Down 16,237 this week

John Paul Jones (1959)

Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.1/10 from 606 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 3 critic

The career of Revolutionary War naval hero from his youth in Scotland through his service to Catherine the Great of Russia.


0Check in

Family Entertainment Guide

Check out IMDb's comprehensive Family Entertainment Guide for recommendations for movies and TV series for every age and every viewing platform.

Visit our Family Entertainment Guide

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 20 Feb 2012
list image
a list of 68 titles
created 11 Apr 2013
a list of 2655 titles
created 19 Nov 2013
a list of 44 titles
created 12 May 2014
a list of 90 titles
created 8 months ago

Related Items

Search for "John Paul Jones" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: John Paul Jones (1959)

John Paul Jones (1959) on IMDb 7.1/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of John Paul Jones.

User Polls


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In an isolated house, mystery writer Janet Frobisher is involved in potentially murderous relationships.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, Emlyn Williams
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A divorced couple's teen-age daughter stands trial for stabbing her mother's latest lover.

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Bette Davis, Susan Hayward, Mike Connors
Bunny O'Hare (1971)
Certificate: GP Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Bunny is a penniless widow who blackmails a robber into teaching her the trade. Soon the pair starts a successful crime spree, and the cops aren't turning a blind eye.

Director: Gerd Oswald
Stars: Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Jack Cassidy
Madame Sin (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A CIA agent is used as a pawn in an insane woman's plan to steal a Polaris submarine.

Director: David Greene
Stars: Bette Davis, Robert Wagner, Denholm Elliott
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Sir Walter Raleigh overcomes court intrigue to win favor with the Queen in order to get financing for a proposed voyage to the New World.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Bette Davis, Richard Todd, Joan Collins
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Three sons who work in the family construction business help their overbearing mother celebrate her anniversary to her late husband.

Director: Roy Ward Baker
Stars: Bette Davis, Sheila Hancock, Jack Hedley
The Sisters (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Three daughters of a small down pharmacist undergo trials and tribulations in their problematic marriages between 1904 and 1908.

Director: Anatole Litvak
Stars: Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Anita Louise
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The Ramseys, David and Joyce (Barry Sullivan and Bette Davis), have been married for about 21 years and have two daughters (Betty Lynn and Peggie Castle)... See full synopsis »

Director: Curtis Bernhardt
Stars: Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan, Jane Cowl
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A lawyer whose wife has had an affair sets out to leave her by flying to LA. He becomes ever more involved in the lives of a few fellow travelers on a journey that ends up showing him as much about himself as about the others.

Director: Jean Negulesco
Stars: Bette Davis, Shelley Winters, Gary Merrill
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Old friends Kit Marlowe and Millie Drake adopt contrasting lifestyles: Kit is a single, critically acclaimed author while married Millie writes popular pulp novels.

Director: Vincent Sherman
Stars: Bette Davis, Miriam Hopkins, Gig Young
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A schoolteacher becomes the mentor of a talented young miner and seeks to get him into a university.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, John Dall, Nigel Bruce
Drama | Film-Noir | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Sardonic detective Shane, thrown out of one town for bringing trouble, heads for home and his ex-partner's detective agency. The business is in a sad way, and Shane, who has had the ... See full summary »

Director: William Dieterle
Stars: Bette Davis, Warren William, Alison Skipworth


Cast overview, first billed only:
Aimee de Tellison
Erin O'Brien ...
Dorothea Danders
Macdonald Carey ...
King Louis XVI (as Jean Pierre Aumont)
John Wilkes
Capt. Richard Pearson
Susana Canales ...
Marie Antoinette (as Susan Canales)
Georges Rivière ...
Russian Chamberlain (as Jorge Riviere)
Tom Brannum ...
Peter Wooley
Basil Sydney ...
Gunner Lowrie
Archie Duncan ...
Duncan MacBean


The swashbuckling adventures of the hero of the Revolutionary War. His contributions weren't always appreciated by the new U.S. government. After the way Congress show their displeasure by sending him to the Russia of Catherine the Great. Written by Steve Crook <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 June 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Su imperio era el océano  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Mia Farrow. See more »


Captain Jones tells Lieutenant Dale that the other two ships in his squadron are privateers, and so are not required to obey his orders. His squadron actually consisted of the Bonnehomme Richard and three other vessels, not two. The Alliance under Captain Landais was a Continental frigate and as such was actually directly subject to Jones' orders; however, Captain Landais felt he should be in command of the squadron, and regularly ignored Jones' orders. The other two ships (not mentioned in the movie) were the frigate-armed merchant ship Pallas and the Vengeance a small brigantine (which took no part in the battle). These two ships were privateers, although both did a generally tolerable job of supporting Jones throughout the cruise. See more »


