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A 1985 fantasy/adventure film directed by Richard Donner, with a cast featuring both a number of veteran actors (such as John Wood, Rutger Hauer, and Leo McKern) and young actors who would go on to become household names (Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer).

In the medieval French town of Aquila, a young thief named Philippe the Mouse (Broderick) escapes prison by sneaking through the sewers. Said prison and the lands around it are controlled by a corrupt Bishop (Wood), and he is none too pleased to hear of Philippe's escape (the prison is supposed to be inescapable, after all). The Bishop's guardsmen pursue and corner Philippe, but Etienne of Navarre (Hauer) unexpectedly comes to his rescue, aided by his fierce and beautiful hawk.

Navarre has a score to settle with the Bishop. Not only was he the former Captain of the guard, he and the Bishop once loved the same woman, Isabeau d'Anjou (Pfeiffer). When she chose Navarre, the jealous Bishop called down a curse on them: by day Navarre is human and Isabeau is a hawk; by night Isabeau is herself but Navarre is a wolf. Navarre plans to use Philippe's knowledge of the sewers to infiltrate Aquila and slay the Bishop, but his obsession might lead to tragedy. For the disgraced monk Imperius knows a way to break the curse, but it will only be possible while the Bishop is alive...

This film provides examples of:

  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Philippe climbs through it to get in and out. Though it's a very tight squeeze, even for a skinny teenager.
  • Action Survivor: Philippe 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.
  • The Alcatraz: The prison Philippe was sent to. It's supposed to be inescapable you know.
  • The Alcoholic: Imperius drinks. A lot. He blames himself for the Bishop finding out about Navarre and Isabeau, thinking he must have let the secret slip during one of his benders.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: In Aquila, you can be hanged for theft just the same as murder.
  • Anachronism Stew: Navarre claims his massive two-handed sword has been in his family for five generations. With the film being set around the 13th Century, this means the sword would have been forged in either the second half of the 11th or first half of the 12th Centuries. However, the design is of a type that wouldn't appear until the 16th Century.
  • Ancestral Weapon: Navarre's sword. It's been around for a few generations and went with his father to the Crusades.
  • Animal Eyes: Used in the lovers' face-to-face transformation scene — the eyes are the last thing to become human and the first thing to become animal.
  • Animal Stereotypes: The guy who turns into a wolf is a fierce, loyal badass who can be absolutely vicious when riled up, and the guy called "the Mouse" is a cowardly Action Survivor thief who prefers to hide and be sneaky whenever possible. Isabeau is fairly fierce and graceful herself. It's observed in The Movie that hawks and wolves mate for life (though not with each other, of course) signifying the couple's enduring faithfulness. Both species will eat mice when given the chance, though they also hunt and eat other predators who eat mice, so make of that what you will.
  • Annoying Arrows: Played with. Arrow injuries are deadly when Isabeau is shot in hawk form and still injured in human but Navarre just shrugs off one arrow because he's wearing armor.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Bishop to both Navarre and Isabeau.
  • Artistic License – Religion: Imperius is described as a monk, but his background reveals he used to take confessions. In real life, 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. Of course, 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. However, this might be intentional, as Imperius is revealed to have become The Atoner for committing the crime of betraying secrets of the confessional (or so he thinks) - which hints he may have previously been a priest, only that he renounced his priestly vows and became a monk to repent, as it was done in the time and setting.
  • Artistic License – Space: 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). Possibly Hand Waved as a result of divine intervention, and explains why Navarre would be skeptical of Imperius's prediction, thinking he's gone mad.
  • The Atoner: Imperius, the monk who helps Navarre and Isabeau. He feels responsible for their curse because he accidentally revealed their love to the Bishop. He didn't, it's just he believes he did.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: 1980s synthesizer rock by The Alan Parsons Project.
  • Automatic Crossbow: Badass people strap two crossbows together.
  • Automaton Horses: Averted, for the most part. Navarre will take breaks in order to rest and care for his horse Goliath, even having Philippe get food for him, and Marquet seems to make use of way stations of some sort in order to swap tired horses for fresh ones, as he gallops back to the Bishop after his encounter with Navarre.
