Lieutenant William Bligh
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Quotes for
Lieutenant William Bligh (Character)
from The Bounty (1984)

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The Bounty (1984)
Bligh: [in his log] I hope never to see Fletcher Christian again. Unless it is to see him hanged.

Bligh: God damn you, man. Don't you bloody cross me.

Bligh: The Royal Navy is not a humorous institution, sir, and insubordination is no laughing matter.

Christian: William, about your decision to go around the Horn.
Bligh: "William"? Not "Sir", not "Captain"; "William"?
Christian: I don't think the men will have it.
Bligh: Oh, the men won't have it. Are they in charge of the Bounty?
Christian: They might be if you insist.
Bligh: Again, would you repeat that please. "The men might be in charge." What are you threatening me with?
Christian: It's not a threat, it's a warning.
Bligh: [sarcastically] Oh, there are rumblings, are there?
Christian: No, there is fear.
Bligh: Around the Horn is the easiest way, the better way, and that is how we will go. Anything more?
Christian: Don't put Adams under the lash.
Bligh: He was insubordinate, cowardly and insubordinate, he frightened the men, I did not put that fear there, he did. So he will be lashed and we will go around the Horn. Are you frightened to go around the Horn, Mr. Christian? Are you a coward too, sir?

Bligh: Well gentlemen, between ourselves and home lies 2300 sea miles, the Endeavor Straits and the Great Barrier Reef. Now the crew is deeply demoralized and I must accept, as every captain must, the inevitable and theoretical responsibility for that. The actual and immediate responsibility, however, I place on you, my fellow officers who met this crisis with lethargy, impudence and flagrant defiance, publicly uttered. And perhaps for that I am also to blame. I counted on a strength of character which you do not possess. However, the cure for our predicament is discipline and I shall apply it with an even hand of course, but most where it is most required.

Bligh: So, you think I'm harsh with you, hey? I've been at sea many years Fletcher, since I was 12, and in that time I've seen many men, many good men fall for island women in these waters. I've never once seen it come out well. Of course I understand the excitement and the... but think to yourself, man. Could you bring a woman like that home to your friends and your family? No, of course you couldn't. They're not like us, Fletcher. You think I was harsh with you, but you needed someone to show you where your duty really lay, because you were at a loss, my friend. You may not thank me now but you will eventually. So, let's get the ship running again and get back to where we were before.

Bligh: Three men jumped ship last night. Churchill was one of them. You don't seem surprised?
Christian: Well no, now that it's happened I'm not, I'm not surprised.
Bligh: Well, I must say I'm no longer surprised myself now that I see the example that's being set by my first officer. Just look at yourself, man, look at the way your dressed. Come on, you're no better than one of these natives.
Christian: Well, at least I am no worse.
Bligh: Mr. Christian, I think your brain has received too much sunlight and your body overindulged in sexual excess.
Christian: I have done no more than any natural man would do.
Bligh: No, you've done no more than any wild animal would do. It always makes me laugh that whenever men lose their self-restraint they always say they're "natural".
Christian: They are more natural than men who have nothing to restrain.
Bligh: Mr. Christian, you will report to the ship by sundown tonight.
Christian: No.
Bligh: What did you say? No? Is that what you said? Is that what you said? No? All right, you will report to the ship immediately and you will stay on the ship. There'll be no more fraternizing with the damned degenerate natives of these islands by any of my officers or any of my crew. You comprehend my meaning, sir?
Bligh: Good!

Bligh: You will clean up this ship and yourselves!

Bligh: [shouting] Filth, sir! Filthy, Mr. Christian! Still filthy! Look!
Christian: I see nothing, sir, but your finger.
Bligh: [shouting] I'll not have your vile ways brought aboard my ship, sir! Do you understand? Now you'll call up the swabbing party yet again! And this time you will make bloody sure that the decks are clean, or by God you will answer for it, sir! I'll not have any of your foul, filthy, gutter ways on board my ship! Do you understand? Good God, pigs in a sty have more comprehension of cleanliness than you buggers have! Now you'll get these decks clean, or by God I'll make you lick them clean with your tongue if you don't mend your ways!

