Because I am a person of enormous generosity (this is well-known), and because I had a few extra bucks at the time, and because I wanted to see them myself, this last Christmas I gave a couple of my friends a boxed set of 8 DVDs called "Horatio Hornblower: Collector's Edition". I watched the first one with them ("The Duel"), and then borrowed the next three and have just finished watching those.
For those of us attracted to the Nautical Lifestyle, I cannot recommend these Hornblower DVDs highly enough. The films are from a TV Miniseries by A&E and so things we might call "production values" are necessarily a bit lower than what you see in a major Hollywood motion picture like "Master and Commander", but they are plenty high enough. Oh, there is the occasional shot of a sea battle where you can tell by the way the water behaves you are looking at models, but that's only occasionally. Most of the time the long shots of the fleet underway are plenty hope-and-gloryish.
But the real value here is the story-telling, and the acting.
This is great stuff. I've seen four of them so far, the first being the weakest in my opinion but only because I don't really care for the one guy irrationally having it in for the other guy type story. But even so, that one and the rest are genuinely stirring in all the ways we expect to be stirred as subscribers to the Nautical Agenda.
So all you Hornblower fans out there, and you Patrick O'Brian nuts too, rent or buy these Hornblower DVDs, then pop some popcorn or open a few granola bars, and...Crack on!
Like smoke & oakum.