Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kenneth Branagh|
|Produced by||Bruce Sharman|
|Written by||Kenneth Branagh
William Shakespeare (play)
|Editing by||Michael Bradsell|
|Release date(s)||November 8, 1989|
|Running time||137 min|
Henry V is a 1989 film directed by Kenneth Branagh based upon the Shakespeare play about the famous English King. Branagh stars in the title role with Derek Jacobi as the Chorus (a narrator). Brian Blessed, Ian Holm, Christian Bale, Paul Scofield, Jimmy Yuill and Emma Thompson are among the other stars, whilst Robbie Coltrane and Judi Dench have the cameo roles of Falstaff and Mistress Quickly, both of them major characters in other Shakespearean plays. Another minor character, "Michael Williams", is played by the actor Michael Williams, Judi Dench's husband in real life.
The film was produced by Bruce Sharman with the British Broadcasting Corporation and Renaissance Films. Whereas Laurence Olivier's 1944 film used the Elizabethan Globe theatre as a setting in which to introduce the action, the 1989 version used a film set as the background to Chorus's opening speech. The visual and verbal styles of the film are much grittier than those of the Olivier adaptation, particularly with respect to the Battle of Agincourt scenes, which are strongly reminiscent of the battle scenes in the films of Akira Kurosawa, or the Battle of Shrewsbury in Orson Welles's Chimes At Midnight. The film's budget was $9 million.
One of the most surprising roles was that of Mountjoy, the French herald. Although he appears only in a few short scenes (and always wears the same royal-blue garment), he is given several memorable lines. Mountjoy was also named in Olivier's film and the 1979 BBC television version.
Henry V received near-universal critical acclaim for Branagh's Oscar-nominated performance and direction, for the accessibility of its Shakespearean language and particularly for its music by first-time composer Patrick Doyle, which was performed by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Simon Rattle.
The film grossed $10 million in the U.S. and at the time of its widest release played on 134 U.S. screens. Phyllis Dalton won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design and Kenneth Branagh, in his directorial debut, was nominated for Best Director as well as Best Actor in a Leading Role.