The Bounty (1984)

The Bounty (1984)

Taglines: They were friends through hell. They became enemies in Paradise.

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.

The Bounty is a 1984 British historical drama film directed by Roger Donaldson, starring Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins, and produced by Bernard Williams with Dino De Laurentiis as executive producer. It is the fifth film version of the story of the mutiny on the Bounty. The screenplay was by Robert Bolt and it was based on the book Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian (1972) by Richard Hough. It was made by Dino De Laurentiis Productions and distributed by Orion Pictures Corporation and Thorn EMI Screen Entertainment. The music score was composed by Vangelis and the cinematography was by Arthur Ibbetson.

About the Story

The film is set as flashbacks from the court martial at Greenwich of Commanding Lieutenant William Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) for the loss of HMS Bounty to mutineers led by his friend Fletcher Christian (Mel Gibson), during its expedition to Tahiti to gather breadfruit pods for transplantation in the Caribbean.

Bligh sets out from Great Britain in December 1787, electing to sail the Bounty west round the tip of South America in an attempt to use the expedition to fulfill an ambition to circumnavigate the globe. The attempt to round Cape Horn fails due to harsh weather, and the ship is obliged to take the longer eastern route. Finally arriving in Tahiti in October 1788, Bligh finds that due to the delays, the wind is against them for a quick return journey and they must stay on the island for four months longer than planned.

The Bounty (1984)

During their stay in Tahiti, ship discipline becomes problematic, many of the crew develop a taste for the easy pleasures that island life offers, making the relationship with their Captain tense. Bligh, at the same time, subjects the crew to pressure, eventually reaching breaking point. When the ship leaves Tahiti, Fletcher is forced to leave his native wife, Mauatua, behind.

The resumption of naval discipline on the return voyage turns Bligh into a tyrant not willing to tolerate any disobedience whatsoever, creating an atmosphere of tension and violence. Bligh insists that the ship is dirty and orders the crew to clean up several times a day. Many of the men, including Christian, are singled out for tongue-lashings by Bligh.

Playing on Christian’s resentment against Bligh’s treatment of both him and the men, the more militant members of the crew finally persuade Christian to take control of the ship. Bligh is roused from his bed and arrested, along with those considered loyal to him, and they are forced into a ship’s boat, minimally supplied, and cast adrift. The film follows both the efforts of Fletcher Christian to get his men beyond the reach of British punishment, and the epic voyage of Bligh to get his loyalists safely to the Dutch East Indies in a longboat.

The Bounty Movie Poster (1984)

The Bounty (1984)

Directed by: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Tevaite Vernette, Laurence Olivier, Edward Fox, Daniel Day-Lewis, Bernard Hill, Liam Neeson
Screenplay by: Robert Bolt
Production Design by: John Graysmark
Cinematography by: Arthur Ibbetson
Film Editing by: Tony Lawson
Costume Design by: John Bloomfield
Set Decoration by: Louise Carrigan, Robert Cartwright
Art Direction by: Tony Reading
Music by: Vangelis
Distributed by: Orion Pictures
Release Date: May 4, 1984