  • Backstab Backfire: How the Bishop ultimately meets his end - after trying to kill Isabeau with his crosier, he ends up pinned by Navarre's longsword, thrown at him.
  • Backup Bluff: When Philippe is hearing noises in the woods, he tries to fool his potential attackers by talking to two imaginary friends, saying things like, "You'd better draw your sword, Pierre!" and, "Ah, Louis, you brought your crossbow!" He also uses different voices to make it sound like they are there.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Marquet, who replaced Navarre as the Captain of the Guards, throws one of his underlings on Navarre's sword and getting him killed just for addressing Navarre as "captain".
      • That said, in the novelization, he apologizes to a guard he had demoted and reinstates him - he didn't believe the guard when he described Navarre.
    • The Bishop constantly berates Marquet for his failures and at some point, he even threatens to have him executed if Isabeau should be hurt while in her hawk form.
  • Badass Cape: Navarre's is awesome. He is, naturally, incredibly badass.
  • Badass in Distress: 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.
  • Badass Preacher: Imperius is technically a monk, not a priest, but he's still a formidable man of God.
  • BFS: Navarre's sword is a Zweihander.
  • Black Knight: 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. Despite appearances, he's The Hero and a noble man.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite countless Mooks being killed throughout the movie, you would be hard-pressed to find any blood. In fact, the only time when blood is present is when minor wounds are inflicted.
  • Bloodstained Glass Windows: The climax takes place in a gothic cathedral, with the bishop celebrating the mass. Navarre rides in on horseback, cutting down the guards like grass. Then Marquet faces him, also on horseback.
  • Book Ends: The movie begins with Philippe escaping the dungeons of Aquila through the moat. By the climax, he's returned to that same moat to sneak into the cathedral. Even Philippe comments on how the things have come full circle.
  • Bow and Sword in Accord: Navarre uses a crossbow and a Cool Sword.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Navarre doesn't believe Imperius when he says the curse can be broken, because he thinks of the man as a betrayer (and a drunkard)
    • Nobody believes Philippe, admittedly with reason. This leads to mild Cringe Comedy when he and Imperius try to support each other.
      Imperius: Thank you for trying, Philippe, and for standing up for the truth.
      Philippe: 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:
      Philippe: I told the truth, Lord! How can I learn any moral lessons when you keep confusing me this way?
    • At the end of Philippe's and Isabeau's near-capture at the monastery:
      Guard: Where's the woman?
      Philippe: She flew away.
      Guard: WHERE IS SHE?
      Philippe: God's truth, she flew away!
      Guard: YOU L-AAAGH!!! (Guard is shot by Navarre and falls.)
      Philippe: (beat)... It pays to tell the truth, Lord. Thank you. I see that now.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Navarre scares Philippe into helping him by throwing his sword with such force that it sticks in a tree. This is how he slays the Bishop when he is about to kill Isabeau in his breakdown.
  • Chew Toy: Philippe the Mouse spends a lot of time in peril, and even gets mauled by Navarre in wolf form while saving his life.
  • Clothing-Concealed Injury: Philippe wears a heavy sweater to hide the injuries that Navarre inflicted in wolf form. It doesn't work.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Navarre doesn't mind kicking and punching during a swordfight, just like throwing knives or opening a skirmish with a crossbow bolt to thin the crowd.
  • Cool Helmet: So cool, Guts had to get one for himself!
  • Cool Horse:
    • Navarre rides Goliath, a huge black Friesian. He gets to show off the breed's signature floating trot in a few scenes.
    • Marquet isn't far behind with his series of white horses, especially the one he uses at the climactic swordfight.
  • Cool Sword: Navarre's two-handed crusader sword.
    Navarre: [finding his weapon being used to chop kindling] This sword has been in my family for five generations. It has never known defeat, until now.
    • Deconstructed, to the extent that it's only a cool sword for him. For someone like Philippe, it's a big, bulky burden that he can't actually use but is compelled to drag along anyway.
