Jacobi as the modern-dress chorus, Paul Scofield, Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Emma Thompson, and Robbie Coltrane in an effective cameo as Falstaff -- is uniformly fine without any grandstanding.

Full Review… | July 1, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Branagh succeeds in his blunt, robust portrayal of the Soldier-King, hauling the film along in the wake of his own gung-ho performance.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Mr. Branagh's Henry has psychological heft and intellectual weight.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

More questioning, more agonized, finally more humble.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

In this alert, rousing interpretation of Henry V, Branagh beats down the doors of high art and drags the sleeping bard into the light of modern day.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Henry V

Good. But too much left out.

Christian C

Super Reviewer


Kenneth Branagh's adaptation of Shakespeare's play was his directorial debut and at the time many balked at the very idea that this young whipper snapper could dare to get in the ring with Laurence Olivier and his then definitive version. This film is a completely different proposition however, choosing to use the cinematic medium to great effect to breathe gritty, believable life into the characters and story. He is of course backed up by probably the finest assemblance of Shakespearian talent whose pedigree shines through in a faultless collection of performances, from the arrogance and politicking of the nobles to the earthy pathos of the common soldier. Even the uninitiated who can be intimidated by the seemingly inpenetrable prose should be able to follow the plot because of the clever use of performance and realism to convey the meaning of the florid dialogue, but I must admit from time to time I wished I had some Cliff notes to aid my understanding of the nuances. The battle scenes are recreated in a way obviously influenced by John Boorman's Excalibur, all sweat and blood and filth, and to echo the modern climate offers a more human portrayal of bloodshed on such an epic scale. The highlights are of course all provided by Branagh's excellent and naturalistic interpretation of Henry (although Paul Scofield's subtle performance as the melancholy King of France is near its equal), most notably his pre-battle speeches which inspire without the clodhopping patriotic manipulation you have seen in everything from Braveheart to Independence Day. His inexperience behind the camera tells occasionally as he gets a little slo-mo happy and the battle is a little confusing, but as a whole it's a great achievement.

xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

No one on the contemporary movie scene -- or ever on the screen -- does Shakespeare better than Branagh. As both actor and director, he is simply the best. He can manage all his actors in such a way that you will understand the plays clearly, both in terms of dialog delivery and action. I don't know if this is the best job he's done, but it's at least tied for number one. If you only see one Branagh Shakespeare, make it this one. Note: If you are confused by some of the references to Henry's "former" self and his former friends, you may want to check out Henry IV parts I and II. Unfortunately those won't be Branagh projects -- at least not yet. Here's hoping he does those as well.

Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

Henry V Quotes

– Submitted by Roberto P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)
– Submitted by Chris P (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Henry V on our Movie forum!