Bligh: We are still faced with a long, hard voyage. I mean to make good use of every hour of sailing time, and to assist me in this, I am replacing Mr. Fryer with Mr. Christian, who will now act as executive second in command, with the rank of Acting Second Lieutenant...
[Fryer walks away]
Bligh: Mr. Fryer, come back here.
[shouts after Mr. Fryer, who is continuing to walk away]
Bligh: Mr. Fryer, sir! Come back here!
[Mr. Fryer returns; Bligh continues, quietly]
Bligh: I will dismiss when I have done with you, sir. Do you hear me?
John Fryer: This is an outrage!
Bligh: Mr. Fryer!
John Fryer: In all my years at sea...
Bligh: Your "years at sea"? Good Lord, man! If I'd known your nature, I would not have accepted you as boatswain of a river barge.
John Fryer: Must I suffer this before the men?
Bligh: You will suffer my correction whenever you're at fault, sir!
John Fryer: What fault?
Bligh: [shouts] God damn your eyes, man! You turned your back on me!
John Fryer: Well for that, I apologize.
Bligh: Very well.
John Fryer: But I protest.
Bligh: You protest, do you?
John Fryer: I am Master of the Bounty!
Bligh: [shouts] And I, sir, am *Commander*! By law! I am the first! Do you understand? God damn your hide! And now you may dismiss, sir!

Bligh: My dear God. I had hoped to avoid this.
Christian: Avoid what, sir?
Bligh: Damn it all, man. I'm expected to sleep with her. She's one of King Tynah's wives. A gift from one chief to another, as it were. Now look, five minutes after I go below you must call me up on some important business, all right?
Christian: Yes, sir. What business?
Bligh: Business, damn it; any bloody business.

Bligh: [Bligh is nervously waiting for Christian to get him so he won't have to sleep with one of King Tynah's wives] Enter.
Christian: Uh, excuse me, sir.
Bligh: Mr. Christian.
Christian: Sir.
Bligh: What demands my immediate attention?
Christian: Well it could wait until tomorrow, sir.
Bligh: [quietly] What is it, damn you?
Christian: The ship is sinking, sir.
Bligh: Good.

John Fryer: What are we going to do, sir?
Bligh: Well, we shall have to try and reach Kupang.
John Fryer: Without charts?
Bligh: Well, I shall have to try and navigate from memory, Mr. Fryer. It will take us close to the most savage islands in these waters, the Fiji Islands, where cannibalism is perfected almost to a science, and from there, my friends, God willing, we shall proceed on to the Great Barrier Reef itself, then to New Holland, and from there across the Timor Sea to Kupang. And now it will take us at least two months, and we have provisions and water enough to last us one week. So that is the situation, gentlemen, plain and simple.
John Smith: Well we'll just have to make the best of it, won't we, sir?
Bligh: Make the best of it, Smith? Yes! But will you? That's what I'd ask myself. Will you make the best of it? You hear me? Are you prepared to make the best of it, all of you? Because all I can promise you, lads, is relentless pain and hardship. Now if you're prepared to make do, and make sacrifices, and furthermore are willing to swear by it, I promise you our chances of survival are fair. You hear me? You all say "Aye"?
All: Aye.
Bligh: Good!

Bligh: Take no prisoners Mr. Christian!

Bligh: Do you really think you'll be able to command this rabble?
Christian: I'll do my best.
Bligh: Well I did my best, and I had the authority of the law. You're a dead man Fletcher.