  • Corrupt Church: The entire region of Aquila in the Middle Ages is ruled by this trope. Unusually, however, the movie averts the trope's implicit Take That! qualities in that the protagonists are all depicted as genuinely devout, faithful, and God-fearing. In the end, it's possibly only the Bishop and Marquet who are corrupt, but they have the authority to pervert the Church's influence in the region.
  • Curse: On the two Star-Crossed Lovers. They can never be human at the same time and so they can never be a conventional couple.
  • Curse Escape Clause: A "night without a day" allows Navarre and Isabeau to meet each other in human form in sight of the Bishop, dispelling the curse.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Navarre wears all black clothing, rides a black horse, turns into a black wolf, and has a brooding manner, but he is an honorable man betrayed by his employers.
  • Darkest Hour: At one point in the climactic swordfight, Navarre has been disarmed, Marquet is closing in with a sword to finish him off, and he is certain Isabeau is dead.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Philippe.
    Philippe: (to Imperius) When you kneel before the altar, how do you get up again?
  • Deal with the Devil: The Bishop asked the Devil to curse the lovers.
  • Death Glare: Isabeau gives an epic one to Bishop after being cured, showing him the hawk jesses and letting them drop before him.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Navarre is right on the edge of it when he thinks Isabeau is dead. This terrifies the Bishop, who realizes that his foe has no reason to restrain himself.
  • Determinator:
    • Navarre and Isabeau have been cursed for two years but neither has given up hope.
    • Philippe. He promises to get into Heaven even if he has to pick the lock to the pearly gates.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Isabeau is barefoot quite a lot, even in instances where it doesn't make much sense like her final confrontation with the Bishop. Presumably you can steal a robe anywhere but a pair of ladies' shoes are harder to come by.
  • The Dragon: Marquet, the Captain of the Guard, for the Bishop.
  • The Dreaded: Imperious describes the Bishop as "an evil man, a powerful man, hated and feared; rejected even by Rome itself."
  • Dying Declaration of Love: A rather twisted version, as the Bishop dies with Isabeau's name on his lips.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Bishop's real name is never revealed, and he is simply referred to as "the Bishop".
  • Evil Plan: The Bishop seeks to capture Isabeau.
  • Fade to Black: The final scene has an interesting case of it — the scene gradually gets darker, until only Navarre and Isabeau are in the middle of the now completely dark cathedral, with a beam of light coming through the broken window on them... and then it fades to black too.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: Philippe stops at an inn and offers to buy a round for the house (with stolen money, natch) to celebrate his escape. Too bad the house is full of the Bishop's guard...
  • First-Name Basis: Isabeau d'Anjou's full name is only said once. The rest of the movie, she's just Isabeau. Justified, as "d'Anjou" isn't really her last name, just meaning where she was born ("of Anjou".)
  • Flynning: The sword technique is rough around the edges, featuring big windups, wide misses, and loud clanging. Despite this, it is high quality by eighties standards, especially with energetic grappling and some neat moves that stand out. For example, at the end where Navarre rolls towards Marquet to avoid the coup de grace, immediately rolls back on top of the blade to strip it from his enemy's grasp, and then uses it to inflict inertial impalement. This was deliberate, depicting the fighting as more realistic, brutish and forceful.
  • Forced Transformation: The curse turns Isabeau into a hawk by day; Navarre, a wolf by night. While they are themselves the rest of the time, the real cruelty is that they cannot both be human for more than a few seconds at a time.
  • For Doom the Bell Tolls: When Navarre storms the church, he tells Imperius to kill Isabeau if he hears the church bells ring (because it will mean he has failed and is probably dead). In the midst of the melee, some soldiers try Fast-Roping down the bell pulls... leading to an Oh, Crap! moment from Navarre, who has just realized the curse might be breakable after all.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: The spurned Bishop turned to the infernal to spite Isabeau and Navarre. And when even that failed, he tried to kill the object of his affection so no other man could have her. Even Navarre has moments where he almost seems to hate Philippe for the time he gets to spend with Isabeau. (Philippe is able to defuse it by saying she only talked about Navarre.)
