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The Bounty (1984) Poster

(1984)

Trivia

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This film is generally regarded as the most accurate depiction of the actual mutiny.
The film was originally supposed to have been made in 1975, when Anthony Hopkins would have been closer in age to the real William Bligh.
Captain William Bligh's later career was peppered with further mutinies and complaints about his "oppressive attitude". His tyrannical nature later sparked the Rum Rebellion in New South Wales in 1808, which led to his being forcibly deported.
The recreation of the "Bounty" specially built for the movie had, for a number of years, been used as a tourist cruise ship at Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia until 2007 when it was sold to HKR International Limited. The ship is now on Lantau Island in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong and continues to function as a tourist cruise charter.
There is a persistent but unsubstantiated rumor that the real Fletcher Christian did not die on Pitcairn Island, but made it back to England. Several of his relatives later swore that they had spoken with him, and that he lived out the rest of his life in hiding.
The hull of the reproduction of HMS Bounty built for this film is built of steel, and only clad in wood. The reproduction of HMS Bounty built for Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) was built of wood, in the traditional manner.
Sting, David Essex and Christopher Reeve were considered for the role of Fletcher Christian which in the end was cast with Mel Gibson.
Because of his invalid union card, Hugh Grant was dismissed from this production. Grant had been originally cast in the role of Thomas Heywood, who inspired the character of Roger Byam in the original Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel and earlier film versions, and was in the end cast with actor Simon Adams.
Jimmy Buffett's music video of his song "One Particular Harbour" was filmed on this same set, at the same time, and also with some of the film's extras.
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Three cast members also played the title character in a Best Picture Oscar winner: Laurence Olivier played Hamlet in Hamlet (1948), Liam Neeson played Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List (1993) and Mel Gibson played William Wallace in Braveheart (1995).
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In addition to the replica of "The Bounty', David Lean also supervised the refitting of the frigate Rose that would play the role of the frigate HMS Pandora, the ship sent by the Admiralty to hunt the mutineers. The idea was scrapped, but the frigate later became the HMS Surprise in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003).
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Warner Bros., then hugely over budget with Superman (1978), withdrew from the project, when director David Lean and writer Robert Bolt decided to film Bolt's sprawling screenplay as two films, or rather one massive epic released in two parts, one year apart, though filmed simultaneously.
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Anthony Hopkins, who plays Captain Bligh in this film, was also one of two actors (with Oliver Reed) whom David Lean considered for the role when he and Robert Bolt originally developed the project.
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Fifth film version of "The Mutiny of the Bounty" story though it is often perceived erroneously as the third due to the large awareness of the 1935 and 1962 versions over the lesser well-known 1916 and 1933 versions. The first four films in chronological order are The Mutiny of the Bounty (1916), In the Wake of the Bounty (1933), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).
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Anthony Hopkins, who had battled with alcoholism until becoming abstinent in 1975, was worried about Mel Gibson's heavy drinking, saying, "Mel is a wonderful, wonderful fellow with a marvelous future. He's already something of a superstar, but he's in danger of blowing it unless he takes hold of himself." Gibson, who likewise self-identified as an alcoholic, agreed with this concern, and added his admiration for the Welsh actor: "He was terrific. He was good to work with because he was open and he was willing to give. He's a moral man, and you could see this. I think we had the same attitudes."
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First major supporting role in a theatrical feature film of actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
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The movie represents an early screen role for both Irish actor Liam Neeson and English thesp Daniel Day-Lewis.
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Unlike most water-based films, this came in on time and under budget.
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Roger Donaldson clashed repeatedly with Anthony Hopkins over the latter's performance.
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Christopher Reeve turned down the role of Fletcher Christian.
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One significant historical event, which is completely omitted from the film, is the initial attempt by Fletcher Christian and the mutineers to found a colony on the island of Tubuai, south of Tahiti. Christian landed on Tubuai shortly after the mutiny and, after finding nearly 3,000 hostile natives, established a fort on the northern side of the island using weaponry from the Bounty. After nearly two months of constant skirmishes with natives, Christian and the mutineers abandoned the island and only then returned to Tahiti for more men and supplies before heading east towards Pitcairn. Thomas Burkett, who had between severely wounded on Tubuai fighting natives, stayed behind on Tahiti even though he was clearly a mutineer and would be hung if ever found by the Royal Navy (Burkett was in fact captured and executed for mutiny).
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Three of the film's cast have won the Best Actor Academy Award - Anthony Hopkins for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Laurence Olivier for Hamlet (1948) and Daniel Day-Lewis three times for Lincoln (2012), There Will Be Blood (2007) and My Left Foot (1989). Moreover, two of the cast have won Best Director Oscars, Mel Gibson for Braveheart (1995) and Olivier two Honorary Awards, one "for the full body of his work, for the unique achievements of his entire career and his lifetime of contribution to the art of film", and one "for his outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director in bringing 'Henry V' to the screen" [See: Henry V (1944)].
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Around eighteen years later actors Liam Neeson and Daniel Day-Lewis later both appeared in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York (2002).
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David Lean spent several years developing this film in the late 1970s, working with his longtime collaborator, screenwriter Robert Bolt.
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Laurence Olivier (Admiral Hood) played Zeus in Clash of the Titans (1981) while Liam Neeson (Seaman Charles Churchill) played him in the remake Clash of the Titans (2010) and its sequel Wrath of the Titans (2012).
