Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N.

Synopsis: In 1807, Captain Horatio Hornblower leads his ship the HMS Lydia on a perilous voyage around Cape Horn and into the Pacific. The men, even his officers, don't know exactly where he is leading them. England is at war with Napoleon and everyone wonders why they have been sent so far from the action. They eventually arrive on the Pacific coast of Central America where the HMS Lydia has been sent to arm Don Julian Alvarado, who is planning an attack against France's Spanish allies on the North American continent. The hope is that Alvarado's forces will require the French to divert some of their military resources to North American defense in the aid of their Spanish allies. He arrives to learn that a Spanish Galleon is en route and he no sooner captures it and hands it over to Alvarado that he learns the Spanish are now England's allies and he must take it from Alvarado. He also gets a very comely passenger in the form of Lady Barbara Wellesley, sister of the Duke of Wellington. The voyage
Director(s): Raoul Walsh
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures
Rotten Tomatoes:
117 min

In the year 1807...

... a small ship of the Royal Navy set sail

from England for a secret destination.

With five million French

and Spanish soldiers...

... poised on the continent

under Napoleon...

... nothing could save England from invasion

except her 300 ships.

HMS Lydia was soon far beyond

battle-charged Europe.

Under the most secret of sealed orders,

she sailed deep into southern waters...

... fought her way around the Horn...

... headed north again, into the Pacific.

For seven months,

she stayed out of sight of land.

Becalmed finally...

... her weary crew toiled at the oars

in the vain hope of towing her into a wind.

They thirsted and hungered

and wondered where she was going...

... what she would do

when she got there, if she got there.

These were things

known only to one man aboard.





- Heave.

- Heave!


Five years hard labor,

the judge says to me...

...or honorable service

in His Majesty's Navy.

What did I pick? Hornblower.

What are we doing in the Pacific, anyway?

I tell you, he's got us lost.

There's islands there

where we could have a picnic.

Brown-skinned girls, bread growing

on trees, where the Bounty went.

Why don't you ask Hornblower

to take us there?

What's wrong with our cargo

doing the asking?

Muskets and ammunition.

Who for? Why not for us?

Come on, get on with your work.

Get on with it.

- You've had your water ration, Carter.

- Me throat's closing up on me.

I can't help that. One-half cup a day.

Officers and crew the same. Even him.

Hornblower? He ain't human.

- Mr. Bush.

- Thank you.

How much do you suppose

he's paced the deck since Plymouth, sir?

Well, an hour a day at three knots,

and we're 201 days out.

I'd say the distance

between Plymouth and Aberdeen.

I'd like to know what he's thinking.

What would you think about? A rotting ship

and 10,000 miles from a friendly port.

- Good morning, gentlemen.

- Good morning, sir.

Mr. Bush, would you have the hands

piped aft to witness punishment?

- Aye, aye, sir.

- What about the towing crews, sir?

- That won't be necessary.

- Very good, sir.

Hands lay aft to witness punishment!

Hands lay aft to witness punishment!

Shoulder arms!

Bosun's mate, do your duty.

Do you know why I'm having

Hommel flogged, Mr. Gerard?

I reported him for fighting, sir.

I'm not having him flogged

for fighting, Mr. Gerard.

I'm having him flogged because you said

in front of the men that you'd flog him.

This is a ship of war.

As its captain, I must uphold

my lieutenant's authority.

I understand, sir.

Flogging only makes a bad man worse,

Mr. Gerard.

And it can break a good man's spirit.

Is Hommel a bad man?

Aside from his temper, sir,

he's a good sailor.

A good sailor, ill-fed and thirsty.

Watch the cat as it cuts his back to pieces,

Mr. Gerard.

And in future, perhaps you'll think twice

before you threaten anyone with a flogging.

Dismiss the hands.

- Dismiss the hands.

- Hands dismissed!

Come in.

Yes, doctor?

I'm here to make a representation.

Since the lime juice ran out, the men

are dropping with scurvy every hour.

There's 39 sick and off duty,

And eight dead. I know the figures.

Nine dead. Hazlitt, a minute ago.


He was a good topman.

You'll lose more than Hazlitt if you

don't put ashore for fresh food and water.

Dig into your medical kit

and get me a breath of fresh wind.

There's land to the east.

Have us towed there.

The Lydia will not come within sight of land

until we reach our destination.

Unless you'd have us fail our mission.

I don't know what our mission is

or why we're in the Pacific.

All I know is, three more days...

...and I won't answer for the life

of anyone on this ship.

We continue as before.

- Captain Hornblower.

- You may go, doctor.

Scurvy visits the quarterdeck

as well as the fo'c's'le, sir.

And I know how you've been

driving yourself.

I said you may go.

Deck there!


- Sixty-five, thirty.

- Mr. Crystal, would you tell the cooper... scald his water casks for filling?

- Very good, sir.

Are we...? Are we towing ashore, sir?

There's no need to stammer, Mr. Gerard.

No, we are not towing ashore.

I expect the wind before morning...

...and we're within a hundred miles

of our destination.

Did you say something, Mr. Crystal?

What with chronometers that haven't

been checked for seven months...

...and Spanish charts

that aren't to be trusted...

...we can be 300 miles

out of our reckoning.

That means five days without food, sir.

Gentlemen, we will raise our destination

within two days.

It will be identified by a fortress on a hill

overlooking a large bay.

A fortress and a wind before morning.

Heat's gone to his head.

Well, I think he knows

more than he's saying.

- Care to take a wage on it, Mr. Bush?

- How much can you afford?

I've got five shillings that says no wind...

...and 10 shillings

that we don't sight any fortress.





- Course north by west.

- North by west. As if it mattered.

Look at that candle.

Straighter than Hornblower's backbone.

Heave! Heave! Heave!



The wind!

Call the watch!

Call the starboard watch!

Come on, there!

- Hands aloft to secure!

- Come on, get aloft there!

Watch the clew lines there!

Fo'c's'le party, take in the towing cable!

Haul in those tow lines!

Secure the guns!

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Ivan Goff

Ivan Goff (17 April 1910 – 23 September 1999) was an Australian screenwriter, best known for his collaborations with Ben Roberts including White Heat (1949), Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) and the pilot for Charlie's Angels (1976). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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