Release date12 November 1962 Based onBilly Budd (1924 novel)
by Herman Melville
Billy Budd (1951 play)
by Louis O. Coxe
Robert H. Chapman WriterLouis O. Coxe (based upon the play: "Billy Budd"), Robert H. Chapman (based upon the play: "Billy Budd"), Herman Melville (from the novel: "Billy Budd Foretopman"), Peter Ustinov (screenplay), DeWitt Bodeen (screenplay) CastRobert Ryan (John Claggart), Terence Stamp (Billy Budd), Peter Ustinov (Edwin Fairfax Vere), Melvyn Douglas (The Dansker), Paul Rogers (Philip Seymour, 1st Lieutenant), John Neville (Julian Ratcliffe, 2nd Lieutenant) Similar moviesMusic Box, 12 Angry Men, Inglourious Basterds, Dead Man Walking, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
TaglineThe Men!.. The Mutiny!...The Might!... The Magnitude Of Herman Melville's Classic Adventure of the High Seas!
Billy budd 1962 official trailer terence stamp robert ryan movie hd
Billy Budd is a 1962 CinemaScope film produced, directed, and co-written by Peter Ustinov. Adapted from the stage play version of Herman Melville's short novel Billy Budd, it starred Terence Stamp as Billy Budd, Robert Ryan as John Claggart, and Ustinov as Captain Vere. In his film debut, Stamp was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and received a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer. The film was nominated for four BAFTAs.
In the year 1797, the British naval vessel HMS Avenger presses into service a crewman "according to the Rights of War" from the merchant ship The Rights of Man. The new crewman, Billy Budd (Terence Stamp), is considered naive by his shipmates, and they attempt to indoctrinate him in their cynicism. But Budd's steadfast optimism is impenetrable, as when he is asked to critique the horrible stew the crew must eat, he offers "It's hot. And there's a lot of it. I like everything about it except the flavor." The crew discovers Budd stammers in his speech when anxious.
Though Budd manages to enchant the crew, his attempts at befriending the brutal master-at-arms, John Claggart (Robert Ryan), are unsuccessful. Claggart is cruel and unrepentant, a man who believes he must control the crew through vicious flogging; savaging them before they can prey on him.
Claggart orders Squeak (Lee Montague) to find means of putting Budd on report and to implicate him in a planned mutiny. He then brings his charges to the Captain, Edwin Fairfax Vere (Peter Ustinov). Although Claggart has no reason to implicate Budd in the conspiracy, Budd becomes a target because Billy represents everything that Claggart despises: humility, innocence, and trust in humanity. Vere summons both Claggart and Budd to his cabin for a private confrontation. When Claggart makes his false charges that Budd is a conspirator, Budd stammers, unable to find the words to respond, and he strikes Claggart, killing him with a single blow.
Captain Vere assembles a court-martial. Vere and all the other officers on board are fully aware of Budd's simplicity and Claggart's evil, but the captain is also torn between his morality and duty to his station. Vere intervenes in the final stages of deliberations (which are in full support of Budd). He argues the defendant must be found guilty for even striking Claggart, Budd's superior, not to mention killing him. Vere's soul is in turmoil over the decision he must make. His arguments to pursue the letter of the law succeed, and Budd is convicted.
Condemned to be hanged from the ship's yardarm at dawn the following morning, Budd takes care to wear his good shoes. At Budd's final words, "God bless Captain Vere!", Vere crumbles, and Billy is subsequently hoisted up and hanged on the ships rigging. At this point the crew is on the verge of mutiny over the incident, but Vere can only stare off into the distance, the picture of abdication, overtaken by his part in the death of innocence. Just as the crew is to be fired upon by the ship's marine detachment, a French vessel appears and commences cannon fire on the Avenger, and the crew eventually returns fire. In the course of battle a piece of the ship's rigging falls on Vere, killing him. The ship's figurehead is also shot off while a narrator tells of Budd's heroic sacrifice.
Terence Stamp as Billy Budd
Robert Ryan as John Claggart, Master d'Arms
Peter Ustinov as Edwin Fairfax Vere, Post Captain
Melvyn Douglas as The Dansker, sailmaker
Paul Rogers as Philip Seymour, 1st Lieutenant
John Neville as Julian Radcliffe, 2nd Lieutenant
David McCallum as Steven Wyatt, Gunnery Officer
Ronald Lewis as Enoch Jenkins, maintopman
Lee Montague as Squeak, Mr. Claggart's assistant
Thomas Heathcote as Alan Payne, maintopman
Ray McAnally as William O'Daniel, maintopman
Robert Brown as Talbot
John Meillon as Neil Kincaid, maintopman
Cyril Luckham as Hallam, Captain of Marines
Niall MacGinnis as Captain Nathaniel Graveling
Not commonly a director of films, Ustinov also produces and co-stars in the feature. His dedication to the film appears to emanate from his identification with the characters in the story. He said, "I am an optimist, unrepentant and militant. After all, in order not to be a fool an optimist must know how sad a place the world can be. It is only the pessimist who finds this out anew every day." On the novel itself, Melville had been writing poetry for 30 years when he returned to fiction with Billy Budd in late 1888. Still unfinished when he died in 1891, it was lost. Melville's biographer accidentally stumbled upon it when going through a trunk of the writer's papers in his granddaughter's New Jersey home in 1919. Melville's widow worked to help complete it, and it was finally published in 1924. Over the years other versions were published, but it was not until Melville's original notes were found that the definitive version was ultimately published in 1962. Coincidentally, this movie version, made in continental Europe and England, was released the same year.