Previous pharmacological results confirmed that haem oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is involved in protection of cells against ultraviolet (UV)-induced oxidative damage in soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.] seedlings, but there remains a lack of genetic evidence. In this study, the link between Arabidopsis thaliana HO-1 (HY1) and UV-C tolerance was investigated at the genetic and molecular levels. The maximum inducible expression of HY1 in wild-type Arabidopsis was observed following UV-C irradiation. UV-C sensitivity was not observed in ho2, ho3, and ho4 single and double mutants. However, the HY1 mutant exhibited UV-C hypersensitivity, consistent with the observed decreases in chlorophyll content, and carotenoid and flavonoid metabolism, as well as the down-regulation of antioxidant defences, thereby resulting in severe oxidative damage. The addition of the carbon monoxide donor carbon monoxide-releasing molecule-2 (CORM-2), in particular, and bilirubin (BR), two catalytic by-products of HY1, partially rescued the UV-C hypersensitivity, and other responses appeared in the hy1 mutant. Transcription factors involved in the synthesis of flavonoid or UV responses were induced by UV-C, but reduced in the hy1 mutant. Overall, the findings showed that mutation of HY1 triggered UV-C hypersensitivity, by impairing carotenoid and flavonoid synthesis and antioxidant defences.