Thursday, June 18, 2015

Sometimes it's better to watch the movie first... || Part 1


Bethany's review of the Horatio Hornblower series by C. S. Forester, and the made for TV movies based by them.

I can't remember where I first heard of the Horatio Hornblower movies, somewhere around the blogosphere, I suppose, but the beginning of last year was our family's first time viewing them.

There was an excellent cast of characters, some played by familiar actors, including:

Mr. Fantastic (what we used to call Ioan Gruffud when we couldn't remember his name),

that one guy from Daniel Deronda (Jamie Bamber),

and the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann).

They played the characters Horatio Hornblower, Archie Kennedy, and William Bush.
(I have to say I like Jamie Bamber much better without his goatee) :)

Willoughby (Greg Wise) also popped in near the end, but he wasn't one of the main characters.

They are broken up into eight episodes/movies:

The Duel
The Fire Ships
The Duchess and the Devil
The Wrong War
(from the first book, "Midshipman Hornblower")

(from "Lieutenant Hornblower")

 (from "Hornblower and the Hotspur")

While there are eleven books in the series, the episodes only cover three of them. 
(I'll tell you why I'm glad of that in Part 2)

Synopsis from Netflix:

The epic saga of legendary seafaring hero Horatio Hornblower (powerfully portrayed by Ioan Gruffud) comes to swashbuckling life in these epic films based on C.S. Forester's classic novels. As the Napoleonic wars rage, Hornblower survives battle after battle, evades capture, and works his way up the ranks in the king's royal navy. With danger at every turn and unending adventures, Hornblower must use every ounce of his wit and courage to prevail.

If that sounds exciting to you, we'd encourage you to check it out!
It's rated PG for violence and language, and if you're sensitive to seeing blood (or people getting seasick), that's something to keep in mind.

While obviously the main character is Horatio, the friendship between him and Archie Kennedy is one of our most favorite things about the series. 

Archie is such a great character in the movies, I was quite sad to find that he's only mentioned briefly in the books and combined with another character to make the Archie Kennedy we know and love in the movies. 

Since we enjoyed the movie series so much, I was excited to read the original books. I did get through all eleven of them, but am saving my review of them for the next post.

I'll end with one of our favorite scenes, and don't forget to check back for Part 2!


  1. *sigh* Oh, the Hornblower movies. They're my favorite movies ever, and always will be. :-) I've read the first book, and liked it pretty well. I got halfway through the second before it bored me enough to put it down. The books are cool, but I think the movies are infinitely better. I love how they combined/broke up the stories and made a more defined set of characters. I didn't like it in the books how it was just Horatio all the time -- he had no friends. :-( And I LOOOVE how they made Archie such a prominent character. Horatio needed a best friend. :-)

    Haha, Mr. Fantastic. ;-P Sadie and I saw the second Fantastic Four movie after we'd watched Ioan Gruffudd in several other movies (including Hornblower) and we were SHOCKED when he started talking in an American accent! He's our mutual favorite actor. We often call him "what's-his-name", just cause his name is so weird to pronounce and we both know who we mean. ;-)

    Archie is my favorite. I literally want to marry Archie. Haha, I saw Jamie Bamber in these movies before Deronda, so it was funny to see him with a different hairdo. ;-P

    I really enjoyed this!


    1. Mr. Bush becomes a better friend to Horatio in the books, but never as close as he and Archie are in the movies, which his character really needed.
      Yeah, it is so weird hearing him talk in an American accent, but I think for Becca and I, that was first thing we had seen him in. He's my favorite actor too. :) I think his name is pronounced like Yo-on Griffith, though it's hard to tell that from the spelling :)

    2. Yeah, Sadie and I finally picked up on how to pronounce his name. (I can't remember how we found out the right way, but for the longest time we butchered the pronunciation terribly. ;-P)

  2. So funny!!! A guy was asking me today if I'd read these books ( I'd never heard of them ). They lool so good. Especially since the guy from Fantastic 4 is in the movies ;).

    1. That is funny! The movies are really good, and you'll see my take on the books in Part 2, which isn't quite as positive...

  3. I can't wait to watch this series! It's be on my too-watch list for quite awhile... Mostly, I haven't watched it yet because I was afraid of spoilers. Now that I know that they only cover the first three books, maybe I'll finally get around to it!

    1. I'm sure you'd really like it! They don't stick super close to the books, but most of the changes I like better then the original stories. Like adding Archie. :)


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