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Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

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During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.



(novels), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
2,255 ( 98)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 80 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Woodall ...
Jack Randall ...
Richard Pates ...
Tony Dolan ...


In April 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars, H.M.S. Surprise, a British frigate, is under the command of Captain Jack Aubrey. Aubrey and the Surprise's current orders are to track and capture or destroy a French privateer named Acheron. The Acheron is currently in the Atlantic off South America headed toward the Pacific in order to extend Napoleon's reach of the wars. This task will be a difficult one as Aubrey quickly learns in an initial battle with the Acheron that it is a bigger and faster ship than the Surprise, which puts the Surprise at a disadvantage. Aubrey's single-mindedness in this seemingly impossible pursuit puts him at odds with the Surprise's doctor and naturalist, Stephen Maturin, who is also Aubrey's most trusted advisor on board and closest friend. Facing other internal obstacles which have resulted in what they consider a string of bad luck, Aubrey ultimately uses Maturin's scientific exploits to figure out a way to achieve his and the ship's seemingly impossible goal. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Courage To Do The Impossible Lies In The Hearts of Men.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, related images, and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

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Release Date:

14 November 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Far Side of the World  »

Box Office


$150,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,105,990 (USA) (14 November 2003)


$93,926,386 (USA) (7 May 2004)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Both James D'Arcy and Paul Bettany play a version of the character Jarvis in the Marvel Cinematic and Television Universe, James as the butler for Howard Stark in the television show Agent Carter and Paul as the AI named Jarvis (and later the character Vision) in Iron Man and Avengers movies, named probably as an homage to the former butler who raised him. See more »


At the beginning of the movie, Midshipman Calamy issues the order to "beat to quarters". This would not have been ordered by a midshipman. He would have reported to the officer of the watch (one of the lieutenants or the Master, certainly not another midshipman, as was shown) who would then have woken the Captain and reported that a sail had been spotted. It would then be up to the Captain to give the order. See more »


[first lines]
Preserved Killick, Captain's Steward: [taking egg from chicken coop] Come on, come on. It's all right.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There are no opening credits. See more »


Featured in Hollywood's Top Ten: Russell Crowe Movies (2010) See more »


Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis
Composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performed by The New Queen's Hall Orchestra
(Barry Wordsworth conducting)
Courtesy of Decca Music Group Ltd. under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"We have Surprise on our side..."
3 December 2004 | by (Europe) – See all my reviews

And surprised I was. After hearing a friend rant endlessly about it, and having nothing to do one Friday night, I rented Master and Commander. The marketing staff should be cackling in glee, that a female in her 20's, would love this movie. It's an amazing movie. Russell Crowe is a force of nature, and all the other actors from Paul Bettany to Billy Boyd give wonderful performances. I especially enjoyed the details of life at sea, though most would call them boring. The day after my 5-day rental, I had to run to the nearest shop and buy the DVD, and have since re-watched it endlessly. I've never seen a more beautifully adapted, filmed and acted movie. Five stars out of five.

189 of 218 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Why didn't Surprise douse lights when chased at night? mhansen-25806
The best sea war movie of all time! WEKurtz
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Don't think it deserved the Oscar nomination for Best Picture hburly-2

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