The story takes place in a medieval France setting and starts with a young thief named Phillippe the Mouse escaping from an inescapable prison through its sewers. Said prison and the lands around it are controlled by a CorruptChurch led by a Bishop who is none too pleased to hear of Phillipe's escape (the prison is supposed to be inescapable, after all). The Bishop sends his soldiers out to kill Phillipe, but just as they catch up with him Phillippe is rescued by the mysterious Etienne of Navarre, who is accompanied everywhere by his CoolHorse and hawk.

Navarre turns out to have been the former Captain of the Bishop's guards, and he has a score of his own to settle with the Bishop. See, the Bishop was lusting mightily over a young woman named Isabeau, but Navarre and Isabeau fell in love and when it looked like they would escape the Bishop, he cursed them so that by day Navarre would be human and Isabeau a hawk, while by night Isabeau would be human, and Navarre a wolf. As a result, while the two lovers may be together, they are always separated. Now Navarre is looking to get revenge, and to use Phillippe's knowledge of the sewers that lead into the Bishop's fortress to his advantage.

The film contains a number of both veteran actors (such as John Wood, Creator/RutgerHauer, and Leo [=McKern=]) and young actors who would go on to become household names (Creator/MatthewBroderick and Creator/MichellePfeiffer).
!!This film provides examples of:
* AbsurdlySpaciousSewer: Phillipe climbs through it to get in and out.
* ActionSurvivor: Phillipe escapes from prison and then runs from the Bishop's guards. He'd like to get away clean but he has to help the leading man and lady.
* TheAlcatraz: The prison Phillipe was sent to. It's supposed to be inescapable you know.
* AncestralWeapon: Navarre's sword. It's been around for a few generations and went with his father to the Crusades.
* AnimalEyes: Used in the lovers' face-to-face transformation scene.
* AnimalStereotypes: The guy who turns into a wolf is [[NobleWolf a fierce, loyal badass who can be absolutely vicious when riled up]], and the guy called "the Mouse" is a cowardly ActionSurvivor thief who prefers to hide and be sneaky whenever possible. Isabeau is fairly fierce and graceful herself. It's also observed in TheMovie that hawks and wolves mate for life ([[IThoughtItMeant though not]] [[{{Squick}} with each other]], of course) signifying the couple's enduring faithfulness.
* AnnoyingArrows: Played with. Arrow injuries are deadly when [[spoiler:Isabeau is shot in hawk form and still injured in human]] but Navarre just shrugs off one arrow because he's wearing armor.
* ArtisticLicenseAstronomy: There is a scene under a full moon. Two days later, there is what seems to be a solar eclipse (which requires a new moon).
* ArtisticLicenseReligion: A minor one that just requires a HandWave to fix -- Imperius is described as a monk. A monk has not taken Holy Orders and thus cannot take confessions -- he would need to be a priest to be able to hear confession and give absolution. (It is possible to be both a monk and a priest but you would be more likely to refer to yourself as a priest in the same way that someone with credentials as both a paralegal and a lawyer would probably not mention the paralegal part). The handwave: Imperius may have been a priest in the backstory then renounced his priestly vows [[spoiler:after his crime of betraying secrets of the confessional - which he ''thought'' he did while drunk. He did not - Marquet did.]].
* TheAtoner: Imperius, the monk who helps Navarre and Isabeau. [[spoiler:He feels at responsible for their curse because he accidentally revealed their love to the Bishop.]]
* AutobotsRockOut: 1980s synthesizer rock by Music/TheAlanParsonsProject.
** ThemeMusicPowerUp: The music will let you know when Navarre is about to kick ''all'' kinds of ass.
* AutomaticCrossbow: Badass people strap two crossbows together.
* BadassCape: Navarre's is ''awesome''. He is, naturally, incredibly {{badass}}.
* BadassInDistress: Navarre is surprisingly vulnerable in wolf form, having nearly fallen prey to a hunter, nearly drowned in an icy lake after falling through thin ice, and was nearly stabbed by a random guard for fun.
