Henry V (1989)
Sure, the brash Branagh was aping Olivier when he made his directing debut with an adaptation of Henry V and played the title role. Damned if the 29-year-old didn't pull it off, however, and with a more naturalistically grim and bloody view of war. Casting his real-life new bride Emma Thompson as his love interest elevated them both to instant power-couple status.
A Midwinter's Tale (1995)
This underrated, black-and-white comedy about a small theatrical troupe's production of Hamlet didn't get the attention it deserved, but it's a funny, affectionate, Guffman-like satire that proved Branagh could work on a smaller, more intimate scale.
Branagh returned to big-scale Shakespeare with this faithful adaptation of the full play. The visuals are striking and the all-star cast is impressive, if distracting look, there's Charlton Heston! And Robin Williams! Branagh's vigorous performance as the Prince of Denmark again seems to challenge Olivier. Gary Susman
Image Credit: Everett Collection
Whether in front of the camera or behind it, filmmakers like Ben Affleck, Ben Stiller, George Clooney, and Clint Eastwood have proved to be MVPs