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248 Reviews
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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and still the best
C.S. Forester wrote his eleven "Hornblower" novels in the 1930s and 40s, long before Patrick O'Brien's Jack Aubrey or Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho. This series has to be very high on the list of the finest adaptations of Forester's novels. Given that these were produced for TV without the immense budget of a Hollywood movie, their realism and historical accuracy are...
Published on 23 Mar. 2008 by Bookworm

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to like this a lot more than I did
I have to say having read the books I was somewhat disappointed with this series. WIthout wishing to put down the acting which is great it is otherwise very "fur coat and no knickers" because all the money has been spent on the very grand ships and the locations. All well and good and it does look very impressive but if I had not read the books I would have...
Published 3 months ago by Ms. E. J. Baker


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50 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original and still the best, 23 Mar. 2008
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C.S. Forester wrote his eleven "Hornblower" novels in the 1930s and 40s, long before Patrick O'Brien's Jack Aubrey or Alexander Kent's Richard Bolitho. This series has to be very high on the list of the finest adaptations of Forester's novels. Given that these were produced for TV without the immense budget of a Hollywood movie, their realism and historical accuracy are amazing. In the earlier episodes, Ioan Gruffudd as Hornblower and Robert Lindsay as his captain really strike sparks off each other, as do Gruffudd and Paul McGann in the later stages. This series is a must for anyone with an interest in the history of the Napoleonic wars. But shop around, at the time of writing the RRP for the 4-disc series is £59.99 but it can be found brand new for under half that.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Vary Good DVD Boxset mat a Vary Good Price, 6 Nov. 2011
By 
Traffic (Kiruna, Sweden) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I purchased this DVD Boxset from HMV (sorry Amazon) and have enjoyed it vary much. It really does show what life must have been like back then for a new recruit into the Navy as a junior midshipman. The on-ship scenery was vary good and the acting by all vary good too. It did seem odd seeing Robert Lindsey in a serious role (after seeing him in the long running TV series, My Family) but he was awesome in this; my favourite character.

The box set contains 4 DVDs which run for a total of about 13 hours and covers all 3 series.

The description did say "Set during the 18th century Napoleonic Wars, Horatio Hornblower (Ioan Gruffudd), a young and shy midshipman, rises through the ranks to become an admiral" but throughout the series he never rises above lieutenant save for a brief spell as a commander before reverting back to Lieutenant. I guess the description must be referring to the book series.

The quality of the picture is vary good and clearly remastered.

If you enjoyed the books in the series and similar, such as Alexander kent's Richard Bolitho series, then this is a box set for you.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loyalty and Duty above all other. That's Hornblower, 14 Jun. 2009
By 
K. E. Forrester "khandy" (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
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I only recently saw this when it was repeated on ITV 3 and then I saw the box set and brought it.

I have to say that I have read the books which I loved but I think the series is better. It captures the essence of Hornblower with out dwelling on his more irritating habits which would probably put of to days audience.

Ioan Gruffudd it could be said was born to play Hornblower a man where the need to his duty is the most important thing in his life. The way he changes throughout the series is remarkable from shy bullied midshipman. To Commander of the Hotspur the way he commands the men who often have years more experience than him is brilliant.

I imagine the purist will have problems with the same cast throughout, the book is littered with hundreds of characters. The characters being maintained throughout is just one reason why the films work so well.

Robert Lindsay is fantastic and this reminds us what a good actor he is. Jamie Bamber Paul McGann Davis Warner Denis Lawson all make this unmissiable.

A word about Sean Gilder and Paul Copley as Styles and Matthews fantastic these characters play a large part in Hornblowers development you almost sense that without them he could not have done it.
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90 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sea bound adventures., 7 Aug. 2007
By 
A. Hunter (Inverness, Scotland) - See all my reviews
If you enjoyed the film, Master and Commander, or read the books of Patrick O'brian and are looking for more, then Hornblower is perfect for you. More high seas adventure and swashbuckling than you can throw a stick at. Considering the lack of a hollywood budget and the fact they were made for TV, this series is just amazing. The navy based equivalent to Sharpe, I would strongly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a bit of action and adventure.