* BadassPreacher: Imperius is technically a ''monk'', not a priest, but he's still a formitable man of God.
* BalefulPolymorph: The curse turns Isabeau into a hawk; Navarre, a wolf.
* {{BFS}}: Navarre's sword is a Zweihander.
* BlackKnight: Etienne Navarre is a literal one, clad in black armor, as he's been cast out from service to Aquila and has no lord or master. Subverted in that he's TheHero and a noble man.
* BowAndSwordInAccord: Navarre uses a crossbow and a CoolSword.
* CassandraTruth: Nobody believes Phillipe, admittedly with reason.
-->'''Imperius:''' Thank you for trying, and for standing up for the truth.\\
'''Phillipe:''' I should have known better. Every moment of happiness in my life has come from lying.
** Also, he tells the truth to some evil guards and is still in trouble:
---> '''Phillipe:''' I told the truth, Lord! How can I learn any moral lessons when you keep confusing me this way?
** At the end of Phillipe's and Isabeau's near-capture at the monastery:
--->'''Guard''': Where's the woman?\\
'''Phillipe''': She flew away.\\
'''Guard''': WHERE IS SHE?\\
'''Phillipe''': God's truth, she flew away!\\
'''Guard''': YOU L-AAAGH!!! (Guard is shot by Navarre and falls.)\\
'''Phillipe''': (beat)... It pays to tell the truth, Lord. Thank you. I see that now.
* ChekhovsSkill: Navarre scared Phillepe into helping him by throwing his sword like a spear into a tree. [[spoiler:He uses the skill again to kill the Bishop when he was about to kill Isabeau in his breakdown]].
* ChewToy: Mouse spends a lot of time in peril, and even gets bitten by Navarre in wolf form while saving his life.
* CoolHelmet: So cool, [[{{Manga/Berserk}} Guts had to get one for himself]]!
* CoolHorse: Goliath, a huge black [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friesian_horse Friesian]]. Just don't call him a her.
** Marquet's white horse in the climax counts too.
* CoolSword: It is even used to chop wood.
-->'''Navarre:''' This sword has been in my family for five generations. It has never known defeat, until now.
* CorruptChurch: In the movie it shows that the entire region of Aquila in the Middle Ages is ruled by this trope. Unusually, the movie averts the trope's implicit TakeThat qualities in that [[RealMenLoveJesus the protagonists are all depicted as genuinely devout, faithful and God-fearing]].
** Really, it's only the Bishop and [[TheDragon Marquet]] who are corrupt but they have the authority to pervert the Church's influence in the region.
* {{Curse}}: On the two StarCrossedLovers. They can never be human at the same time and so they can never be conventional couple.
* CurseEscapeClause: A [[spoiler:solar eclipse]] allows Navarre and Isabeau to meet each other in human forms at the same time, dispelling the curse.
* DeadpanSnarker: Phillipe.
-->'''Phillipe:''' ''(to Imperius)'' When you kneel before the altar, how do you get up again?
* DealWithTheDevil: The Bishop asked the Devil to curse the lovers.
* {{Determinator}}:
** Navarre and Isabeau have been cursed for two years but neither has yet to give up hope.
** Philippe. He promises to get into Heaven even if he has to pick the lock to the pearly gates.
* DoesNotLikeShoes: Isabeau is barefoot quite a lot, even in instances where it doesn't make much sense like her final confrontation with the Bishop.
* TheDragon: The Captain of the Guard, Marquet, for the Bishop.
* EvilSorcerer: The Bishop cast a curse on the lovers so he must be one
* EvilPlan: The Bishop seeks to capture Isabeau.
* FamousLastWords:
-->'''[[spoiler: Bishop:]]''' ... then no man shall! ''(cue ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice)'' ... Isabeau!
* FeeFiFauxPas: Be careful who you offer to buy a drink for when celebrating your prison break.
* GreenEyedMonster: The Bishop was so overcome with jealousy that he turned to the infernal to satisfy it.
