Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. Renaissance Films, British Broadcasting Corporation, Curzon Film Distributors. United Kingdom, 1989. Screenplay by Kenneth Branagh, based on the play by William Shakespeare. Cinematography by Kenneth MacMillan. Produced by Bruce Sharman. Music by Patrick Doyle. Production Design by Tim Harvey. Costume Design by Phyllis Dalton. Film Editing by Michael Bradsell. Academy Awards 1989.
Kenneth Branagh rightfully got himself the nickname of the modern Olivier with this excellent film adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, which was also Olivier’s first directorial foray in 1944. Told in a much more realistic style with grimy-looking sets and costumes, the story is of a young king (Branagh) who reacts to a political insult from France by staging a grand war that is won on the field of Agincourt. His violent solution to the problem between the two nations leads him to suspect that there is more to great leadership than just starting wars. Emma Thompson, Branagh’s real-life wife at the time, is fantastic as the princess of France, the winning of whose heart proves to be even more complex and challenging than defeating France’s armies. Excellent period work and phenomenal acting.