  • The Ghost: Imperius mentions that Isabeau came to Aquila to stay with a cousin. That cousin is never seen, and their reaction to what the Bishop did to Isabeau is unknown.
  • Guile Hero: Philippe the Mouse escapes from an unescapable prison, steals food and clothes, and is constantly trying, and often failing, to talk his way out of trouble. But when push comes to shove, he helps people in need and doesn't run from danger.
  • Hero Exit Stage Left: An inversion of the normal trope. After the curse is broken, Imperius and Mouse try to slip out without being seen. Navarre doesn't let them.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Navarre. Nearly every scene with him in human form, his leather creaks loudly.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: When Navarre and Marquet fight each other in the church on horseback, they're both wearing helmets. Marquet rips off his helmet when unhorsed and actually throws it at Navarre, but misses and breaks the rose window of the church. Navarre initially leaves his on even after Marquet drags him off his horse, but then rips it off in order to see better when he notices the eclipse beginning.
  • Hero Killer: The wolf-hunter to Navarre. When Isabeau sees all the wolf pelts on his saddle, she screams — and then rides after him, into a storm, with nothing but a tiny dagger.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Philippe and Imperius forge an Odd Friendship.
    Imperius: I fully expect to meet you at the Pearly Gates, little thief, and don't you dare disappoint me.
    Philippe: I'll meet you there, Father... even if I have to pick the lock.
  • He Went That Way: Zig-zagged. Philippe directs the guards after Navarre knowing they will expect him to lie. It works at first until one of them figures it out.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • The wolf hunter dies when Isabeau shoves him headfirst into his own trap. It's not a quick death, either.
    • Marquet, who pushed one of his own men onto Navarre's sword for greeting Navarre as 'Captain', ultimately dies by falling onto Navarre's sword.
  • Hollywood Costuming: The costume department seems to have used their imaginations more than historical references. For example, the bishop's soldiers wear some fanciful form of scale armor instead of chain mail.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Night scenes are represented with a blue or purple filter.
  • Hollywood Healing: The hawk gets shot. Isabeau spends one night getting medical treatment, and the following morning the hawk can fly again as if nothing happened to it. Imperius' poultice must be very effective. That being said, in the novel adaptation, it does take Isabeau several days to recover.
  • Home Field Advantage: Imperius is living in a ruin of a keep. Despite being a fat, old monk, he still manages to easily get better against anyone trying to barge into his home. He also lectures Mouse early on to only step on the left side of a bridge but doesn't explain why. When the Bishop's men storm the place, one of them starts across the bridge only to fall through, as the boards are rotting and the bridge is only solid along its left side.
  • Humiliation Conga: The ending, for the Bishop. His trusted Captain of the Guard is killed, the curse is broken and Isabeau personally comes to mock him. Everyone knows now what he did. Then he gets killed. In the book, he's turned into an old wolf.
  • Hunter Trapper: The wolf hunter Cesare is a legitimate huntsman on Bishop's payroll.
  • I Know You Know I Know:
    Philippe: I believe he was heading south, toward Aquila.
    Guard: Then we ride north, sir!
    Philippe: It's impolite to assume someone is a liar when you've only just met them!
    Guard Leader: And yet you knew we would... we ride south.
  • If I Can't Have You…: "...then no man shall!" Thus the hawk curse. And when the curse is broken, the Bishop repeats his words when he tries to kill Isabeau.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The ending. Twice. First Marquet runs onto Navarre's blade while trying to kill him, then Navarre impales the Bishop by throwing his sword like a javelin.
  • Important Haircut: Isabeau's hair is in a short and ragged bob. The novel explains that she cut it all off with Navarre's sword shortly after she found herself cursed. One of his first lines when they finally reunite is "You cut your hair!"
  • Improvised Weapon: In addition to swords, weapons used include a bunch of horseshoes, an iron bar, rocks, the opponent's helmet, and a huge candelabrum.
