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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Midshpman Hornblower - Forrester's epic begins!
These four films, originally broadcast stateside, on A&E, brings C.S. Forrester's creation to life on a grand scale. All four are stand-alone stories, but are best watched together for maximum effect. All are based off of short stories from "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower", with some clever mixing and artistic license taken from time to time. "The Duel"...
Published on April 30 2001 by Scott Davidson

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not True to Type
The videos are scenically impressive - and as a serious lover of the Ships of the Line and Frigates of the final years of the 18th century, this alone is worth watching the series. On the other hand, the Hornblower character is NOT true to type as he was portrayed in the Forrester novels. The desire of screenplay writers to try and enhance "dramatic effect" my...
Published on Dec 5 1999 by Gary Wilkins


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not True to Type, Dec 5 1999
By 
Gary Wilkins "Author" (NC) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The videos are scenically impressive - and as a serious lover of the Ships of the Line and Frigates of the final years of the 18th century, this alone is worth watching the series. On the other hand, the Hornblower character is NOT true to type as he was portrayed in the Forrester novels. The desire of screenplay writers to try and enhance "dramatic effect" my making major alterations in the original story line never ceases to amaze me - and in my experience, seems to more often have the effect of making the movie far less interesting than the book(s) it was derived from. The sage old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" seems to be something that screenwriters almost purposely try to violate. IN any case, if you are interested in the ships themselves, this series will entertain. If you are interested in character accuracy, you are due to varying degrees of disappointment. Simply put: if you haven't read the books first, wait until AFTER watching the series to read them. If you have read them already, when you watch the series, erase the books from your memory - or you might be sorely disappointed. By the way, for those with a bent for the old sailing warships and the Royal Navy of the late 1700's/early 1800's, I highly recommend Alexander Kent's series on RICHARD BOLITHO. Excellent writing, Kent develops the Bolitho character to an even greater extant than Forrester's Hornblower, and there are more books - why stop at 11 when there are over twenty books on Bolitho's life and career: Form Line of Battle, The Flag Captain, Clear Ship for Action, etc. to name a few. I have read these both in English, and translated into German (even in German, they are just as great). The early books even involve the young Bolitho in actions off the American coast during the Revolution. Great stuff -check out Alexander Kent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mr. Midshpman Hornblower - Forrester's epic begins!, April 30 2001
By 
Scott Davidson (sarasota, fl United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Horatio Hornblower (1998) (DVD)
These four films, originally broadcast stateside, on A&E, brings C.S. Forrester's creation to life on a grand scale. All four are stand-alone stories, but are best watched together for maximum effect. All are based off of short stories from "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower", with some clever mixing and artistic license taken from time to time. "The Duel" tells the story of Hornblower's first assignment and a nasty clash of personaliies with a superior officer, Midshipman Jack Simpson, recently demoted from Acting Lieutenant, who sees Hornblower's obvious skill as a threat to his position on the ship. In "The Fire Ships", young Hornblower learns some of the finer qualties of leadership, from both good and bad examples, and takes part in a spectacular attempt to fend off a Spanish attack. The third film, "The duchess and the Devil" finds Hornblower captured by the Spanish while escorting a woman back to England. She is, of course, not at all what she seems, and the story ends with a death defying rescue attempt and a lesson in honor and courage. The fianl film, "The Wrong War", finds Hornblower embroiled in the wrong side of a conflict in France. Some great action and character bits in this one, as well as a touching romance story. Ioan Gruffud (who had a bit part in Titanic), makes a wonderful Hornblower, perectly capturing the "boy-becoming-a-man" persona and displaying hints of the hero he will become. Robert Lindsay is also, stunning as Captain Pellew of the Indefatigable. And all the supporting cast members do a fine job of bringing their characters to life. Fans of swashbucklers, Forrester's novels, or even fans of the original Hornblower film starring Gregory Peck should not miss these spectacular adventures. There are also two more films available, and more planned.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It's a must see!, March 4 2011
This review is from: Horatio Hornblower (1998) (DVD)
I loved it, my childrends loved it, my wife loved it. I don't know how they did that movie but I felt I was on the tall ship with the ships crew. everything looks real and two tall ships battling with canons in the middle of the atlantic is one of the most impressive things I saw in my life. The views are breath cutting and everybody needs to see at least one episode in their life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horatio is my hero!, July 17 2004
By 
Juliall "juliall1" (Vancouver, British Columbia Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Horatio Hornblower (1998) (DVD)
I can't guess how many times in my life I'll end up watching this beautifully made TV series!
