He ruled a massive empire and fought a mighty war! Paul Scofield, Derek Jacobi, Ian Holm, Emma Thompson and Judi Dench star in this heroic, action-packed epic, based on the timeless play by William Shakespeare. Branagh is electrifying in the title role, a king whose inspired leadership and full-blooded courage rouses his bewildered and bedraggled men to arms against a French army five times greater than their own.
William Shakespeare (play); Kenneth Branagh (adaptation).
Derek Jacobi (Chorus); Kenneth Branagh (Henry V); Simon Shepherd (Gloucester); James Larkin (Bedford); Brian Blessed (Exeter); James Simmons (York); Charles Kay (Canterbury); Alec McCowen (Ely); Fabian Cartwright (Cambridge); Stephen Simms (Scroop); Jay Villiers (Grey); Edward Jewesbury (Erpingham); Ian Holm (Fluellen); Danny Webb (Gower (as Daniel Webb)); Jimmy Yuill (Jamy); Judi Dench (Mistress Quickly); Paul Scofield (French King); Emma Thompson (Katherine). Please contact SFC to add other cast members and characters.
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Pure Poetry on Film
Mark Banks (United Kingdom)
Being honest I found it a struggle to get into Henry V - the first half hour or so is fairly dark with respect to the setting, and I didn't immediately warm to the characters or follow exactly what was going on. But as the film progressed and especially with Henry V's (Kenneth Branagh's) call of "once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more unto the breach!" ringing out in my ears, I couldn't help but get ever-more engrossed. Even for those of you like me that may find it hard to follow the Olde-English dialect, the dialogue is so poetic that for all its worth the characters could be talking about just about anything and it would still sound good. More substantial though the film has real depth, especially with the Biblical-like battle where Henry V's men are outnumbered five to one and they go to battle in the name of St Crispin. And also the final scenes in which Henry tries to win the affection of Katherine - with comic scenes of Henry attempting to speak French lightening the mood somewhat from all that has gone before. The musical score underpinning the superb acting and script, is in itself quite superb and rousing. This is a film I'll have to watch again at some point to fully appreciate it, but even for now I'm comfortable giving it a green seal of recommendation.