Captain Thorpe (Flynn), a British privateer, seizes the bounty on Spanish ships to help thwart Spain’s hostile intentions towards Britain — and to fill England's coffers. On capturing a vessel carrying the Spanish Ambassador (Rains) and his niece (Marshall), Thorpe returns to England and advocates for greater preparedness against Spain with Queen Elizabeth. To get him out of the way, the Spanish capture Thorpe at sea and the buccaneer must escape to warn his queen of the advancing Spanish armada.
Why we love it
Along with "Captain Blood," this remains Flynn’s best pirate film; it’s a good old-fashioned sword-fest, with plenty of intrigue. Joined by Warner character players Claude Rains, Donald Crisp and Flora Robson (superb as the Queen), "Hawk" remains an exhilarating experience, with a lusty Erich Korngold score and incredible sets (two full-size ship replicas were built for the production). You’ll find it’s as bracing as the sea air.