It's an inspired production. The plots are compelling, and the action and suspense are very real. The soundtrack makes many scenes absolutely glow with life ("It's the Indie, sir!" and the final credits are my favourite!!).
The character of Horatio is what takes this show to the level of great storytelling. Horatio is brave, loyal, intelligent, and compassionate; and all too human in his vulnerability and self-doubt. In these four episodes, we see him grow from an impressionable midshipman into a more confident commissioned Lieutenant, always trying to be the best he can be. He is played superbly by Welsh actor Ioan Gruffudd (pronounced YO-an Griffith).
The other regulars are just as enjoyable in their unaffected charm- seamen Matthews, Styles, and Aldroyd; midshipman Archie Kennedy; and especially the shrewd, noble Captain Pellew, played with great dignity by Robert Lindsay.
I hope you enjoy watching this wonderful series!
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5.0 out of 5 stars the making of the hero, Feb. 21 2004
in this second episode Horatio has already realised that he likes life in the navy, so much so that he is happy to be able to take the examination for lieutenant. Unfortunately, whenever he decides to open a book and study, there is an urgent distraction in the form of an adventure, especially at a time when the Spanish decided that they were allied of the French and they began to attack the British ships (with the infamous "fire ships"). These adventures are, in fact, a way for Horatio Hornblower to see the hardships that officials have to endure: he has to be prepared to take quick, life-or-death decissions for himself and his men; he has to be very sure of his priorities to take these decissions; and his priorities are not exactly the same as those of some other very well-regarded officials, who are considered heros and who could become new and powerful enemies. Horatio learns more about what being an official involves through these actions than what he could learn in a thousand books but, will he pass the exmination and finally launch his navy official career?
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5.0 out of 5 stars Horatio Hornblower, a Hero for Us All!, July 11 2003
By 
MartyHansen (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Horatio Hornblower (1998) (DVD)
The story is purely English, but the message is quintessentially American; succeed based upon one's own ability, regardless of class or lineage. Horatio Hornblower (played by Ioan Gruffudd) is brave, intelligent, and as we discover, a natural born leader, and the envy of every man. We all wish we could be like him.
This A&E made-for-TV series is an accurate representation of the C.S. Forester novels upon which they are based. These first four episodes deal with Hornblower's early years as a midshipman after he joins the British Navy when it was the uncontested ruler of the high seas.
Episode one sees Hornblower fall under the control of Simpson, an abusive senior midshipman. Horatio contemplates suicide and desertion, but instead challenges Simpson to a duel. A cruel twist spares his life - but takes that of his friend. He later exemplifies himself in battle, and cunningly outsmarts a rival French captain to begin earning the undying loyalty and affection of his men.
War with France breaks out in episode two, and Hornblower is transferred to the British frigate, the Indefatigable, commanded by Captain Pellew (played wonderfully by Robert Lindsay), who will become, over time, almost a second father to his young charge. Horatio will again distinguish himself towards the movie's end by risking his life to board a burning fire ship (a blazing vessel sent pilotless and kamikaze style into the British fleet) and diverting it away from the Indefatigable. Captain Pellew later congratulates him for saving his ship and the lives of everyone on board. Horatio's pride soars, as does the love we feel for him.
