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Horatio Hornblower Vol. 2 - The Fire Ships

4.7 out of 5 stars 214 customer reviews

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(Jan 04, 2000)
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Editorial Reviews

Horatio Hornblower Vol. 2 - The Fire Ships DVD

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Denis Lawson, Ian McNeice, Andrew Tiernan
  • Directors: Andrew Grieve
  • Writers: C.S. Forester, Mike Cullen
  • Producers: Andrew Benson, Delia Fine, Pavel Douvidzon, Peter Richardson, Stepan Pojenian
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Studio: A & E Entertainment
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003OST1
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,397 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Horatio Hornblower Vol. 2 - The Fire Ships" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The four movies in this set (The Duel, The Fireship, The Duchess and the Devil, and The Wrong War) are adapted from C.S. Forester's "Mr. Midshipman Hornblower." The movies' writers have done an excellent job of transferring the novel to the screen. Although they have made changes that may offend some Hornblower purists, I found the changes worked well in this medium. There is plenty of action with sea and land battles, as well as individual acts of heroism. But the characters are also developed in the writing and in the superb performances by a very talented cast.
The DVDs are well done. The video looks very good, considering that this was originally made for television. The picture is sharp and the colors are true. The sound is good, though it won't strain your system. The disks are surprisingly well stocked with supplemental material. The first two movies provide a bio of Forester and a glossary of nautical terms in text. The third disk contains the "making of" documentary that was shown on A&E and the History Channel when the series was originally aired. And the last disk contains a documentary about the Royal Navy, contrasting Nelson's era with the present. This show is hosted by (Prince) Edward Windsor and originally appeared as one of the Great Ships episodes on the History Channel.
Any fan of the Hornblower novels should see this series. Any fan of historical movies should see this series. Any one who enjoys a good movie that tells a story full of heroism and honor should see this series! I can't recommend it enough.
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Format: DVD
The Hornblower series, a joint venture between ITV's Meridian and A&E consists of 4x 90 minute TV Movies following the life and times of Midshipman Hornblower.
The DVDs are top quality, with a clear full screen image and great sound effects in Dolby Surround. The extras on the DVD are also excellent with a decent 'making of' documentary.
It's the variety in the movies that makes the box set so amicable. The Duel is a good introduction to the characters and Hornblower's rise through the ranks, the fire ships is a tense sea battle (with a great scene with the ships in the fog).
Ioan Gruffudd is brilliant and destined to be a new James Bond I'm sure. With Robert Lindsey as a very Captain Picard Captain too! It's really really good, buy it!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I wanted to get the whole series of these because they are great films, but the descriptions of the episodes on this boxed set are misleading. "("The Even Chance"); ("The Examination for Lieutenant"); ("The Duchess and the Devil"); and ("The Frogs and the Lobsters")" are actually called "The Duel," "The Fire Ships," "The Duchess and the Devil," and "The Wrong War" and are also part of the 6 movies Complete set.
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Format: DVD
I first saw the Hornblower film on a flight back from Seattle without the sound and even then it was good! After having watched all 4 of these TV movies from these DVDs I'm of the opinion that this is the finest sea-based drama!
There are 4 stories, and they're all enjoyable, there isn't a dud. We see Hornblower rise through the ranks and gain respect above and below deck. The best scene of the whole series has to be when they capture a French ship and sail it through a Spanish fleet in the fog.
The quality of the DVD is top notch. Picture quality and sound are up to the standards you'd expect for a 1998 TV program costing £10M. The extras are brilliant: a making of documentary (there's a book too also available on amazon.com) and a whole special on English ships from that period. Worth the money.
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Format: VHS Tape
Finally we have a series that does credit to its original inspiration. To watch these episodes is almost like reading the Forester novels themselves. The best part of this series is that it gets you to feel the life of a seaman of that time. The sounds of the ship, the bells, whistles, drum beats, etc. all merge together and bring you back into another time. While I always felt that the Hornblower books give a somewhat romanitzed view of Royal Navy life during the Napoleanic Wars, there can be no doubt that this TV series truly does justice to the books. More productions should be made like this. Hornblower's exploits while impressive, are believeable. There is none of that annoying tongue and cheek element that we find in many of these period productions. The "Sharpe Series" was largely ruined because of that. Here there has been a conscious effort to stay within the spirit of the books.

The best episodes in my opinion are 1 and 4. The middle ones are a bit slow and tedious a times, but they all provide wonderful character development. The fourth episode is a real treat for those interested in having a look at combined naval and land operations of the period. The British were the only ones that could do this sort of thing, and the coordination involved was very difficult. The viewer is treated to some interesting land combat scenes, which are nicely done. Much attention has been paid to uniforms, drill and eqippment, which all get high marks. John Mollo was the costume specialist, so its not surprsing that the uniforms are accurate to the buttons! He did many fine military uniform books in years past.

Perhaps what makes this series so good is that there has been no silly romance put in to distract the viewer. Highly recommended for all naval buffs, and for those interested in the Napoleanic period, as well as those who seek a really good period series with good acting and sets.
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