In 1787, British ship Bounty leaves Portsmouth to bring a cargo of bread-fruit from Tahiti but the savage on-board conditions imposed by Captain Bligh trigger a mutiny led by officer Fletcher Christian.
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The story of Lieutenant Bligh (Sir Anthony Hopkins), whose cruelty leads to a mutiny on his ship. Follows both the efforts of Fletcher Christian (Mel Gibson) to get his men beyond the reach of British retribution and the epic voyage of Lieutenant Bligh to get his loyalists safely to East Timor in a tiny lifeboat.Written by
Mel Gibson was disappointed with his performance and the finished movie. He later said of the movie, "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." See more »
At the beginning of a meal, the officers toast the King, but do so while sitting. British serving officers always stood while toasting the monarch, even though only in the captain's cabin of a large ship would there be enough headroom to stand upright. When William IV, a naval officer since he was about 13, became King in 1830, he allowed serving officers to toast him while sitting, but this was more than 30 years too late for the officers of the Bounty. See more »
[as the loyalists flee from Tofua]
Row for your lives! We're chops and livers to them if they catch us!
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I'm only giving this film 8 stars, because as good as it is "the Bounty" still leaves some undeserved blots on the reputation of a great and courageous man. A bit more truth and this film would get a TEN from me.
There have been many film treatments of this amazing story, but only "The Bounty" gets it even halfway right. The 1935 Lawton/Gable "Mutiny on the Bounty" is 49% balderdash and 51% falsehood. The Trevor Howard/Marlon Bando stinker is even less factual. "The Bounty", however is pretty good history in many places, especially Bligh's court-martial and the actual mutiny sequence, which is almost word-for-word what Bligh recorded in his own writings on the matter. The ship itself is correctly represented, right down to the figurehead a woman in a blue riding habit, which makes no sense until one realizes that HMAV Bounty was originally a merchant ship called the Bethia.
The movie does take liberties with history. Some characters are composites and some important figures are absent entirely. In the plot Bligh seeks out Christian to be his second officer. In reality Christian was a friend of Bligh's wife's family, and it was he who sought a posting on Bounty; Bligh didn't solicit his participation. In fact Bligh jiggered the ship's roster to make room for Christian.
But the worst departure from fact is the business about Cape Horn and circumnavigation. The movie wants us to believe that Bligh chose the route for his own glory. Not true. Bligh complained to the Admiralty about the chosen course before they set sail from England, thinking it too dangerous for such a small vessel. But he was overruled. The return trip was never intended to go by way of Cape Horn. The cargo was breadfruit seedlings, a tropical plant that can't endure the kind of temperatures encountered in the Drake Passage or the Straits of Magellan. Bligh was forbidden to return via this route. Even if he wanted to such a course of action would have ruined his career. Also the mutiny occurred near Tofua, about 1300 miles west of Tahiti, the wrong direction to sail if you're bound for Cape Horn.
Bligh was a man and a professional. Christian was a silly, overwrought upper class schoolboy who committed a vile crime over puppy love of a Polynesian girl. He got away with attempted mass murder, and 200 years later people still praise him. Bligh was a true hero who hasn't got justice yet.
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