The BEST Episodes of Hornblower

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Last Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Network: ITV

The epic saga of legendary seafaring hero Horatio Hornblower comes to swashbuckling life in these epic films based on C.S. Forester's classic novels. As the Napoleonic wars rage, Hornblower survives battle after battle, evades capture, and works his way up the ranks in the king's royal navy. With danger at every turn and unending adventures, Hornblower must use every ounce of his wit and courage to prevail.

The Even Chance

#1 - The Even Chance

Season 1 - Episode 1 - Aired Oct 7, 1998

The Hornblower series is based on C.S. Forester's classic maritime adventures - the story of one young man's struggle to become a leader of men. Set against the back drop of the 18th century Anglo-French wars, the bloodiest time in British naval history. Spithead, Portsmouth, 1794. Under thundery skies and in lashing rain, a 17 year old midshipman takes the first tentative steps of his naval career.

star 8.40
260 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Russell Lewis
The Duchess and the Devil

#2 - The Duchess and the Devil

Season 1 - Episode 3 - Aired Feb 24, 1999

Horatio Homblower, now promoted to Acting Lieutenant, captures the French ship Le Reve off the Spanish coast. The Captain of the French ship is furious that such a youngster has pulled off such a coup. But far more daunting is Hornblower's first taste of the high life, when he is invited to dine with the Governor of Gibraltar and his wife. The prospect of this is frightening enough, but an unexpected guest, the glamorous Duchess of Wharfedale, adds another spin to his evening.

star 8.00
188 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Patrick Harbinson
Mutiny

#3 - Mutiny

Season 2 - Episode 1 - Aired Mar 24, 2002

Hornblower comes to realize that his new captain, though quite respected, is quite mad, and that the only option he and his fellows have is mutiny.

star 7.80
156 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Patrick Harbinson
The Examination for Lieutenant

#4 - The Examination for Lieutenant

Season 1 - Episode 2 - Aired Nov 18, 1998

In the dark days of the Napoleonic War, Horatio Hornblower and the crew of the Indefatigable are put on half rations. But Hornblower is distracted from his hunger by the prospect of a commission, for Captain Pellew has nominated the young sailor for the lieutenants exams.

star 7.70
182 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Mike Cullen
Retribution

#5 - Retribution

Season 2 - Episode 2 - Aired Mar 25, 2002

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.

star 7.50
156 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Chris Ould
Loyalty

#6 - Loyalty

Season 3 - Episode 1 - Aired Jan 5, 2003

Finally promoted to Captain and given command of HMS Hotspur, Hornblower is sent to France to determine the status of Napoleon's pledge of peace, but instead he discovers Napoleon's troops waiting to invade. He also begins a romantic relationship with the young Maria Mason.

star 7.50
156 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Niall Leonard
Duty

#7 - Duty

Season 3 - Episode 2 - Aired Jan 6, 2003

Soon after getting married, Hornblower is sent on a search and rescue mission for a British ship (under the command of an old friend) last reported off the French coast. In the midst of the search, the HMS Hotspur picks up some unwanted passengers and attempts to discover the objective of a small French invasion force.

star 7.50
104 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Stephen Churchett
The Frogs and the Lobsters

#8 - The Frogs and the Lobsters

Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Apr 2, 1999

Hornblower is assigned to escort a company of British redcoats (the Lobsters) and a group of French royalists (the Frogs) to France in an attempt to restore the king to power, but he is unprepared for the brutality and cowardice displayed by the French commander.

star 7.40
130 votes
Directors: Andrew Grieve
Writers: C.S. Forester, Chris Ould