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1. Henry V
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2. Much Ado About Nothing
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3. Dead Again
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4. Love's Labour's Lost
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5. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
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6. Much Ado About Nothing
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7. Much Ado About Nothing
8. Hamlet
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9. Dead Again

1. Henry V
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $14.95
our price: $11.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 079284615X
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1236
Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com essential video

Very few films come close to the brilliance Kenneth Branagh achieved with his first foray into screenwriting and direction. Henry V qualifies as a masterpiece, the kind of film that comes along once in a decade. He eschews the theatricality of Laurence Olivier's stirring, fondly remembered 1945 adaptation to establish his own rules. Branagh plays it down and dirty, seeing the bard's play through revisionist eyes, framing it as an antiwar story. Branagh gives us harsh close-ups of muddied, bloody men, and close-ups of himself as Henry, his hardened mouth and willful eyes revealing much about this land war. Not that the director-star doesn't provide lighter moments. His scenes introducing the French Princess Katherine (Emma Thompson) are toothsome. Bubbly, funny, enhanced by lovely lighting and Thompson's pale beauty, these glimpses of a princess trying to learn English quickly from her maid are delightful.

What may be the crowning glory of Branagh's adaptation comes when the dazed, shaky leader wanders through battlefields, not even sure who has won. As King Hal carries a dead boy(Empire of the Sun's Christian Bale) over the hacked-up bodies of both the English and French, you realize it is the first time Branagh has opened up the scenes: a panorama of blood and mud and death. It is as strong a statement against warmongering as could ever be made. --Rochelle O'Gorman ... Read more

Reviews (107)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stunning
This may be the best Shakespeare film ever made. In 1942, Laurence Olivier delivered a jingoistic, stylized wartime production of "Henry V" that nonetheless stood as the standard interpretation. Nearly fifty years later, Kenneth Branagh's film appeared not only as a powerful and amazingly accessible recasting of the text, but a serious examination of the nature and the costs of the war that was Henry the Fifth's only real achievement.

Although studded with a fine array of subsidiary characters, "Henry V" is essentially a one-man play, and Branagh's performance informs and naturally influences all of the rest. His character has most of the lines, and he delivers them with a refreshing naturalism and candor that re-infuses the humor into the funny bits and cuts a lot of the potential for stilted jingoism out of the patriotic and warlike ones. If the real Henry's delivery of the St. Crispin speech was anything like Branagh's, it's no wonder the English won.

Slogging through the mud and rain of Harfleur and Agincourt with Branagh is a masterful supporting cast, including the incomparable Judi Dench as Mistress Quickly, Brian Blessed as a marvelously solid Exeter, and Ian Holm, wonderful as the irreverent and sarcastic Fluellen. On the French side, Paul Scofield's King is weary and indecisive rather than weak and mad; Michael Maloney's Dauphin is entertainingly arrogant, and Emma Thompson delivers a small but charming performance in playwright-broken English and much better French than Shakespeare likely spoke. Tying it all together is Christopher Ravenscroft, who invests the herald Mountjoy with a sympathy that extends to both sides, and a phenomenal showing by Derek Jacobi as the earnest, mocking and informative Chorus.

"Henry V" was released and went to video before the heyday of production for DVD, and as such, a "deluxe edition" has not been produced- this disc contains no making-of documentaries, no in-depth interviews with the cast, no online screenplay. But at least in this case, that's all for the best. The film is stunning enough on its own to need no such accompaniment, and its magic is thereby undiminished.

5-0 out of 5 stars Oh, for a muse of fire...
For a first effort at feature-film direction, now-veteran director/writer/actor Kenneth Branagh provided an astonishing introduction to his many talents in filmmaking with his 1989 production, 'Henry V'. There is a gritty realism brought to the screen in this production that combines in dynamic and interesting ways with the Shakespearean dialogue and situations. The battle scenes are some of the best in cinema for depicting the kind of royal and knightly battles. A special commendation goes to cinematographer Kenneth MacMillan, art directors Martin Childs, Norman Dorme, John King, and costume designer Phyllis Dalton for combining elements of stage and screen together to complement the story perfectly without overpowering it. Indeed, the picture won the Oscar for Best Costumes; Branagh was nominated for Best Leading Actor and Best Director. The film and crew were nominated for and won many other awards as well.

