Although the Branagh version of Shakespeare's Henry V remains very close to the text, with only a few lines left out of the film, the movie portrays a very clear and distinct message about war and Branagh's opinion on the matter. Henry V is fundamentally a play about war, and it would have been very easy for Branagh to make his version of the play into a film that glorified war. Instead, Branagh took the opportunity to make a statement about what he felt was the true essence of wars - both medieval and modern.
It is clear through Henry V that Branagh thinks that wars are a waste of precious human life, and in the end are fruitless, causing more loss than gain. From the very first battle at Harfleur Branagh's low opinion of war is shown. When we first see the fighting, it is dusk and the sky is further darkened by smoke, instantly creating a morbid feeling. Combined with the muddy and wet terrain, the cheerless soldiers and the overbearing size of the castle which they hope to achieve, it is clear not only that the English army must fight against all the odds to win, but that even the conditions are detrimental to the English cause.
The scene where Bardolph, Nym and Pistol are backing away from the battle to save themselves is an important inclusion to the film. Had Branagh intended the film to be a glorification of war, this small scene could have easily been removed. However, he chose to keep it in his film because it actually assists the message which he attempts to convey. This scene, although still clearly comical, as Shakespeare intended it to be, it implies that not all soldiers are valiant and brave and that war is so terrible that soldiers are willing to desert their friends and fellow countrymen because of the hideous nature of war.
After the battle... [continues]
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(1999, 10). Henry V - Film. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Henry-v-Film-13753.html
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"Henry V - Film." StudyMode.com. 10, 1999. Accessed 10, 1999. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Henry-v-Film-13753.html.