  • Incendiary Exponent: Averted. The captain of the guards is anything but badass when he's on fire.
  • Inn Security: Their first night out, Navarre and Philippe take refuge in a family's barn. They offer to pay, but in the middle of the night, the owner violates Sacred Hospitality by coming after them with an axe.
  • Intellectual Animal: Averted. Navarre and Isabeau are an actual wolf and hawk when transformed, not a man or a woman in an animal body. While they seem to have some awareness of each other, they don't have human minds, nor do they remember as humans what they did as animals.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: The curse upon Navarre and Isabeau forces them to transform between human and animal forms every dawn and dusk.
  • Ironic Echo: When Isabeau runs off towards danger, Philippe mutters "He's going to kill me!" referring to Navarre. When Philippe talks Isabeau into releasing him from where Navarre tied him up, she says the same thing.
  • It's Personal: Navarre wants to kill the Bishop for costing him his career and the woman he loves. He wants his revenge so desperately that he ignores warnings that it will cost him his one chance to break the curse and be with Isabeau.
  • I Will Find You: Etienne Navarre: "And know this — if you fail, I will follow you the length of my days. And I will find you."
  • Karmic Death: The Bishop is killed in the process of trying to stab Isabeau in the back.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Navarre has this down to the time period; a heroic and pious man who uses a sword to fight evil.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: A mild example, but there are times when the regular guards, despite their orders from the Bishop, decide to not fight Navarre. While some may have done it out of lingering loyalty to their former captain, others were no doubt acting from sheer self preservation.
  • Lady and Knight: Navarre and Isabeau, though due to the curse, they don't appear as the lady and the knight at the same time.
  • Last-Name Basis: Etienne of Navarre is just "Navarre" to everyone, including Isabeau.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Philippe regularly directly addresses God (but effectively the audience) as his personal confidant. 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.
    Philippe (to Navarre): No offense, sir, but I talk to God all the time, and He never mentioned you.
  • Light Is Not Good: The villainous Bishop and the corrupt Captain Marquet wear white and gold, and the Captain rides a white horse.
  • Liminal Time: At the exact moments of sunrise and sunset, the two lovers both have their human forms and faculties. Unfortunately, it doesn't give them enough time to do anything, not even hold hands.
  • Living MacGuffin: The bishop really wants Isabeau.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: Phillippe tells Navarre and Isabeau that their lover told him incredibly romantic feelings to convey to the other. They didn't, but Phillippe correctly guessed their true feelings, so the sentiment both had for each other were real; it's strongly hinted that they had trouble expressing love for each other before the curse.
  • Magic Pants: There seems to be little consistency as to whether or not clothes transform. Both are naked upon resuming human form, so it could be argued that there is just no need to see an empty dress falling off a little hawk.
  • Magic Realism: Apart from the curse, the setting is mundane medieval France.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Imperius's castle has two bridges designed to drop you in the moat.
    Imperius: Remember—
    Imperius: Walk on the left side.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Tears stream down Philippe's cheeks as he watches Navarre and Isabeau look upon each other during the dual transformation scene. One can surmise it is at this point, Philippe is fully committed to helping them.
    • Phillippe and Imperius both cry when the curse is broken, the former kissing the latter on the head.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Watch the priests in the background react in horror when the Bishop is killed, and start praying effusively to God.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Early in the film, Navarre is shown to have a grey/violet dress in his saddlebags. It's Isabeau's and when they finally meet and the curse is broken, she is wearing it.
  • Mercy Kill: Navarre tells Imperius to kill the hawk if he's dead because he doesn't want to doom her to a half-life.
  • The Middle Ages: The location and time period; medieval France.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: According to Imperius's description of the curse, neither Navarre nor 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, though there are hints their animal forms are having some influence on their personalities. Navarre is impatient and quick to violence, while even Isabeau has a moment where she chases a rabbit as if she could capture it with her bare hands.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Isabeau's hawk form is a red-tailed hawk, which is not native to France. Could be handwaved, seeing as the curse was spat up by Hell itself.
