From midshipman to commander, experience the thrilling escapades of the ultimate high-seas hero with the HORATIO HORNBLOWER COLLECTOR'S EDITION, an eight-volume treasure chest of sweeping naval adventure and lavish histori... more »cal drama. Joining the British Royal Navy at the outset of the Napoleonic Wars, the enterprising Horatio Hornblower rises quickly from raw recruit to seasoned sailor, charting a course from the West Indies to the coast of Africa in the name of the Crown. Along the way he encounters roiling sea battles, mutiny, plague and love, but always proves himself equal to the task. Gorgeously filmed and richly produced, A&E's Emmy®-winning adaptations of C.S. Forester's classic novels star Ioan Gruffudd (Fantastic Four, Black Hawk Down) and a stellar supporting cast that includes Robert Lindsay (Wimbledon), Jamie Bamber (Band of Brothers) and Paul Copley (Queer as Folk). The HORATIO HORNBLOWER COLLECTOR'S EDITION contains all eight feature-length Hornblower films (with many a bonus material below deck): The Duel The Fire Ships The Duchess and the Devil The Wrong War The Mutiny Retribution Loyalty Duty DVD Features: Exclusive Interview with Ioan Gruffudd; Filmmaker Commentary on "Loyalty" and "Duty"; 3 Bonus Programs: "England?s Royal Warships," "Sail 2000: Aboard the Eagle," and "The Making of Horatio Hornblower"; About C.S. Forester; Nautical Terms and Definitions; Interactive 3D Naval Cannon; Guide to Royal Warships; C.S. Forester Biography; Cast and Crew Biographies; Photo Gallery; Interactive Menus; Scene Selection« less
"Given the title and subject matter- seaman- you might think that this is the latest release from Falcon (and I'm sure that they or another adult studio has certainly released their version of these classics). You'd be wrong. Horatio Hornblower is instead an epic story of honor, loyalty, and duty. Featuring bloody battles, incredible adventures, and a cast of characters as good as any ever imagined, it's no wonder that this Emmy Award-winning series got raves from critics and the general public alike.
Based on the novels by C.S. Forester, A&E's Horatio Hornblower was a made-for-TV series that ran from 1998-2003. The eight individual films that make up this Collector's Edition chronicle the unlikely rise of young Horatio from lowly midshipman to powerful commander, during the early years of the Napoleonic Wars. The stories are engaging and entertaining, the production grand and lavish, and the overall result brilliant.
Nothing was spared in making these films and they're worth watching for the visuals alone. (It's also interesting to note that no computer generated effects were used, which makes the intensity of the battles that much more exciting to watch.) That being said, the story lines are also enthralling, the characters fully developed, and the performances powerful all around. This is a series that will keep anyone engaged; from small children to grandparents.
Each film (or "episode") runs about an hour and a half, and each can stand independent of the others. Having said that, if you're going to watch them all, why not watch them in order and add that much more to the experience? The underlying theme to all episodes is strong personal ethics, against all odds, and while that may sound frighteningly preachy, I assure you that the films are not.
These films/episodes have been released previously a number of times, both individually and in sets, including a Collector's Edition that was released in 2005. If you own the 2005 set, do not buy this new set; as far as I can tell, other than extremely minor changes to the packaging, this is the same product.
Included films/episodes are :: The Duel, The Fire Ships, The Duchess and the Devil, The Wrong War, The Mutiny, Retribution, Loyalty, and Duty.
As if eight films spanning more than 13 hours weren't enough, the special features and extras are also copious. Two of the episodes (Loyalty and Duty) feature accompanying Filmmaker Commentary, which offers an incredibly thought-provoking and historically interesting look into the making of the series, the background, and the adaptation from page to screen. An Exclusive Interview with star Ioan Gruffudd is just as spellbinding (and with the latter you get the extra bonus of his incredibly good looks!).
Three Bonus Programs (England's Royal Warships, Sail 2000: Aboard the Eagle, and The Making of Horatio Hornblower) give an exclusive look at English ships from the past to the present, with fascinating descriptions and documentary footage on how these amazing machines are manned and run, as well as the incredible feats they're capable of. If this isn't enough for you, check out the Guide to Royal Warships, Nautical Terms and Definitions, and Interactive 3-D Naval Cannon, and you'll be a master seaman in no time!
For those interested in more background on the original author, a featurette entitled About C.S. Forester is especially interesting, as is the C.S. Forester Biography.
Cast and Crew Biographies are also included, as is a Photo Gallery.
The special features presented with this set are indeed incredible, although I wouldn't recommend sitting down and watching them all at once. In fact, it's best absorbed (and more interesting) if you watch one film/episode and one (or part of one) special feature, then take some time to digest and reflect upon them before moving on to another helping.
Final answer :: If you've not seen them, this is an extremely entertaining and wonderfully produced series, not to mention an incredibly good buy. If you own the previously released Collector's Edition however, skip this."
"England expects that every man will do his duty"
Ross A. Faulkner | Canberra, Australia | 08/16/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Horatio Hornblower - or simpy Hornblower to us non-Americans - is British historical fiction and naval adventure at its very best; an era when men were gentlemen, courage could still be found, and loyalty actually meant something. The series features fine acting and memorable characters, combined with action sequences of a scale and quality rarely found in made-for-TV productions.
