Season 1 Episode 1

Sharpe's Rifles

Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM May 05, 1993 on ITV
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Sharpe's Rifles
Portugal, 1809: Sergeant Richard Sharpe saves the life of General Wellesley (soon to become the Duke of Wellington) and receives a field commission. His first mission is to go behind enemy lines to Casa Antiga to find a missing agent, and he is put in command of a platoon of Riflemen under Captain Murray. When Murray is killed, Sharpe is left in sole command. On arrival at Casa Antiga, Sharpe finds his real mission is to transport a holy relic to Torrecastro to inspire an uprising against the French. For more, see Recap.moreless

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  • Sgt. Richard Sharpe gets commissioned, a secret mission, a bunch of sharpshooters, a Spanish lover and ally, and a part in the continuation of a legend. Damn officers.

    Richard Sharpe, as played by Sean Bean,is what the phrase 'Men want to be him, women want to be with him' is all about.

    Sharpe, the reluctant officer, proves to his men that he can be as dirty as they are, can think like them, but is the one that's gonna call the shots. One of the funnier parts of the episode is when a dying officer tells Sharpe to befriend the head-strong Patrick Harper (the delightful Daragh O'Malley), only to end up in a dirty fight with Harper that their Spanish allies break-up.

    With a massacre behind them and a fake out as well, and a missing banker with the army's payroll, Sharpe and The Chosen Men are asked to help rally a small Spanish town.

    Richard and Commandant Teresa (the beautiful and quick Assumpta Serna) are electric from their first barbed, snarky meeting.

    Not to say there aren't clunky or inelegant parts- Teresa's history being told to Richard is a big one, especially given the who and the when.

    Yet I whole-heartedly recommend this to anyone who likes good rollicking action, just a bit of romance, and pretty tight writing.moreless
Brian Cox

Brian Cox


Guest Star

Assumpta Serna

Assumpta Serna


Guest Star

David Troughton

David Troughton


Guest Star

Daragh O'Malley

Daragh O'Malley


Recurring Role

Michael Mears

Michael Mears


Recurring Role

John Tams

John Tams


Recurring Role

Watch Online

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (2)

  • QUOTES (15)

    • Hogan: Chosen men, Sharpe. They may look like a band of gypsies but they're the finest marksmen in King George's army.

    • Teresa: If you were French, I would take a knife and you would tell me all I wanted to know.
      Sharpe: But we are allies.
      Teresa: Allies? Do allies keep secrets from each other?
      Sharpe: Lovers keep secrets from each other, yet they still make love.

    • Man in Black: You say you are an Irishman. Why should you be loyal to the British dogs, who want to take you to Lisbon to shoot you?
      Harper: Jesus, you took the words right out of my mouth.
      Man in Black: I can help you. Give me the box?
      Harper: And if I do?
      Man in Black: You will be rich.
      Harper: And if I don't?
      Man in Black: You will be dead.
      Harper: Hmm... well, you're having the best of the argument so far.

    • Sharpe: You volunteer for this lot, Cooper?
      Cooper: Erm, not exactly, sir. I was 'invited' to join, by a magistrate.

    • Harper: Now, there's a woman worth fighting dirty for, sir.

    • Sharpe: Gi' me a picklock, Cooper.
      Cooper: Picklock, sir? Catch me with a picklock!
      Harper: They did, Coop. But when you got out of Newgate prison, you got another set, and that's the one the officer wants.
      Cooper: Do I get it back, sir?
      Sharpe: Trust me.
      Cooper: It's very hard to trust a man who wants to borrow your picklock, sir.

    • Harper: You'll make a grand killin' officer.
      Sharpe: Killin' officer?
      Harper:Ah, God love you, sir; I thought you would've known. There's two kinds of officers, sir: killing officers and murdering officers. Killing officers are poor ol' buggers that kill you by mistake. Murdering officers are mad, bad ol' buggers who get you killed on purpose. For a reason, for a country, for a religion, maybe even for a flag

    • Teresa: (to Hogan) He forbids it. Who does he think he is? Who does he think I am?

    • Sharpe: Rise up? Do you really believe men will fight and die for a rag on a pole, sir?
      Hogan: You do, Richard, you do.

    • Teresa: You see, we have two ears, but only one mouth, so a good leader listens twice as much as he shouts.

    • Murray: I want you to have my sword. Maybe if the men see you carry it...
      Sharpe: They'll think I'm a proper officer?
      Murray: No, they'll think I liked you.

    • Murray: Get Patrick Harper on your side.
      Sharpe: Is that an order, sir?

    • Sharpe: You're a rake and a wastrel, Harris. Is there anything you can do?
      Harris: I can read sir.

    • Hogan: Richard, the shilling.
      (Sharpe returns the coin, and leaves the room)
      Wellington: Will he do, Hogan?
      Hogan: Do or die, sir.
      (Wellington holds his hand out for the shilling, which Hogan returns)

    • Wellington: You did me a damned good turn. Now I'm going to do you a damned bad one.

  • NOTES (5)

    • Sharpe's Rifles was first broadcast in the US on Masterpiece Theatre in two parts on November 14 & 21, 1993.

    • The Spanish actress Assumpta Serna replaced Diana Penalvar as Teresa, after the first shoot in the Ukraine was abandoned. She said she based her performance on the true story of Agustina of Aragon, a woman who fought at Zaragoza, Tortosa and Vitoria.

    • Three hundred soldiers were hired as extras from the Ukrainian Army, plus forty horsemen.

    • The series was filmed in the Ukraine and the Torrecastro set was built in Dimerdji.

    • Sean Bean was the first choice to play Sharpe, but at first he wasn't available and the role was given to Paul McGann. However, two days into filming in the Ukraine, McGann was injured during a football game and found himself unable to shoot any strenuous scenes. For five weeks, schedules were re-arranged, but in the end the whole shoot was abandoned, the cast flew back to London and all contracts were terminated. A new leading man was needed, and luckily Sean Bean was now free. A week later, the cast and crew were back in the Ukraine and shooting began.

      McGann's accident triggered an insurance claim for £2,128,172 - at that time the highest in British television history.