Kenneth Charles Branagh (born December 10 1960) is an Emmy Award-winning, Academy Award-nominated Northern Irish-born actor and film director.
Branagh was born in Belfast to working-class Protestant parents Frances (Harper), a homemaker, and William Branagh, a carpenter who ran a company that specialised in fitting partitions and suspended ceilings. He was educated at Grove Primary School. At age nine, he relocated with his family to Reading in England to escape the Troubles between Protestants and Catholics.
Branagh achieved some early measure of success in his native Northern Ireland for his role as the title character in the BBC's Play for Today series known as the Billy Plays, written by Graham Reid and set in Belfast. He has worked on both stage and screen. He received initial acclaim in the UK for his stage performances, including the title role in Hamlet. More recently, in 2003, he starred in the Royal National Theatre's production of David Mamet's Edmond.
Branagh is probably...
Created by dipity on Jan 24, 2008
Last updated: 03/06/10 at 06:37 AM
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is the second fantasy adventure film in the popular Harry Potter films series, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The film was released on November 15, 2002 and was directed by returning director, Chris Columbus. The screenplay was adapted by returning screenwriter, Steven Kloves.Most of the major cast and crew from Philosopher's Stone (also known as Sorcerer's Stone) returned for Chamber of Secrets, including child stars Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint and director Chris Columbus. However, it was the last appearance by Richard Harris as Dumbledore and currently the last Harry Potter film directed by Columbus. New key actors included Kenneth Branagh as Lockhart and Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy. It remains the only film in the franchise that has not been nominated for an Academy Award.The film was very well received at the box office, having one of the largest opening weekend grosses of...
Rabbit-Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film based on the book Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. It concerns the author's mother, and two other young mixed-race Aboriginal girls, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, in which they were placed in 1931, in order to return to their Aboriginal families. The film follows the girls as they trek/walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2414km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong being tracked by a white authority figure and a black tracker.The soundtrack to the film is called Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Peter Gabriel.
Phillip Noyce's search for the Aboriginal actresses who star in the film is described in detail in the "Making Of" on the DVD.
The book, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence, was written as the second book in a trilogy by Doris Pilkington Garimara, documenting her family's stories.Caprice, a Stockman's...,
Conspiracy is a BBC / HBO television film which dramatizes the Wannsee Conference of 1942. The film delves into the psychology of German officials involved in the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question" during World War II.
The movie starred an ensemble cast including Kenneth Branagh as Reinhard Heydrich, Stanley Tucci as Adolf Eichmann, and Colin Firth as Wilhelm Stuckart. It was written by Loring Mandel.
A secret meeting is held in order to determine the method by which the German government is to execute Adolf Hitler's policy - that the German sphere of influence should be free of Jews, including those in the occupied terrorities of Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia and France. As the film opens, various officials from different German agencies arrive and mingle at a beautiful manor house in Wannsee, where Colonel Adolf Eichmann, SS Officer for Jewish Affairs, has meticulously planned the meeting. Among those present:
It is quickly established by those present that there is...
The 2000 movie Love's Labour's Lost is an adaptation of the play of the same name by William Shakespeare, Directed, Written and starring Kenneth Branagh. Branagh's film turns the play into a romantic Hollywood musical. He updates the play's setting to 1939 (but keeps its setting of the Kingdom of Navarre, even though Navarre ceased to be a kingdom long before 1939). He uses classic Broadway songs of the 1930s and newsreel-style footage between It stars Shakespearean veterans such as Timothy Spall, Richard Briers and Geraldine McEwan, along with Hollywood actors such as Alicia Silverstone and Matthew Lillard, and Broadway and West End stars the like of Nathan Lane.
The film was a box office disaster, and was a serious setback to Branagh's directorial career, although he is now resuming it with a film of As You Like It.
The Road to El Dorado is an animated comedy film by DreamWorks SKG released in 2000. The soundtrack features songs by Elton John and Tim Rice.
The movie takes place in 16th century (1519) Catalonia(where Spain and France meet) and tells about two men named Tulio and Miguel. During a game of dice in Spain, they use loaded dice to win a map that purportedly shows the location of the legendary city of gold in the New World. However, their cheating is soon discovered and as a result, they end up as stowaways on Hernán Cortés' fleet to conquer Mexico. They are discovered, but manage to escape in a boat with Cortés' prize war horse and eventually discover the hidden city of El Dorado where they are mistaken for gods.
El Dorado is portrayed as a Utopian civilization that combines facets of the Aztecs, Maya and Incas.
The soundtrack was released as the album The Road to El Dorado, and the computer adventure game was named Gold & Glory: The Road to El Dorado.
The creation of The Road to...
Wild Wild West (1999) is a Woodie Award winning film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Will Smith, Kevin Kline (in two roles, Artemus Gordon and President Ulysses S. Grant), Kenneth Branagh and Salma Hayek. It was inspired by the 1960s television program of the same name, and may be described as a science fiction Western (steampunk).
