The King (2019 film)

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The King
The King poster.jpeg
Official poster
Directed byDavid Michôd
Produced by
Written by
  • David Michôd
  • Joel Edgerton
Based onHenry IV, Part 1,
Henry IV, Part 2
and Henry V
by William Shakespeare
Music byNicholas Britell[1]
CinematographyAdam Arkapaw
Edited byPeter Sciberras
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • 2 September 2019 (2019-09-02) (Venice)
  • 11 October 2019 (2019-10-11) (United States)
Running time
140 minutes[2]
  • Australia
  • United States
Box office~$10,000[3]

The King is a 2019 historical drama film based on several plays from William Shakespeare's "Henriad".[4][5][6] It is directed by David Michôd, written by Michôd and Joel Edgerton, and stars Timothée Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Robert Pattinson, and Ben Mendelsohn.

It had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on 2 September 2019 and was released on 11 October 2019 in selected theatres before being put up for digital streaming on 1 November 2019 by Netflix.


Henry, Prince of Wales (called "Hal" by his close friends) is the emotionally distant eldest and wastrel son of King Henry IV of England. Hal is uninterested in his father's war policies and in succeeding him, and spends his days drinking, whoring, and jesting with his companion John Falstaff in Eastcheap. His father summons Hal and informs him that Hal's younger brother, Thomas, will inherit the throne instead of Hal. Thomas is sent to subdue Hotspur's rebellion but is upstaged by the arrival of Hal, who engages Hotspur in single combat. The sword fight descends into an armoured fistfight, and Hal kills Hotspur with a dagger. Although this decides the battle without further conflict, Thomas complains that Hal has stolen all the glory. Shortly thereafter, Thomas is killed in battle after taking his campaign to Wales.

Henry IV dies in his bed with Hal present, and Hal is crowned King Henry V. Hal is determined not to be like his father, and opts for peace and conciliation with his father's adversaries, despite his actions being seen as weakness. At his coronation feast, the Dauphin of France sends Hal a ball, as an insulting and emasculating coronation gift. However, Hal chooses to frame this as a positive reflection of his boyhood before being crowned. His sister Philippa, now the Queen of Denmark, cautions that nobles in any royal court have their own interests in mind and will never fully reveal their true intentions.

Hal interrogates a captured assassin who claims to have been sent by King Charles VI of France to assassinate Hal. The English nobles Cambridge and Grey are approached by French agents hoping to induce them to the French cause. Their trust in the new young king wavers and they then approach Hal's Chief Justice, William Gascoigne, with their concerns. Gascoigne advises the young king that a show of strength is necessary to unite England, so to prove his competency, Hal declares war on France and has Cambridge and Grey beheaded. He approaches Falstaff and appoints him as his chief military strategist, saying that Falstaff is the only man he truly trusts.

The English army sets sail for France, with Hal at the forefront and Falstaff as his marshal. After completing the Siege of Harfleur, they continue on the campaign but are followed by the Dauphin, who repeatedly tries to provoke Hal. The English advance parties stumble upon a huge French army gathering to face them. Dorset advises Hal to retreat, due to the superiority of the French forces but Falstaff proposes a false advance to lure the French to rush forward into the mud, where they will be weighed down by their heavy armour and horses. They will then be attacked by the English longbowmen and surrounded by a large flanking force hidden in the nearby woods.

Hal goes to the Dauphin and offers to fight in single combat to decide the battle, but the Dauphin refuses. The Battle of Agincourt commences, with Hal in the thick of the fighting. Falstaff's plan works and the outnumbered English army overpowers the French, although Falstaff is killed. The Dauphin enters the fray to challenge Hal but is humiliated and easily defeated. Hal orders all the French prisoners executed for fear that they might regroup, an order that Falstaff had refused to carry out before the battle.

