This is at least the fourth film version of the notorious mutiny of 1789, when sailors of the British Royal Navy seized control of their ship, the Bounty, from Captain Bligh and set him and a few loyal crewmen adrift in an open boat. The mutineers eventually stumbled across the obscure
Pitcairn Island where they built a settlement that was not discovered for many years and remains inhabited to this day by the descendants of those mutineers and their Polynesian mates. The film opens as Bligh (played by Hopkins) appears before a naval board in London, chaired by Admiral Hood
(Olivier). As the story unrolls in flashback, Bligh and first mate Fletcher Christian (Gibson) set off for the South Seas to bring back breadfruit. They finally reach Tahiti after a long and harrowing voyage. Consequently the crew is in no hurry to leave. Christian has fallen in love with a
beautiful native girl and offers no assistance in whipping the crew back into shape. Bligh grows increasingly harsh in his attempts to restore discipline. This is the first time that a reasonably balanced version of this story has reached the screen, portraying Bligh as a competent sailor and
commander whose personality flaws make the conflict between him and his crew inevitable.
Anthony Hopkins gets to give his vocal cords a good workout but the normally charismatic Gibson is surprisingly bland and wishy-washy. The closeup-heavy direction seems haphazard and the film never achieves the epic sweep it seems to desire. The script is condensed from David Lean
collaborator (screenwriter on LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, DOCTOR ZHIZAGO, RYAN'S DAUGHTER) Robert Bolt's scripts for two aborted mutiny-on-the-Bounty projects. The production design and values are excellent.
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- Released: 1984
- Rating: PG
- Review: This is at least the fourth film version of the notorious mutiny of 1789, when sailors of the British Royal Navy seized control of their ship, the Bounty, from Captain Bligh and set him and a few loyal crewmen adrift in an open boat. The mutineers eventual… (more)