A Story of Naval Combat in the Vein of Master & Commander or Why You Should Watch the TV Series Hornblower (1998-2003)

The British TV series Hornblower or Horatio Hornblower is based on the books by C.S. Forester starring Ioan Gruffudd (King Arthur) as Horatio Hornblower.

It is the movie that is closest to the fabulous Master & Commander that I have seen so far. Sure, there are older movies on the Napoleonic Wars and naval combat but this is my favourite.

I think there are a total of 8 installments. They mostly have two titles, a British and an American one.

The Duel

The Fire Ship

The Duchess and the Devil

The Wrong War





Here are 10 reasons why you should give Hornblower at least a try:

1. If you are looking for movies that resemble Master & Commander

2. If you enjoy naval combat and some gripping rapier fights

3. If you care for a likable character who has to overcome obstacles and wins in the end

4. If you are a fascinated by this period in time and interested in the Napoleonic Wars

5. If you enjoy POW stories (one whole episode shows Hornblower as a captive)

6. If you like a gripping story

7. If two-hour movies are too short for you and you like well made mini series

8. If you are a fan of Ioan Gruffud

9. If you don’t care for too much romance but like a bit on the side  to add another dimension

10. If you like a wide range of fascinating characters, some of which are cunning and evil, others kind and heroic


9 thoughts on “A Story of Naval Combat in the Vein of Master & Commander or Why You Should Watch the TV Series Hornblower (1998-2003)

  1. warmoviebuff says:

    I love Napoleonic naval warfare novels and adore the Hornblower series. I have the collection on DVD. I show “The Duel” in my military history class and the boys love it, unlike many of my other movies I force on them. Jack Simpson is my favorite movie villain of all time and it is fun watching the boys despise him, too. I also show Master and Commander, but the students prefer The Duel. M & C is a masterpiece and I am constantly amazed that it was made since there was no reason to believe American audiences would want to see it. The filming was a massive undertaking. It truly was a labor of love. I totally admire Peter Weir. Surprisingly, I do not like the O’Brien series. I feel guilty saying that.

    • Well Peter weir is an Australian film maker even if he works for Hollywood maybe he did not care so much and it was a huge success in Europe too and most certainly in Australia. And there is Russell Crowe who is one of my favourite actors. I heard of many people preferring the Hornblower books to O’Briens.

  2. HJ says:

    “We gotta sink the Bismarck cause the world depends on us”

    The movie inspired the song by Johnny Horton

  3. […] novels are the source for this series. There are certain parallels to the Hornblower series (see Hornblower post) with the difference that Sharpe shows the Napoleonic wars on land. Unlike the Hornblower sequences […]

  4. Set in the same time period is the series Sharpe’s Rifles starring Sean Bean. Always thought it was a decent romp which seemed to do the history some justice. What do you think?

  5. […] Hornblower (GBR 1998-2003 mini-series, 8 parts) Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Michael Byrne (see my review) […]

  6. […] Hornblower (1998 -2003) – Napoleonic wars. Naval combat. This is another extraordinary tale of one man’s ascent. Ioan Gruffud stars as Horatio Hornblower which might explain why I hear this series mentioned quite often by women.  If you like Master & Commander, you will love this. It’s like a very long version with an appealing central character. It is based on the books by C.S. Forester. Here is my post. […]

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