In 1787, British ship Bounty leaves Portsmouth to bring a cargo of bread-fruit from Tahiti but the savage on-board conditions imposed by Captain Bligh trigger a mutiny led by officer Fletcher Christian.
Midshipman Roger Byam joins Captain Bligh and Fletcher Christian aboard HMS Bounty for a voyage to Tahiti. Bligh proves to be a brutal tyrant and, after six pleasant months on Tahiti, ... See full summary »
The familiar story of Lieutenant Bligh, whose cruelty leads to a mutiny on his ship. This version follows both the efforts of Fletcher Christian to get his men beyond the reach of British ... See full summary »
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The Bounty leaves Portsmouth in 1787. Its destination: to sail to Tahiti and load bread-fruit. Captain Bligh will do anything to get there as fast as possible, using any means to keep up a strict discipline. When they arrive at Tahiti, it is like a paradise for the crew, something completely different than the living hell aboard the ship. On the way back to England, officer Fletcher Christian becomes the leader of a mutiny. Written by
Richard Harris was originally offered a different role, which he rejected, because it was too small. When he was offered the role of John Mills, he demanded star billing with Marlon Brando. That was declined, but he did get more money. See more »
Francis Drake is reported as the man who brought potatoes to the Old World, but they were actually carried by the Spanish after the conquest of Peru. See more »
[Lying on the beach in Pitcairn]
So, it was your work, the burning. Was it? You filth.
I had no want in me to harm you. For the love of God, believe I regret what has happened to you. We all do. But each man has to follow his own belief, no matter what. You said this many times after the mutiny. So I did what I thought I had to do. I burned the Bounty for the good of all. It wasn't in bad faith. It was just bad luck.
For the good of all, Mills?
But why did you have to burn the Bounty? ...
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This is a fabulous movie. Sumptuous production, good screenplay, excellent performances, beautiful cinematography and a majestic musical score.
Story follows the crew of British Naval vessel 'The Bounty' on its mission to transport 'bread fruit' plants from Tahiti to Jamaica, as food for the slaves there. Unrest is almost immediate, with the Captain (Howard) and his first officer (Brando) disagreeing over the appropriate punishment for a sailor's minor infraction. Things only get worse during the voyage as the harsh Captain responds severely to anything that opposes his ambition to please the admiralty with a speedy voyage. The crew's time spent in the paradise of Tahiti (particularly with regard to the naked and willing women) fills them with such pleasure that the prospect of a return voyage under such cruelty is unbearable. Events finally reach a summit on the way to Jamaica, when a mutiny takes place and the Captain is set adrift with most of those in disagreement with the first officer. However, this is far from an absolution for both sides...
For many the film is measured by the performance of Marlon Brando in the lead role, and it is easy to see why. His first officer, Fletcher Christian, is unlike anything from him in memory; however, taken as it is: an effeminate, fair-minded character forced into an extreme dilemma, the result is a complicated man, extremely well played. Indeed, as the film progresses, Christian's predicament is increasingly sympathetic and it is to Brando's credit that he remains engaging throughout. His unexpected plea to his fellow mutineers at the end is an extraordinarily conceived and delivered moment in the film.
Trevor Howard plays Captain Bligh with poise and relish. The character is completely arrogant and utterly loathsome, but never less than believable. This villain is all the more frightening because his cruel methods never stray outside the 'official' Naval regulations, as he is keen to point out. Of the supporting players, Richard Harris' roguish Mills and Richard Haydn as the Royal botanist (and film's narrator) make the strongest impressions. Overall acting is very good.
Vivid use is made of the exotic island locations (on which a considerable time is spent) and the vast, isolating ocean vistas.
Overall impression is of grand scale and spectacle, but illustrated with the intelligence and humanity of the scenario. Near-perfect filmmaking in glorious, old-fashioned style!
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