The movie starts with the Chorus breaking the fourth wall, talking to us, the viewers. Fear not, fellow loathers of Glee- the Chorus isn't a choir of unbearably angst-ridden teens: it's a man who- while talking, not singing- sets the stage... in this case, the well-dressed Derek Jacobi, who is a competent narrator. He is walking around what appears to be an empty sound stage, and upon finishing his monologue, opens a set of doors, whereupon the actual play/ movie begins. Jacobi will reappear periodically to update us on what's going on.
After his death, Mistress Quickly and his old drinking companions reminisce about former, happier times and then the men pack up and leave. They are signing up to fight in King Henry's army.
Henry has forbidden his men to engage in abusing the French citizens or looting. Unfortunately, one of Henry's former drinking buddies, Bardolph, from his Falstaffian days, is caught stealing from a French church. Despite his connection, Henry orders Bardolph to be hanged, and grimly watches as this order is carried out.
It's a very different scene in the English camp, where the men are tired, sick, and hungry. They are dispirited and quiet, and many are meeting with the priest, making confession. Henry decides to see for himself what the morale of the men is like, and goes out among them in disguise. He meets up with Pistol, one of his old drinking buddies, who doesn't recognize his cloaked king. Henry then falls into conversation with a few soldiers, becoming embroiled in a debate about the degree of responsibility and culpability the king bears for the deaths of his men in battle. The discussion becomes heated, and Henry and one of the men- William- nearly get in a physical altercation.
As the sun rises on October 25- St. Crispin's Day- the disparity between the two armies becomes obvious: the English are outnumbered at least five to one.