Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Ladyhawke (1985)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Ladyhawke (1985)

In Richard Donner's fantasy adventure set in medieval 13th century France about two star-crossed lovers:

  • the scene of the daring rescue of a youthful fugitive who had escaped from the dungeon of Aquila - liar and pickpocket thief Phillipe Gaston (aka "the Mouse") (Matthew Broderick) who was about to be executed; a mysterious black knight named Capt. Etienne of Navarre (Rutger Hauer) shot an arrow with his crossbow at the executioner to prevent the killing and to free Phillipe; Navarre was then confronted by Captain of the Guard Marquet (Ken Hutchison): "One of my men told me you returned. I wanted to cut his throat for lying because I knew you weren't that stupid"; Navarre fought off Marquet and his whole regiment of guards before fleeing the scene
  • the sequence of an attack on Phillipe by a shrouded murderer, but he was saved by the intervention of a snarling black wolf; he also met a mysterious blonde woman who walked off unafraid with the wolf; afterwards, Phillipe wondered to himself: "Maybe I’m dreaming. But my eyes are open, which means, maybe I'm awake, dreaming I'm asleep. Or, or more likely, maybe I'm asleep, dreaming that I'm awake, wondering if I'm dreaming"
  • the famous, beautifully photographed "transformation" scene of the two cursed lovers: the Captain and beautiful Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer); the curse upon them by the evil and wicked Bishop of Aquila (John Wood), allied with Marquet, who desired Isabeau for himself; the curse meant that they could only see each other as human for a split second between night and day, and were not able to touch; Navarre would appear as a black wolf at night, and she would be a hawke by day -- there was a spectacular movie moment when they shared a brief and fleeting moment together as the dawn light shone on them and they reached out to each other; he transformed from his wolf form into human form, while she was reversing herself from human to animal form - Navarre frustratingly gave off a primal howl as Isabeau became a hawke and flew away (the shadow of her flapping wings were visible on his face)
The "Transformation" Scene
  • in the film's conclusion, Captain Etienne sword-dueled on horseback against Marquet, defeated him, and then turned to confront the Bishop to lift the curse
Sword Duel on Horseback in Cathedral
Etienne Approached Altar
Evil and Wicked Bishop of Aquila (John Wood)
  • the scene of the joyous tearful reunion-celebration in the front of the cathedral of the two lovers after the curse was over and broken: Etienne and Isabeau (who appeared in human form) faced each other and the Bishop in their human form on "a day without a night and a night without a day" - there was a convenient solar eclipse viewed through a broken cathedral window skylight (caused by Marquet's tossed helmet); Captain Etienne shouted at Isabeau: "You cut your hair!"; when Isabeau intervened, the Bishop went mad and attempted to kill Etienne, who defended himself and killed the Bishop with a sword thrust through his chest
Both Captain Etienne and Isabeau in Human Form
During Solar Eclipse - The Evil Curse Was Broken
The Lovers Joyfully Reunited
  • their companions: Phillipe Gaston and cloistered monk Father Imperius (Leo McKern) tearfully looked on as the curse was broken, and then exited, as Capt. Etienne embraced and lifted Isabeau high into the air and spun her around - lovers joyfully reunited

Phillipe Gaston (aka "the Mouse") (Matthew Broderick)

Black Knight Capt. Etienne of Navarre (Rutger Hauer) With a Crossbow - To Rescue Phillipe

Captain of the Guard Marquet (Ken Hutchison)

The Mysterious Blonde Woman

Phillipe: "Maybe I'm dreaming"

Captain Etienne's Lover Isabeau d'Anjou (Michelle Pfeiffer) - The Ladyhawke

Broken Skylight

Human Appearance of Isabeau in Cathedral


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