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Though there was some filming done in Gisborne on the New Zealand coast and Kiwis provided actors, extras, background artists and crew including second unit, the picture is an American-UK co-production without any financing from New Zealand, and is such is not classified as a New Zealand film, as evidenced by its non-inclusion in the book "New Zealand Film 1912-1996" (1997).
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Around twenty-one years later star Anthony Hopkins and director Roger Donaldson both collaborated on The World's Fastest Indian (2005).
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Anthony Hopkins and Daniel Day-Lewis both went on to play U.S. Presidents, and receive Oscar nominations in the part. Day-Lewis won Best Actor for Lincoln (2012). Hopkins was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Amistad (1997) (also for Steven Spielberg), and Best Actor for Nixon (1995).
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David Lean and Dino De Laurentiis sparred for a year over the budget, enough that Lean considered turning the project over to Joseph Levine or Sam Spiegel. Finally, Lean tired of this bickering and left the project
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Mel Gibson brought in Roger Donaldson to direct.
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The replica of the Bounty used in the film was built in New Zealand before the script was even completed at the cost of $4 million.
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Mel Gibson described the making of the film as difficult because of the long production and bad weather: "I went mad. They would hold their breath at night when I went off. One night I had a fight in a bar and the next day they had to shoot only one side of my face because the other was so messed up. If you see the film, you can see the swelling in certain scenes."
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The film was entered into the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.
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Three of the principal cast were nominated for the best actor Oscar in 1993...Anthony Hopkins for The Remains of the Day (1993), Liam Neeson for Schindler's List (1993) and Daniel Day-Lewis for In the Name of the Father (1993).
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Michael Cimino was offered the chance to direct this project but he turned it down.
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The film was made and released about twelve years after its source book "Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian" by Richard Hough had been first published in 1972.
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First film as a full producer for Bernard Williams who had previously acted in assistant director, production manager, associate producer and executive producer capacities.
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David Lean oversaw the construction of "The Bounty" replica ship which was paid for by Dino De Laurentiis and constructed in New Zealand's most northern city Whangarei on its North Island's Northland Region.
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Nicholas Ball and Paul Darrow were among the actors who auditioned for the David Lean project.
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Jack May had previously voiced King Theoden of Rohan in the BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Bernard Hill played the part in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
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It was originally to be released as a two-part film, one named The Lawbreakers that dealt with the voyage out to Tahiti and the subsequent mutiny, and the second named The Long Arm that studied the journey of the mutineers after the mutiny, as well as the admiralty's response in sending out the frigate HMS Pandora. David Lean could not find financial backing for both films after Warner Bros. withdrew from the project, so he decided to combine it into one, and even looked at a seven-part TV series, before finally getting backing from Dino De Laurentiis.
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Robert Bolt dropped out of the project when he suffered a stroke.
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Mel Gibson's performance as Fletcher Christian was widely criticized as bland.
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According to the book 'A Decade of New Zealand Film' (1986) by Nicholas Reid, the film was "long-delayed, [and] the production was the subject of much comment in the New Zealand media".
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Despite the fact that Vangelis had previously won an Oscar for Chariots of Fire (1981) and had a successful solo music career, there was no official soundtrack issued to tie in with the film's release.
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Gary Oldman turned down a role in favour of a small Chesterfield production of Entertaining Mr Sloane.
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For the film's storm sequences, a detailed 25-foot model of the Bounty was built.
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Anthony Hopkins (Captain William Bligh), Laurence Olivier (Admiral Samuel Hood) and Edward Fox (Captain Greetham) all previously starred in A Bridge Too Far (1977).
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The film was selected to screen in competition for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984.
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The nick-name of Midshipman Edward Young (Philip Davis) was "Ned".
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When David Lean was casting his version in 1978, he was very influenced by Superman (1978) producer Ilya Salkind's recent movies. He planned to use his The Three Musketeers (1973) star, Oliver Reed, as Captain Bligh, and Superman (1978) himself Christopher Reeve as Fletcher Christian.
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Mel Gibson has expressed a belief that the film's revisionism did not go far enough, believing that his character should have been portrayed as the film's antagonist. He praised Anthony Hopkins's performance as Lieutenant William Bligh as the best aspect of the film.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Fletcher Christian returns to Tahiti after the mutiny, he informs King Tynah that they had set Captain Bligh adrift. In real life, Christian lied to Tynah, telling him that Bligh had met up with Captain Cook and together were founding a new settlement, and that they had sent Christian back to Tahiti for men and supplies.
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The film's closing epilogue states: "The mutineers' fate remained a mystery for 18 years until their island was discovered by an American whaling ship. They found one man, John Adams, with nine women and 23 children. What happened to Fletcher Christian remains uncertain. Some say he was murdered on Pitcairn Island, but then there were reports that he returned safely to England. However, his descendants live on Pitcairn Island to this day".
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