YMMV / Henry V

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: As in Henry IV, there is ongoing debate over whether Shakespeare meant Henry to be pictured as a heroic boy king or a despicable example of The Chessmaster.
  • Awesome Music: Non Nobis Domine and the BGM for the St. Crispin's Day speech in Branagh's version. The score from Olivier's version ain't shabby either.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The scene between the princess and her maid, where the princess tried to learn English words, only to snicker when she discovers the words for "foot" and "gown" sound a lot like the French words for "fuck" and "cunt." Not particularly relevant to the plot of the play, and probably only included so that a) Shakespeare could poke fun at the French language and b) Catherine's identity and role would be established rather than just showing up at the very end of the play for Henry to woo. It stands out even more if the scene goes untranslated, meaning non-French speaking English-speaking audience members will be completely at a loss what is going on.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: When Henry begins to try to woo Catherine, she replies with "your Grace shall mock at me; I cannot speak your England." Henry's reaction - "Oh," - is often played for laughs in various productions, as he's clearly thinking 'She can barely speak English, I can barely speak French, oh CRAP.'
    • Really, if the whole wooing scene doesn't get the audience laughing at least once, you're doing it wrong.
  • Designated Hero: William Hazlitt famously called Henry V an "amiable monster, a very splendid pageant."
    • Harold Bloom noted that Henry V is in essence a warmongering hypocrite and a liar. He points out that the famous speech at St. Crispin about how the soldiers are his Band of Brothers is a lie, since it contradicts the scene before in the camps, where the King-in-disguise told soldiers that their sovereign is not responsible for the deaths of any of them on any individual level, and that the idea that any peasant conscript who survives Agincourt could become a gentleman on any level is contradicted by the scene with Pistol in the final acts where he's more or less back right where he started with nothing to show for it. Stephen Greenblatt noted that Henry V is fundamentally a populist demagogue, whose experiences Slumming It with Falstaff amounted to helping him better control and manipulate the people and lower-orders.
    • A mock-trial for war crimes on Henry V's conduct in Shakespeare's play in Washington DC at 2010 with many noting that even by the standards of the medieval era or early modern England of Shakespeare's day, the scene of Henry V ordering the execution of captive French prisoners constituted a war crime.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: The French herald Montjoy, at least for fans of the Branagh production, especially for slashers, since he's the only one who treats Henry with anything resembling respect that isn't related to him or a peasant.
    • It helps that the actor, Christopher Ravenscroft, was one of the few people from the original stage production Branagh was in that joined the cast of the movie.
    • Fluellen is a bit like this in some circles — it helps that he's seriously entertaining and deeply earnest about what he does.
    • Mistress Quickly's scene at the start of the play where she gives what critics consider Falstaff's funeral elegy is also highly memorable. In the Henry IV plays she was a Satellite Character to Falstaff and fundamentally a brothel madam stereotype, but the wonderfully moving prose with which she commends Falstaff to "Arthur's bosom" is unforgettable, especially in Orson Welles' Chimes at Midnight (where she's played by Margaret Rutherford).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Henry's Love Interest is a princess named Catherine; in The Taming of the Shrew, the love interest there is named Kate, and "Kiss me, Kate" is a line featured within.
  • Heartwarming Moment: "For I am Welsh, you know, good my countryman!"
  • Moment of Awesome: "Upon Saint Crispin's day!"
    • This was from the 1989 version and doubles as Awesome Music. Seriously, just listen to the BGM.
  • Older Than They Think: The phrase "the game's afoot", commonly associated with Sherlock Holmes, came from this play (in the "Once more unto the breach" speech).
  • Painful Rhyme: Unless there's an accent in which "charge" and "George" rhyme.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: What Hamlet is to phrases that have become standards, this play is to war movie tropes. It can seem like all Shakespeare has done is string scenes from WWII movies together.
  • Values Dissonance: The scene where the King in disguise as a soldier moves through the camps and respond to the complaints of his soldiers about how Henry V caused the war and responding to it, by insisting that a King is not responsible for the deaths of soldiers under his command because he doesn't actually intend their deaths and that the life of a soldier lost is collateral damage, to a modern audience is incredibly callous, cold, and inhumane, with the King more or less disavowing any guilt or feelings of bond to the soldiers he's asking to fight for him, and more or less writing off their concerns by telling them to "man up, Cannon Fodder is what society and God decided you to be, so quit whining and fight, and if you die, well too bad for you".


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/HenryV