Like many other British-American films (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's/Sorcerer's Stone, for instance), the titles on this Region 1 US Disc differ markedly from the rest of the world: The Duel = The Even Chance, The Fire Ship = The Examination For Lieutenant, The Wrong War = The Frogs and The Lobsters, Hornblower 3 = Loyalty. Although one or two of these titles may seem obscure to an American audience, the terminology is covered in the episodes themselves and it seems a shame to change them, as I believe these titles to be more accurate and appropriate to the British source material.
As for the films themselves, Welshman Ioan Gruffudd is perfect in the title role, playing the gallant officer with ease whilst displaying just enough fear and self-doubt to make the character believable. CS Forester's original inspiration for this character is uncertain, with many citing Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald (whose exploits and daring is indeed evident in the character of Hornblower). Yet to my mind Hornblower's severe seasickness, brilliant tactical improvisation under fire, and "Nelson Touch"-like ability to command respect from the highest officers and the lowest seamen, are all reminscent of the legendary Horatio Nelson.
As great as the acting is (Robert Lindsey is superb as Captain/Admiral Pellew), the real stars of this show are the ships themselves: the grand Justinian, the sturdy frigate Indefatigable, the 74-gun Renown, and Hornblower's very own Hotspur. These old ships from the Age of Sail bring a rare presence and dignity to the screen, and one can't help but watch in awe as they run out the guns in preparation for battle, trim the sails to ride out huge storms, or sail into the horizon with crew members perched high in the rigging.
Highly recomended, Hornblower combines action and adventure with a human touch, as Mr. Hornblower strives to fulfil his duty whilst wrestling with the morality of war and occasionally questioning his own ability to lead the men in his charge. Horatio Hornblower is a worthy hero in the chivalrous mould, displaying patience and bravery, greatness and extreme kindness, weaved into a series of inspiring tales."
Horatio blow your horn
C. A. Luster | Burke, VA USA | 02/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a huge fan of the original Hornblower movie with Gregory Peck, and "Damn the Defiant" with Alec Guinness, I was an immediate fan of this series from the start when it first aired on TV. This is a magnificent series. Any fan of seafaring movies or British drama will love it. Some of the greatest acting, scenery, costumes, and music you will ever find. This set is now a bargain compared to what the original three sets sold for on release. This set is less than half the size of the three sets together. The DVD cases are very slender making a nice compact set of 8 DVDs. Shop around, although Amazon is competitive, I have seen this set for under forty dollars. I like you wish for at least another six movies so it would have at least as many as the Sharpe's set not to mention a great deal more enjoyment for us."
Best Series from A&E!
Seen Them All | SoCal Desert | 09/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A outstanding mini-series from A&E TV!! Tells the story of a young Midshipman who through a series of acts of bravery and determination becomes a Captain of his own ship. Very good script, costumes, and above all the actors seem to "be" the people they are playing. Set during the war with France this multi disc collection is a must for anyone who likes a good story."
Few made for TV series can match! (None on free TV)
Hiram Grant | 07/02/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Although a bit uneven, on the whole, this is a very enjoyable series of films.
The first 4 movies stand out as the best. The first, "The Duel" is an introduction to our young hero, and his hard introduction to the ways of the sea and sailors. It has the best battle at sea footage of the entire series.
The second entry, "The Fire Ships" also includes some fine special effects work, and is possibly the best movie in the series.
"The Duchess and the Devil" and "The Wrong War" end the first series of movies. The former is finely done, perhaps more "real" than any of the other episodes, and you never know how this one will end. The latter is still very entertaining, and gives us more of the war on the land than any other movie. The love interest, unfortunately, ends the same way here as it does in most dramatic movies of this kind.
Set aboard the "Indefatigable", the series is in full sail. Ioan Gruffudd is very good as our hero, although he appears a bit older than 17, as he supposedly starts out. Robert Lindsay is the captain with which everyone would wish to sail.
Produced later, and set about 7 years after the first movies, now aboard another ship, "The Mutiny" and "Retribution" are actually two parts to the same movie. Therefore, allow yourself time to watch these two close together. Although done well again, there is something unsettling about any movie that is about the removal of a captain. David Warner does a fine job as the famous captain of the "Renown", who's more brutal than normal ways are fueled by growing paranoia. But when it get to fighting (mostly, again, on land), the movie takes off.
The final two movies, "Loyalty" and "Duty" are closely related (similar themes with one unresolved issue from the first leading into the second). Let me just say this "issue" did not add to the story as the writers had hoped. Although entertaining, it appears the budget might have been a bit worse, for the special effects, namely explosions, were horribly done. Another point of contention is the now Captain Hornblower still playing too much the hero. He simply doesn't delegate some matters that most captains would have delegated, particularly when he had such a good first lieutenant.
Quality wise, I was very pleased with the series, especially since this was a made-for-TV series, without the big Hollywood budgets. It's not "Master and Commander", nor was it meant to be. It was a bit disappointing after "The Duel" that we didn't get a really good, multiple ship fight at sea.
DVD extras were good, but not great. There definately could have been more cast/director interviews, but those they had were entertaining.
All-in-all a very good value that left you wanting for more!