Following the decisive victory, the English continue deeper into France. Hal reaches King Charles VI, who offers his surrender and the hand of his daughter Catherine of Valois. Hal returns to England with his new wife for the celebrations. He comes to her room to have a conversation and she challenges his reasons for invading France. She denies that the French assassin and the insult originated from her father or her brother and dismisses Hal when he falls back on echoing the sentiments of others, sentiments Hal had dismissed earlier in the campaign. Hal realizes that the supposed French insult and acts of aggression against England were staged by Gascoigne to goad Hal into war. Hal confronts Gascoigne, confirms his suspicions and an unashamed Gascoigne declares that peace comes only through victory. In cold fury, Hal kills Gascoigne and returns to Catherine, promising to only ever ask that she speak the truth to him.



Filming on location at Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, UK.

In 2013, it was revealed that Joel Edgerton and David Michôd had collaborated on writing an adaptation of Shakespeare's "Henriad" plays, Henry IV, Parts 1 & 2 and Henry V, for Warner Bros. Pictures.[7][8][9] In September 2015, it was announced that Michôd would direct the project, with Warner Bros. producing and distributing the film, and Lava Bear producing.[10]

In February 2018, Timothée Chalamet joined the cast, with Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, and Jeremy Kleiner producing, alongside Liz Watts, under their Plan B Entertainment banner. Ultimately, Netflix distributed the film instead of Warner Bros.[11] In March 2018, Edgerton joined the cast of the film.[12] In May 2018, Robert Pattinson, Ben Mendelsohn, Sean Harris, Lily-Rose Depp, Tom Glynn-Carney, and Thomasin McKenzie joined the cast; Dean-Charles Chapman joined in June.[13][14]

Principal photography began on 1 June 2018 and wrapped on 24 August.[13][15]

Filming locations[edit]

Filming took place throughout England and Szilvásvárad, Hungary.[16][17] Many scenes were filmed on location at Berkeley Castle in Gloucestershire, England.[18] Lincoln Cathedral was used in place of Westminster Abbey for the coronation scenes.[19]


The film had its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival on 2 September 2019.[20] It screened at the BFI London Film Festival on 3 October 2019,[21][22] and received a limited release on 11 October 2019 before being released on Netflix, for digital streaming, on 1 November 2019.[23]


Critical response[edit]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 70% based on 132 reviews, with an average rating of 6.54/10. The website's critical consensus reads: "While The King is sometimes less than the sum of its impressive parts, strong source material and gripping performances make this a period drama worth hailing."[24] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 61 out of 100, based on 36 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25][26]


Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
AACTA Awards 4 December 2019 Best Film Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Liz Watts, David Michôd, Joel Edgerton Nominated [27]
Best Direction David Michôd Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Timothée Chalamet Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Joel Edgerton Won
Ben Mendelsohn Nominated
Best Cinematography Adam Arkapaw Won
Best Editing Peter Sciberras Nominated
Best Sound Robert Mackenzie, Sam Petty, Gareth John, Leah Katz, Mario Vacarro, Tara Webb Nominated
Best Production Design Fiona Crombie, Alice Felton Won
Best Costume Design Jane Petrie Won
Best Screenplay David Michôd, Joel Edgerton Nominated
Best Hair and Makeup Alessandro Bertolazzi Nominated
Best Casting Des Hamilton, Francine Maisler Nominated
4 January 2020 Best International Film Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Liz Watts, David Michôd, Joel Edgerton Nominated [28]
Hollywood Music in Media Awards 20 November 2019 Best Original Score in a Feature Film Nicholas Britell Nominated [29]

Historical accuracy[edit]

Being based on several works of English playwright Shakespeare, the film suffers from many of the same ahistorical dramatizations and biases as its source material, including the introduction of wholly fictional characters and episodes as well as mischaracterizations of historical persons. Not unlike the 16th century plays, the film was met with criticism by historians, with Christophe Gilliot, director of the French museum Azincourt 1415, suggesting "Francophobe tendencies".[30]