  • Mundane Utility: The ancestral longsword is used for various tasks at a pinch, including wood-chopping, rope tethering or as a javelin.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Navarre and Isabeau confessed to Imperius that they had taken "secret vows," implying that they had eloped to avoid the wrath of the Bishop. Presumably they went on to have an official wedding after the end of the film.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Though it saved Navarre, the only reason Isabeau was shot was that Philippe threw a rock at the guard, causing him to accidentally fire into the air.
    • Philippe 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. Marquet even lampshades it to his face.
  • Night and Day Duo: The film contains a literal example. Lovers Navarre and Isabeau were cursed so that Navarre is human during the day and a wolf at night while Isabeau is human at night and a hawk during the day.
  • Nighttime Transformation: The shift between day and night is the trigger for Navarre's and Isabeau's transformations. They can see each other at sunrise/sunset, but there's only a second or two when both of them are fully human at the same time.
  • No Man of Woman Born: The transformation curse may not be broken until there is "a day without a night; a night without a day". As it turns out, the lovers meet during a solar eclipse.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Isabeau in hawk form.
  • Noble Wolf: Navarre's wolf form is fierce and loyal.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: The Bishop spends the entire movie walking around Aquila doing routine work associated with being a Bishop. The threat he presents to the protagonists stems from his sending Stefan and Marquet after them while he goes about his daily business.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Both Navarre and Isabeau are this to each other depending on the time of day.
  • Not So Stoic: Navarre is composed for most of the movie, but when the curse is broken, and he confronts the Bishop, he can barely contain his rage and relief.
  • Not What It Looks Like: A weird variation. When Philippe 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, the Bishop is turned into a wolf as punishment.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Bishop remains calm and stoic even when Navarre is slaughtering his guards, knowing he can't be killed or the curse will be impossible to break. When Navarre explains to him that Isabeau is dead and his insurance is useless, his face turns chalk white within seconds. And then he sees Isabeau, alive and well, behind Navarre, unintentionally lifting the curse, making his insurance completely moot.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Matthew Broderick does an all right job for the first 15 minutes, then we're basically watching Ferris Bueller swanning about Medieval France.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: As the result of the curse. While Navarre plays the trope somewhat straight by turning into a wolf at night, he transforms every sunset, while his lady, Isabeau, turns into a hawk at sunrise.
  • Platonic Kissing: There are a lot of kisses exchanged at the end of the film out of affection, gratitude, and sheer relief — not counting the lovers' enthusiastic reunion, of course.
  • Plummet Perspective: A variant — moments after Isabeau escapes a horrible death by falling, we get a long shot of a soldier's body landing on the same rocks she would have hit.
  • P.O.V. Cam: When Navarre approaches the altar where the Bishop stands, we get a shot from his perspective through the bars of his helmet as a swats aside another guard.
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: According to Imperius, God told him that the curse will be broken when there is "day without a night, and night without a day" — which is to say, a solar eclipse.
  • The Queen's Latin: If we infer from the names we can guess the film is set in France, yet everyone speaks with Received Pronunciation, or... 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 Translation Convention.
  • The Reveal: Imperius didn't betray the lovers. Marquet did — to replace Navarre as the Captain of the Guard.
  • Rewatch Bonus: Imperius is told to Mercy Kill Isabeau!Hawke by Navarre if the bells ring (signifying the Mass was concluded, hence Navarre was killed). The bells do ring, and Imperius apologizes to Isabeau, presumably for killing her. No, he was apologizing because he couldn't go through with it and was going to doom her to a half-life as a hawk.
  • Rule of Cool: The armour and especially the helmet worn by Navarre look great, but would be highly impractical.
  • Scenery Porn: The movie has some beautiful shots at times.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Philippe tries to simply walk away on a few occasions. It never sticks, and by the climax of the film he is a willing ally to Navarre and Isabeau.
  • Secret Stab Wound: Philippe hides from Navarre the fact that he mauled him while he was in wolf form.
