The familiar story of Lieutenant Bligh, whose cruelty leads to a mutiny on his ship. This version follows…
Release Year: 1984
Rating: 6.9/10 (10,510 voted)
Stars: Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier
The familiar story of Lieutenant Bligh, whose cruelty leads to a mutiny on his ship. This version follows both the efforts of Fletcher Christian 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.
Writers: Richard Hough, Robert Bolt
Fletcher Christian Master's Mate
Lieutenant William Bligh
Seaman Charles Churchill
Wi Kuki Kaa
Philip Martin Brown
Seaman John Adams
Dr. John Huggan
After 200 years, the truth behind the legend.
Release Date: 4 May 1984
Filming Locations: 15 Montpelier Row, Twickenham, Middlesex, England, UK
Box Office Details
Did You Know?
The recreation of the "Bounty" specially built for the movie had, for a number of 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.
When Bligh, Fryer and Christian are in Bligh's home planning the voyage, Bligh refers to a route that would take them around the coast of 'Australia'. But at the time of the Bounty's voyage in 1789 what we now know as Australia was instead universally called New Holland – a name which also appears on Bligh's map and which he later uses after being cast adrift. 'Australia' only came into common usage in the early 19th century; it gained official status in 1824.
What are we going to do, sir?
Well, we shall have to try and reach Kupang.
Well, I shall have to try and navigate from memory, Mr. Fryer. It will take us close to the most savage islands in these waters, the Fiji Islands, where cannibalism is perfected almost to a science, and from there, my friends, God willing, we shall proceed on to the Great Barrier Reef itself…
A treat for fans of Naval History
Being a fan of British naval history, and also a fan of Anthony Hopkins, I
love this film. I think it is severely under-rated. The acting (particularly
by Hopkins) is superb, and the cinematography and realism are
Unlike some of the previous comments for this film I think it is pretty
loyal to the true historical facts of the real mutiny. Alright, there are a
few minor changes to fact, but nothing that radically alters the story.
Basically Bligh was a very able and fair captain, who was let down by
incompetent officers. Bligh was no more a monster than any other Royal Navy
captains, the difference was other Royal Navy Captains had able commissioned
officers and a squad of marines to back up their authority. Bligh was on his
own, because the admiralty insisted on saving money on the bread-fruit
expedition by giving Bligh a small ship and no officers. (All the officers
on board were non-commissioned warrant officers, who were not employed by
the Royal Navy but were in it for their own advancement, Blight was the only
Royal Navy officer). This is what ultimately led to the mutiny. Bligh had no
one he could rely on to back up his orders from the Admiralty. Bligh was
actually an exponent of modern thinking, and treated his men with much more
humanity than other Royal Navy Captains. He had learnt his trade from
sailing under Captain Cook.
I think Hopkins manages to capture this in his performance. Bligh was a
professional man, who grew increasingly frustrated by the incompetence and
laziness of his officers. Hopkins manages to convey this sense of increasing
irritation brilliantly. He felt particularly let down by Fletcher Christian,
who was his friend and whom he had personally advanced up the ranks. He
expected Fletcher to back up his orders, but Fletcher was more interested in
his own pleasure with the Tahitian women.
On the journey out the crew were actually very happy and contented, but the
trouble began when the crew began to experience the liberties and freedoms
of Tahitian life, and they did not want to leave it. Bligh had to force the
men to go back to their duty, and instead of having officers to back him up,
the officers took the side of the men.
I think the script of this film captures the true story quite well. I saw
the Clark Gable version of the story many years ago, and the only thing I
remember is the portrayal of Bligh as an irrational monster, with none of
the reasons behind his anger explained. In this version I feel Hopkins is
more like the real Bligh. An able commander trying to carry out his orders,
but let down by those around him.
The confrontation between Bligh and Christian in the captain's cabin the day
before the mutiny is one of my favourite movie scenes of all time. Hopkins
performance of the captain at the end of his patience is just outstanding.
`Oh there are rumblings are there?'. Superb!
The only down side to this film is Mel Gibson. I can't stand the sight of
him! Mind you, even he manages to pull of a good performance.
The film ends quite abruptly, with a lot of loose ends. The most fascinating
parts of the true story come after the end of the film. I guess the time
constraints of the film mean they had to concentrate on just the story of
The mutineers set up a colony on Pitcairn, and ended up all murdering each
other until only one survived (Jack Adams). Those that stayed on Tahiti were
captured two years later by HMS Pandora which had been dispatched after
Bligh got back to England. This ship rounded up about 16 mutineers, and on
the way home the Pandora hit a reef off Australia and sunk. The crew had to
make an open boat journey to Coupang, the same port that Bligh's life boat
had arrived at two years earlier!!
Meanwhile Bligh was promoted and sent off on another Breadfruit exhibition
to Tahiti, this time the Admiralty gave him commissioned officers and a
squad of marines. This mission succeeded.
When the Breadfruit plants finally reached the slave colonies in the West
Indies, the slaves refused to eat the fruit as they disliked the taste.
That's irony for you!