Billy Budd

Synopsis: H.M.S. Avenger is headed into battle against the French fleet during the Napoleonic Wars, and the dark shadow of two recent mutinies in the English fleet concern Captain Vere. He relies on his cruel and often sadistic Master-at-Arms John Claggert to maintain what he believes to be tenuous order and discipline aboard the ship. When a new seaman, Billy Budd, is pressed into service from a passing merchantman, his innocent, happy-go-lucky attitude quickly endears him to both his messmates as well as the ship's officers. However, his charismatic naivete seems to bother Claggert, whose perverse depravity makes him resent Billy's good-natured purity, especially after the teenager's promotion to fore-top captain. The mean-spirited Claggert unfairly plots to put him on report and ultimately perjures himself when he accuses Billy of conspiring to mutiny.
Genre: Adventure, Drama, War
Director(s): Peter Ustinov
Production: Allied Artists Pictures
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 7 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
123 min

You have ideas of your own, captain.

I'm not alone in that.

What's this man's record?

- Good.

- He looks a likely man.

What, with the whole of the Nore

and the mutiny?

Who's the likely man now, lieutenant?

Aye, there was officers killed and all.

Where did you hear this?

Aye, it's common knowledge.

We're not long out of port.

The mainland's buzzing with it.

Read the newspapers. They're talking

about reforms in the House of Commons.

You know what that means.

It means the reforms

are nearly a century overdue.

- Who is that?

- Billy. Billy Budd.

According to the rights of war...

...a man-of-war can impress a seaman

from any other vessel.

- Do you understand that, Billy?

- Aye, captain.

You also understand

there's nothing I can do?

Aye, captain.

You understand too much too well.

Are you at least sorry to be leaving?

Aye, that I am, captain.

It's a good ship, this.

You helped make it good.

A man-of-war, you'll find, is different.

- Different, sir?

- Aye, Billy.

Do your work well, keep your mouth shut,

except at meal times.

It's not as it is here.

Now, there's a good lad.

Go forward and get your gear.

Aye, captain.

My compliments to your captain.

Tell him I regret

I do not command a faster ship.

Cast off forward.

Take that oar.

Up together.

God go with you, Billy Budd...

...for it's a fact that you go with God.

Goodbye to you all.

- Goodbye to you too, old Rights of Man.

- What do you mean by that, boy?

Nothing, sir.

- All that trouble for only one man.

- Must be a reason, sir.

Oh, yes, I can imagine the reason...

...knowing the temper

of that vessel's master.

- Well, Seymour, our choice better be good.

- Get a rope down.

Do you swear to abide

by the Articles of War, to obey orders...

...and, if need be, to lay down your life

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Peter Ustinov

Sir Peter Alexander Ustinov, (né von Ustinov; or ; 16 April 1921 – 28 March 2004) was an English actor, voice actor, writer, dramatist, filmmaker, theatre and opera director, stage designer, screenwriter, comedian, humorist, newspaper and magazine columnist, radio broadcaster, and television presenter. He was a fixture on television talk shows and lecture circuits for much of his career. An intellectual and diplomat, he held various academic posts and served as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and President of the World Federalist Movement. Ustinov was the winner of numerous awards over his life, including two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor, Emmy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards for acting, and a Grammy Award for best recording for children, as well as the recipient of governmental honours from, amongst others, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany. He displayed a unique cultural versatility that has frequently earned him the accolade of a Renaissance man. Miklós Rózsa, composer of the music for Quo Vadis and of numerous concert works, dedicated his String Quartet No. 1, Op. 22 (1950) to Ustinov. In 2003, Durham University changed the name of its Graduate Society to Ustinov College in honour of the significant contributions Ustinov had made as chancellor of the university from 1992 until his death. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Billy Budd" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 5 Aug. 2020. <>.

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