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Henry V (89 movie version)

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While there have been many cinematic attempts to bring the Shakespearean play Henry V to the big screen, only the most recent version has really succeded. A young boy Henry watches as his father dies and then becomes king himself. Upon realizing the throne he makes it known that he attempts to unite England and France under a single ruler, himself. It is believed by Henry that there is lawful reason to make this claim. France does not buy this reasoning however and a plan to invade France is conceived.

Before the march can ensue to France, three traitors are discovered among the king's most trusted men.Henry asks them how they would deal with traitors, and if it is right to show mercy. They proclaim that no mercy should be given. Henry V then informs them that he is aware of their traitorous acts and that since they would give no mercy, none will be given to them. They are promptly executed.

The movie then proceeds on to France. England is rallying its forces for an attack.. A small town is approached, and quickly surrenders to the English. Henry V gives the order to treat the people of the town as if they were the people of England. There was to be no stealing and no pillaging. One of his men, an old friend is found guilty of stealing. He is hung. A boyhood friend is not exempt from justice to this king.

France contemplates the English movements and prepares to meet them at Agincourt. Outnumbered by a huge factor and tired from the march, England's forces are pessmisitic and on the verge of retreat. One man utters "If we had just 10,000 of those men who do no work in England." Henry V hears this and responds "If we are marked to die, we are enough to do our country loss. But if to live the fewer the men the greater the share of honor" Truly the greatest inspirational speech in the history of any medium ensues.

Rather in the theator or on television just by looking around at others watching the movie you can just sense the urge to reach for a sword to help this king. The power of the words of this play are as strong today as they were in the days of Kings. After an inspirational speech, English soldiers prepare their defenses. Stakes are driven into the ground to keep horses from approaching and bundles of arrows are prepared. A messenger from the French arrives and asks for the English kings ransom. Henry V replies that there will be no ransom for him. "Bid them achieve me and then sell my bones." he replies.

The French commanders sit perched high on a hill looking down on the terrain below and order their troops to battle. England waits a bit as some kiss the ground and others look on in terror. Then they take the field with this howling wild dog type of growl. Next English Long bowman prepare to rein hell on the French. Arrows let loose through the air, literally thousands of arrows traveling perfectly straight toward the enemy.

King Henry is right up front at the action, swinging wildly. All the English swordsman are outnumbered and face enemy from many directions but they fight on. But bogged down by the mud, French knights become easy targets for English archers and the course of history begins to change. Angry French descend behind the English lines to slaughter English boys who are not to be harmed according to the rules of war and the law of arms.

The battle slowly wanes and then later the bodies are counted. England has won. A courtship with Kate the French princess ensues for Henry. The first half of the movie might send many into a snooze. But once the speeches begin and the battles begin even the most demanding movie goer will be on his feet cheering little King Henry on. No movie has ever had a scene with more arrows going through the air more perfectly than Henry V. From battle scenes to speeches this is a self motivating film. The music of Rocky can motivate and the "musical words and actions" of Henry V can motivate as well if only given the chance.

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order the book on audiotape from amazon.com

order the Shakespeare novel the movie is based on from amazon.com

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