  • Shapeshifting Heals Wounds: Left ambiguous, but it seems that non-lethal injuries don't transfer from the animal to the human bodies, and/or that the body not in use will heal while 'idle'. When Isabeau is shot as a hawk, for example, the injury transfers to her human self because the bolt is still in her breast, but after it is removed during the night, her hawk form shows no injuries the next morning. In the book, it takes several days and nights for Isabeau to heal, with Navarre, and his wolf form, waiting nearby, even though the wolf doesn't know the exact reason for why they were waiting.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Isabeau is entirely a lady, but don't mess with the man she loves.
  • Sinister Minister: The Bishop is a jealous and lustful man who called on the devil himself to curse a pair of lovers.
  • Skewed Priorities: Marquet is visibly confused at the Bishop's obsession with Navarre's hawk, given that the security and reputation of Aquila have been compromised, a major religious service is coming up, and Navarre is in the area with a score to settle.
  • Skyward Scream: Navarre's howl of frustration after being unable to touch Isabeau before she becomes a hawk.
  • Slow-Motion Fall: Isabeau slips out of Philippe's grasp while they hide on the tower at Imperius's home. She falls just slowly enough for the sun to rise and turn her into a hawk before she hits the ground.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Medieval setting with Alan Parsons-produced Progressive Rock music (Andrew Powell actually wrote the music). It sounds even more unusual decades later, now that synthesizers have become very dated.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Invoked by the Bishop on Navarre and Isabeau.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: A sword is at one point used to anchor a rope for people to cross thin ice.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Philippe may be the protagonist, but the story centers around Navarre and Isabeau.
  • Sword Fight: The main form of combat in the movie, apart from crossbows. It happens throughout, both on horseback and on foot, culminating in intense final combat between Navarre and Marquet. All choreographed by the great William Hobbs.
  • Sword Plant: Several times, for different reasons.
    • When Isabeau gets shot with an arrow while in hawk form, Navarre leaves his sword stuck in the grass as he goes to her side.
    • When Navarre in wolf form falls through the ice, Philippe sticks Navarre's sword in the ice and ties a rope to it as a lifeline.
  • That Was Not a Dream: Philippe's immediately assumes he's dreaming the first night he sees Navarre as a wolf and Isabeau as a human. It takes him a long time to work out the truth.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: If you're Navarre it does.
  • Title Drop: Philippe dubs Isabeau's animal form the "lady hawk". Navarre is amused by this sobriquet.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The "night without a day" that will cause the curse to temporarily fail is a solar eclipse, allowing Isabeau and Navarre to finally meet. Meeting in front of the bishop causes the curse to break completely.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Navarre goes after the bishop in the final, he just calmly and methodically cuts down every guard on his path, without any emotion or remorse, just walking forward, and yet being fuelled by pure rage.
  • Translation Convention: Characters in medieval France wouldn't speak anything even remotely understandable to a modern English speaker.
  • Unexplained Accent: Rutger Hauer, a Dutch actor, acting in a film set in Medieval France, adopts an American accent.
  • Villainous Breakdown: The Bishop has one during the climax. After the curse is broken he furiously tries to kill Isabeau with his spiked crosier.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: While Navarre has no issues killing the guards when he must, but, when possible, he tries to avoid doing so. In one case, he actually mourns the death of one, Francesco, after Captain Marquet shoved said guard onto Navarre's sword, for calling him "Captain Navarre". Justifiable in that Navarre was once their Captain, and there is still some bond between him and the men left.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At one point, Navarre flips out at Philippe 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 he sees the cuts all over Philippe's chest — which he inflicted, in wolf form, when Philippe saved his life.
  • When She Smiles: Isabeau looks very good with her bright, amused grin while dancing with Phillipe in the barn and reuniting with Navarre.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Philippe is in his mid-to-late teens. He is about to be hanged in his very first scene, and he spends the rest of the movie in varying degrees of mortal peril.
  • Yandere: The Bishop. Isabeau rejected him, so he put a curse on her so she could never be with the man she truly loves.