Would also say to shop around, not sure how long it will last for, but have just found it online at HMV for £17.99 in the sale, now that makes it even better.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant price, 12 Dec. 2013
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This is an excellent purchase for my husband as he loves to cook & watch a film in the kitchen but I will go mad if I see any more sharpe DVDs!!! Thank god for Hornblower, although not sure what will be next when he's watched these to death.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic restoration and yes, all episodes are now 16:9, 9 Jan. 2015
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I purchased this set to replace the individual DVD's I have had for some years. A great improvement, the video is sharp and less grainy, sound is clear and well balanced and for those of you wondering the early episodes that were in 4:3 format are now restored to full glory as 16:9. I checked this by stopping both an old and new DVD at the same scene in episodes and there is extra stuff in shot to both the left and right.. I guess they released them that way as widescreen TV's were still a rarity then.
If you buy these to replace your old collection you will not be disappointed.

5*
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35 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling Stuff, 5 Mar. 2008
By 
I. H. C. Mellor "mihcm" (Milton Keynes) - See all my reviews
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Whether you saw the 'Hornblower' series on the TV or not does not matter, these are wonderful to watch for the first time or again and again. Loads of action to please everyone. Well worth investing in.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hornblower collection is worth every penny., 14 Jan. 2010
By 
Fiona M (Crowthorne, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hornblower - Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD collection is excellent. I remember watching it on TV years ago and enjoyed it then, but now it is even better (without the adverts!) It is amongst my favourite DVDs and the kids love it too (1
PG disc, 2 12cert discs and 1 15cert disc, but they have been very stringent on the certificates - the contents are suitable and the violence (sword fighting) comes in context with the story). I would rate it highly and recommend it to anyone who asks.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 19 Mar. 2010
By 
RMPilkington (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hornblower - Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
When you consider how hard it is to film 'at sea'this series really does do justice to CS Forester's much loved books. Yes, the writers take liberties with the story lines, sometimes inventing stuff that was not in the books but overall, the series simply works and the producers' story lines all improve the drama. Not a grating American accent to be heard and an exceptional British cast of first rate actors. The settings are seductive, the costumes authentic and the music brings it all to life. As you might expect, there is extensive use of models to film the ships and battle sequences and if you look hard, you can tell it's being faked. And yes, the sea is never rougher than a force 1 or 2 or else filming would have been impossible. But none of these criticisms matter. The whole thing hangs together perfectly as brilliant entertainment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Quality Remastering of A Brilliant TV Series., 14 Feb. 2013
By 
Malcolm (Edlesborough, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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My old Hornblower collection was just about giving up
the ghost, and had not been viewed for a few years when
I decided to buy this complete remastered collection.
It really is top quality and almost like watching a
brand new series. Top marks to those involved in the
remastering technology.

Loosely based on the character of Horatio Hornblower,
created by the novelist C S Forester, the television
series starts with 17 year old Hornblower taking up
his position of Midshipman in the Royal Navy. It is
the 1790's and the French Revolution brings the demise
of King Louis XVI and the ensuing rise of Napoleon and
war between Britain and France.

Hornblower, brilliantly played by a then relatively
unknown Welsh actor of 25, Ioan Gruffudd, and mentored by
a fatherly Captain Sir Edward Pellew, so exquisitely played
by Robert Lindsay, sets out on a life of swashbuckling, derring-do
and is the hero of the series which includes some of our best
character actors such as Paul Copley, Denis Lawson, Jamie Bamber,
Julia Sawalha, Paul McGann, David Warner, Sean Gilder and the
brilliantly evil Dorian Healy et al.

The collection comprises eight movie length made for TV films,
depicting life and adventure in the Navy of the Nelson era.
The filming was shot upon the three masted frigate The Grand
Turk which we saw under it's guise of HMS Indefatigable, a replica
built for the series. Battle scenes were shot on pontoons carrying
the various sets for specific battles, fires, and the sets of the
the Grand Cabin created especially for the series. The series was
made from 1998 to 2003.

Apparently Mr.Gruffudd has been trying to obtain the rights to
the C S Forester novels since 2007 to make a full feature film
of the character Hornblower, one can only hope that he succeeds
in this venture.

This collection is well worth buying if you missed it first time
on TV or well worth replacing with the newly remastered edition
just for it's own sake.

Four discs.
13 hours quality viewing.
Recommended.
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Hornblower - Complete Collection [DVD]
Hornblower - Complete Collection [DVD] by Andrew Grieve (DVD - 2009)
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