In the inspired Olivier concept, Shakespeare's play begins as a performance in the Globe Theatre, shifting in broad cinematic terms to an epic narrative of Henry V, who had developed from a dissolute youth to a purposeful monarch. Proving his ability as a soldier and skillful leader, he unites the dissident factions in the English army and goes on to crush the French, against enormous odds, at Agincourt. Arranging a treaty with the French court, he woos Princess Katharine to whom he is formally betrothed as part of the peace agreement.Written by
The majority of the movie, including the Battle of Agincourt, was filmed in Ireland where cast and crew could be safe from nightly Luftwaffe raids (Ireland was a neutral country in World War II). See more »
The real Henry V had a large scar on the left side of his face, the result of being struck and nearly killed by an arrow at the Battle of Shrewsbury in 1403. The scar is not shown in this film. See more »
O! for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention; a kingdom for a stage, princes to act and monarchs to behold the swelling scene. Then should the war-like Harry, like himself, assume the port of Mars; and at his heels, leashed in like hounds, would famine, word, and fire crouch for employment. But pardon, gentles all, the flat unraised spirits that hath dared on this unworthy scaffold to bring forth so great an object: can this cockpit hold the vasty ...
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The closing credits list 'Produced and Directed by' Laurence Olivier in close association with all the other listed members of the crew. See more »
In the American release of the film, all references to "bastards" in the dialogue were excised. See more »
What an intelligent film!!! I loved its stage-y quality--The good-humored recreation of a performance in Shakespeare's time with the audience so fully engaged, laughing at jokes we don't understand (e.g., the machinations of churchmen). I loved the details and sense of history--the sets inspired by medieval illuminations and the score by William Walton. The tight script and directing bring out the complexity of the play. Unlike other reviewers, I'd rate it higher than Branagh's more visceral, contemporary version though I can see why some might find this one pallid. It doesn't have a modern feel, and this style of acting Shakespeare feels dated to me--I've grown accustomed to naturalism. Overall, I appreciate that it is many-layered and distinctively English. I hope it accomplished its worthy goal of raising morale during the WWII.
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