Esek Hopkins: Whoever heard of sending Marines to fight on the land?
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood Mouth (2008) See more »


The Star-Spangled Banner
Composed by Francis Scott Key
Riffs are integrated into the Max Steiner score
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Fascinating, Flawed Hero, and a Stiff Error-filled Movie.
10 May 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Although the writing credits on this film mention a story by one of the writers called "Nor'wester", it seems the roots of this film go further back. A brilliant, unscrupulous hack named Augustus Buell wrote a series of so-called biographies at the turn-on-the-century of various American heroes. His biography of Andrew Jackson is like his biography of John Paul Jones - he "embellished" it. In the biography of Jackson Buell (unfortunately) invented the charming quote that Jackson's two greatest regrets were never hanging John C. Calhoun for treason, and never killing Henry Clay in a duel. Unfortunately Buell's lies have been quoted by better historians for decades. Marquis James' Pulitzer Prize Winning biography of Jackson used Buell a-plenty. His work on the life of Jones was so damaging to scholars that the great historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote an in-depth appendix of the lies Buell wrote. An example: Buell said there was a love triangle in Virginia between Patrick Henry, John Paul Jones, and the woman they both loved (whom Henry married). This never happened. It is in the film JOHN PAUL JONES.

Not everything is in the film. Buell had a fictitious quote from Napoleon I that he would have used Jones (who lived his last years in Paris)to head his navy against Nelson at Trafalgar. Napoleon never said that - and probably did not even know who Jones was. A lot of Buell was removed - but a lot remains in it.

The film also suffers from the star. Robert Stack was an admirable Elliot Ness on television, and had a goofy streak he revealed in AIRPLANE, CADDYSHACK II, 1941, and other late films. But he could seem stiff and overblown - and he does so in this film. He does seem properly heroic, but he rarely shows the darker side of Jones' character. He was a disciplinarian, and harsh tempered. He probably was responsible for killing two crewmen, one who tried to strike the flag of the Bon Homme Richard during the battle with the Serapis, and one just before the war, when Jones was Captain John Paul of the British merchant marine. In the earlier instance Jones knocked down a mutinous (or seemingly mutinous) seaman, and the other crewmen were ready to bring charges against him with the British authorities. This led to Jones fleeing to the 13 colonies, and changing his name.

Another thing cleaned up (or at least changed) is the career of Jones as a Russian Rear Admiral under Empress Catherine the Great (Bette Davis). The film suggests that the Empress hired Jones, in part, due to his attractive appearance (after all, the Empress had all those affairs). Actually she hired him needing able sea commanders to fight the Turks in the Black Sea. And the experiment did not work because of jealousy by Russian commanders (possibly assisted by Catherine's chief minister Potemkin - whom the famous battleship in the Eisenstein movie is named after). Also, Jones left under a scandal - he may have picked up an underage girl, and was arrested (but released when he agreed to leave Russia). It was then that he moved to Paris (where he died in 1792). Oh, Benjamin Franklin died in 1790 in Philadelphia - he had stopped being Minister to France in 1784 (when he was replaced by Thomas Jefferson). He could not be present when Jones is dying in 1792 in Paris (as he is in the film). Well - it is a movie.

Some of the history is correct. Jones was (with John Barry and Joshua Barney) the only American Revolutionary naval heroes to win battles against the British. Jones (with Franklin's help) did remarkable work with three ships: the Richard (named for Franklin's "Poor Richard"), the Alliance, and the Ranger. He did sizeable damage to British commerce, and (best of all) actually raided the British Isles (his old home area in Scotland). The battle scenes dealing with the climactic duel between the "Richard" and the "Serapis" is well done. It even reminds us to the bizaare behavior of Captain Landais, a French madmen who was in command of the "Richard"'s companion ship, who actually fired on the "Richard" during the battle.

Also, on a minor note - in one moment of the film Stack is angry about the delays from Congress in giving him a ship, confronting the head of the Naval Committee. This is Mr. Hewes of North Carolina. It oddly enough fits in as a sequel to a minor figure in the musical 1776: Mr. Joseph Hewes of North Carolina is the leader of that state's congressional body, who frequently waits for the mentally stronger Edmund Rutledge of South Carolina to vote first. He also criticizes the Declaration of Independence for failing to include anything about "deep sea fishing rights" See, even there Mr. Hewes was concentrating on sea matters.

So the film does have some moments worth watching. But it is too stiff and too long.

If you want to know more about Jones, read the biography of Jones by Morison, or the more recent biography that has been published. At least you will get the full and true story.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
CVA 59 shown at the end hawaii-412-571667
Discuss John Paul Jones (1959) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: