This is the first installment of the Horatio Hornblower series. The main character is introduced. We start with a 17 year old Hornblower aboard his first ship. Also introduced are Sir Edward Pellew, his mentor; Archie Campbell, his friend and Styles and Matthews, his loyal followers.
The first four films are all taken from the book “Mr. Midshipman Hornblower” which is not a novel, but a collection of short stories. The films, especially “the Duel”, take on that short story feel. The stories sometimes lurch from one to another, with Horatio’s troubles with the evil Midshipman Simmons at the beginning and end. In many ways the not so smooth transitions between sub-stories works well, because young Horatio would see each event as a new experience, and life experiences don’t always have smooth transitions.