* [[VillainExitStageLeft Hero Exit Stage Left]]: An inversion of the normal trope. [[spoiler: After the curse is broken, Imperious and Mouse try to exit quietly without being seen. Navarre doesn't let them.]]
* HellBentForLeather: Navarre. Nearly every scene with him in human form, his leather crackles ''loudly''.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Philippe and Imperius become a pair.
* HeWentThatWay: Zig-zagged. Philippe directs the guards after Navarre knowing they will expect him to lie. It works at first until one of them works it out.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard:
** The wolf hunter who dies falling headfirst into a jaw trap.
** [[spoiler: Marquet, who pushed one of his own men onto Navarre's sword for referring to Navarre as 'Captain', ultimately dies by falling on Navarre's sword.]]
%%* HumiliationConga: The ending, for the BigBad.
* IKnowYouKnowIKnow
-->'''Phillipe''': I believe he was heading south, toward Aquila.\\
'''Guard''': Then we ride north, sir!\\
'''Phillipe''': It's impolite to assume someone is a liar when you've only just met them!\\
'''Guard Leader''': And yet you knew we would... [[GenreSavvy we ride south.]]
* IfICantHaveYou: "...then no man shall!" Thus the hawk curse.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: The ending, twice.
* ImprovisedWeapon: In addition to [[SwordFight swords]], weapons used include a bunch of horseshoes, an iron bar, rocks, the opponent's helmet, and a huge candelabra.
* IncendiaryExponent: Averted. The captain of the guards is anything but badass when it's on fire.
* InvoluntaryShapeshifting: The curse upon Navarre and Isabeau forces them to transform between human and animal forms every dawn and dusk.
* IronicEcho: When Isabeau runs off towards danger, Phillipe mutters "He's going to kill me!" referring to Navarre. When Phillipe talks Isabeau into releasing him from where Navarre tied him up, she says the same thing.
* IWillFindYou: Etienne Navarre: "And know this - if you fail, I will follow you the length of my days. And I ''will'' find you."
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:The Bishop is killed in the process of trying to stab Isabeau in the back.]]
* KnightInShiningArmor: Navarre has this down to the timeperiod; a heroic and pious man who uses a sword to fight evil.
* LeaningOnTheFourthWall: Phillipe regularly directly addresses God (but effectively the audience) as his personal confidante. None of the other characters notice, but he does go out of his way to put distance between himself and the other characters before talking to the camera.
--> '''Phillippe (to Navarre):''' No offense, sir, but I talk to God all the time, and He never mentioned you.
* LightIsNotGood[=/=]DarkIsNotEvil: The Bishop and the Captain of the Guard wear [[GoodColorsEvilColors white and gold]], and Navarre is TheHero and wears [[GoodColorsEvilColors black and red]], rides a black horse and becomes a black wolf.
* LivingMacGuffin: The bishop really wants Isabeau back.
* MagicPants: There seems to be little consistency as to whether or not clothes transform. Both are naked on resuming to human form so it could be argued that there is just no need to see an empty dress falling off a little hawk.
* MagicRealism: Apart from the curse, the setting is mundane medieval France.
* MalevolentArchitecture: Imperius's castle has two bridges designed to drop you in the moat.
-->'''Imperius:''' Remember-\\
'''Imperius:''' Walk on the ''left'' side.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: Watch the priests in the background react in horror to when the Bishop is killed, and start praying effusively to God.
* MercyKill: Navarre tells Mouse to kill the hawk if he's dead, because he doesn't want to doom her to a half-life.
* TheMiddleAges: The location and time period; medieval France.
* TheMindIsAPlaythingOfTheBody: According to Imperius's description of the curse, neither Navarre or Isabeau are aware of their human selves while in animal form; Navarre in particular is quite vicious. However, even in animal form each of the pair is quick to attack anyone who threatens the other.
* MisplacedWildlife: Isabeau's hawk form is a red tailed hawk, which are not native to France. Could be handwaved, seeing as the curse was spat up by Hell itself.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero:
** Though it saved Navarre, the only reason Isabeau was shot was because Phillipe threw a rock at the guard, causing him to accidentally fire into the air.