  1. ^ "Nicholas Britell Scoring David Michod's 'The King'". FilmMusicReporter. 22 July 2019. Archived from the original on 22 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  2. ^ "The King". Venice Film Festival. 23 July 2019. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  3. ^ Brueggemann, Tom (13 October 2017). "Record-Breaking 'Parasite' Scores the Best Platform Opening Since 'La La Land'". IndieWire. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  4. ^ Crabtree, Isabel (9 November 2019). "The King Might Not Be Totally Historically Accurate, But Timotheé Chalamet's Bowl Cut Sure As Hell Is". Esquire. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  5. ^ Bunyan, Michael (25 October 2019). "The True Story Behind the Netflix Movie The King". Time. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  6. ^ Nelson, Alex (11 November 2019). "Is The King a true story? How accurately Henry V and Agincourt are portrayed in the Netflix drama and Shakespeare plays". inews. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  7. ^ Davies, Luke (June 2013). "Joel Edgerton after Gatsby". The Monthly. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2018. With David Michôd he has written King, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Parts I & II, and Henry V, for Warner Bros.
  8. ^ Wood, Stephanie (26 July 2014). "Australian actor Joel Edgerton hits the Hollywood big time". Archived from the original on 23 June 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  9. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (3 September 2016). "Joel Edgerton Talks 'Game Of Thrones' Meets Shakespeare Project With David Michôd, 'Jane Got A Gun,' And More". Archived from the original on 26 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  10. ^ McClintock, Pamela (3 September 2015). "Former Universal Chairman David Linde on TIFF Bet, What He Misses About Running a Big Studio". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 18 May 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  11. ^ Fleming Jr, Mike (8 February 2018). "Timothee Chalamet To Play King Henry V In David Michôd Netflix Film 'The King". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 9 February 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  12. ^ Vlessing, Etan (22 March 2018). "Joel Edgerton Joins Timothee Chalamet in Netflix Drama 'The King'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  13. ^ a b Wiseman, Andreas (31 May 2018). "Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Among Cast Joining Timothée Chalamet In Netflix Pic 'The King', Cameras Roll This Week". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 1 June 2018. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  14. ^ Wiseman, Andreas (1 June 2018). "'Game Of Thrones' Star Dean-Charles Chapman Joins Netflix Pic 'The King'". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on 21 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  15. ^ "Day 58, #thatsawrap !". 24 August 2018. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  16. ^ Vierney, Joseph (15 May 2018). "Lincoln casting call for period film". The Lincolnite. Archived from the original on 8 June 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  17. ^ Goundry, Nick (3 May 2018). "Timothée Chalamet to film Henry V movie in Hungary". KFTV. Archived from the original on 8 June 2018. Retrieved 30 May 2018.
  18. ^ Horton, Kim (8 June 2018). "Netflix movie produced by Brad Pitt filming in Gloucestershire". gloucestershirelive. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  19. ^ Verney, Joseph (1 November 2019). "The King released on Netflix featuring Lincoln's historic sights". thelincolnite. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  20. ^ Anderson, Ariston (25 July 2019). "Venice Film Festival Unveils Lineup (Updating Live)". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  21. ^ Mitchell, Robert (29 August 2019). "'Jojo Rabbit,' 'The Aeronauts,' Netflix Titles Feature in London Film Festival Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  22. ^ "The King". BFI London Film Festival. Retrieved 29 August 2019.
  23. ^ McClintock, Pamela (27 August 2019). "Netflix Dates 'Marriage Story,' 'Laundromat' and Other Fall Award Films". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 August 2019.
  24. ^ "The King (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  25. ^ "The King (2019) Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  26. ^ Hans, Simran (13 October 2019). "The King review – Timothée Chalamet is all at sea as Prince Hal". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Winners & Nominees".
  28. ^ Vlessing, Etan (3 January 2020). "'Parasite' Named Best Picture by Australia's AACTA Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 3 January 2020.
  29. ^ Harris, LaTesha; Harris, LaTesha (5 November 2019). "'Joker,' 'Lion King,' 'Us' Lead 2019 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Nominees". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2019.
  30. ^ Samuel, Henry (4 November 2019). "Netflix's 'The King' is anti-French nonsense that flatters a war criminal, says director of Agincourt museum". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 December 2019.

External links[edit]