One of the problems of Shakespeare on the silver screen is that the situations, settings, and acting often ends up somewhat contrived. That rarely happens here, because of this remarkable team.

The principle writing credit of course goes to William Shakespeare, but as is always the case, the play is recast to make the film medium more natural for the story. Kenneth Branagh is the one credited here, and has shown himself several times after this film as a master of adapting Shakespeare faithfully to the screen.

The play itself is one of Shakespeare's history plays -- remember the broad three categories of Shakespeare: history, drama (some say tragedy), and comedy. Like most of the history plays, there is creative license taken with the actual history, as it is invariably adapted to make the present regime look good, credible and more legitimate. This explains why Richard III in Shakespeare is far more villainous than in actual life; in Henry V, the country had a great and (for the period) uncontroversial hero - the last king of England to be acknowledged the dominant power in Britain and in France, succeeding in unwinnable situations, and, as befits a good historical hero, dies young before he has the chance to destroy his image. The play has always been popular in times of national crisis - see Olivier's production of Henry V during World War II depicting the king as a national saviour against continental foes.

The action of the play and film turns on the legitimacy of Henry's rule in France (an issue still for Elizabethan audiences, as Elizabeth was crowned with supposed rights to France). The French are depicted as haughty and disdainful of the young king (interesting how some things don't change), and the battle lines are drawn. The film here sets the stage for a far more ambiguous justification for war than is often depicted in the play, leaving the viewer wondering if, for all the glory of the battles, was there a real point, or was it legalistic/diplomatic trickery?

There is also the interesting scene with the conspirators against the king, unmasked as the forces are about to depart for France. Cambridge, Scrope and Grey are exposed, but the dialogue and acting hints as a more intimate relationship with Henry V - possibly this references obliquely the rumours of homosexuality, or at least bisexuality, in the historical Henry.

The players are excellent here, from Branagh himself as Henry V, and Brian Blessed his strong right arm Exeter. Paul Scofield (Thomas More in 'A Man for All Seasons') plays the ancient French king, Charles VI, and his son the Dauphin is played by Michael Maloney. This is, on the whole, a rather 'young' film, as Branagh himself was not yet 30 at the time of production, and most of his aides and friends in the play are similarly young, save for a few senior advisors. Emma Thompson, a staple in Branagh's films, plays the only significant female role, the princess Katherine, to whom Henry will be wed. Her part is almost entirely in French. Her maid, Alice, is played by Geraldine McEwan (perhaps best known from 'Mapp & Lucia').

The famous speeches here are preserved; Branagh does a fantastic job with his spirit-raising monologue for the troops prior to the battle of Agincourt, on Crispin Crispian day. The speech on horseback in the early seige of Harfleur, 'once more into the breech!' is also remarkable. The lines delivered by all the actors are done with care and precision - Exeter's report to Henry at the opening ('tennis balls', said with great sneer) and to the French party ('scorn', said with so much scorn the word need not be spoken) are but a few examples of this.

The film expands upon the play's use of Falstaff's companions as a comic relief, by incorporating what would be flash-back scenes from events in the Henry IV play cycle, premonitions of events currently in the play. Robbie Coltrane turns in a good performance as Falstaff; look for Judi Dench in a minor role as the Mistress, and a very young Christian Bale as the boy.

The music for the film is triumphant, foreboding and dark. This is a wonderful score produced by Patrick Doyle, known for work on other Branagh films such as 'Dead Again' and 'Much Ado about Nothing', as well as other films such as 'Indochine' and literature-based films like 'Gosford Park' and 'Great Expectations'.

Derek Jacobi, veteran Shakespearean, portrays 'Chorus', the narrator of the action, one who casts the right spirit from beginning to end, and appears throughout. There are few Shakespearean asides done by the actors here (a few under-the-breath comments that might qualify), but Jacobi's role is always directly to camera, directly to us as the spectators. The ending portrayed by Chorus is both victorious and tragic, much as the cycle of history must be.

This is a glorious film.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great Film, Less than Great Transfer
Kenneth Branagh's splendid Henry V is the best Shakespeare film of the last forty years. Unfortunately, the picture quality of this DVD is only so-so. MGM really needs to do a better job than this.

