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Hornblower: The Even Chance

Hornblower: The Even Chance (1998)

October. 07,1998
| Adventure TV Movie

Portsmouth, 1794. Under thundery skies and in lashing rain, 17-year-old midshipman Horatio Hornblower takes the first tentative steps of his naval career, but a feud with a shipmate causes complications.


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Horatio(Gruffudd, imbuing the role with a strong sense of honor and pride) begins his naval career at 17, in the year of 1793. In spite of various circumstances being against him, he does, in time, fare well with the other midshipmen(if you don't know a lot of Navy lingo, you will want to keep a dictionary on hand, and a finger on the pause-button). Then, Simpson(Healy, making for a truly reprehensible antagonist) returns, and his abusive behavior, thus far tolerated by the other low-level(none of the officers know about it) workers, leads to a feud with our titular protagonist.I haven't read the novels, but if this is anything to go by, it's no wonder they were deemed worthy of adapting. This is an excellent first chapter, and sets the scene for numerous more - I look forward to taking in the following seven. Thoroughly well-acted, filmed compellingly(though you can, at times, tell this was made for television), credible with a richness of detail(many subtle ones), all characters developed well - and with a pace that features many events and people, without rushing ahead to fit it all in. The realism is impressive - there are some elements that make it clear that this is fiction, a dramatization crafted around things that have happened, and with how gripping this is, you easily forgive that. It goes into universally human themes - respect, discipline, friendship, etc.There is a bit of brutal, bloody, disturbing and violent content in this - it is quite honest in its depiction of the many nasty, potential consequences of sea-faring, and ship-based warfare, of the time. I recommend this to any fan of drama and historical adventure. 8/10

Looney Toon joe

I Have just finished watching the entire series of Hornblower and must say that few seafaring adventures can beat it.It ranks up there with the original Mutiny on the Bounty,The Sea Hawk and Master And Commander as one of the greatest of its kind. Ioan Gruffudd is perfectly cast as young Hornblower,a seasick midshipman who tranforms gradually into a courageous leader of men. Robert Lindsay offers great support as Capt.Edward Pellew,one of the most important characters in the story who guides Hornblower along his journeys.Jamie Bamber,Paul Copley and Sean Gilder are all excellent as Hornblower's loyal shipmates. Ireally can't pick any one episode as they are all magnificent.I also liked Paul McGann who portrays Lt.Bush. All in all i just hope that in the future their will be more parts to this truly brilliant adventure series!!! EASILY 10 OUT OF 10 !


I viewed this show with some trepidation, as the name Hornblower to me (as with many others) is synonymous with Gregory Peck. But this is a different Hornblower and the magic is very much the same - fancy uniforms, good guys and bad guys, lots of sailing ships and lot of blood and thunder. What more can one ask for?Add to this an excellent cast, from the principals down and you come up with a rip roaring piece of entertainment. The producers on the whole avoided the urge to "modernise" the story, the speech and demeanour of all concerned rang true, this in itself is worthy of note.So, if like me , you were reluctant to see this show as you didn't want your memories of the Peck movie spoilt - do take the opportunity if it comes to your screen again. It is a classic example of when the British do something well, they do it extra well - Recommended.


Hornblower: The Even Chance is a great entry to the four made for television movies! Its production value is outstanding starting with the original ships, costumes, cities... and ending with the very convincing battles at sea! This is one of the rare cases where CGI is very clever put to use! Ioan Gruffudd is an excellent choice as Horatio Hornblower! You believe immediately that he is the character! Gruffudd is not a typical Hollywood handsome man but a traditional beautiful European(he is Irish from origin!) lad. Watching this movie makes an exceptional evening! Highly recommended!