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The Hollow Crown - TV Mini Series [DVD]

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Product details

  • Actors: Ben Whishaw, Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston, Patrick Stewart, David Morrissey
  • Directors: Rupert Goold, Richard Eyre, Thea Sharrock
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 4
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Oct 2012
  • Run Time: 520 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (304 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B007P3Q95K
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 697 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

The series re-imagines the classic tetralogy of William Shakespeare’s most celebrated history plays - Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, and Henry V - with unprecedented ambition, exploring themes of succession, power, corruption, and greed in a singular sweeping production.

Four Parts Include:
Richard II (140mins)
Henry IV Part 1 (120mins)
Henry IV Part 2 (120mins)
Henry V (140mins)


The latest show to close the gap between the production values of the big screen and television, The Hollow Crown is a sumptuous piece of work, filling the screen with simply glorious visuals, and real period detail. It pulls together and reimagines four of William Shakespeare's plays, from Richard II and Henry V to both parts of Henry IV. Then, it brings in a cast boasting the likes of Jeremy Irons, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hiddleston, acting heavyweights who make much of the already strong material. The end result is something very special indeed.

The idea of bringing four plays together in one mutli-part production is a strong one anyway, but The Hollow Crown really is an accessible yet deep look at three different kings and their differences. Of course, that leaves ample room for politics, power struggles, family and conflict, and the sheer ambition of what's on the screen is refreshing and engrossing.

The disc release also digs into how it all came together, spending some time looking at the making of the series and includes a collection of interviews from some of the substantive cast.

It's terrific to see something as bold, interesting and risky as The Hollow Crown working as triumphantly as it does. Clearly made by people with a love for the material, it's exquisitely done Shakespeare, very much for all. --Jon Foster

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

145 of 153 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on 26 July 2012
Format: DVD
The Hollow Crown is the best drama shown on the BBC for many years. Every aspect of the production was first rate, particularly the top notch cast and wonderful cinematography with beautiful landscapes. In Richard II Ben Whishaw gave a fine performance as a king tormented by his own insecurities and finally deposed. Each subsequent drama seemed to reach a higher plane than the last, culminating in a superb final rendition of Henry V. I agree that cutting the conspiracy scene (crucial) and enlarging the role of the Duke of York in Henry V were mistakes. However, Simon Russell Beale and Jeremy Irons were both excellent as Falstaff - showing the character's more reflective side as well as his roistering - and the ageing King whose dreams of the crown turn to bitter reality. But I have to single out Tom Hiddleston's performance as Henry V as quite exceptional, I totally disagree with those reviewers who disliked it. Some of the speeches such as the Crispian's day one were low key and pensive, but all the more moving for that I would argue, and his courtship of the Princess showed a wonderful light touch. This Henry V starts off as a dissolute young man who matures into a courageous leader of men but also a profound thinker who is fully aware of the horrors of the war that he unleashes. If Hiddleston does not win many awards, I will be surprised - he is one to watch. I can't wait to get the DVD now.
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159 of 170 people found the following review helpful By C. Dale on 11 July 2012
Format: DVD
If you buy any DVD of a TV production this year, it has to be 'The Hollow Crown'. I have watched countless film and television versions of Shakespeare's plays in the past and I can honestly say there have been none like these versions. Forget David Tennant's edgy, modern-day 'Hamlet' (hard, I know, as it was pretty unforgettable): these new history plays are simply stunning.

I think what is rarely touched upon in reviews is how accessible these new films make Shakespeare. I watched 'Richard II' with my mum hoping she would not get bored by the long, philosophical speeches, but she thoroughly enjoyed it. Even for a literature student Shakespeare isn't exactly a walk in the park and having not approached 'Richard II' before, I was thinking, as I sat down to watch it, that I should have made an effort to skim-read the play in my Collected Works, just to get a gist of the plot. I'm glad I didn't. Watching the film was like looking into Shakespeare's world through a new pair of Specsaver glasses: everything came startlingly into focus. I promise you, if you are attentive and ready to engage, 'Richard II' is as accessible, exciting and fun to watch as any other epic action film you are likely to see.

I can't praise the settings, cinematography and costume of the first instalment enough. And I would certainly run the risk of sounding gushy ('you already are, dear') if I started on Ben Whishaw's performance as Richard. But this guy is incredibly good. This film is incredibly good. The handing over of the crown scene literally took my breath away. Whishaw excels so much here that it is by far the most sublime part of the film.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Eleanor Brae on 16 Oct 2012
Format: DVD
God how I wish we'd had shakespeare adaptions like these while I was at school (which admitedly I only left 6 years ago)!! Ive always loved shakespeare inspite of the dreary lessons we merely endured, with some truly dull and lifeless 1970s adaptions to try and fire our passions for the bard, but these new adaptions of the history plays are, in my opinion, a triumph.
Starting with Richard II, Ben Whishaw plays the titular role and brings an otherworldliness to the character, along with brilliantly portraying Richard's vanities and insecurities, and his total belief in the divine right of kings. Every emotion is on display in Bens face, evoking everyone from Michael Jackson to St Sebastian (it's amazing how much Ben looks like a pre-raphaelite painting!), and even Christ himself, and he handles the language like the pro that he is. Ben heads up what is a who's-who check list of British thespians, not least Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt, aswell as Rory Kinnear as Henry Bollingbrooke, and David Suchet, David Morrisey, and Clemence Poesy, among many many others. I have to give special mention to the deposition scene, where Richard officially, and reluctantly, hands over the crown to Bollingbrooke- Dear god the scene is riveting, and is a powerhouse of a performance from both Ben and Rory. Eyes literally glued to the screen throughout the scene. The St Sebastian imagery may have been overdone and, some might argue, unneccessary, but, for me, its a minor quibble with what is otherwise a brilliant adaption.
Next up, the Henry plays.
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51 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Buckle on 15 July 2012
Format: DVD
A pleasure to see, a rare experience nowadays on the BBC. This is one of the finest production on the BBC for years and years. This is a definite must have DVD set - just a pity all the history plays are not part of the series (or will there be a season 2?)

Just about forgive the BBC for shifting the Henry IV Part 1 to 10.00 (to show the Women's Doubles - glad that was more important than one of the best shows in the last 10 years or so - certainly up there with the I, Claudius etc)

I've always found the history plays the least inspiring of Shakespeare's plays, but not now, I will now watch them (at the Globe etc) with more enthusiasm.

Now, I hope the BBC will put on some modern plays (as with Sky Arts - if only the BBC was as good as that channel) as well as some Jacobean / Restoration / World Drama / Chekov / Ibsen and others .. Hollow Crown deserves to be followed by some more great drama
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