5-0 out of 5 stars "Cry Harry! England! And Saint George!!!"
Kenneth Branagh is truly inspired. As both the director and lead actor he is simply superb. Of all the Oscars this was nominated for, including Best Actor and Best Director for Branagh, all it walked away with was Best Costume Design. The costumes are great, by the way. But what makes this film work is the authentic emotional element that all the actors bring to their roles. Tears fall, hearts soar, and blood flows! This is easily my favorite film from director/actor Kenneth Branagh. There is a huge cast of name actors, such as Ian Holm, Judi Dench, and Emma Thompson, and all acquit themselves with honorable performances worthy of singular recognition. There are complex tracking shots and finely tuned film editing, all adding to the immense grandeur that envelopes this film. It is easy for me to recommend this outstanding Shakespearean adventure. If you love Shakespear, this film is an absolute necessity for your collection. Thank you.

5-0 out of 5 stars This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England....
From various reference sources, in brief, here's the historical background both to Shakespeare's play and to this film. Henry V, the eldest son of Henry IV and Mary Bohun, was born in 1387. An accomplished and experienced soldier, at age fourteen he fought the Welsh forces of Owen Glendower; at age sixteen he commanded his father's forces at the battle of Shrewsbury; and shortly after his accession he put down a major Lollard uprising and an assassination plot by nobles still loyal to Richard II . He proposed to marry Catherine in 1415, demanding the old Plantagenet lands of Normandy and Anjou as his dowry. Charles VI refused and Henry declared war, opening yet another chapter in the Hundred Years' War. His invasion of France served two purposes: to regain lands lost in previous battles and to focus attention away from any of his cousins' royal ambitions. Henry possessed a brilliant, strategic military mind and defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt in October of 1415. By 1419 he had captured Normandy, Picardy, and much of the Capetian stronghold of the Ile-de-France.

By the time the Treaty of Troyes was signed in 1420, Charles VI not only accepted Henry as his son-in-law but passed over his own son to name Henry heir to the French crown. Had Henry lived a mere two months longer, he would have been king of both England and France. However, he had prematurely aged because of having lived the hard life of a soldier, became seriously ill, and died after returning from yet another French campaign. Catherine had given birth to his only son while he was away but Henry died without ever seeing the child.

The historian Rafael Holinshed, in Chronicles of England, summed up Henry V's reign as follows: "This Henry was a king, of life without spot, a prince whom all men loved, and of none disdained, e captain against whom fortune never frowned, nor mischance once spurned, whose people him so severe a justicer both loved and obeyed (and so humane withal) that he left no offence unpunished, nor friendship unrewarded; a terror to rebels, and suppressor of sedition, his virtues notable, his qualities most praiseworthy."

It would be a disservice to compare and contrast this film with the version which Laurence Olivier directed 45 years earlier. Each has its own unique strengths and both are worthy of high regard. When Shakespeare's play and this film begin, newly crowned Henry V (Branagh) attempts to resolve animosities between England and France. When those efforts fail, he and a small army invade France and defeat the French troops at Agincourt. Branagh brings to the role exceptional energy and dramatic impact, most evident in two scenes: when he delivers his St. Crispin's Day speech just before heading into battle and then afterward as he rides amidst the carnage, carrying a dead boy across one shoulder. The resources and technologies for special effects available to Branagh were far more abundant than those available to Olivier. Branagh makes the most of them, recreating the gore and grime of Agincourt with a series of indelible images. (I suspect that Mel Gibson carefully studied the tracking sequence when preparing to film Braveheart.) The acting throughout is first-rate, notably Paul Scofield (King Charles VI), Judi Dench (Mistress Quickly), and Ian Holm (Captain Fluellyn). Sir John Falstaff does not appear in this film version (as he does in Olivier's) and scant attention is paid to the "corrupting influences" in Prince Hal's "decadent" youth. Branagh focuses primarily on the human dimensions prior to and following the magnificent military victory at Agincourt. It is also a pleasure to observe Branagh's interaction with Emma Thompson in her role as Katherine. The "word games" courtship scene is delightful.

