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Billy Budd (1962)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, War | 12 November 1962 (USA)
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Billy is an innocent, naive seaman in the British Navy in 1797. When the ship's sadistic master-at-arms is murdered, Billy is accused and tried.

Director:

Peter Ustinov

Writers:

Louis O. Coxe (based upon the play: "Billy Budd"), Robert H. Chapman (based upon the play: "Billy Budd") | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Ryan ... John Claggart - Master of Arms
Peter Ustinov ... Edwin Fairfax Vere - Post Captain Royal Navy
Melvyn Douglas ... The Dansker - Sailmaker
Paul Rogers ... Philip Seymour - First Lieutenant
John Neville ... Julian Radcliffe - Second Lieutenant
David McCallum ... Steven Wyatt - Gunnery Officer
Ronald Lewis ... Enoch Jenkins - Maintopman
Lee Montague Lee Montague ... Squeak - Assistant to Mr. Claggart
Thomas Heathcote Thomas Heathcote ... Alan Payne - Maintopman
Ray McAnally ... William O'Daniel - Maintopman (as Ray McAnnally)
Robert Brown ... Arnold Talbot - Maintopman
John Meillon ... Neil Kincaid - Maintopman
Cyril Luckham ... Alfred Hallam - Captain of Marines
Niall MacGinnis ... Nathaniel Graveling - Ship's Master, Rights of Man (as Niall McGinnis)
Victor Brooks Victor Brooks ... Amos Leonard - First Mate, Rights of Man
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Storyline

H.M.S. Avenger is headed into battle against the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and the dark shadow of two recent mutinies in the English fleet concern Captain Vere. He relies on his cruel and often sadistic Master-at-Arms John Claggert to maintain what he believes to be tenuous order and discipline aboard the ship. When a new seaman, Billy Budd, is pressed into service from a passing merchantman, his innocent, happy-go-lucky attitude quickly endears him to both his messmates as well as the ship's officers. However, his charismatic naivete seems to bother Claggert, whose perverse depravity makes him resent Billy's good-natured purity, especially after the teenager's promotion to fore-top captain. The mean-spirited Claggert unfairly plots to put him on report and ultimately perjures himself when he accuses Billy of conspiring to mutiny. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MUTINY...the word the navy dreaded most! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Verdammten der Meere See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Independent producer Frank Gilbert acquired the screen rights in 1956 and assigned the adaptation to DeWitt Bodeen. The rights were later sold to independent producer/director Robert Rossen, who worked with Bodeen on a second screenplay. By the time it reached the screen in 1962, it had been sold to Peter Ustinov, who wrote the final shooting script but gave Bodenn a co-writer credit. See more »

Goofs

When Claggart dies, his head tilts to his right. The Captain and Billy exit the cabin. Moments later, the Captain and surgeon return to the cabin. Claggart's head is pointing straight forward. See more »

Quotes

Master At Arms Claggert: The sea is calm you said. Peaceful. Calm above, but below a world of gliding monsters preying on their fellows. Murderers, all of them. Only the strongest teeth survive. And who's to tell me it's any different here on board, or yonder on dry land?"
See more »

Crazy Credits

and introducing / Terrence Stamp See more »

Connections

Version of The DuPont Show of the Month: Billy Budd (1959) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Wonderful story of the sea, and a great companion to Melville's original
3 September 2001 | by roegrocksSee all my reviews

If you've read the Melville story, this film will be a delightful surprise, especially in contrast to what usually happens to film adaptations of literature. For those of you who've never heard of Herman Melville, it's no matter. This film can stand on its own without reference or support from its original source.

A cheerful, innocent young man with wide eyes and blonde hair is conscripted from his commercial schooner to serve aboard an English Royal Merchant ship, which is akin to being Shang-Hai'd, but without the knock to the head. Everyone on both his old and new ship loves Billy Budd, an affable, competent young seaman who can fathom no sinister purpose in man nor beast, until he meets the master-at-arms of his new vessel.

I don't want to give away any more of the story, so give this lovely film a try if the premise interests you.


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