"One of my favorite Sharpe books and definitely one of the better adaptations, even though the action is transferred from Salamanca to the ficitious(?) Villafranca and the romantic subplot involving a novice nun is best forgotten. Sharpe is assigned the task of tracking down Colonel Leroux, who is after Wellington's chief spy, El Mirador - a task complicated by the fact that Sharpe isn't even told who El Mirador is. Sharpe must also contend with an old enemy returned and a traitor to be uncovered, even as he is gravely wounded during the assault on Villafranca, and hovers between life and death...Sharpe's Sword is great from beginning to end - never skipping a beat, even if there is that annoying nun in the background. Sharpe, Harper and the rest of the supporting cast are in fine form, and a top-notch set of guest stars including Jack Spears, Father Curtis and Colonel Berkeley round it off. Leroux is suitably slimy and deadly, and the climatic sword fight one of the more brutal I've seen in the series. All this, and Sir Henry Simmerson (from Sharpe's Company) too. And of course, Harper dipping into grail lore by forging Sharpe a new sword out of loyalty and love. A must-watch."
Lots of spy intrigue in one of the best of the Sharpe series
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 09/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In "Sharpe's Sword," it is still 1813 on the Franco-Spanish frontier and the French army is now in full retreat from Spain. But Napoleon is planning a surprise counter-attack and to make it work he has to flush out and capture Napoleon's master spy, El Mirador. Of course, Major Richard Sharpe (Sean Bean) is in the middle of the intrigue, although for a large part of the story he is sidelined by a severe wound. There is a battle sequence at the end of this one, as the British take another French fort, but this one is much more of a character drama, where all of the subplots pretty much come together in the end.
Major Munro (Hugh Ross) knows the identity of El Mirador, but he is not about to tell Sharpe. Napoleon has dispatched Colonel Leroux (Patrick Fierry) to find and kill El Mirador, but he is captured by the British. Pretending to be a mere captain Leroux is given his parole, and none of his superior officers will listen to Sharpe who sees through the pretense and tries to avoid the inevitable tragedy that will result from this stupid mistake. Sharpe also comes across a frightened lass (Emily Mortimer), who will not speak, and evidence of a code book that suggests there is a traitor among the English.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Harper (Daragh O'Malley) and Ramona (Diana Perez) are having fighting because he is not sure about bringing a Spanish woman and an illegitimate baby back to Ireland when the war is over. Sharpe and everybody else thinks the two should get married, but Patrick does not see the sense of it. Then we find out that Sir Henry Simmerson (Michael Cochrane), the oaf who was Sharpe's commanding officer in "Sharpe's Eagle" and who once lost one of the King's flags, is back to cause more trouble as he takes an interest in the lass.
"Sharpe's Sword" offers two of the more interesting supporting characters and better performances in the series to date. John Kavanagh is Father Curtis, an Irish priest whose church provides sanctuary to soldiers who have been tortured beyond endurance. He is a particularly strong figure with surprising depth who plays a key role in several of the plotlines. Then there is James Purefoy as Lord Jack Spears, who has already lost one arm to the war and who strikes up a friendship with Sharpe (it has been a while since he has had such a thing with a fellow officer). Two of the best moments in this eighth story in the Sharpe series belong to these two characters.
In the past I have complained because Sharpe usually does not get to be the one who delivers the death blow in these movies adapted from Bernard Cornwell's novels about the Napoleonic War, but he does get to do one in "Sharpe's Sword" and the one that he does not do is handled really well so that I did not mind. Yes, the battle sequence leaves something to be desired, but that is a constant in the series given its limited production values and director Tom Clegg handles this one better than most, taking advantage of the sight of those nice lines of British troops in their red coats marching across the field under fire (and there are lots of beefeater hats this time around).
This is one of the best of the Sharpe's series, its rating warranted by the strong characters, the intricate storyline, and the multiple payoffs in the last act. Sharpe gets to do not one, but two sword duels, so that he has some nice action moments to go along with the strong dramatic moments between the characters. Sharpe is not as dominant in this one as he is in some of the others, but maybe that is why it works so well. All of the other members of the cast are involved in making this a superior outing.
Bean in his element...
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 02/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This series is amazing! A must for any true fan of Sean Bean. If you loved his portrayal of Boromir in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, be prepared for more daring-do and fantastic sword play! This series is set in Napoleonic times, and Bean plays a soldier in the British army. He's definitely earned his heartthrob status in the role of Richard Sharpe. But the secondary characters are nothing to scoff at, either. A great cast and a killer storyline, romance, betrayal, spies, intrigue and a few of the odd comical elements combine to produce a feature length episode you'll have to own. For history buffs, Bean fans, LOTR fans, or anyone interested in a marvelous storyline."
Sharpe saves the day (again...and not for the last time...)
thruthetulips | USA | 10/04/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just a quick note to emplore you to WATCH the series BEFORE YOU READ the books!!! In this fashion you will get to enjoy them both much more. For understandable reasons (time and financial constraints), the "Sharpe" film series had to do away with most of the marvelous battle scenes that Bernard Cornwell was so excellent at bringing to life in his "Sharpe" novels. However, the characters and plots were still rich enough to sustain a fantastic screen adventure on a budget. Mr Sean Bean, the actour who plays the title character, had a lot to do with. His on screen charisma was enough to downplay some questionable moves by the writer/directour/producer. For example, I could not understand why the lovely and tragic sub-plot of the marriage of officer Sharpe and Teresa, the fiery Spanish partisan from an impoverished noble family, was abandoned in favour of stories such as the absurd "nun romance" plot in "Sharpe's Sword". This decission aside, there was enough "good stuff" left to make this film linger in my thoughts for many days after the first viewing. And that is the final test of a film well done. Enjoy! (four stars out of five for the silly "nun" business)"
From Rifles to Swords
M. I. Thompson | Newton, NJ USA | 08/03/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Richard Sharpe finds himself in the unusual position of a swordfight to the death in this episode of the Sharpe series. Sean Bean plays the character with his usual aplomb, and peripheral characters such as Hogan return. Like all the Sharpe movies, this one is watchable and entertaining, and the plot of Napoleon attempting to capture Wellington's spy, El Mirador, adds to the suspense."