Watch Henry V
- 2 hr 17 min
Henry V is a 1989 British film directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, alongside a talented ensemble cast that includes Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, and Emma Thompson. It is a powerful and epic adaptation of William Shakespeare's play of the same name, which tells the story of the young king Henry V and his campaign to reclaim the throne of France.
Set in the early fifteenth century, the film follows the rise of a young and inexperienced king who is forced to navigate the complex political landscape of medieval Europe. The story begins with Henry's father, Henry IV, on his deathbed, passing his crown to his son. But Henry V is not content with just ruling England - he dreams of bringing France under his control and uniting the two nations.
The film's opening scenes lay out the political context of the story, as we see the Earl of Cambridge, the Earl of Grey, and Sir Thomas Erpingham conspiring to assassinate Henry before he can take the throne. But their plot is discovered, and Henry has them arrested and executed. This sets the tone for the film's exploration of trust, loyalty, and the dangers of political scheming.
Despite these challenges, Henry V sets out to prove himself as a warrior king. He raises an army and, with the help of his advisors and his loyal friend Bardolph, embarks on the campaign that will define his reign. Along the way, he faces brutal battles, betrayal, and assassination attempts, as well as falling in love with Princess Katherine of France.
Branagh's dynamic direction and powerful performance bring this complex character to life, capturing both his boldness and his doubt. He is supported by a talented cast, with Jacobi as the Chorus, who serves as both narrator and guide to the audience, and Shepherd as the Dauphin, the French prince who dismisses Henry's army as a band of "barbarous" Englishmen.
Shot on location in Belgium and Ireland, the film has a grand, sweeping feel that perfectly captures the scale of its story. The battle scenes are particularly impressive, with thousands of extras and horses, and a gritty realism that avoids the romanticism of many films from this era.
But it is the film's exploration of themes such as leadership, faith, and the cost of war that make it both timeless and relevant. Henry V is not just a rousing tale of a king triumphing over his enemies, but a nuanced examination of the complexities of power and the human condition.
Overall, Henry V is a stunning adaptation of Shakespeare's play that showcases the talents of some of Britain's finest actors and filmmakers. It is a must-see for fans of historical epics and Shakespearean dramas alike, and remains one of the best and most beloved adaptations of the playwright's work.
Henry V is a 1989 war movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 17 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.5 and a MetaScore of 83.