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The Bounty (1984) Poster

(1984)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (2)
The film was originally supposed to have been made in 1975, when Sir Anthony Hopkins would have been closer in age to the real William Bligh.
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This film is generally regarded as the most accurate depiction of the actual mutiny.
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There is a persistent, but unsubstantiated rumor that the real Fletcher Christian did not die on Pitcairn Island, but made it back to England. Several of his relatives later swore that they had spoken with him, and that he lived out the rest of his life in hiding.
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The recreation of the "Bounty" specially built for the movie had, for many years, been used as a tourist cruise ship at Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia, until 2007 when it was sold to HKR International Limited. The ship is now on Lantau Island in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong, and continues to function as a tourist cruise charter.
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Captain William Bligh's later career was peppered with further mutinies and complaints about his "oppressive attitude". His tyrannical nature later sparked the Rum Rebellion in New South Wales in 1808, which led to his being forcibly deported.
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Unlike most water-based films, this came in on time and under budget.
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In addition to the replica of "The Bounty", David Lean also supervised the refitting of the frigate Rose that would play the role of the frigate H.M.S. Pandora, the ship sent by the Admiralty to hunt the mutineers. The idea was scrapped, but the frigate later became the H.M.S. Surprise in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003).
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Because of his invalid union card, Hugh Grant was dismissed from this production. Grant had been originally cast in the role of Peter Heywood, who inspired the character of Roger Byam in the original Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel and earlier film versions.
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First major supporting role in a theatrical film for Daniel Day-Lewis.
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Sting, David Essex, and Christopher Reeve were considered for the role of Fletcher Christian.
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The movie represents early screen roles for Liam Neeson and Daniel Day-Lewis.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins, who had battled with alcoholism until becoming abstinent in 1975, was worried about Mel Gibson's heavy drinking, saying, "Mel is a wonderful, wonderful fellow with a marvelous future. He's already something of a superstar, but he's in danger of blowing it, unless he takes hold of himself." Gibson, who likewise self-identified as an alcoholic, agreed with this concern, and added his admiration for the Welsh actor: "He was terrific. He was good to work with, because he was open, and he was willing to give. He's a moral man, and you could see this. I think we had the same attitudes."
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The hull of the reproduction of H.M.S. Bounty built for this film is built of steel, and only clad in wood. The reproduction of H.M.S. Bounty built for Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) was built of wood, in the traditional manner.
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Jimmy Buffett's music video of his song "One Particular Harbour" was filmed on this same set, at the same time, and also with some of the film's extras.
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Roger Donaldson clashed repeatedly with Sir Anthony Hopkins, over the latter's performance.
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One significant historical event, which is completely omitted from the film, is the initial attempt by Fletcher Christian and the mutineers to found a colony on the island of Tubuai, south of Tahiti. Christian landed on Tubuai shortly after the mutiny and, after finding nearly three thousand hostile natives, established a fort on the northern side of the island, using weaponry from the Bounty. After nearly two months of constant skirmishes with natives, Christian and the mutineers abandoned the island, and only then returned to Tahiti for more men and supplies, before heading east towards Pitcairn. Thomas Burkett, who had been severely wounded on Tubuai fighting natives, stayed behind in Tahiti, even though he was clearly a mutineer, and would be hanged if ever found by the Royal Navy (Burkett was in fact captured and executed for mutiny).
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Three cast members also played the title character in a Best Picture Oscar winner: Sir Laurence Olivier played Hamlet in Hamlet (1948), Liam Neeson played Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List (1993), and Mel Gibson played William Wallace in Braveheart (1995).
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Warner Brothers, then hugely over budget with Superman (1978), withdrew from the project, when Director David Lean and Screenwriter Robert Bolt decided to film Bolt's sprawling screenplay as two films, or rather, one massive epic released in two parts, one year apart, though filmed simultaneously.
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Mel Gibson described the making of the film as difficult because of the long production and bad weather: "I went mad. They would hold their breath at night when I went off. One night I had a fight in a bar and the next day they had to shoot only one side of my face because the other was so messed up. If you see the film, you can see the swelling in certain scenes."
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Christopher Reeve turned down the role of Fletcher Christian.
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Fifth film version of "The Mutiny of the Bounty" story, though it is often perceived erroneously as the third, due to the large awareness of the 1935 and 1962 versions over the lesser well-known 1916 and 1933 versions. The first four films in chronological order are The Mutiny of the Bounty (1916), In the Wake of the Bounty (1933), Mutiny on the Bounty (1935), and Mutiny on the Bounty (1962).
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Sir Anthony Hopkins (Captain Bligh) was also one of two actors (with Oliver Reed) who David Lean considered for the role, when he and Robert Bolt originally developed the project.
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The replica of the Bounty used in the film, was built in New Zealand before the script was even completed, at the cost of four million dollars.
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Three of the principal cast were nominated for the best actor Oscar in 1993: Sir Anthony Hopkins for The Remains of the Day (1993), Liam Neeson for Schindler's List (1993), and Daniel Day-Lewis for In the Name of the Father (1993).
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The film was released twelve years after its source book "Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian" by Richard Hough had been published.
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Three of the film's cast have won the Best Actor Academy Award - Sir Anthony Hopkins for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Sir Laurence Olivier for Hamlet (1948), and Daniel Day-Lewis three times for Lincoln (2012), There Will Be Blood (2007), and My Left Foot (1989). Moreover, two of the cast have won Best Director Oscars, Mel Gibson for Braveheart (1995), and Olivier two Honorary Awards, one "for the full body of his work, for the unique achievements of his entire career, and his lifetime of contribution to the art of film", and one "for his outstanding achievement as an actor, producer, and director, in bringing 'Henry V' to the screen."
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Though there was some filming done in Gisborne, on the New Zealand coast, and Kiwis provided actors, extras, background artists, and crew, including Second Unit, the picture is a U.S. and UK co-production, without any financing from New Zealand, and is such, is not classified as a New Zealand film, as evidenced by its non-inclusion in the book "New Zealand Film 1912-1996" (1997).
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Mel Gibson's performance as Fletcher Christian was widely criticized as bland.
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Sir Laurence Olivier (Admiral Hood) played Zeus in Clash of the Titans (1981), while Liam Neeson (Seaman Charles Churchill) played him in the remake Clash of the Titans (2010) and its sequel Wrath of the Titans (2012).
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David Lean spent several years developing this film in the late 1970s, working with his longtime collaborator, Screenwriter Robert Bolt.
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Michael Cimino was offered the chance to direct this project, but he turned it down.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins and Roger Donaldson also collaborated on The World's Fastest Indian (2005).
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Sir Anthony Hopkins and Daniel Day-Lewis went on to play U.S. Presidents, and receive Oscar nominations in the part. Day-Lewis won Best Actor for Lincoln (2012). Hopkins was nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Amistad (1997), and Best Actor for Nixon (1995).
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David Lean oversaw the construction of "The Bounty" replica ship, which was paid for by Dino De Laurentiis, and constructed in New Zealand's most northern city Whangarei on its North Island's Northland Region.
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David Lean and Dino De Laurentiis sparred for a year over the budget, enough that Lean considered turning the project over to Joseph Levine or Sam Spiegel. Finally, Lean tired of this bickering and left the project.
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The film was entered into the 1984 Cannes Film Festival.
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Mel Gibson brought in Roger Donaldson to direct.
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When David Lean was casting his version in 1978, he was influenced by Superman (1978) Producer Ilya Salkind's recent movies. He planned to use his The Three Musketeers (1973) star, Oliver Reed, as Captain Bligh, and Superman (1978) himself Christopher Reeve as Fletcher Christian.
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Mel Gibson has expressed a belief that the film's revisionism did not go far enough, believing that his character should have been portrayed as the film's antagonist. He praised Sir Anthony Hopkins' performance, as Lieutenant William Bligh, as the best aspect of the film.
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For the film's storm sequences, a detailed twenty-five-foot model of the Bounty was built.
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Sir Anthony Hopkins (Captain William Bligh), Sir Laurence Olivier (Admiral Samuel Hood), and Edward Fox (Captain Greetham) appeared in A Bridge Too Far (1977).
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William Bligh, a Commanding Lieutenant during the mutiny and his court-martial, remained in the British Navy and was eventually promoted to Vice Admiral of the Blue.
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Trevor Howard, who played Captain Bligh in the 1962 version, had a nonspesking cameo as an admiral in the court of inquiry, seated to the right of Lawrence Olivier.
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Mel Gibson was disappointed with both his performance and the finished film. He later said of the film, "I think the main problem with that film was that it tried to be a fresh look at the dynamic of the mutiny situation, but didn't go far enough. In the old version, Captain Bligh was the bad guy and Fletcher Christian was the good guy. But really Fletcher Christian was a social climber and an opportunist. They should have made him the bad guy, which indeed he was. He ended up setting all these people adrift to die, without any real justification. Maybe he'd gone island crazy. They should have painted it that way. But they wanted to exonerate Captain Bligh while still having the dynamic where the guy was mutinying for the good of the crew. It didn't quite work."
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It was originally to be released as a two-part film, one named "The Lawbreakers", that dealt with the voyage out to Tahiti and the subsequent mutiny, and the second named "The Long Arm" that studied the journey of the mutineers after the mutiny, as well as the Admiralty's response in sending out the frigate H.M.S. Pandora. David Lean could not find financial backing for both films after Warner Brothers withdrew from the project, so he decided to combine it into one, and even looked at a seven-part television miniseries, before finally getting backing from Dino De Laurentiis.
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First film as a regular Producer for Bernard Williams who had previously been an Assistant Director, Production Manager, Associate Producer, and Executive Producer.
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Nicholas Ball and Paul Darrow were among the actors who auditioned for the David Lean project.
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Jack May had previously voiced King Theoden of Rohan in the BBC Radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. Bernard Hill played the part in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
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Robert Bolt dropped out of the project when he suffered a stroke.
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Despite the fact that Vangelis had previously won an Oscar for Chariots of Fire (1981), and had a successful solo music career, there was no official soundtrack issued to tie in with the film's release.
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Katherine Hepburn personally recommended Christopher Reeve, with whom she had worked on a play, and became good friends with the then-unknown actor, for the part of Fletcher Christian to Dino DeLaurentiis. After considering it, Reeve turned the part down, feeling he would be miscast, and Mel Gibson was hired instead for the role. He expressed no regrets years later over his decision, and felt Gibson was much better suited for the role.
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Despite the 20th & 21st century based judgment of the punishment meted on screen by Anthony Hopkins, historians determined LT Bligh's disciplining of his sailors as LESS severe by comparison to his peers.
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Gary Oldman turned down a role, in favor of a small Chesterfield production of "Entertaining Mr. Sloane".
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The ship and Mel Gibson's uniform appeared in the original music video for Jimmy Buffett One Particular Harbor.
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The film was selected to screen in competition for the Palme d'Or (The Golden Palm) at the Cannes Film Festival in 1984.
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The nickname of Midshipman Edward Young (Phil Davis) was "Ned".
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According to the book A Decade of New Zealand Film (1986) by Nicholas Reid, the film was "long-delayed, (and) the production was the subject of much comment in the New Zealand media."
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Despite the 20th and 21st judgment of the punishment meted on-screen, historians determined Lieutenant Bligh's disciplining of his sailors as less severe, by comparison to his peers.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

When Fletcher Christian returns to Tahiti after the mutiny, he informs King Tynah that they had set Captain Bligh adrift. In real-life, Christian lied to Tynah, telling him that Bligh had met up with Captain Cook and together were founding a new settlement, and that they had sent Christian back to Tahiti for men and supplies.
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The film's closing epilogue states: "The mutineers' fate remained a mystery for eighteen years, until their island was discovered by an American whaling ship. They found one man, John Adams, with nine women and 23 children. What happened to Fletcher Christian remains uncertain. Some say he was murdered on Pitcairn Island, but then there were reports that he returned safely to England. However, his descendants live on Pitcairn Island to this day."
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Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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