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Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship (1998)

Hornblower: The Examination for Lieutenant (original title)
While Lt. Hornblower studies for his promotion examination, he is distracted by the serious supply problems that face his crew.

Director:

Andrew Grieve

Writers:

Mike Cullen (screenplay), C.S. Forester (novels)
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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ioan Gruffudd ... Acting Lieutenant Horatio Hornblower
Robert Lindsay ... Captain Sir Edward Pellew
Denis Lawson ... Captain 'Dreadnought' Foster
Ian McNeice ... Tapling
Andrew Tiernan ... Bunting
Jonathan Coy ... Lieutenant Bracegirdle
Ian McElhinney ... Captain Hammond
Paul Copley ... Matthews
Chris Barnes Chris Barnes ... Finch
Sean Gilder ... Styles
Simon Sherlock Simon Sherlock ... Oldroyd
Colin MacLachlan Colin MacLachlan ... Master Bowles
Rupert Holliday-Evans Rupert Holliday-Evans ... Steward
Frank Boyce Frank Boyce ... Midshipman Cleveland
Peter Corey Peter Corey ... HM Consul Duras
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Storyline

Still serving aboard the HMS Indefatigable, Horatio Hornblower has been promoted to acting Lieutenant. Neutral Spain has concluded a peace treaty with France and the British now have another enemy to face. They soon come across a sunken British supply ship and rescue its Captain, 'Dreadnought' Foster, a man with a reputation for bravery that some consider borders on foolishness. Hornblower is also pleased to learn that Captain Pellew has scheduled him for the next round of Lieutenants exams. Tempers are short with the crew after they are put on half rations due to the lack of supplies. After acquiring more supplies, Hornblower finds himself in charge of a supply ship when it is feared that plague may also be aboard. He soon makes it to Gibraltar, but when the enemy send a fire ship into the harbor, he must act quickly to avert disaster. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

A&E's Behind the Scenes

Country:

UK

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

11 April 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Horatio Hornblower: The Fire Ship See more »

Filming Locations:

Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The question given at Hornblower's Lieutenant examination, that of what to do in response to a "full a-back", relates to the sails of a ship suddenly flattening against the mast due to a change in wind. The correct answer (which Hornblower clearly does not know) is to put the helm over, haul up the mainstay and spanker sails, and then shift the helm in the opposite direction in order to fill the after-sails with wind in order to regain headway. Once the wind has been recovered, the ship should then brace up the sails and bring the ship's course directly in front of the wind. The maneuver to regain wind after a fall a-back is known as "chapelling", or "Chapel Ship", and would have been something which Hornblower absolutely should have known. See more »

Goofs

The real HMS Indefatigable was a 38 gun heavy frigate armed with 24 pounders plus six 42 pounder carronades for a total of 44 guns, razéed from a 64 gun Ardent class ship of the line, whereas it is represented here as a 20 gun post ship. See more »

Quotes

Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Where's Mr. Tapling?
Matthews: He refuses to rise from his bunk, sir.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Does he indeed?
[Below decks]
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: Good morrow, Mr. Tapling! When shall you grace us with your presence above decks?
Tapling: Never. There is no point.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: The Moors have come to fetch their gold.
Tapling: The Moors? Don't let them aboard, set sail at once.
Acting Lt. Horatio Hornblower: The gold is theirs by right.
Tapling: I will not see them, send one of the men.
[...]
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Connections

Followed by Horatio Hornblower 3 (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

The British Man-of-War
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
Tests
13 October 2013 | by TBJCSKCNRRQTreviewsSee all my reviews

Horatio(portrayed well by Gruffudd, imbuing him with a strong sense of justice, and a smart, outside-of-the-box approach) will be taking the examination for lieutenant. Before that, however, he and the rest of the crew of the Indefatigable suffer under halved rations - the Spanish cease their neutrality in the British/French war, and supply ships are a favored target. When a situation already on the edge of survival sees its few resources disappearing, how will the men cope?

The many dangers and risks of sea-faring continue to be explored, both those that come from the outside and the ones from the inside(not everyone can handle less food). All of the acting and character-writing is compelling, rendering everyone a human being, no one is a mere "type". This is impressive for how many are in the cast - of course not everyone gets equal time for development, but no one is presented as a caricature.

The filming and editing is superb - perspective is used well and the level of detail, the way everything has both a setup and a payoff is impressive. This is highly realistic. It doesn't shy away from the nasty stuff. The themes are strong: human relationships, respect, inner strength, etc.

There is disturbing, bloody, and brutally violent content in this. I recommend this to any fan of drama. 8/10


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