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Billy Budd (1962)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 2,646 users  
Reviews: 48 user | 15 critic

Billy is an innocent, naive seaman in the British Navy in 1797. When the ship's sadistic master-at-arms is murdered, Billy is accused and tried.

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(based upon the play: "Billy Budd"), (based upon the play: "Billy Budd"), 4 more credits »
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Title: Billy Budd (1962)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
John Claggart - Master of Arms
...
Edwin Fairfax Vere - Post Captain Royal Navy
...
The Dansker - Sailmaker
Paul Rogers ...
Philip Seymour - First Lieutenant
...
Julian Radcliffe - Second Lieutenant
...
Steven Wyatt - Gunnery Officer
Ronald Lewis ...
Enoch Jenkins - Maintopman
Lee Montague ...
Squeak - Assistant to Mr. Claggart
Thomas Heathcote ...
Alan Payne - Maintopman
...
William O'Daniel - Maintopman (as Ray McAnnally)
...
Arnold Talbot - Maintopman
...
Neil Kincaid - Maintopman
Cyril Luckham ...
Alfred Hallam - Captain of Marines
Niall MacGinnis ...
Nathaniel Graveling - Ship's Master, Rights of Man (as Niall McGinnis)
Victor Brooks ...
Amos Leonard - First Mate, Rights of Man
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Storyline

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 (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

TERENCE STAMP A new face! A new talent! A great new star discovery! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 November 1962 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Verdammten der Meere  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Quotes

The Dansker, sailmaker: [At Billy's court-martial] I look around and sense finality here.
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the actors' names appear on the screen, the character each plays introduces himself See more »

Connections

Version of Schlitz Playhouse: Billy Budd (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ryan's 'Claggart ' Unfogettable
12 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A nice, innocent kid getting brutalized by an incredibly-sadistic 1700s ship officer is not always easy to watch, but this is one of the better under-publicized films of its day. It sill holds up, some 40-plus years later, and I'm still wondering when a DVD will come out. The great cinematography alone makes this cry out for a good DVD transfer.

It was an apt choice to cast Robert Ryan as the sadistic "Claggart." Ryan played mostly villains in his career and is extremely effective in that role here as an intelligent-but-sick-and-vicious bully. In fact, his character in Billy Budd remains one of the most memorable villains I've seen in a half century of movie watching. It isn't just his deeds. The looks on his face alone as he delivers his lines make him fascinating.

Peter Ustinov gives a great performance as the captain of the ship and a man who has to make a big, big decision about Mr. Budd, played by a young and boyish-looking Terrence Stamp. The character "Billy Budd" is about as pure and innocent as some of the characters Jennifer Jones played in the 1940s, such as Cluny Brown, Bernadette Soubirous or Jennie Appleton. Also of interest is Melvyn Douglas as the aging seaman.

This is simply a powerful and very involving film, one that is hard to forget.


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