Samuel Goldwyn Company, The | Release Date: November 8, 1989
7.7
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Generally favorable reviews based on 24 Ratings
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6
ReviewCriticFeb 2, 2012
Henry V has it's flaws, but it's acting and directing make it shine. It could have been a Best Picture movie, but it wasn't. I thought it was overall pretty good.
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5
bw14916Feb 18, 2018
Branagh is great as the titular character, but the rest of the movie didn't particularly impress me. Perhaps I would've enjoyed it more having been more familiar with the original play.
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7
FilipeNetoSep 6, 2018
This film is an adaptation of a play written by William Shakespeare, and was the cinematographic debut of Kenneth Branagh. Although the purists continue to think that cinema is no place for Shakespeare, Branagh has shown that they're wrong.This film is an adaptation of a play written by William Shakespeare, and was the cinematographic debut of Kenneth Branagh. Although the purists continue to think that cinema is no place for Shakespeare, Branagh has shown that they're wrong. This film does full justice to Shakespeare's text, keeping dialogues with a fairly small margin of modification. Of course this is a risk, in cinema adaptations are truly imperative, but the fact is that there were very few moments when I felt the spoken text getting heavy, boring or left over. So it was worked well.

The focus here is the military incursion that Henry V of England makes on French soil, determined to end the Hundred Years War by joining the French and English crowns over his head. By exploiting the weakness of the French king, Charles VI, who suffered from dementia, and the little military experience of the Dauphin (future Charles VII), the English succeeded in defeating a numerically superior force in the Battle of Agincourt and forcing a highly favorable peace in 1415, by the marriage of the English king with the daughter of the French king and an agreement, in which both crowns would be inherited by the first son to be born of this marriage. Of course, as we know, this union would never happen... Henry V dies too early, his heir is crowned in diapers and a girl, Joan of Arc, would provoke a decisive turnaround that guaranteed the breaking of these agreements and protected French independence.

The film is visually great and historically accurate, both in the choice of sets and in the making of costumes, which are excellent. For me, the battle and the final scenes were the best part of the film. I liked the way the battle was recreated by the great historical care shown, and to avoid falling into the error of appealing to English patriotism. War is never good for anyone. The only people who can find war a good thing are those who have never seen one, or who expect to profit at their expense. Thus, some nostalgia is felt here, especially in the scenes in which the dead are buried. The rest of the film is also good, but dark scenarios and somewhat hazy cinematography didn't help. Branagh reserved the main role for himself and shone with a very good performance. Judy Dench was wonderful too, but this veteran is almost always flawless. Derek Jacobi masterfully secured the role of narrator.
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