This is SHAKESPEARE!I honestly believe this to be one of the finest Shakespeare plays ever put on screen. This is the film that brought Branaugh worldwide acclaim and its not hard to see why. Nominated for Best Director and Best Actor, it won for Best Costume Design.
Henry the Fifth inheirated the throne of England after a wild youth and was instantly forced to change his entire persona. He struggles to become a leader and win over his subjects, most of whom still saw him as a feckless child. Asserting a hereditary claim to France, Henry plunges England into what was evolving into the 100 years war. The film follows his campaign into France. Henry V is brilliantly photographed, you feel the cold and chill of the foot soldier. The battle scenes are hard to stomach, but pretty realistic for the time period. As involving as the photography is, the score is an incredible achievement. Its sweeping, grand and pulls you into the storyline.
It may take you a few viewings to catch all there is to see and understand in the film. Some precautionary steps; Shakespeare assumes you already know the history, so why bother explaining it. For this reason, some of the motivations for betrayal and other points in the story may seem obscure.
Henry V offers an _incredible_ supporting cast. Paul Scofield (A Man For All Seasons) Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius) Ian Holm (most recently A Life Less Ordinary) Judi Dench (Mrs. Brown.) and Emma Thompson (almost God in Dogma.)
I highly recommend Henry V, its rousing, beautiful, well done, brilliantly acted and they bastardized some of its grander speeches in ID4 (and what better recommendation do you need.)If you see one shakespeare film, this should be it.