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Horatio Hornblower: Retribution (2001)
"Hornblower: Retribution" (original title)

TV Movie  |   |  Adventure, Drama, War  |  15 April 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 2,562 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 5 critic

Hornblower and the other officers of the Renown must return to Jamaica to face a court-martial and possible execution for their actions in relieving their unstable captain.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Terence Corrigan ...
Captain Hammond
Captain Collins
Gilly Gilchrist ...
Colonel Francisco Manuel Ortega (as Antonio Gil-Martinez)


Before taking the Renown back to Jamaica for their court martial on charges of mutiny, Hornblower, Kennedy, and Bush convince an insecure and indecisive Lt. Buckland, now acting captain, that it would be appropriate to launch a surprise attack on the Spanish fortress at Santo Domingo. Matters are complicated when the inept Buckland incurs the enmity of the local rebels, who now regard them as enemies too. Captain Sawyer's increasing paranoia, deserting seamen, Buckland's growing jealousy of Hornblower, and the duplicity of the Spaniards all complicate the already perilous situation. Written by Gabe Taverney {}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Adventure | Drama | War


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Release Date:

15 April 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Horatio Hornblower: Retribution  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Did You Know?


Both Ioan Gruffudd and David Warner starred in Titanic (1997). See more »


A New Drop-style trapdoor gallows is seen being set up and tested. Trapdoor gallows were first used in 1813, roughly ten years after the story's setting. See more »


Capt. James Sawyer: Mr. Wellard, I know who pushed me.
[Handing him his pistol]
Capt. James Sawyer: Here!
[as the Spaniards are breaking through the door]
Capt. James Sawyer: At least one of us can face the enemy with a clear head!
See more »


Follows Horatio Hornblower: The Wrong War (1999) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fine entertainment for us armchair sailors
7 July 2001 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Now here's some uncomplicated Sunday night entertainment for us armchair sailors. Adventure and action on the high sea and the odd hot country, lots of friction among the officers and men, a captain nearly round the twist, and of course the heroic Horny who saves the situation. He winds up before a court martial in Jamaica but we need not fear for him with his old captain and mentor Sir Edward Pellow presiding.

This show cost a lot of money, though I don't think they went as far as James Cameron did in `Titanic' and build a full-sized replica of an 18th century ship of the line. The re-creation of the period detail – weapons, uniforms, boats and tackle, the wardroom, even the brutal medical procedures, brings you right into the action. The personality clashes between officers seem a bit contrived at times – particularly the Billy Budd syndrome – older officers of marginal competence resenting their brighter juniors – but the fellowship amongst Horny and his mates rings true.

Ioan Gruffudd is darkly romantic in appearance but uses this somewhat brooding exterior to show Horny as someone who thinks a bit and then acts quickly and decisively, a very good combination in military matters. He makes it plausible that his friends, Kennedy (James Bamber) and Bush (Paul McGann) should support him, even at considerable risk to themselves.

As is usual in this sort of production, the major and minor roles are all well done. David Warner is convincing as Captain Sawyer, a sort of nautical King Lear, and Nicolas Smith as the aging, fearful first lieutenant Buckland, fits the bill well (albeit playing the role as a less devious version of Jeremy from Kavanagh Q.C.) There is a nicely judged performance by David Rintoul as the wily ship's doctor, and Dobbin is very effective as the Captains's loyal supporter Hobbs. Robert Lindsay does a good senior partner number as Commodore Sir Edward Pellew, actually an historical figure with some islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria named after him, though Hornblower himself is total fiction.

It's funny. In some ways it might have been a film about a law firm, such is the universality of professional culture. Deference to seniority has to be matched against the need to exercise independent professional judgment. Just obeying orders is the lot of the mere technician. A professional officer has to cultivate independence of mind in a milleu that demands obedience to orders. Not an easy task and we can well understand how it proves too much for the unfortunate Buckland.

Anyway, good derring-do stuff, even if Horny doesn't get to kiss anyone.

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