I'm currently working on a project related to Shakespeare's play "Henry V" (which came as a surprise even to myself, given that I'd been working on something else and had been underwhelmed by the one production of "Henry V" I have seen, at the Folger a few years ago, but I'd been stuck with the other thing and when I started writing up that new idea -- I'm tempted to say it was in Denver a few weeks ago -- I basically couldn't write fast enough, a sure sign I should keep going). I've had a bad week and writing about this makes me feel better... but I have some very good things on the horizon, in the not so distant future in fact, and the best about this new project is that I'm writing again the way I want and not the way I should, so I feel again like my 20-year-old college self back in Paris, happy to type and type and type some more - just me and the computer in a light-filled room.
I'm not giving details for now about the storyline, except to say it's set in the present time, but the Shakespeare play itself is known as a "band of brothers" type of play with a reflection on war, especially its senselessness and futility. Henry V has blood on his hands, and the Chorus at the very end of the play lets the audience know his son (Henry VI) lost hard-won France in a subsequent conflict after Henry V's death at age thirty-five. Of course the director gets to decide how much emphasis he wants to put on those points, and the 1944 movie adaptation led by Sir Laurence Olivier ended up as a patriotic take on the old tale at a difficult time for the British troops fighting the Nazis. But a 1964 production by the Royal Shakespeare Theater was clearly anti-war (the first anti-war production to do so, although it was based in the UK, so I'm not sure how much the Vietnam conflict informed the director's stance. I would love to see a production set in the Vietnam of the 1960s, for instance Chu Lai in 1965 - a battle won by the US troops, although we know how the conflict as a whole ended.)
Nowadays it is not rare to see a production set in modern-day US, either with actors in military gear or in modern clothes, with obvious parallels with conflicts involving the military, but many productions also prefer a timeless look or period costumes. I regret not being able to see "Henry V" in the Prague Shakespeare Theatre production that was shown in Prague and also in Houston. I've heard it was remarkable, and had the added feature to double- and triple-cast most actors in roles from both sides, showing the randomness of war.
Below I've posted short videos of the Crispin Day's speech (where Henry V rallies his troops, and where he uses the famous expression "we band of brothers" that has been so widely used since) in various productions and movie adaptations of the play.
Richard Burton's speech was recorded in 1951 (uploaded on YouTube by stevewasso). While it is only available in audio, I hope you'll agree the monologue is quite remarkable. No wonder Burton was a star.
The best-known movie adaptations of "Henry V" date from 1944 (Laurence Olivier, YouTube video uploaded by Robert Hicks) and 1989 (Kenneth Branagh, YouTube video uploaded by technicalmark). Enjoy those speeches.
There is also a good BBC made-for-TV movie called "Hollow Crown". I have included below the Saint Crispin's Day Speech from that movie (YouTube video uploaded by PBS).
Sometimes I wish that video recordings existed of productions I would have loved to see, but of course theater is not something you should watch on a TV screen. If you don't experience it in a performance hall, is it really theater? The excerpts above, though, help highlight the nuances in each actor's take on the famous speech, and make the case that each production or movie adaptation brings something unique to the large body of Shakespeare plays.