7.4/10
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121 user 52 critic

Moby Dick (1956)

Not Rated | | Adventure, Drama | 3 October 1956 (Portugal)
The sole survivor of a lost whaling ship relates the tale of his captain's self-destructive obsession to hunt the white whale, Moby Dick.

Director:

John Huston

Writers:

Ray Bradbury (screenplay), John Huston (screenplay)
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5 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gregory Peck ... Captain Ahab
Richard Basehart ... Ishmael
Leo Genn ... Starbuck
James Robertson Justice ... Capt. Boomer
Harry Andrews ... Stubb
Bernard Miles ... The Manxman
Noel Purcell ... Ship's Carpenter
Edric Connor Edric Connor ... Daggoo
Mervyn Johns ... Peleg
Joseph Tomelty Joseph Tomelty ... Peter Coffin
Francis De Wolff Francis De Wolff ... Capt. Gardiner
Philip Stainton Philip Stainton ... Bildad
Royal Dano ... 'Elijah'
Seamus Kelly Seamus Kelly ... Flask
Friedrich von Ledebur ... Queequeg (as Friedrich Ledebur)
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Storyline

This classic story by Herman Melville revolves around Captain Ahab and his obsession with a huge whale, Moby Dick. The whale caused the loss of Ahab's leg years before, leaving Ahab to stomp the boards of his ship on a peg leg. Ahab is so crazed by his desire to kill the whale, that he is prepared to sacrifice everything, including his life, the lives of his crew members, and even his ship to find and destroy his nemesis, Moby Dick. Written by E.W. DesMarais <jlongst@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Call me Ishmael. See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 October 1956 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Herman Melville's Moby Dick See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$10,400,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Walter Mirisch recalls that John Huston insisted on filming aboard an actual ship at sea. Stormy conditions caused the cast and crew to become sick, delaying production and running over budget at 4.5 million dollars. The film to this day has not repaid what it cost to produce. See more »

Goofs

When the date is stated as 9 April 1842, the moon is seen as just past full. In reality, is was only a day from being new. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ishmael: [voiceover] Call me Ishmael.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film finishes with 'Finis' instead of the usual 'The End'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fahrenheit 451 (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

Drummer
(uncredited)
Traditional
Arranged by Edric Connor
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Better and better each time you see it
19 April 2000 | by ericl-2See all my reviews

Some critics panned this pic when it came out - Peck too wooden, the script too cliched, etc, etc. Don't believe a word of it. I saw this one when I was 8 or 9, and for years I watched it every time it came on TV - even in B&W! Peck isn't wooden, he's intense and fascinating (my favorite scene: in his cabin, saying to Starbuck, "That bed is a coffin"). The language may sound stilted, but it's MELVILLE'S, and the cast sink into it with conviction.

Some critic (I don't know which) has said that Moby Dick (the book) is an "uncomfortable masterpiece" - or something like that - meaning that it's a hard pill to swallow. The movie is bound to be a hard pill for many viewers as well. But that's their loss. Huston's movie is a great big powerful thing - you believe in Peck's crazy passion, in Starbuck's gentleness, in Ishmael and Quequeg's bond, in the evil of the whale, even.

Another favorite sequence: the Pequot becalmed, the crew lying about under the intense sun, slowly going crazy. The climactic chase is superb and thrilling, of course; what it all adds up to is a film about the elements, and our relationship to them. The whale is just the biggest of a whole slew that constantly threaten to destroy us. Nature, our natures - all the things we fight against with our intelligence, that threaten to engulf us.

Beautiful film, one of Huston's best. I find the analogy with Hitler/Nazis in an earlier comment very interesting. Another would be with an earlier Huston film, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre - another film about people taking terrible chances for reasons that don't stand up to a lot of examination, whose biggest obstacle turns out to be themselves. By the way, will someone please rerelease Moby Dick in a restored version so we can get a really good look at all that glorious Technicolor?


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