Horatio Hornblower

Horatio Hornblower

Michael Redgrave

Born: March 20, 1908; Bristol, England

Died: March 21, 1985;  Denham, Buckinghamshire, England of Parkinson's disease


ABC 1953-1954

A 30-minute naval adventure series featuring Michael Redgrave as Horatio Hornblower.

Horatio Hornblower is a fictional protagonist of a series of novels by C. S. Forester, and later the subject of films and television programs. Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying, "I recommend Forester to everyone literate I know."

Hornblower is iconic in Age of Sail traditional naval fiction, and any writer in the genre must deal with comparisons to Forester. There are many parallels between Hornblower and real naval officers of the period, especially Thomas Cochrane and Horatio Nelson. The name "Horatio" was inspired by the character in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and chosen also because of its association with contemporary figures such as Nelson.

At the same time, Forester wrote the body of the works carefully to avoid entanglements with real world history, so Hornblower is always off on another mission when a great naval victory occurs during the Napoleonic Wars; concurrently, whatever he has Hornblower dealing with is usually important too, if less heralded.