Henry V (1989) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

  • King Henry V of England is insulted by the King of France. As a result, he leads his army into battle against France. Along the way, the young King must struggle with the sinking morale of his troops and his own inner doubts. The war culminates at the bloody Battle of Agincourt.

  • The heroic and ruthless King, Henry V of England determines to lay claim to the kingdom of France. Henry's self-doubt and the diminished morale of his army stand in the way of a victory that would unite the two countries and provide Henry with a Queen. However, his sheer determination and his impassioned speeches ready his men for the bloodiest of battles, Agincourt.

  • Young King Henry of England invades France in order to claim his right to a kingdom and to the daughter of the King of France in this second movie adaptation of the Shakespearean play. Henry's small but embattled army meet the French forces on the field of Agincourt.

  • The still young King of England, intending to tax the English church, is sent off to war by the Bishops to enforce the (doubtful) claim to France. The King, thus sure of devine blessing for his cause, wages war on the French all too proud in overpowing strength. After the Battle of Agincourt, the French King has to yield his daughter as a peace offering. In a bitter satire, this political marriage is then portrayed as the happy ending joining the two recent lovers.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • The following story takes place during the 100 years' war between France and England. Henry V is debating whether he has the right to claim french territories under a property contract, presumably advocated by the clergy, between France and England at some prior date (citation needed).

    Prologue: Bear with us as we attempt to retell the story of Henry V at Agincourt, though our stage is an unworthy scaffold (a shallow representation) of the events which transpired before, during, and after.

    As the play unfolds, we see the clergy in a meeting about the king's seeming indifference of its claim --on technicality--to the french kingdom. There is a gathering of the king's subjects to hear details from the clergy as to why England has the right to claim the lands of the French. According to the clergy, by contract from previous encounters, the french must have a male heir, but at present have a female one, which effectually nullifies French royalty's claim to the french kingdom.

    The king warns the clergy to state the facts -- any other entreaty would lead to "much fall of blood," which is expected due to the two contending kingdom's property. To be certain he is within his rights to claim french territories, he orders the clergyman to be blunt...does England have the right to make a claim of France?

    The clergyman says yes, and that if it is a sin, let it be on his head.

    Furthermore, the clergyman states that the winning back of such land would bring vast sums of money to the clergy. and King of England. This information is what makes Henry finally decide to go to war, if the French renege on the contract.

    The king has already made a claim to France upon this advisement, and the herald of France is brought before the king with France's answer to this claim. The dauphin of France says the king "savors too much of his youth," and offers in return a gift of tennis balls.

    Henry at first calmly thanks the herald for his time and message, but then proceeds to admonish the sender for his childish joke, and states they will "play a set" of tennis which will strike the dauphin's father's "crown in to the hazard."

    Throughout, Henry's subjects are present and are surprised to see the king take up his mantle with a gusto not seen previously. The king apparently was not very studious as a youth, and pursued "courses vain", such as sport and partying. Thus they see an apparent change in their king which is suitable to his station.

    After meeting with the herald and dismissing him back to France with his message, Henry says he will be no king of England unless he is king of France, and France being his will be bent to his "oar, or broken all to pieces."

    "Then it begins."

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