This is a visually stunning and emotionally stimulating tribute to Henry V and his warriors, of course, but also to the country which produced such men:

This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,-
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

(Richard II, Act II, scene 1) ... Read more


2. Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $14.95
our price: $11.21
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Asin: B0000714BZ
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 1473
Average Customer Review: 4.55 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (88)

5-0 out of 5 stars Branagh brings Shakespeare to life!
Kenneth Branagh is, undoubtedly, my favorite Shakespeare actor and director. He casts based on talent rather than popularity and his choices really pay off. His own roles are instilled with a vibrant energy and life not often seen in film.

This screen adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic comedy takes us on a light-hearted adventure of match-making and deceit. Branagh plays Benedick, a soldier in the company of Don Pedro of Aragon and a "professed tyrant" to the female sex who swears he will die a bachelor. Emma Thompson, then Branagh's wife, plays Beatrice, a free-spirited female version of Benedick. The two are engaged in a "merry war" of wits, and constantly offend one another. Their friends, however, see them as the perfect couple and endeavour to bring them together against their own wills.

The second love story is that of Claudio, another favored soldier of prince Don Pedro, played by Robert Sean Leonard, and Hero, a career-starting role for actress Kate Beckinsale. Theirs is a case of love at first sight, and they soon become engaged to be married. Don John, the prince's outcast brother, however, will do anything to destroy the happiness of one of Don Pedro's favored men. He and his henchmen enter into a plot to break up the engagement.

Don Pedro is played by Denzel Washington, and the role highlights his amazing versatility and talent as an actor. This is definitely one of his best performances. It is also refreshing to see a movie where the good brother is played by a person of color and the bad brother, Don John (Keanu Reeves) is white. Branagh made an excellent casting choice and both characters shine.

Comic relief is provided by an outstanding performance of Michael Keaton as Dogberry, the local sheriff who's more than a little off his rocker, but harmlessly entertaining. Delightful performances are also given by Richard Briers as Leonato, Brian Blessed as Antonio, and Richard Clifford as Conrade.

With great acting, verbal and physical comedy, and a wonderful musical score, this film is a definite must-see for any fan of Shakespeare and Kenneth Branagh. A truly delightful movie!

5-0 out of 5 stars Much Ado About Something...
A warning: watching this film is apt to take away from your pleasure in watching any other film of a Shakespearian play. Simply, it's beautiful. The cast is a surprising ensemble that works incredibly well together (except, alas, for Keanu Reeves, who despite his best efforts, cannot act - luckily, the role doesn't require that he do so), the cinematography is beautiful, and the joy of watching Shakespeare done by good actors is that you actually understand the wordplay and the plot. Furthermore, there is no one star of the show (perhaps two, if Benedict and Beatrice are counted as the leads), so you don't get as sick of Brannaugh as you usually do in his mind-numbing epics (i.e. Hamlet - wherein near the end you feel like screaming, "There's a knife right there! Get it over with!). Finally, Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington are wonderful; Thompson is so consistently exquisite in all of her movies that Britain should put out an insurance policy, and I am very embarrassed to say that, of all of Washington's excellent films, I love this one the best. I have never seen Shakespeare done better in a movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good or not..??
Good or not?? Its a GOOD movie I tell ya. I love it. First time I watched it was in my english class. Though I was quite suprised that we're allowed to watch movies that has nudity in it....don't know why. Yeah, there was a bit nudity and AHEM in here. But it is a HILARIOUS movie!! Theres famous actors today, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Baragnan, Micheal Keaton, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsin, Richard Briers, Denzel Washington...lots more that I can't remember. Lots of comedy and romance. Come on, its a Shakespeare play. Its awesome!! Trust me, watch it or buy it I meant. ^_^

5-0 out of 5 stars My Favorite Love Story
Many find William Shakespeare's Romeo and Julliet to be their favorite love story, but after seeing this movie it won me over. When you read his work after you see this movie it feels more exciting.
I enjoyed reading A Midsummer Night's Dream, but I haven't seen the motion picture, yet. This was also another great love story with colorful characters.
His colorful characters are one of the reasons why I love his writing so much. They have personalities; they have life. When the protagonists take too much of the story it gets boring, but when you have a rich melting pot of characters in which their lives all meet at some degree its a lot of fun.
In this movie you see song and merriment of the Mediterranean countires. Many courtships arise and the strenght of love, faith and trust are put to the test. See who wins and see who fails and see who gets a second chance.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very Entertaining
This movie really took me by surprise. I guess I was expecting it to be dated and more serious, but in Shakespeare fashion it was quite entertaining and timeless. It was a brilliant take on a classic. Enjoy! ... Read more


