Executive Producer Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Spectre) revisits the Bard’s monarchy tragedies in this star-studded miniseries. The stellar casts include such actors as Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, John Hurt and Patrick Stewart. Note that while the covers are in black and white, the films are in color.
Descriptions below are from IMDB.
Richard II (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $12.99 in HD)
Fey, vain and foolish, young Richard initiates his downfall by banishing Henry Bolingbroke and the Earl of Mowbray as a resolution to their feud and then confiscating the lands of his uncle, Bolingbroke’s father John of Gaunt, on John’s death, to pay for a war in Ireland which he loses.
This angers many courtiers including the Duke of York,who welcome Bolingbroke back to England, where he executes Richard’s flatterers. The king himself is soon taken prisoner and murdered in his cell. Bolingbroke,now proclaiming himself Henry IV,vows a pilgrimage to atone for his part in the regicide. – Written by don @ minifie-1
Henry IV, Pt. I (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $12.99 in HD)
Henry IV finds himself facing uprisings from the Welsh chieftain Owen Glendower and impetuous young Harry Hotspur , son of the Duke of Northumberland, angry with the king for not paying Glendower ransom for his brother-in-law Mortimer.
Another trial for Henry is the fact that his son, Prince Hal, keeps company with the older, reprobate drunkard Sir John Falstaff. Though the prince is his friend he is not above playing cruel jests on Falstaff, robbing him in disguise and returning his money after Falstaff has given an exaggerated account of his bravery in the hold-up.
However Hal joins his father at the wintry battle of Shrewsbury to put down Hotspur’s revolt, where Hal kills Hotspur in single combat – Falstaff later claiming credit for the deed. Hotspur is routed but Henry and Hal still have to face the uprisings of Glendower and Nortumberland, now joined by the archbishop of York. – Written by don @ minifie-1
Henry IV, Pt. II (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $12.99 in HD)
As Northumberland swears revenge for his son’s death and gathers his allies to fight the ailing king, the Lord Chief Justice, having rebuked Falstaff for being a bad influence on Hal, charges him to recruit an army on Henry’s behalf.
After brawling with the truculent Pistol, Falstaff prepares to leave his lover, Doll Tearsheet, criticizing Hal to her, unaware that the prince is eavesdropping. Falstaff assembles a motley crew from Justice Shallow but Henry’s cousin Westmoreland arrests the rebel leaders after duping them into a truce.
Hal, assuming his father is dead, dons the crown and is berated by the dying king, but they reconcile as Henry’s last gesture is to crown his son. Hal accedes to the throne as Henry V but, now aware he must put frivolity aside, banishes Falstaff as his first act as ruler. – Written by don @ minifie-1
Henry V (4.5/5 stars, currently priced at $2.99 to rent in SD / $3.99 in HD, $9.99 to own in SD / $12.99 in HD)
Hal is now a responsible monarch as Henry V, his rejection of Falstaff hastening the latter’s death. Told by courtiers that, through Edward III, he has a claim to the French throne, he makes overtures to the Dauphin but is sent a humiliating present of tennis balls.
He prepares an expeditionary force to cross the Channel and take the throne, capturing the town of Harfleur during a surprise nocturnal raid following an inspirational speech. Though merciful to its inhabitants Henry allows soldier Bardolph to be hung for looting.
After another truce is turned down by the French Henry prepares for the pitched battle of Agincourt, wandering the camp in disguise on its eve to gauge opinion of him. The battle is won with minimal English losses and the French king, whose daughter Henry marries, declares him to be his successor.
However an end title shows that Henry dies of dysentery at the age of thirty-five and we are told that his son Henry VI loses possession of France. – Written by don @ minifie-1