[last lines]
Admiral Hood: This court finds that the seizure of His Majesty's Armed Vessel Bounty was an act of mutiny by Fletcher Christian and others of her crew, and that her captain Lieutenant William Bligh is, in the opinion of this court, to be exonerated of all blame on this occasion. Indeed in the matter of his command of the Bounty's open launch we commend Lieutenant Bligh for his courage and exemplary seamanship. Will you please come forward, Lieutenant?
[hands Bligh his saber]
Bligh: [Bligh sheathes his saber] My lord, thank you.

Captain Greetham: [after learning at the trial that Bligh told King Tynah that Captain Cook is still alive] You told that to this man Tynah?
Bligh: King Tynah, sir.
Admiral Hood: A savage king.
Bligh: A king, milord, descended from many kings.
Admiral Hood: As our King George is descended from many kings?
Bligh: Yes, in a way, sir.
Captain Greetham: Then why did you lie to him? Why did you not tell him Captain Cook was murdered in Hawaii ten years before?
Bligh: Because they believe that Captain Cook is immortal.
Admiral Hood: Literally?
Bligh: Yes, I think so, sir. They seem to regard his likeness as a sacred image.
Admiral Hood: Interesting.
Bligh: They also believe that every British officer is more or less related to him.
Admiral Hood: So you were more or less immortal too.
Bligh: It would appear so, sir. And I also needed their assistance. Captain Cook was our guarantor.

David Nelson: Mr. Bligh, when my spirit is gone there will be nothing but flesh remaining. I beg you, use that poor flesh to save the others.
Bligh: No, no, Mr. Nelson. We're civilised men, not savages. And as civilised men we shall die. Have no fear.

Christian: I am in hell! Hell, sir! Why are you being so damn reasonable now? Goddamn your blood to hell with mine, sir! Goddamn your blood!
Bligh: Mr. Christian, get a hold of yourself!
Christian: You will be quiet or I will run you through!
Seaman Matthew Quintal: Do it, Christian! Kill him!
Christian: Just shut your mouth! You shut your mouth! I will run you through and then I will kill myself after. You get him dressed now! Get him dressed!

Bligh: [as the loyalists flee from Tofua] Row for your lives! We're chops and livers to them if they catch us!

Mutiny on the Bounty (1962)
Captain Bligh: Now don't mistake me. I'm not advising cruelty or brutality with no purpose. My point is that cruelty with purpose is not cruelty - it's efficiency. Then a man will never disobey once he's watched his mate's backbone laid bare. He'll see the flesh jump, hear the whistle of the whip for the rest of his life.

Fletcher Christian: I was just thinking, sir, that our little errand for groceries might wind up in a page of naval history if we succeed in negotiating The Horn in the dead of winter.
Captain Bligh: Why shouldn't we succeed? Admiral Anderson did.
Fletcher Christian: Yes, but of course he didn't choose to attempt it in a ninety-one-foot chamber pot. In any event, his was the only ship to do it and I believe he lost fifty percent of his crew.

Captain Bligh: It is a matter of supernatural indifference to me whether you contaminate the natives or the natives contaminate you. I have but one concern - our mission. Let one of you provoke an incident which endangers it and I shall cause that man to curse his mother for giving him birth.

Captain Bligh: While our mission remains unfulfilled I'm not in any port, Mr Fryer, I'm command where you may find one day it's always lonely. You see, command allows no intimacies. You can hardly expect unquestioning obedience from last night's partner in a debauch.

Captain Bligh: I wonder why an alleged gentleman should give his first loyalty to ordinary seamen.
Fletcher Christian: Instead of to other alleged gentlemen?
Captain Bligh: Impertinence noted.It shall be logged. Do you care to enlarge the entry?
Fletcher Christian: Yes, only with this observation, which I will report to the Admiralty in any case: in my years of service I have never met an officer who inflicted punishment upon men with such incredible relish. Sickening.
Captain Bligh: Then go and be sick in your cabin, Mr Christian. I have never met a naval officer who was so proud of a weak stomach.

Fletcher Christian: There'll be no more killing aboard this ship, not even Captain Bligh.
Captain Bligh: If that's an attempt to earn clemency,I spit on it.

Captain Bligh: I'm not leaving you Mr Christian, not ever. Go to the dirtiest little corner of the world I'll be there, right behind you, with a rope in my hand.

Captain Bligh: In a civilised soceity, certain lewd intentions towards the female members of one's family would be regarded as a, well, as an insult. Do you follow me?
Fletcher Christian: I think so, sir.
Captain Bligh: But in Tahiti, the insult lies in the omission of those lewd intentions. Manners that would offend a dock-side harlot seem to be the only acceptable behaviour to King Hitihiti.

Captain Bligh: The king's navy will not rest until every mutineer is captured and executed. Wherever you go, wherever you hide a thousand ships will search you out.

Captain Bligh: Midshipmen - be a dull navy without them. Now get that slut off my ship.

Captain Bligh: Remember, fear is our best weapon.

Captain Bligh: [On the main deck, next to the water cask] Mr. Christian...
Fletcher Christian: Yes, sir?
Captain Bligh: I'll have a sentry posted at the water cask, if you please.
Fletcher Christian: Aye, aye, sir.
Captain Bligh: [Holding a long-handled water ladle] I want this slung from the main t'gallant yardarm. Any man desiring water will climb and fetch it. He may have just as much water as this ladle holds, and no more. Then he will replace the ladle at the yardarm.
Fletcher Christian: Are we short of water, sir?
Captain Bligh: [Gruffly] Do you wish me to repeat the order?
Fletcher Christian: No, sir, it's perfectly clear... A bit bewildering, but clear.
Captain Bligh: Then do it! Don't think about it... thinking seems to confuse you!

Fletcher Christian: [regarding Norman] Since we are not at war, sir, I would hope to give him a decent burial. Yes, sir.
Captain Bligh: I am at war. Against ill winds, contrary currents and incompetent officers. You'd best join my war, Mr. Christian, for if I don't start winning soon, the casualty list will be real enough.

Fletcher Christian: [after striking Captain Bligh] You bloody bastard! You'll not put your foot on me again!
Captain Bligh: [laughing] Thank you! Thank you! I've been puzzling for a means to take the strut out of you, you posturing snob. Now, you've solved that for me, haven't you? You have witnessed Mr. Christian's act of violence toward a superior officer. He will be placed in confinement until a court martial can be convened. In Jamaica, I expect. And will your fashionable friends be there to witness your execution, I wonder? Let's hope so. Pity if your last function were to be a social failure. Mr. Fryer, take him below.

Fletcher Christian: [wanting to flog Bligh before putting him in the boat, but he slowly puts the flog on Bligh's shoulder] Take your flag with you.
Captain Bligh: [chuckling while rolling the flog, then throws it on the deck] I don't need a flag, Mr. Christian. Unlike you, I still have a country. What a big price to pay for a little show of temper. I pity you.

Captain Bligh: Brown, you must know that's unnecessary. Drink all the water you need, Brown. Don't try to climb the shrouds. You don't know how.
William Brown: If I may be allowed a protest, sir. It's a matter of self-respect.
Captain Bligh: Damn your self-respect! I'll not lose my gardener.
William Brown: Damn my self-respect, sir? Then, indeed, would I be damned.
Captain Bligh: [to Brown, after a sailor falls from the mast] I hope you're satisfied. The masthead is no place for novices.

Fletcher Christian: [before putting Bligh in the longboat] As you know, Tafoa is due west, 40 leagues. You have your compass. This book is sufficient for its purpose. The sextant is my own, so you know it to be a good one. Now, Mr. William Bligh...
Captain Bligh: [smiling] Quite polite and formal, are we? Playing the gentleman again, you bloody traitor.

Captain Bligh: [three deserters are brought before Bligh] Quite an interesting gathering. What are those deserters doing here? Why aren't these men in irons?
Fletcher Christian: The men are being bandaged, sir. As to whether they are deserters, I'm a naval officer, I'm not a judge.
Captain Bligh: To my mind, you are neither.

Captain Bligh: [speaking to his officers during supper] You will all of you, no doubt, command your own ships someday. Let us suppose that your vessel is running in heavy seas. The shrouds are covered with ice. A gale is blowing. It becomes necessary, in your opinion, to order a seaman aloft. He realizes, of course, that if his fingers slip from the icy shrouds in a split second, he'll perish immediately. Now, this is a typical seaman, a half-witted, wife-beating, habitual drunkard. His whole life is spent evading and defying authority. Tell me, sir. What is it that makes this man go aloft?
Fletcher Christian: I think, depending on the man, sir, any number of reasons.
Captain Bligh: You can put it in one word. Fear. Fear of what you'll do to him. Fear of punishment so vivid in his mind that he fears it even more than sudden death.

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Captain William Bligh: Can you understand this, Mr. Byam? Discipline is the thing. A seaman's a seaman. A captain's a captain. And a midshipman, Sir Joseph or no Sir Joseph, is the lowest form of animal life in the British Navy.

Captain William Bligh: I'll live to see you - all of you - hanging from the highest yardarm in the British fleet.

Captain William Bligh: During the recent heavy weather, I've had the opportunity to watch all of you at work on deck and aloft. You don't know wood from canvas! And it seems you don't want to learn! Well, I'll have to give you a lesson

Captain William Bligh: What's your name?
Seaman Thomas Ellison: Thomas Ellison, sir. Pressed into service. I've got a wife, a baby!
Captain William Bligh: I asked your name, not the history of your misfortunes.

Captain William Bligh: Mr. Christian!

Captain William Bligh: [pointing at three sailors] You, you, you, step forward! You three are a disgrace to salt water! Ten days half rations.

Lt. Fletcher Christian: But the prisoner is dead sir!
Captain William Bligh: Never mind, continue with the punishment!

Captain William Bligh: [before being set adrift] Mr. Christian, I give you your last chance to return to duty.
Lt. Fletcher Christian: I'll take my chance against the law. You'll take yours against the sea.
Captain William Bligh: But you're taking my ship. My ship!
Lt. Fletcher Christian: Your ship? The King's ship, you mean! And you're not fit to command it! Into the boat!

Captain William Bligh: [in the boat] Casting me adrift 3,500 miles from a port of call. You're sending me to my doom, eh? Well, you're wrong, Christian! I'll take this boat as she floats to England, if I must! I'll live to see you, all of you, hanging from the highest yardarm in the British Fleet!

Lt. Fletcher Christian: [after looking at the book with the supplies] Mr. Bligh, I can't sign this book. No such amounts have been issued to the men.
Captain William Bligh: You've signed with extra kegs the ship never carried.
Lt. Fletcher Christian: I have, sir.
Captain William Bligh: Then, why not? We all do it. We'd be fools if we didn't do it on a lieutenant's pay. I want to stow away enough to keep me out of the gutter when I'm too old for service.
Lt. Fletcher Christian: I understand. A captain's prerogative. Ordinarily, I wouldn't mind.
Captain William Bligh: Why is this case different?
Lt. Fletcher Christian: Because the captains I've served with before didn't starve their men. They didn't save money by buying up the stinking meat that you put aboard in Tenerife. They didn't buy yams that would sicken a pig
Captain William Bligh: [shouts] Silence!
Lt. Fletcher Christian: They didn't call their men thieves and flog them in the bone because they've complained about it.
Captain William Bligh: You impudent scoundrel! Sign that book!
Lt. Fletcher Christian: I refuse! And you have no authority that can make me.
Captain William Bligh: I haven't? I'll show you authority. Lay all hands aft! All hands aft!

Captain William Bligh: [to Byam] Discipline's the thing. A seaman's a seaman, a captain's a captain. And a midshipman is the lowest form of animal life in the British navy.