3. Dead Again
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $19.99
our price: $15.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 6305882525
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 4635
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4. Love's Labour's Lost
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $14.99
our price: $13.49
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Asin: B00004Z4WW
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 6950
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Amazon.com

Having taken Shakespeare at his word on Hamlet (i.e., not cuttinga single syllable out of a very long play), Kenneth Branagh selects a more radical approach with Love's Labour's Lost. Here the prolific director-star weeds out much of the play's dialogue and adds songs and dances of a decidedly modern bent. The King of Navarre (Alessandro Nivola, Nicolas Cage's wacko brother in Face/Off) and his three comrades (Branagh, Matthew Lillard, Adrian Lester) take a vow:no womanly distractions while they pursue their studies. Ah, but at that very moment, floating down a magical studio-built river, is the queen of France (Alicia Silverstone), accompanied by three ladies-in-waiting. You do the math. Branagh has set the tale on the eve of the Second World War, which allows for the inclusion of vintage pop songs, including "Cheek to Cheek," "The Way You Look Tonight," and a rousing chorus of "There's No Business Like Show Business," led by--who else?--Nathan Lane. The fact that most of the cast members are not accomplished song-and-dance folk is clearly meant to charm, but the results are spotty at best. Perhaps the most dynamic performer is Natascha McElhone (memorable from Ronin), whose aristocratic bearing and bottomless eyes lend a gravity to the material that is otherwise absent from Branagh's twinkly staging. The play contains some of Shakespeare's loveliest paeans to the language of love, yet Branagh seems to be in a hurry to juice everything up lest the audience lose interest. The labor shows. --Robert Horton ... Read more


5. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $9.95
our price: $9.95
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Asin: 0767811097
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 9414
Average Customer Review: 3.36 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (90)

3-0 out of 5 stars not too scary, more sad
This was a good movie with a good point about the way society doesn't always accept people who are different. But, I was really disappointed. When I read that Robert De Niro was in this movie playing Frankenstein's monster, and that it was a horror movie, I was expecting an entertaining, wild, bloody, eerie, and terrifying horror about a mad monster. But, instead, it was a very sad film. I almost wanted to cry. Just thinking about the scene in which Frankenstein's monster kills a good-hearted woman makes me sad. And, what's so sad is that the monster wasn't truly a monster at heart. He had love inside him, but nobody understood him, so he reacted with violence. The sadness of the film makes it less enjoyable to watch. Overall, it is a good movie though. But, don't watch this film if you are prone to weeping about sad scenes in movies. And, I wouldn't recommend watching this movie if you're looking for a scary movie, because it's not all that scary. If you like science, and you enjoy creating strange experiments, and science fiction, and watching tragedies befall upon good people, I recommend this movie.

4-0 out of 5 stars A worth-while version
As film adaptions of Frankenstein go, this is more accurate than most. It's good to see the Arctic climax restored, as it is so often omitted. Kenneth Branagh has made a satisfying, staightforward version of the story, thankfully containing little of the wayward characterisation and tricksy camera work which combine to sink Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula. The horror element has been toned down a bit, although the section where Frankenstein ressurects Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) is quite disturbing.

Just a word about the creation scene, which is somewhat different to the 'thunder and lightning' scenario we have become used to. The monster floats in a tank full of amniotic fluid, which Frankenstein moves about the laboratory by means of chains and pulleys. The spark of life is provided by power generated from electric eels. Frankenstein, stripped to the waist, slips and slides on the fluid that has now poured onto the floor, and strikes the monster on the back, in the manner of a doctor slapping a new-born baby. It certainly gives a novel slant to a familiar situation.

Branagh directs and also plays the part of Frankenstein with energy and gusto. Robert DeNiro makes a formidable monster, but also manages to elicit our sympathy for his plight, which is just how it should be. The supporting performances from a host of well known British actors are generally good, perhaps the most interesting being John Cleese. He does well in a straight role as Dr. Waldemann, who takes Frankenstein under his wing at medical school. The comic relief is provided by Tom Hulce as Frankenstein's friend, Henry Clerval.

This is a good and entertaining version of Frankenstein, and well worth a look.

