The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses (2016)


The Wars of the Roses
The Hollow Crown

Critics Consensus

The Hollow Crown deftly demonstrates that even the Bard's most obscure work can be sumptuous appointment viewing -- saving Benedict Cumberbatch's riveting incarnation of Richard III as a parting treat.



Critic Ratings: 18


Audience Score

User Ratings: 283
User image


Air date: Dec 11, 2016
Air date: Dec 18, 2016
Air date: Dec 25, 2016

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses Photos

Tv Season Info

Three filmed adaptations of Shakespeare's first tetralogy ("Henry VI, Part I", "Henry VI, Part II", "Henry VI, Part III" and "Richard III"). The three plays of "Henry VI" are presented in two parts.


Ben Daniels
as Buckingham
Hugh Bonneville
as Gloucester
Adrian Dunbar
as Plantagenet
James Fleet
as Hastings
Keeley Hawes
as Queen Elizabeth
Ben Miles
as Somerset
John A. MacKay
as Brakenbury
Alan David
as Bishop of Ely
Andrew Scott
as King Louis
Kyle Soller
as Clifford
Samuel West
as Bishop of Winchester
Lucy Robinson
as Young Cecily
Tom Beard
as Sir William Lucy
Josef Altin
as Murderer II
Isaac Andrews
as Prince Richard
Max Bennett
as John Talbot
Sean Cernow
as Murderer
Pandora Colin
as Joan's Mother
Geoff Bell
as Murderer I
Robert Bowman
as Mayor of London
Simon Armstrong
as Grieving Father
Jamie Ballard
as Grieving Son
Keith Dunphy
as Ratcliffe
Mariah Gale
as Lady Bona
Simon Ginty
as George Stanley
Christopher Godwin
as Shepherd II
David Troughton
as Young Cecily
Tom Godwin
as Shepherd I
Madison Lygo
as Princess Elizabeth
Richard Lynch
as Westmorland
Caspar Morley
as Prince Edward
Jordan McCurrach
as Young Soldier
Penny Ryder
as Lady-in-Waiting
Sid Sagar
as Torch Bearer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Critic Reviews for The Hollow Crown The Wars of the Roses

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (8)

These three films were finely acted, intellectually compelling and intensely exciting. They were also, with their unflinching eye, emphatically films, and modern films at that, rather than polite plays-on-screen, as the 2012 Hollow Crown series was.

Apr 23, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The cast is spectacular, production values over the top, and by adding extra dimensions that enrich the story, they also deepen its meaning.

Apr 23, 2019 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
Top Critic

Rather than downplay his natural magnetism, Cumberbatch emphasizes it, charming the audience by talking directly to the camera, just like Kevin Spacey does in House of Cards.

Dec 9, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

What Cooke captures is the scope, the daring and the savage headlong rush of the poet's imagination, and that's not to be scoffed at.

May 11, 2016 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

The series finds a perfect balance between respecting the original language and relating to modern audiences: viewers get the essential parts of these plays translated into a modern cinematic medium.

Apr 23, 2019 | Full Review…

Because Cumberbatch by now is so thoroughly marinated in the demands of celluloid, he easily scaled back a potentially [over the top] character to become someone shiveringly, compulsively real: not a caricature of malignity but a master class in it.

Apr 23, 2019 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

This is tougher material, and it has been reshaped with some masterly cut and paste.

Apr 23, 2019 | Full Review…

This is probably one of the most successful renditions of Shakespeare's vision staged to date.

Feb 4, 2019 | Full Review…

Cumberbatch, as he must, stole the show, but the triumvirate of Keeley Hawes, Judi Dench and Sophie Okonedo at one point gave him competition.

Apr 23, 2019 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

On watching the opening scenes of BBC miniseries The Hollow Crown: The Wars Of The Roses, I only wished somebody had told me before how much better than their reputation Shakespeare's history plays are.

Apr 23, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

  • Dec 30, 2016
    The Henry VI triad is often thought to be some of the Bard's weakest work. By compressing it into 2 plays rather than 3, the creators of this trio of films have accomplished a fantastic transformation. It's great cinema, and great Shakespeare. It's rare that I can recommend something with no criticism. I can and do so here.
    Morris N Super Reviewer
  • Oct 01, 2017
    Incredible TV miniseries! With just 2 seasons, it succeeds telling the stories of great kings of England such as Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI and the evil Richard III, as told in William Shakespeare's plays with his beautiful and unique writing. The War of the Roses in Season 2 is the most interesting and violent event of the English monarchy until that time. I can now see the appeal George R.R. Martin saw in it as the basis of his work.
  • Dec 30, 2016
    Most brilliant production. cumberbatch was messmerizing richard iii. makes shakespeare understandable and enjoyable for the newbie.
  • Dec 23, 2016
    Not only a masterclass in acting but in directing and screenplay making Shakespeare not only understood but exciting as well

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