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

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure, Drama  |  14 November 2003 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 161,060 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 685 user | 236 critic | 42 from Metacritic.com

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 »
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Won 2 Oscars. Another 21 wins & 72 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Edward Woodall ...
Jack Randall ...
Lee Ingleby ...
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.


Action | Adventure | Drama | War

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
See  »

Did You Know?


Russell Crowe brought in Akiva Goldsman to polish up the script. See more »


Following the first encounter with the Acheron, Captain Aubrey inspects a chart using a magnifier. In the magnified image, a pattern of ink overspray is visible surrounding each letter in the phrase "Hidden Reef" as the magnifier is panned over it (at around 18 mins). Such a pattern is precisely characteristic of modern-day inkjet printers, but of neither quill pens or the printing presses of the period. 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 »


Referenced in Face Off: Pirate Treasure (2012) See more »


Don't Forget Your Old Shipmates
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

"When at sea, one must choose the lesser of two weevils."
24 June 2004 | by (Houston, Tx, USA, Earth) – See all my reviews

My summary quote is from a scene where the captain (Crowe) makes a joke at the expense of his good friend and physician (Bettany). It is indicative of the fine humor sprinkled into an otherwise serious movie.

Many commentors said this movie is dull or boring. They must have wanted an event-driven, action-oriented movie, which this is not. There really are only two, rather brief, battle scenes. Instead, this is very much a character-driven movie. The approach the captain takes to his mission, extending it beyond his orders, to try and do his part to thwart the French power play in the waters near Brazil in 1805. His good friend, the doctor, wanting to study insects, birds, reptiles and other creatures on the shore of strange lands, including the Galapagos, but being disappointed by demands of the mission. Young boys literally growing up on the ship to become effective military leaders. The claustrophobic conditions on the ship, enduring rough seas that almost destroy their temporary home, or lack of rain that makes them wonder if they will die of thirst.

Overall a fine movie. The critic Ebert has a good and complete review. The DVD is good, with a very nice picture and both DTS and Dolby sound, but no extras relating to the movie.

92 of 113 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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