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The Sea Hawk (1940)

Approved  |   |  Action, Adventure, Romance  |  1 July 1940 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 6,717 users  
Reviews: 69 user | 44 critic

Geoffrey Thorpe, a buccaneer, is hired by Queen Elizabeth I to nag the Spanish Armada. The Armada is waiting for the attack on England and Thorpe surprises them with attacks on their galleons where he shows his skills on the sword.



(screen play), (screen play)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sir John Burleson
Lord Wolfingham
Miss Latham
Capt. Lopez
William Lundigan ...
Danny Logan
Julien Mitchell ...
Oliver Scott
Montagu Love ...
J.M. Kerrigan ...
Eli Matson
Martin Burke


Geoffrey Thorpe is an adventurous and dashing pirate, who feels that he should pirate the Spanish ships for the good of England. In one such battle, he overtakes a Spanish ship and when he comes aboard he finds Dona Maria, a beautiful Spanish royal. He is overwhelmed by her beauty, but she will have nothing to do with him because of his pirating ways (which include taking her prized jewels). To show his noble side, he suprises her by returning the jewels, and she begins to fall for him. When the ship reaches England, Queen Elizabeth is outraged at the actions of Thorpe and demands that he quit pirating. Because he cannot do this, Thorpe is sent on a mission and in the process becomes a prisoner of the Spaniards. Meanwhile, Dona Maria pines for Thorpe and when he escapes he returns to England to uncover some deadly secrets. Exciting duels follow as Thorpe must expose the evil and win Dona Maria's heart. Written by Julie Sherman <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Never before so many thrills! Never such adventure, such romance! Sail to high adventure with 'The Robin Hood of the Sea.' See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1 July 1940 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Beggars of the Sea  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,700,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


(Sepiatone) (South America sequences)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


French visa # 4577. See more »


At the beginning of the movie during King Phillip's monologue, the map on the wall shows western and northern parts of the North American continent which were not known at the time. See more »


[first lines]
King Philip II: The riches of the New World are limitless, and the New World is ours - with our ships carrying the Spanish flag on seven seas, our armies sweeping over Africa, the Near East, and the Far West; invincible everywhere... but on our own doorstep. Only northern Europe holds out against us; why? Tell me, why?
See more »


Spoofed in Family Guy: Long John Peter (2008) See more »


Old Spanish Song
Music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Lyrics by Howard Koch
Sung by Brenda Marshall (dubbed by Sally Sweetland)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Golden korn
16 August 1999 | by (Canberra, Australia) – See all my reviews

It's Erich Wolfgang Korngold who carries "The Sea Hawk". He picks it up at the first frame with a rousing trumpet fanfare; he follows the story all the way from England to Panama, where a kind of syncopated not-jazz-exactly with saxophones makes its way into the score; he even bursts into song (well, not him personally) when Captain Thorpe's and his crew win through to freedom - and, after so much musical participation, that moment when the sailors become a chorus never strikes me as unnatural.

Korngold's brisk motion would count for nothing if the actors or the direction or the story were lethargic, of course - and they aren't. Errol Flynn plays an "I know I'm breaking international law, but hey, I'm charming and dashing and the Spaniards aren't" role - and hey, he IS charming and dashing, and the Spaniards aren't. A lot of films are described as roller-coaster rides. Many of them are just one thing after another, and don't feel at all like a single ride in a single vehicle. With "The Sea Hawk", I'm not sure about the vehicle, but we ARE taken on a single, swift ride. Few adventure films can beat it.

18 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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