If there’s anything that can really rile up an audience, it’s being a witness to a revolution. We’ve seen many films on this list such as Battleship Potemkin, Strike!, and October: Ten Days That Shook the World that show how the underdogs rise up and step up to authority. That’s what occurs in Mutiny on the Bounty as Fletcher Christian, ship lieutenant of the H.S. Bounty (Clark Gable) revolts against the tyrannical Captain Bligh.
Charles Laughton plays the villainous Captain Bligh who is always thirsty for power on his ship. He walks sternly on deck with a sniveling look on his face as he shows no empathy for his crew. When one of his harsh orders lead to the death of a sickly surgeon on deck, that hits a nerve for Christian and he decides that he can’t take it anymore so he leads a mutiny against Captain Bligh. The true suspense occurs when after the mutiny, Captain Bligh returns for his revenge. Laughton gave an intimidating presence as he looked like the type of captain you don’t want to mess with or make enemies with as he doesn’t put up with anything or anyone. I love the way the ships are built with the sails reaching towards the sky and I love the scenes with the beautiful paradise islands of Tahiti.
Another great scene is during the trial when midshipman Byram gives his speech during trial against the mutiny. It was a complex speech in how even though Byram doesn’t defend the mutiny, he will defend the reasoning behind it as well as his friend. It was very powerful. The behind the scenes facts for this film is very interesting like in how Gable and Laughton were casted together in this film because director Frank Lloyd wanted to the tension between the two of them to be real since Laughton was gay and Gable was a homophobe. He even took Laughton to a brothel before he found out what his sexuality was! And Laughton would get violently seasick during takes. This film is considered one of the best nautical adventure films with this film winning Best Picture. Does it make sense to you that a film can win Best Picture and no other award? Well, that’s how it was with this film. Love revolution and sea-faring adventures? This is a great film to start off with.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the film anywhere online but you can rent it on Amazon for $2.99. Here’s the trailer: