7.9/10
3,533
54 user 18 critic

Billy Budd (1962)

Approved | | Adventure, Drama, War | 12 November 1962 (USA)
Trailer
3:00 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

Billy Budd (Terence Stamp) 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 »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Billy Budd (TV Movie 1988)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An opera by Benjamin Britten, on a libretto by E.M. Forster and Eric Crozier, adapted from the story by Herman Melville. Billy Budd is a young sailor aboard a British man-o'-war, persecuted... See full summary »

Director: Barrie Gavin
Stars: Thomas Allen, Philip Langridge, Richard Van Allan
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A schoolteacher becomes the mentor of a talented young miner and seeks to get him into a university.

Director: Irving Rapper
Stars: Bette Davis, John Dall, Nigel Bruce
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An old Cuban fisherman's dry spell is broken when he hooks a gigantic fish that drags him out to sea. Based on Ernest Hemingway's story.

Directors: John Sturges, Fred Zinnemann
Stars: Spencer Tracy, Felipe Pazos, Harry Bellaver
King Rat (1965)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A fast-taking wheeler-dealer Corporal in a Malaysian P.O.W. camp during World War II uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox
Edit

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 ... Squeak - Assistant to Mr. Claggart
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
Edit

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 (Sir Peter Ustinov). He relies on his cruel and often sadistic Master-at-Arms John Claggert (Robert Ryan) to maintain what he believes to be tenuous order and discipline aboard the ship. When a new seaman, Billy Budd (Terence Stamp), is pressed into service from a passing merchantman, his innocent, happy-go-lucky attitude quickly endears him to 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:

The Men!.. The Mutiny!...The Might!... The Magnitude Of Herman Melville's Classic Adventure of the High Seas! See more »

Genres:

Adventure | Drama | War

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 November 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Verdammten der Meere See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Anglo Allied See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

When this movie opened in Britain in November, 1962, there was no mention of DeWitt Bodeen in the screenplay credits or the advertising. The screenplay was credited to Sir Peter Ustinov and Robert Rossen. However, whenever this movie has been shown on British television (it has been televised on only a handful of occasions in the U.K.), the credits have instead named Bodeen as Ustinov's only collaborator, and made no mention of Rossen. 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: We must serve the law, sir, or give up the right and privilege of service. It is only within that law that we may use our discretions according to our rank.
Captain Vere: You're so intelligent and so lucid for the rank you hold, Master At Arms.
Master At Arms Claggert: I thank you, sir.
Captain Vere: Yes, that's no flattery, Mr. Claggart. It's a melancholy fact. It's sad to see such qualities of mind bent to such a sorry purpose. What's the reason for it?
Master At Arms Claggert: I am what I am, sir. And what the world has made me.
Captain Vere: The world? The world demands that ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the cast is listed onscreen, the actors are heard stating their characters' names and ranks. See more »

Connections

Version of Billy Budd (1966) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Ryan's 'Claggart ' Unfogettable
12 March 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

A nice, innocent kid getting brutalized by an incredibly-sadistic 1700s ship officer is not always easy to watch, but this is one of the better under-publicized films of its day. It sill holds up, some 40-plus years later, and I'm still wondering when a DVD will come out. The great cinematography alone makes this cry out for a good DVD transfer.

It was an apt choice to cast Robert Ryan as the sadistic "Claggart." Ryan played mostly villains in his career and is extremely effective in that role here as an intelligent-but-sick-and-vicious bully. In fact, his character in Billy Budd remains one of the most memorable villains I've seen in a half century of movie watching. It isn't just his deeds. The looks on his face alone as he delivers his lines make him fascinating.

Peter Ustinov gives a great performance as the captain of the ship and a man who has to make a big, big decision about Mr. Budd, played by a young and boyish-looking Terrence Stamp. The character "Billy Budd" is about as pure and innocent as some of the characters Jennifer Jones played in the 1940s, such as Cluny Brown, Bernadette Soubirous or Jennie Appleton. Also of interest is Melvyn Douglas as the aging seaman.

This is simply a powerful and very involving film, one that is hard to forget.


57 of 58 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 54 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed