Henry V - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Henry V Reviews

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September 6, 2016
a PAin...... for sure....
½ August 28, 2016
Shakespeare is tough to turn into good movies especially the history shows. Branagh is intermittently successful here. As King Henry leading the Brits from arguing into full fledged war with the French, Branagh doesn't quite inspire the way Henry must to be successfull. The first third is a bit scattered and tough to follow if you don't know the source material, the second act improves with some more action, and then it drags on almost 20 minutes past where it should end. Branagh would do better adaptations later, so stick to those.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2016
Kenneth Branagh's spectacular, totally engrossing adaptation of William Shakespeare play is his finest cinematic achievement to date. A feast for both the eyes and ears, indeed Shakespeare's words are spoken in this film with such conviction, depth and power by an extraordinary cast of British thespians, and the truly stunning cinematography by Kenneth MacMillan brings this epic tale to life. But the film's greatest attribute is Kenneth Branagh's brilliant Oscar nominated powerhouse performance as King Henry V which completely dominates this motion picture. The tale concerns young King Henry of England who embarks on a conquest of France after being insulted by the King of France, he leads his small rag-tag army against a vastly superior number of French forces on the field of Agincourt. Masterful Oscar nominated & BAFTA Film Award winning direction by Branagh who also wrote the captivating screen adaptation. Magnificent supporting performances by Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed, Sir Ian Holm, Paul Scofield, Emma Thompson, James Simmons, Paul Gregory, Alec McCowen, Robbie Coltrane, Geraldine, McEwan, Judi Dench, and Christian Bale. A movie masterpiece in every sense of the word. Unmissable. Oscar winner: Best Costume Design: Phyllis Dalton. Highly Recommended.
May 25, 2016
Wow. Kenneth Branagh's debut film is full of vigor and bravado, with gritty and visceral action sequences. I thoroughly enjoyed this.
½ February 8, 2016
Shakespearean classic with an outstanding crew of actors. The battle scene is unforgettable in its realism. I cannot stress how great these scenes are. A must see for fans of history, or military battles, this is epic drama at its best.
½ December 13, 2015
A lot more accessible than the Olivier version but still pretty long and boring. You do have to be a bit of a Shakespeare nut to enjoy such films.
November 27, 2015
It's a tragedy this isn't available to purchase.
October 1, 2015
fabulously done, tons of action,
½ March 15, 2015
The most cinematic and epic Shakespeare adaptations ever to be put on screen. The fact that this is Kenneth Branagh's first film as director shows how advanced he was before his time. Branagh is also great on screen. The way he says Shakespeare's words and how he makes his actors say it is why his versions are always the best. This is the definitive Shakespeare adaptation.

Grade: A
½ March 6, 2015
Revu. Du très lourd même si je ne me rappelais plus quelques longueurs.
Mais la mise en scène de Branagh, le jeu de Branagh énorme (il avait à peine 30 ans), ce que ça raconte et ce que ça veut dire, c'est un grand film !
(avec Christian Bale encore tout jeune dans un petit rôle et Ian Holm qui, au détour de quelques plans, déchire !
Super Reviewer
February 21, 2015
It's probably good if you're into Shakespeare. It went right over my head.
February 15, 2015
This is an excellent adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henry V". Branagh is excellent in the title well, and his direction is superb. I hadn't seen this in ages, so it was nice to revisit it on blu-ray. The battle scenes are excellent, and he's got a talented cast. It's funny seeing Christian Bale as a kid. If you are a Shakespeare fan, this film is a MUST!
January 31, 2015
Back in 1989, Kenneth Branagh directed this adaptation of William Shakespeare's classic stage play. Branagh would be a prolific director in the 1990s and made movies in several different genres often utilizing a stock family of characters including his soon-to-be-wife/wife/soon-to-be-ex Emma Thompson (an early-mid 1990s cinematic power couple). Branagh would return to Shakespeare with his adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing and his very complete (and very long) adaptation of Hamlet. Contrasting this with Olivier's 1947 adaptation of the same play is interesting. Olivier was celebrating Britain's recent victory over Nazi Germany and there was still a concept of British Exceptionalism despite the decision to grant independence to India (thus beginning the dissolution of the British Empire). Branagh directed this film after the Vietnam War and after Thatcher's adventurism in the Falklands. Branagh shows the human cost of medieval war and his young king becomes disillusioned with dreams of conquest following his victory at Agincourt. A great cast of English thespians can be found here including Branagh regulars Derek Jacobi, Brian Blessed. Emma Thompson, and Judi Dench. The latest Shout Factory Blu-Ray is very crisp, I had this on VHS once but never picked it up on DVD. I'll have to seek out a copy of Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing next, which IMHO is his best Shakespeare adaptation.
January 28, 2015
Way too complicated for me to understand with my brain working the way it is at the moment.
January 13, 2015
Branagh is so good at Shakespeare adaptations and this is his best. Period.
October 11, 2014
This is a gritty film adaption of Shakespeare play of the English King Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) and his battles in France. Director Kenneth Branagh has in one film re-energized Shakespeare as more than stuffy old plays.

I'm not a Shakespearian scholar. So this is just a review from a lay person. Most of it is understandable which is quite important. More importantly, almost all of it is quite passionate and compelling. The most rip roaring is the iconic St. Crispin's Day speech. The other interesting thing is the introduction of Kenneth Branagh as a great Northern Ireland director. In many ways, this signals something new.
July 22, 2014
Although not a fan of Shakespeare, I figured that watching an adaptation of one of his plays deemed to be possibly the greatest Shakespearian film of all time would be a good idea.

The main flaws I would specify for Henry V is simply the fact that people who are not fans of William Shakespeare will most likely find flaws with the film's language and plot. Admittedly, I never really liked Elizabethan but in Henry V I was easily able to tolerate it due to the way that the actors dealt with it. But the story was not the most consistently interesting piece, and considering that it ran at a consistently slow pace which largely decreased in speed during the latter half of the film. Still, even with that and the running time of the film, I had come to expect it from William Shakespeare. Although Henry V did not change my feelings about him, it did reveal to me that there is a lot of potential in adapting his plays if the filmmaker can get it right. The name of the man who was able to get it right is Kenneth Branagh, and although he may not have been a mastermind when he made Mary Shelley's Frankenstein or especially not when he crafted Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, he manages to put all of his passion and spirit into Henry V which results in it coming off as an excellent film.
Maintaining the importance of what made Henry V a popular play, Kenneth Branagh transfers the language of the playscript over to film with a lean script that maintains the integrity of the dialogue while removing minor elements but still maintaining the essence of the drama in the film. The script manages to glamourised Elizabethan language and give a lot of material to the actors instead of forcing them to act in circles and deliver the same repetitive dribble for the course of the film. Henry V deals with the material in a refreshing manner, and it transcends the countless other generic film adaptations by capturing the true passionate essence of the play which actors put into when they have a true opportunity.
Henry V is more than a Shakespearian film. It is a portait of Henry V, the King of England and a visual spectacle at the same time. Visually, Henry V is spot on. Easily creating the setting for its early 15th century setting, Henry V capitalises on some beautiful scenery and production design which has dead on detail, as well as the Academy Award winning costumes which makes the characters feel like genuine figures of the time period. It is all captured with firm cinematography and edited well against the backdrop of a powerfully atmospheric musical score. Everything in Henry V looks good which means that Kenneth Branagh succeeds at transcending the usual limitations of the text as a theatrical play and successfully justifies adapting it for cinema with a terrific film. It takes a lot to impress me with a Shakespearian film, and without fail Kenneth Branagh was able to achieve that.
And excellently enough, Kenneth Branagh manages to find a balance between ensuring that the film is a good analysis of the characters and a largely scaled spectacle at the same time. His direction is spot on because he harnesses the nature of the script very well and directs it to serious success. And yet it does not match up to his finest talent on the film which is the effort of his leading performance.
Kenneth Branagh's leading performance as the titular Henry V is just spectacular. Directing himself to an exceptional performance, Kenneth Branagh gives it his best in a performance which immediately immerses himself in Shakespeare history. Usually I find Shakespeare's dialogue to be really artificial, but thanks to the pure strength of Kenneth Branagh's line delivery it comes off as truly organic. You can see him just sink so deeply into the role that he embodies Henry V and grasps the true essence of the power presented to him. Henry V features quintessentially the most defining Kenneth Branagh performance, and it takes no time before viewers really view the endeavor of his skills as an actor and a man of Shakespeare. He is just stunning because he delivers his lines with such ease and powerful acting charisma, and it is just thoroughly beautiful skill that he projects. Kenneth Branagh is fearless in his leading performance and is able to stand with a sophisticated and heroic stature while articulating all of his lines powerfully which results in him giving a performance which is just brilliant. I gained a lot of respect for Kenneth Branagh after viewing his performance in Henry V because his performance was an act of pure poetry.
Brian Blessed is a perfect casting decision in Henry V. The man has a legacy for his deep and booming voice which he used in iconic performances in Black Adder and Flash Gordon, and so when he delivers his lines in Henry V they come out with some extreme power. He manages to have some moments of true domination in Henry V and makes himself a true genial presence in no time at all. Brian Blessed takes on a pivotal role in Henry V with natural skill, and so his performance ends up being one of the most memorable of the cast.
Ian Holm, Robbie Coltrane and Judi Dench make powerful supporting efforts as well.

So although it essentially has the same issues that every Shakespearian film adaptations cannot transcend, Henry V is one of the finest adaptations of his plays that I have seen to date thanks quintessentially to Kenneth Branagh who takes the opportunity to direct the film to success in terms of drama and style, handle the script with firm knowledge of how to keep the material important and give a performance which is one of the finest of any Shakespearian acting performances I have ever seen in my life.
½ July 1, 2014
Masterfully directed and performed by Kenneth Branagh with an all-star cast, this is Shakespeare at its finest. The adaptation is slightly abridged, but for the most part the entire play is present. Unlike Branagh's Hamlet, this adaptation gets the cinematic aspect right; the battles of Harfleur and Agincourt are spectacular. The only issue I have with the film is some of the lesser performances pale in comparison, making a few scenes without Henry or the other nobles drag a little. 9.5/10
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