Ladyhawke (film)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ladyhawke is a 1985 American medieval fantasy film directed and produced by Richard Donner and starring Matthew Broderick, Rutger Hauer, and Michelle Pfeiffer. The story is about a young thief who unwillingly gets involved with a warrior and his lady that are hunted by the Bishop of Aquila. As he comes to know about the couple's past and secret, he finds himself determined to help them overcome the Bishop's oppressions, both in arms and in the form of a demonic curse.


In medieval Europe, infamous thief Phillipe "The Mouse" Gaston escapes from the dungeons of the Bishop of Aquila. The Bishop’s guards, led by Captain Marquet, corner him at an inn. Etienne Navarre, former captain of the guards, defeats Marquet and rides off with Phillipe while his hawk scatters other guards along the way. That evening, a farmer attacks Phillipe only to be killed by an enormous black wolf accompanied by a mysterious young woman.

The following day, Navarre reveals his intention to kill the Bishop and asks Phillipe to help him get inside Aquila. The unwilling Phillipe gets tied up that night, but tricks the mysterious woman and escapes. However, he is recaptured by the Bishop’s guards.

Navarre and his hawk are ambushed and each is hit by a crossbow bolt. However, Navarre defeats them and saves Phillipe. The wounded Navarre makes Phillipe take the injured hawk to Imperius’s ruined castle for help. At the castle, Phillipe learns that the hawk is the mysterious woman. After tending to her wound, Imperius explains to Phillipe that she is Isabeau of Anjou. After Isabeau had rejected the Bishop's advances, he put a curse on her and Navarre. The curse turns Isabeau into a hawk by day and Navarre a wolf by night; therefore, despite being always together, they are eternally apart.

The Bishop's men attack the castle, but Phillipe and Isabeau manage to evade capture with Navarre arriving just in time. Imperius instructs him to break the curse by both he and Isabeau facing the Bishop on “a day without a night and a night without a day”. Navarre dismisses the advice, and proceeds with his plan to infiltrate Aquila and kill the Bishop. Phillipe decides to accompany Navarre and “Ladyhawke”.

After several dangerous encounters with the Bishop's hired wolf hunter and the hostile elements, Phillipe convinces the couple to follow Imperius' advice. At night, Imperius and Isabeau smuggle Navarre into Aquila while Phillipe dives into the sewers to get inside the cathedral.

Unable to see any divine sign, Navarre once again decides to kill the Bishop. He convinces Imperius to euthanize Isabeau in case he fails, which will be signified by the ringing church bell.

Phillipe infiltrates the cathedral and unlocks the doors. Navarre rides in and duels with Marquet. During the bout, Navarre sees a solar eclipse through a high window and realizes the curse really can be broken. He tries to get back to Imperius but fails to keep the guards from ringing the bell. Despairing that Imperius has killed Isabeau, he continues his fight and eventually kills Marquet.

As Navarre is about to kill the Bishop, a human Isabeau enters the cathedral and stops him. Together they face the Bishop and break the curse. The maddened Bishop tries to kill Isabeau, only to die by Navarre’s thrown sword instead. Isabeau and Navarre finally embrace each other in joy.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ladyhawke (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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