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Henry V (1989)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 8.3/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 0

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

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 8
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 0

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

audience

90

liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 12,823

My Rating

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 Briers),

PG-13,

Drama, Action & Adventure, Romance

Jul 18, 2000

MGM Home Entertainment

Watch It Now

Cast

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All Critics (33) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (33) | Rotten (0) | DVD (10)

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

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop 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.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop 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.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

May 21, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

More questioning, more agonized, finally more humble.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything about this remarkable production is exhilaratingly unexpected.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] Toward "turning many years into an hourglass," Branagh the screenwriter condenses "King Henry the Fifth," while adding in elements from the first and second parts of "King Henry the Fourth." The effect is seamless.

January 29, 2012 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

Like Sir Larry's, this remains Branagh's best movie and although less spirited and more actorish than its predecessor, it has a modern feel and a grittier tone to it, notably in the battle scenes.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

It might never be as famous as Olivier's, but it should carry considerable clout for years to come.

July 1, 2008 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Good.

June 14, 2008 | Comments (3)
ColeSmithey.com

Shakespeare with guts, passion and spectacle

November 12, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

A strong, fiery film so good that Branagh has virtually drawn out a fifteen-year film career from the unrepeated success of this debut.

August 17, 2003
Nick's Flick Picks

Straightforward, energetic and updated Bard.

July 30, 2003 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A triumphant affirmation of Shakespeare's timeless appeal.

March 28, 2003
Flipside Movie Emporium

Many fine feature film versions of Shakespeare exist. Few can match this one for raw power.

October 8, 2002
Needcoffee.com

Branagh's dogged vision of Shakespeare resonates.

August 2, 2002
Arizona Daily Star

Kenneth Branagh's audacious and stirring screen version of Shakespeare's drama.

February 13, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

This is the beauty of Branagh's vision of Henry V --the very thing that saves it from becoming an elaborate ego trip.

November 12, 2001 Full Review Source: Movieline
Movieline

In the end, Kenneth Branagh's Henry V stands tall alongside the wealth of 1990s Shakespearean adaptations that followed it, and marks a bold directorial debut.

March 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

One of the best film adaptations of Shakespeare.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: rec.arts.movies.reviews
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Henry V

Good. But too much left out.
October 27, 2012
cchclaw

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.
March 7, 2010
garyX
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.
December 1, 2008
binky013

Super Reviewer

The Branaugh take on Shakespeare starts here with the film that had everyone comparing him to Larry Olivier. It is possible that we embraced this first very good Shakespearean film since Olivier a little easily. Branaugh is no Olivier after all and this film is not as good as Larry's in '44.
October 11, 2013
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

    1. Henry V: And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by from this day until the ending of the world but we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves acursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks, that fought with us upon St. Crispin's day!
    – Submitted by Roberto P (3 years ago)
    1. Henry V: I pray thee take my former answer back. Bid them achieve me than sell my bones!"
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Henry V: And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by from this day until the ending of the world but we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers, For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, Be he ne'er so vile, this day shall gentle his condition, and gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves acursed they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks, that fought with us upon St. Crispin's day!
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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