• Network: ,
  • Series Premiere Date: Jun 30, 2012
  • Season #: 1
The Hollow Crown Image

Universal acclaim - based on 7 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 35 Ratings

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  • Summary: Filmed on location, the adaptions of William Shakespeare's plays "Richard II," "Henry IV, Part 1," "Henry IV, Part 2," and "Henry V" features Ben Whishaw as Richard II, Rory Kinnear as the young Henry IV, Jeremy Irons as the older Henry IV, and Tom Hiddleston as Prince Hal/Henry V.
  • Genre(s): Drama, Action & Adventure
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 0 out of 7
  1. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Sep 20, 2013
    For the next four Fridays, PBS's Great Performances lives up to its billing with a spectacular and dazzlingly acted mega-miniseries titled The Hollow Crown.
  2. Reviewed by: Sonia Saraiya
    Sep 17, 2013
    This isn’t just a story, it’s a history, and admirably, the work of the players has brought it to life.
  3. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Sep 13, 2013
    Arguably you shouldn't miss any of The Hollow Crown. But the one you're commanded to watch is Richard II. [23 Sep 2013]
  4. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Sep 19, 2013
    This four-part adaptation of Shakespeare’s historical cycle (“Richard II, “Henry IV, Part 1,” “Henry IV, Part 2” and “Henry V”) spotlighting the battle to win and to hold the English crown is both brilliant and eminently accessible.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Lloyd
    Sep 20, 2013
    The performances are so wonderful it feels wrong to single any out. But Whishaw finds great power in stillness; Hiddleston fits himself admirably to his character's stages and turns of mind, resolving his coldness with his warmth, his cruelty with his generosity. And there is Beale's Falstaff--marvelously poignant, a scoundrel-hero, getting everything wrong. His sorrow at losing the transformed Hal is as tragic a moment as any here, his fall no less thunderous than Richard's.
  6. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Sep 20, 2013
    The trump card of Hollow Crown, of course, is that it was written by Shakespeare--and if the language sounds stilted to modern ears, anyone who listens for more than a few minutes will be properly seduced.
  7. Reviewed by: Neil Genzlinger
    Sep 19, 2013
    For the most part, the flexibility that television provides is used to good advantage in The Hollow Crown to clarify the action and enhance the dynamics. Only occasionally does it feel misplaced, as in “Richard II,” when [director Rupert] Goold goes all in with Jesus imagery.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Sep 23, 2013
    Being a film enthusiast, I know that films that really make you feel for the characters are so very rare, but the Hollow crown definitely succeeds in doing so. Having english as a second language,I never even considered reading shakespere, and yet the great actors and scenery make it very clear what is meant, and I now can honestly say I see how Shakespere has lasted throught so many generations. This is some of the most wonderful and complex plots I've seen on TV. Expand
  2. Jun 1, 2014
    The best thing I've seen in ages. Not everyone's cup of tea, though. It IS Shakespeare! Great acting, wonderful drama and of course, the script- pure Shakespeare! Expand
  3. Nov 5, 2013
    This is quite simply the most brilliant television ever produced. It should be watched in every English speaking home, every high school English and drama class, and every drama school from now to the end of time. Expand
  4. Sep 28, 2014
    Several critics have mentioned that Richard II is the one to watch of this 4 part Shakespearian miniseries. I have to agree. It is the least of the four plays on the page, but the production is phenomenal. And the play is about such an interesting contrast of king versus would-be king that its heart beats strongly after 400 years. Richard II is an inward-looking man and terrible king, supplanted by a practical Bolingbroke

    You should know that the 4 plays have been cut down by maybe 20%, for good and for bad. The series seems to be tailored to the Game of Thrones crowd. The cuts, if I remember correctly, seem to emphasize action over lyricism. Some of the more beautiful parts of these 4 plays are missing.

    The unforgivable loss in the 20% trimming of the plays is the comic richness of Falstaff, one of Shakespeare's greatest characters. The Hollow Crown fails Falstaff in both excision and performance. Since he is much of the heart (and gut) of Henry I & II, the middle two parts of The Hollow Crown are gutted. And the fourth part of four, Henry V, is outdone by Branagh's version. This leaves Richard II as the predominant achievement of this four-part series.
  5. Jan 29, 2014
    So disappointed. I love Ben Wishaw and I love Richard II, but what a boring and unthoughtful production. Had potential to be so much better. Blame must be on the direction, as it seemed Wishaw lacked any for once. Dull and badly thought out. Expand

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