H.M.S. Avenger is headed into battle against the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and the dark shadow of two recent mutinies in the English fleet concern Captain Vere. He relies on his cruel and often sadistic Master-at-Arms John Claggert to maintain what he believes to be tenuous order and discipline aboard the ship. When a new seaman, Billy Budd, is pressed into service from a passing merchantman, his innocent, happy-go-lucky attitude quickly endears him to both his messmates as well as the ship's officers. However, his charismatic naivete seems to bother Claggert, whose perverse depravity makes him resent Billy's good-natured purity, especially after the teenager's promotion to fore-top captain. The mean-spirited Claggert unfairly plots to put him on report and ultimately perjures himself when he accuses Billy of conspiring to mutiny. Written by
Gabe Taverney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MUTINY...the word the navy dreaded most!
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Did You Know?
Independent producer Frank Gilbert
acquired the screen rights in 1956 and assigned the adaptation to DeWitt Bodeen
. The rights were later sold to independent producer/director Robert Rossen
, who worked with Bodeen on a second screenplay. By the time it reached the screen in 1962, it had been sold to Peter Ustinov
, who wrote the final shooting script but gave Bodenn a co-writer credit. See more
Master At Arms Claggert
The sea is calm you said. Peaceful. Calm above, but below a world of gliding monsters preying on their fellows. Murderers, all of them. Only the strongest teeth survive. And who's to tell me it's any different here on board, or yonder on dry land?"
As the actors' names appear on the screen, the character each plays introduces himself See more
Version of Billy Budd