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The Caine Mutiny (1954)

Approved | | Drama, War | 24 June 1954 (USA)
0:57 | Trailer

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When a US Naval captain shows signs of mental instability that jeopardizes the ship, the first officer relieves him of command and faces court martial for mutiny.



(screen play), (additional dialogue) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 7 Oscars. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Lt. Barney Greenwald (as Jose Ferrer)
Lt. Tom Keefer (as Fred Mac Murray)
Katherine Warren ...
Mrs. Keith (as Katharine Warren)


During the World War II, the crew of a small insignificant ship in the U.S. Pacific Fleet experience an event unlike any event ever experience by the United States Navy. A Ship's Captain is removed from command by his Executive Officer in an apparent outright act of mutiny. As the trial of the mutineers unfold, it is learned that the Captain of the ship was mentally unstable, perhaps even insane. The Navy must decide if the Caine Mutiny was a criminal act, or an act of courage to save a ship from destruction at the hands of her Captain? Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


At last on the screen! See more »


Drama | War


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 June 1954 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Authority and Rebellion  »

Box Office


$2,000,000 (estimated)


$21,750,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


To capture the excitement of the typhoon scene, the filmmakers originally intended to steer the ship (a replica of the USS Caine) into an actual gale for the bad-weather footage. It was eventually decided that the typhoon would be artificially created in a studio by special effects technician Lawrence W. Butler. See more »


At the Navy administration building in San Francisco where the trial takes place, most of the automobiles shown are post-war. Amongst these are a 1949 or 1950 Ford, some early 1950's GM cars (perhaps Chevrolets or Pontiacs), and what looks like an early 1950's Plymouth. See more »


[first lines]
Admiral: And so today you are full-fledged ensigns. Three short months ago you assembled here from all parts of the nation, from all walks of life: field, factory, office and college campus. Each of you knew what the fighting was about, or you wouldn't have volunteered. Each of you knew that the American way of life must be defended by life itself. From here on your education must continue in the more demanding school of actual war. Wearing the gold stripe of ensign in the United States ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: "There has never been a mutiny in a ship of The United States Navy. The truths of this film lie not in its incidents but in the way a few men meet the crisis of their lives."

THE TIME - WORLD WAR II . . . See more »


Referenced in Modern Family: Three Turkeys (2014) See more »


Written by Jimmy McHugh and Clarence Gaskill
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Bogart and MacMurray shine in this adaptation of Herman Wouk's masterpiece.
23 March 2002 | by (Iron Mountain, Michigan) – See all my reviews

Great novels often disappoint when brought to the screen, but superior acting performances make The Caine Mutiny a classic on its own merits.

The movie takes place on a destroyer-minesweeper in the Pacific during World War II. To the consternation of the Caine's crew, a popular captain (Tom Tully) is replaced by a disturbed despot named Queeg (Humphrey Bogart), who finds himself in over his head. As the stresses of command multiply, Queeg's paranoia and cowardice soon become apparent to Lieutenant Thomas Keefer (Fred MacMurray), a writer in civilian life. Keefer continually tries to convince Executive Officer Steve Maryk (Van Johnson) that Queeg is insane, but Keefer won't help Maryk when the Exec asks Keefer to help convince higher authority that Queeg should be relieved. During a typhoon, Queeg's poor seamanship nearly capsizes the Caine; Maryk relieves him by reason of insanity and saves the ship. Maryk and Willie Keith (Robert Francis), Officer of the Deck when Queeg is relieved, stand trial for mutiny. They are reluctantly defended by Lt Barney Greenwald (Jose Ferrer), who must expose Queeg's mental illness to save the defendants. In so doing Greenwald forces the Caine's officers to examine their own motives regarding their roles in Queeg's relief and their lack of loyalty to him.

Bogart is brilliant, giving the greatest performance of his career, his quirky mannerisms and tortured demeanor contrasting starkly with his usual roles. MacMurray is superb as the glib slippery novelist who must eventually deal with his own cowardice, more damning than Queeg's because of his intelligence and insight. Johnson plays Maryk more timidly than he appears in the book, to the detriment of the movie. Ferrer gives a solid performance. Tully excels as the crusty Capt DeVriess, Queeg's predecessor.

The weakest part of Wouk's book is the largely irrelevant romance between Willie Keith and a nightclub singer of whom his wealthy mother disapproves. Unhappily this vapid subplot finds its way into the movie, serving only to reveal Francis and his love interest May Wynn as lousy actors whose mercifully brief cinematic careers were well deserved. Important character developments in the novel could have been included instead of this unnecessary pap.

Despite its flaws, The Caine Mutiny is a must see for serious movie fans. Bogart and MacMurray give performances which remain fresh and compelling with every viewing of the film. You can't ask more from an actor than that.

69 of 91 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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What Greenwald meant about Keefer at the end old_tv_guy
Different view on Keefer esbie44
henry fonda as lt. greenwald the-spy
Completely irrelevant romance angle.... jaygill-1
Queeg...'villianous'? ?? mhoffman8540
Best Line marhefka
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