The thief Gaston escapes the dungeon of medieval Aquila through the latrine. Soldiers are about to kill him when Navarre saves him. Navarre, traveling with his spirited hawk, plans to kill the bishop of Aquila with help from Gaston.
Philippe Gaston (Matthew Broderick), a thief, escapes from the dungeon at Aquila, sparking a manhunt. He is nearly captured when Captain Etienne Navarre (Rutger Hauer) befriends him. Navarre has been hunted by the Bishop's men for two years, ever since he escaped with the Lady Isabeau (Michelle Pfeiffer), after whom the Bishop (John Wood) has lusted. Navarre and Isabeau have a curse that the Bishop has placed on them that causes Navarre to be a wolf during the night and Isabeau to be a hawk during the day. Navarre insists that Philippe help him re-enter the city to help him kill the heavily guarded Bishop.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Ever since I was a kid, I loved fantasy movies. As a matter of fact, anything with sword fights was great in my book. And since I grew up in the days before Lord of the Rings came along, my favourites were always mid-to-late-eighties fantasy epics like The Princess Bride, Willow, and Ladyhawke.
It's all about an outcast knight and his lover, who have been cursed by an evil bishop to become animals during night and day, so they're never together in human form. He becomes a wolf and she becomes a hawk (hence the title). The knight enlists the help of a young thief to break into the cathedral and take his revenge on the bishop. Aside from the basic premise, it's more of a historical movie than a fantasy movie. There's no magic other than the curse, and no trolls or giants or anything, which was partly the reason I enjoyed it so much.
I've also always loved this movie for it's great storyline and interesting characters. Philipe's conversations with God still amuse me, as does the drunken monk played by Leo McKern ... It comes from director Richard Donner, who of course brought us Superman I & II, the Lethal Weapon movies and so on. This is essentially a well-directed movie, although a lot of people have issues with the choice of soundtrack. It's kind of a techno-poppy thing, which I blame NeverEnding Story for. A lot of eighties fantasy movies went with the same idea, but it works with Ladyhawke better than it works with most others, although I would of course prefer a more conventional and less intrusive score. On the whole, the sets and the props are pretty convincing, although some of the fight sequences aren't particularly great.
Here we have an early Matthew Broderick performance which shows how little his acting skills have developed since. Not that he's a bad actor, just an early bloomer I guess. Cult icon Rutger Hauer, of whom I have always been a huge fan (Blade Runner, The Hitcher, The 10th Kingdom) gives a fantastic performance as the outcast knight, and as we all know it's never a bad idea to have Michelle Pfeiffer in a movie.
You should definitely see this movie if you're a fan of the genre, or of any of the actors involved. It's a wonderful fantasy adventure for all ages.
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