In the spirit of the original TV series, the film features highly advanced steampunk technology and many bizarre mechanical inventions, including innumerable inventions of the mechanological geniuses Artemus Gordon and Arliss Loveless, including nitroglycerine-powered penny-farthing bicycles, spring-loaded notebooks, bulletproof chainmail, flying machines, steam tanks, and Loveless's giant mechanical spider.
The film is set in 1869 during the Reconstruction Era and presidency of Ulysses S. Grant. The film opens in a Louisiana forest, where a man, later revealed to be Thaddeus J. Morton, is running away from a lethal flying disk. Morton keeps...,
Celebrity is a 1998 film written and directed by Woody Allen and shot in black-and-white.
The Gingerbread Man is a 1998 legal thriller film directed by Robert Altman and based on a discarded John Grisham manuscript.Kenneth Branagh ... Rick Magruder Embeth Davidtz ... Mallory DossRobert Downey Jr. ... Clyde Pell Daryl Hannah ... Lois Harlan Tom Berenger ... Pete Randle Famke Janssen ... Leeanne Magruder Robert Duvall ... Dixon DossDivorced lawyer Rick Magruder (Branagh) stumbles drunk out of a party hosted by his firm one night and has a chance meeting with a woman named Mallory Doss (Davidtz), who was a waitress at the party and seems to have lost her car. Rick drives the woman to her home and there they discover that her car has been already parked there, seemingly by her father, Dixon Doss (Duvall). Rick and Mallory walk into the house arguing about the situation when Mallory carelessly undresses in front of Rick, and he then spends the night with her.Rick wakes up in the morning and Mallory encounters him later in the day, asking him to file suit against her...,
William Shakespeare's Hamlet is a 1996 film version of William Shakespeare's classic play of the same name, adapted and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also starred in the title role. It stars Derek Jacobi as King Claudius, Julie Christie as Queen Gertrude, Kate Winslet as Ophelia, Richard Briers as Polonius, and Nicholas Farrell as Horatio.
It is notable for being the first unabridged screen version of the play, running for slightly over four hours. (The film also adds a single word: 'Attack!') A shorter edit, approximately two-and-a-half hours long, was shown in some markets.
Branagh set the film with Victorian era costuming and furnishings (it was later said to have been set during the Polack Wars). Blenheim Palace, built in the early 18th century, became Elsinore Castle in the external scenes. The film's budget was $18 million.
Hamlet was photographed in Panavision System 65 by Alex Thomson. It was the last feature film photographed entirely in the 65mm film format as of 2006.,
Othello is a 1995 film based on William Shakespeare's tragedy of the same name. It was directed by Oliver Parker and stars Laurence Fishburne as Othello, Irène Jacob as Desdemona, and Kenneth Branagh as Iago. This is the first cinematic reproduction of the play that casts an actor of African descent to play the role of Othello. The film saw highly limited release, having been shown in only a few theatres, as a result of which it only grossed US$2.8 million. This version is notable for particularly powerful performances by all actors and an uncannily realistic visual style.
This film is an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello. Othello is a Moor who has left his hometown Venice to fight against the Turks on the island of Cyprus. During the battle, he was accompanied by his faithful lieutenant, Cassio. As the film opens, Othello is returning to Venice from the long fight against the Turks. With much excitement, he meets with his love, Desdemona.
Iago, Othello's trusted companion,...,
Anne Frank Remembered is a 1995 documentary film by Jon Blair about the life of the diarist Anne Frank. The documentary was made in association with Anne Frank House, Walt Disney Pictures and the British Broadcasting Corporation. It was originally screened as a TV documentary, but was later given a theatrical release by Sony Pictures.
The film is narrated by Kenneth Branagh and extracts from Frank's diary are read by Glenn Close. The choice of an adult reader is unusual in representations of Anne Frank; Blair has explained that he read Frank's diary as a child, and had a very clear image of what she was like, and found that the use of children's voices robbed the viewer of their own impression of Anne Frank.
Miep Gies, the woman who had helped shelter the family, and who had saved the diary after the group was betrayed, collaborated with Blair and is interviewed about her memories of hiding the Frank family. Blair also uses interviews with Hanneli Goslar and Jaqueline van Maarsen,...
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a 1994 film directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Robert De Niro, Tom Hulce, Helena Bonham Carter, and Kenneth Branagh. It is an adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It follows the novel more closely than other film adaptations, nonetheless, it deviates broadly from Mary Shelley's original plot.The film was a part of a brief trend towards high-profile adaptations of classic horror stories (usually with claims of greater authenticity than previous film versions) following the box-office success of Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula. Other films in this trend included Mary Reilly (based on the story of Jekyll and Hyde) and the film Wolf, based on the werewolf mythos.The main characters include:Among the deviations from the original book is the creation of the monster bride. In the book, the Creature asks Victor Frankenstein to fashion a monster woman for him. He reluctantly agrees, but destroys the creature right before he is about to...
Much Ado About Nothing is a 1993 film based on William Shakespeare's play. It was adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also played the role of Benedick.
