Henry V (1989)




Director:    Kenneth Branagh.

Starring:     Kenneth Branagh (Henry V),  Derek Jacobi (Chorus),  Brian Blessed (Duke Thomas Beaufort of Exeter),  Alec McCowen (Bishop of Ely),  Ian Holm (Captain Fluellen),  Richard Briers (Lieutenant Bardolph),  Robert Stephens (Auncient Pistol),  Robbie Coltrane (Sir John Falstaff),  Christian Bale (Robin the Luggage-Boy),  Judi Dench (Mistress Nell Quickly),  Paul Scofield (King Charles VI of France),  Michael Maloney (Louis the Dauphin),  Emma Thompson (Princess Katherine de Valois),  Geraldine McEwan (Alice). 

Country:     British film

Oscars:        Costume Design

Very good Shakespearian tale of Henry V.  Kenneth Branagh does a wonderful job at Henry's speech before leading his men into battle at Agincourt.  

Man, do I like those two war speeches by Branagh.  Good stuff.  On DVD I go to those speeches now and then for an uplift. 



Spoiler Warning:




Historical Background:


1387  -- the future King Henry V born at Monmouth, Wales.  His father was the future Henry IV (by Mary de Bohun).  Richard II was king at the time. 

1398  --  Henry's father exiled; Richard II took Henry under his charge and treated him well.

1399  --  Richard II knighted Henry.

1399  --  Henry Bolingbroke usurps the throne as Henry IV.  Son Henry becomes the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Lancaster. 

This started a period of Lancastrian Rule.

1399-1413 -- Henry IV ruled England.  Richard II was later murdered.

Henry owed his position to Parliament.

1403  --  at the age of 16, the future king was placed in command of the English forces and Henry was able to fight and win against Harry Hotspur (who was leading a rebellion against Henry IV) at Shrewsbury. Harry died when he lifted his visor on his armor to get some air and an arrow immediately struck him in the mouth. Henry himself was almost killed when an arrow struck him in the face. 

c. 1409  --  Henry began to work actively in the privy council.

1410 -1411  --  Henry and his friends dominated the privy council. 

1411 – Henry was dismissed from the council when it was learned that his followers had suggested that Henry succeed immediately to his father’s throne.

1413  -- death of Henry IV.  Henry becomes Henry V. 

1413-22 -- Henry V embarked on a policy of royal assertiveness. He renewed the Hundred Years' War and won spectacular victories. The French king was Charles VI.  Henry received assistance from the Burgundians in France. 

1415  --  in France Henry V laid siege to Harfleur which fell to Henry.

Marching toward the port of Calais, Henry V defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt on St. Crispin's Day (October 25).  The battle took places in a narrow defile between the woods of Agincourts on one side and the woods of Tramecourt on the other.  The French knights became bogged down in the mud created by heavy rains.  At close range, the English archers used hatchets and swords to kill or capture many knights, who just did not have the mobility of their unarmored assailants.

1420  --  in the Treaty of Troyes, Henry V was recognized by the French as regent and heir to the French throne.  He reinforced this b marrying Catherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI.

1422  --  at the age of 34, Henry V died of dysentery.  The death of Henry V brought the brief period of Lancastrian success to an end.

1422-1461  -- Henry VI was mentally unstable and his reign proved a disaster for England (with her forces defeated in the last campaigns of the Hundred Years' War) and the start of the War of the Roses. 


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