Synopsis by Mike Cummings
A quarrel erupts between the Duke of Hereford, Henry Bolingbroke (Jon Finch), and the Duke of Norfolk, Thomas Mowbray (Richard Owens). According to Bolingbroke, Mowbray misappropriated government money and plotted the death of the Duke of Gloucester. Mowbray denies the charges, accusing Bolingbroke of being a slanderous coward. King Richard II (Derek Jacobi) first approves their proposal to settle their differences in a jousting duel, then decides to banish both of them -- Norfolk for life and Bolingbroke for six years. The lighter sentence for Bolingbroke masks Richard's hatred of Henry, who is so popular with the people that he poses a threat to the crown. While Bolingbroke is in exile, his father, the much-loved John of Gaunt (Sir John Gielgud), dies, and Richard appropriates his estate -- Henry's inheritance -- to help pay for a military campaign he personally conducts against rebels in Ireland. Nobles protest seizure of the inheritance, siding with Bolingbroke. Heartened, Bolingbroke returns from exile, organizes his supporters, and executes two of Richard's friends. Richard returns from Ireland to defend his realm. But after 20,000 Welsh troops desert to Bolingbroke, Richard takes refuge in Flint Castle, then surrenders to his foe. After being forced to give up the throne, Henry imprisons Richard in the Tower of London and announces his own coronation.
war, aristocracy, rebel