Much Ado About Nothing was released on May 7, 1993, reaching 200 U.S. screens at its widest release. The film received generally enthusiastic notices from critics. It earned $22 million at the U.S. box office and $36 million total worldwide, which, despite failing to reach the mark set by Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet, made it one of the more financially successful Shakespeare films ever released.
On a Sicilian hillside, Beatrice sets the scene by reading a poem about the treachery of men ('hey nonny nonny') to picnicking kinsfolk. The family hears the news that Claudio, Don Pedro, Don John, Benedick, and others are coming to their villa after winning a battle. When the group arrives they are greeted by Governor Leonato. After a brief chat with Leonato, Hero (Leonato's daughter) comes into the scene. When...
Swing Kids is a film produced in 1993 and directed by Thomas Carter. The runtime is approximately 114 minutes and the main actors include:
In pre-World War II Germany, Swing music becomes the underground movement of young people. Two high school students, played by Robert Sean Leonard and Christian Bale, attempt to be Swing Kids by night and Hitler Youth by day. The impact of this decision is felt acutely by their friends and families. A seemingly charming but intimidating Gestapo officer Herr Knopp (Kenneth Branagh in an uncredited role) complicates grip on Germany. Each member of the group is forced to face some tough choices about right, wrong, and survival. This is the story of one group of Swing Kids and how Nazi rule and persuasion tore them apart and set them against each other.
"In a world on the brink of war, you either march to one tune or dance to another."
Peter's Friends (1992) is a British comedy-drama film written by Rita Rudner and her husband Martin Bergman, and directed and produced by Kenneth Branagh.
It starred Hugh Laurie, Alphonsia Emmanuel, Imelda Staunton, Richard Briers, Stephen Fry, Rita Rudner, Tony Slattery, Phyllida Law, Alex Lowe, Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh.
Peter (Fry) hosts a holiday party at his luxurious country house. The friction between the various guests— old university friends who acted together in a comedy troupe as students at Cambridge University ten years before —creates a good deal of comic tension, until Peter finally declares that he has a serious announcement to make. The film deals with themes of friendship, marriage, fidelity, materialism, and coping with death and loss. It has often been described as a British The Big Chill.
The friends who arrive to celebrate New Year's are Andrew (Branagh), now a writer in Hollywood; married jingle writers Roger (Laurie) and Mary (Staunton);...
For the Type O Negative album, see Dead Again (Type O Negative album)Dead Again is a 1991 thriller film/Neo-noir directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Branagh and his then-wife Emma Thompson. Andy Garcia, Derek Jacobi and Robin Williams are also featured.
The movie was released in August 1991 and was #1 at the U.S. box office for three weeks.
The film explores the themes of reincarnation, destiny and justice through parallel narratives of a society murder in the Hollywood of the 1940s and a modern-day search for the identity of a woman with amnesia. Thompson and Branagh play the key roles in both stories.
Mike Church (Branagh), a smart-alecky Los Angeles private investigator, usually runs down deadbeats and minor heirs for his clients. One day he's called in by the priest in charge of the orphanage where Mike was raised, to help identify a woman (Thompson) who showed up at their gates in a state of shock. The woman is unable to speak and seems to have no recollection of who she is...,
Henry V is a 1989 film directed by Kenneth Branagh, and based upon the Shakespeare play about the famous English King.
Branagh stars in the title role. Derek Jacobi takes the role of the Chorus, a type of narrator used by Shakespeare to fulfil the role of the chorus in classical drama.
Brian Blessed, Ian Holm, Christian Bale, Paul Scofield, Jimmy Yuill and Emma Thompson are among the other stars, whilst Robbie Coltrane and Judi Dench have the cameo roles of Falstaff and Mistress Quickly, both of them major characters in other Shakespearean plays. Another minor character, "Michael Williams", is played by the actor Michael Williams, Judi Dench's husband in real life.
The film was produced by Bruce Sharman with the British Broadcasting Corporation and Renaissance Films. Whereas the 1940s film used the Elizabethan Globe theatre as a setting in which to introduce the action, the 1989 version used a film set as the background to Chorus's opening speech.
The visual and verbal styles...
Chariots of Fire is a British film released in 1981. Written by Colin Welland and directed by Hugh Hudson, it is based on the true story of British athletes preparing for and competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four, including Best Picture.The title is a quotation from the hymn Jerusalem which is a setting of a poem by William Blake. The film's working title was "Running" until Welland saw the scene with the singing of the hymn and decided to change the title.The movie is based on the true story of two British athletes competing in the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris. Englishman Harold Abrahams (Ben Cross), who is Jewish, overcomes anti-Semitism and class prejudice in order to compete against the "Flying Scotsman", Eric Liddell (Ian Charleson), in the 100 metre race.In 1919, Abrahams enters Cambridge University. He attempts and succeeds at the Trinity Great Court run, which involves running around the court before the clock...,
Kenneth Branagh was born in Belfast, United Kingdom