** Phillipe wrecks his own escape from prison by ''bragging'' about it in a local town. If he had kept his mouth shut til he was ''far'' away in another country, he might have gotten away effortlessly.
* NobleBirdOfPrey: Isabeau in hawk form.
* NobleWolf: Navarre's wolf form is firece and loyal.
* NonHumanSidekick: Both Navarre and Isabeau are this to each other depending on the time of day.
* NotWhatItLooksLike: A weird variation. When Phillippe stretches and yawns, the hawk lands on ''his'' arm, not Navarre's. The former is embarrassed and the latter is in shock.
* {{Novelization}}: A novel was published based on the film, which included screenshots from the film illustrating scenes and an alternate ending where, once the curse is broken, [[spoiler: the Bishop is turned into a wolf as punishment.]] %% (can somebody verify this?)
* OohMeAccentsSlipping: Matthew Broderick does an alright job for the first 15 minutes, then we're basically watching Ferris Bueller swanning about Medieval France.
* OurWerebeastsAreDifferent: As the result of a {{curse}}, Navarre turns into a [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent wolf]] at night, and his lady turns into a hawk during the day.
* PropheciesAreAlwaysRight: A prophecy states that the curse will be broken if Navarre and Isabeau can confront the Bishop as humans when there is "day without night, and night without day". [[spoiler:It actually happens near the end of the film. The prophecy refers to a solar eclipse. Modern audiences with even a basic grasp of science probably saw it coming a mile away, but it was still awesome.]]
* TheQueensLatin: If we infer from the names we can guess the film is set in France, yet everyone speaks with Received Pronunciation, or ...[[OohMeAccentsSlipping tries to]]. Since characters in medieval France wouldn't speak anything even remotely resembling modern English, it's probably best to just file it under TranslationConvention.
* TheReveal: [[spoiler: Imperius didn't betray the lovers. Marquet did - to replace Navarre as the Captain of the Guard.]]
* SceneryPorn: The movie has some beautiful shots at times.
* SinisterMinister: the Bishop is a jealous and lustful man who called on the devil himself to curse a pair of lovers.
* SlowMotionFall: [[spoiler:Isabeau from the tower at Imperius' home. She falls just slow enough for the sun to rise and turn her into a hawk to save her from certain death.]]
* SoundtrackDissonance: Medieval setting with [[Music/TheAlanParsonsProject Alan Parsons]] ProgressiveRock music. It sounds even more unusual decades later, now that synthesizers have become very dated. Kind of a BaseBreaker.
* StarCrossedLovers: Invoked by the Bishop on Navarre and Isabeau.
* SteppingStoneSword: A sword is at one point used to anchor a rope for people to cross thin ice.
* SupportingProtagonist: Phillippe may be the protagonist, but the story centers around Navarre and Isabeau.
* SwordFight: Surprisingly realistic ones, at that, i.e. no {{Flynning}}.
* SwordPlant: Several times, for different reasons.
* ThrowingYourSwordAlwaysWorks: If you're Navarre it does.
* TitleDrop: Phillipe dubs Isabeau's animal form the "lady hawk". Navarre is amused by this sobriquet.
* TranslationConvention: Characters in medieval France wouldn't speak anything even remotely understandable to a modern English speaker.
* UnexplainedAccent: Creator/RutgerHauer, a Dutch actor, acting in a film set in Medieval France, adopts an American accent.
* WhatTheHellHero: At one point, Navarre flips out at Philippe [[spoiler:for supposedly losing his sword]]. He gets called out first by Mouse, who tells him he's being selfish with his fixation on revenge, but doesn't really snap out of it until [[spoiler:he sees the cuts all over Philippe's chest-- which he inflicted, in wolf form, when Philippe saved his life.]]
* {{Yandere}}: The Bishop. He puts a cruel curse on the two lovers so they can never see each other. All because the woman doesn't want him.