In episode three, Hornblower learns much about life - and women - when he and an English Duchess (who is really an actress) are taken prisoners by the Spanish. A French Captain threatens to reveal them as spies, but the Duchess gives up her honor to preserve their secret. Horatio is at first disgusted, but then respects her immeasurably once he realizes that her pragmatism has probably saved both of their lives. Hornblower later displays unquestionable bravery when he leads a rescue party to save sailors stranded offshore during a storm. His gallantry earns him his freedom, and Horatio gains the distinction of being recognized as a hero in both his own country and by his enemies.
In the final episode, the crew of the Indefatigable is asked to assist French Royalist soldiers in an ill-fated attempt to recapture the country from the Republic. The pomp & circumstance of the well-disciplined British army are used gloriously against the enemy. And a reinstated French Marquis employs the guillotine to lop off a few heads - but in the end suffers a similar fate. Horatio falls in love with a beautiful French girl only to lose her. And he painfully learns that duty -- and the responsibility of leading men in battle -- must always win out over his emotions.
This A&E series was a visual and inspirational delight. Ioan Grufford and Robert Lindsay were both superb. This four disc set is highly recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Where was I when this series first aired on A&E?, March 6 2003
By A Customer
I must have had my head stuck in the sand somewhere because after recently watching these videos it seems everyone I've met has gone on and on about how wonderful the series was. I must definitely agree. Although I didn't see HH when it first aired, I am so happy to have found them on VHS and look forward to the next series and a third one I read about on the internet. Bring on more Horatio!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Essential viewing for any fan of the British Navy, Feb. 6 2003
By 
Edward Sunder (Chattanooga, TN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Horatio Hornblower (1998) (DVD)
After having read (and loved) all 20 of the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O'Brian, I was a bit hesitant to watch the Hornblower series. The O'brian books are just so good, it was hard to think that Horatio could live up to what I was expecting. After receiving this series as a gift from my wife, however, I felt that I had to watch them. I regret every day I postponed the experience. They are exhilerating thrill rides through 18th century British naval escapades. They have an excellent mix of accuracy and thrills and the casting is pretty much perfect. I cannot wait to see the what will come next and hope that A&E continues to put quality storytelling first in the further adventures of Mr. Hornblower.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling at its best!, Dec 27 2002
By A Customer
Midshipman (and, later, Lieutenant) Horatio Hornblower comes to life in this beautifully filmed series, which is enriched by stunning cinematography, a stirring soundtrack, and a faithful rendering of naval life in the late 18th Century. Any episode of this four part series could hold its own as a feature film, but the continuity between episodes prevents them from seeming incoherent when viewed together.
Ioan Gruffudd is brilliantly smoldering in his performance as Hornblower. The series follows Hornblower's rise from a stammering adolescent to a powerful leader, much admired by the men who serve with him - inferiors and superiors alike. Gruffudd's portrayal of his character shows Hornblower's education and development with a sensitivity that is a joy to watch.
There is absolutely nothing I can say against this series. It is a delight, with all the excitement of a classic swashbuckling adventure story, and all of the emotion of an in-depth character study.
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4.0 out of 5 stars MAGNIFICENT DISPLAYS OF SAILING & NAVAL TACTICS, Dec 26 2002
By 
W. F. Spencer "Bill" (Dana Point, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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I rabidly watched these four movies on TV, and though they sometimes lag, as with the episode shot entirely on land, they are a terrific rendidion of Forester's stories, with magnificent displays of sailing and of naval tactics. I recommend them heartily to anyone who loves sailing or stories from the days of the old British Navy.
Their production values are beautiful and glorious - a rock-solid A&E approach to the famous stories. More episodes are coming from A&E and Ioan Gruffyd, and I can't wait!
Note: These are the adventures of the Young Horatio Hornblower, penned later by Forester -- starting with how he first went to sea. Forester's first books, of Hornblower's later adventures, are represented in Gregory Peck's 1951 movie "Captain Horatio Hornblower", a fine followup to see Hornblower later in life.
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Horatio Hornblower (1998)
Horatio Hornblower (1998) by Andrew Grieve (DVD - 2002)
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