4-0 out of 5 stars Not an authentic adaptation of the book, but still fun.
"Mary Shelley's Frankenstein" is an incredibly melodramatic adaptation of the book that takes huge liberties with the plot, but I still find it thoroughly entertaining. The movie is perfectly cast, and I think that the embellishments that Kenneth Branagh takes with the story only make the film more enjoyable. Even though I doubt that Dr. Frankenstein ran around without a shirt on as much as Branagh does in the film, most women will probably find it quite enjoyable. Robert DeNiro is amaing in his role of "the creature," and Helena Bonham Carter gives a great performance as Elizabeth. If you're the type of person who detests it when filmmakers stray too far from the text of the book they're adapting, then this film probably isn't for you. If you're a bit more open-minded and are just looking for an entertaining movie to watch, this is a perfect film to add to your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ingolstadt,?
The scene with the crowd was gathered during the lynching,
did'nt the caption say Ingolstadt and is'nt Ingolstadt in
Germany?

I am wondering why De Niro was talking like an englishman
and the crowd sounded like english too?

Maybe I missing something; should'nt the people so german?
I remember like thirty years ago about you should be true
to your heritage.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellnt film!
This is bye far, the best remake of Frankenstein ever. This is better than the Frankenstein sequel's to, well MOST of the Frankenstein sequel's at lest. Comes very close to the perfect book written by Mary Shelley. Some people said this was bad because there was to much drama. Will people stop being Nerd's! ... Read more


6. Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767802594
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 31968
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7. Much Ado About Nothing
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $27.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0767802608
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 50371
Average Customer Review: 4.66 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Much Ado About Nothing is probably the most satisfying, and certainly the liveliest and most charming, of Kenneth Branagh's Shakespeare films. The witty badinage between Branagh and his then-wife Emma Thompson, as Benedick and Beatrice, is as bright and sunny as the golden sunlight that shines on the Tuscan villa where the picture was shot. This production--and don't ask about the plot, just remember the title--is an ebullient celebration of art and artifice, culminating in a joyous dance, and performed at a brisk pace by an all-star cast, including Denzel Washington, Robert Sean Leonard, Keanu Reeves, and Michael Keaton. --Jim Emerson ... Read more

Reviews (129)

5-0 out of 5 stars This movie is THE BOMB! KABOOM!
When my English teacher said we were going to watch Much Ado About Nothing, my only experience with Shakespeare had been his tragedies, thus making me not want to see it. I left the room and didn't watch it. When a friend of mine suggested we watch it, I had the same feelings but decided to watch it just because there wasn't much else to do. Boy was I wrong about it. It is the best movie I have ever seen. It shows Shakespeare's love of wit and humor. All in all, this is an awesome movie and a must see for those, like me, who thought that Shakespeare is a drag.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful movie
Style and wit of Branagh and Thompson. The cast is great, though Keanu comes up a little short but not too bad. Leonard Maltin must get a map and see that Messina is in Sicily, not Tuscany. The soundtrack is the best part along with the scenery. I hope Branagh tackles more of the Bard in the future and reconciles with Emma.

5-0 out of 5 stars DELIGHTFUL!!!
Despite the flaws, which many have pointed out - no need to repeat here - this is perhaps the finest and funniest rendition of Shakespeare on film. I recommend this film to anyone who has trouble getting Shakespeare. It's absolutely delightful!

5-0 out of 5 stars Witty, a great cast and just brilliantly done!
Kenneth Branagh (Benedick) and Emma Thompson (Beatrice) played their parts beautifully! If you havn't seen it then you should!

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpeice filled with passen, hate, love, and comedy
This movie is wonderful. It's filled with love, hate, revenge,and comedy. I liked this movie so much I wached it twice. Even if you don't like shakesper you will like this movie! ... Read more


8. Hamlet
Director: Kenneth Branagh

Asin: B00005JLCI
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 57411
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (211)

5-0 out of 5 stars Stellar Acheivement
The 1996 film "Hamlet" directed and starring Kenneth Branagh is by far the best film adaption of the play! Even though its 4 hours, you hardly notice it because of how much is going on. His acting job is superb, as are Julie Christies as Gertrude, Derek Jacobi's as Claudius, and Kate Winslet as Ophelia (a role much better than her overrated one in "Titanic'). But what's really amazing is Kenneth Branagh's direction. He is such a genius and everyone involved with the movie should have gotten Oscars. Also, what I liked were the great visuals. Elsinore is so cool, especially the main hall with the mirrored doors and checkered floor. Plus he changes the play very subtlely, such as putting Claudius in a confessional for the praying scene or having him and Polonius watch Hamlet deliver the "to be or not to be" speech from a one-way mirror. I've heard Branagh say that he didn't want his movie to be gloomy and infatuated with death and deciet like the other films are. Instead it's a celebration of life and love, and adventure. END

5-0 out of 5 stars Superior to all other versions.
Kenneth Branagh's version of Hamlet combines lush and breathtaking visuals with the complete, unabridged text of Shakespeare's masterpiece. In other versions of Hamlet, such as the ill-cast Mel Gibson film, the play is mistakenly cut down to a "more reasonable" two-hours-or-less atrocity. The unexpurgated method allows for the inclusion of important scenes that, if removed, take away from the overall effect of the drama. Despite its length of more than four hours, the film keeps the viewer entertained until the startling last scene. The stunning visuals can be attributed to the rarely used 70mm film on which the play was captured and the exceptional set design involved. The play is actually done in a 19th century motif, a unique departure from other versions of Hamlet. Impressive costume design add to the remarkable images in the film. The star-studded cast includes Derek Jacobi as Claudius, Kate Winslet as Ophelia, and Branagh, himself, as Hamlet, all parts delivered with brilliant authenticity. Other well known actors such as Robin Williams, Charlton Heston, and Billy Crystal also appear in small, but equally well-implemented roles. Some argue that Branagh's execution of the part was overdone, but it fits perfectly within the film and is, therefore, quite believable. The acting is overall a big plus to the end effect of the film. Beautifully executed in an outstandingly well-calculated manner, Branagh's film made Hamlet more accessible to modern viewers and will certainly remain popular for a long time to come.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Film
Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" works so well on the big screen because the guy has a knack for Shakespeare, acting, directing, and knowing what "modern" audiences wanted out of a Shakespearean play. He takes the tale of Hamlet, prince of Denmark, and transports it to more of a modern setting (well, more modern than the 16th century). He assembles an all-star cast that includes Kate Winslett, Charlton Heston, Derek Jacobi, Billy Crystal, Jack Lemmon, Robin Williams among others in this adaptation of Shakespeare's classic.

Although 4 hours in length (mainly because every word in the play is inserted in the script), the stunning effect of the play is extraordinary. The backdrop for the ghost of Hamlet in the opening scene, the mirror used when Hamlet (Branaugh) is making his "To be or not to be" soliloquy, the palace in which Hamlet and Laertes fight, and the snowy landscape in which Fortenbras and his men arrive are all instances of using scenery and directing to update this version of the play.

Although the setting and interpretation of what Shakespeare intended are left in doubt, the movie itself is visually stunning and the acting is great. Although Branaugh hired a few American actors to take on some of Shakespeare's characters (for instance, Robin Williams plays Osric and Billy Crystal plays one of the gravediggers), there "American" accents are hardly noticed in the film.

As an educator, I also think this is a fantastic version to use as a resource for a study of the play. Because the dialogue is accurate to the play, it works well. Also, this version seemingly makes the work of Shakespeare easier to understand. (Although, as a warning, there is one scene with Winslet (Ophelia) and Branaugh (Hamlet) that is definitely "adult" in nature).

Overall, a great gamble by Branaugh to update Shakespeare's work into his own insight. There is also a few extras on the VHS version: interviews with many of the cast members as well as a behind the scenes about the movie.

Also recommended: Hamlet (Mel Gibson version)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Film for learning
This film is a great tool to be used within a classroom to reinforce Shakesperian lessons. The film presents one of the best adaptations to Shakespeare's original work. Awesome production!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good.
This version of 'Hamlet' starring and directed by the one and only Kenneth Branagh is a joy to watch and might be the best version of the famous play. It follows the play word by word, so one has to read it and understand it fully to understand the film. Better than the Mel Gibson 'Hamlet'. ... Read more


9. Dead Again
Director: Kenneth Branagh
list price: $29.99
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Asin: B00004T9BY
Catlog: DVD
Sales Rank: 37117
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