Billy Budd (1962)

“It’s wrong to flog a man. It’s against his being a man.” – Billy Budd

Number of Times Seen – 1 (24 Dec 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A young sailor on a merchant ship is conscripted into the British Navy and must deal with a sadistic commander.

My Take on it – As a kid, I recall being “forced” to read this Herman Melville novel in high school.

This movie is a great adaptation of that story which helps the characters come to life before us.

This film manages to show the true innocence and constant optimism of the central character despite the cruel and dark world that he lives in.

Terrance Stamp was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance here as the central character and is great in this quiet role.

The standout tho is Peter Ustinov as the captain of the ship who must constantly deal with a conflict of conscious between leadership, the law and what is the right and just thing to do in life.

The rest of the cast is also great and is a who’s who of famous actors of that time with Robert Ryan, Melvyn Douglas, David McCallum, Paul Rogers, John Neville and Ray McAnally just to name a few do wonderful jobs here.

Love the way that they introduce the characters at the beginning during the credits.

The way that they depict the Royal Navy at the time is quite sadistic and is not flattering at all but that is supposedly how things truly were at the time and this film apparently reflects that quite realistically.

Bottom Line – Great adaptation of the Melville novel. They manage to show the true innocence and optimism of the central character despite the dark and cruel world around him. Stamp is great in the quiet role of Budd but Ustinov is the true standout as the captain who truly has a conflict of conscious throughout the story. Stamp was able to get a Best Supporting Actor nomination for this performance.  The way that the Navy is depicted is not flattering but that is supposedly the way things truly were at the time. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Herman 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 forgotten. 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 unsatisfactory versions were published, but it wasn’t until Melville’s original notes were found that the definitive version was ultimately published in 1962. Coincidentally Peter Ustinov’s film version was released the same year. (From IMDB)

Rating – Globe Worthy (7/10)


Check out my *updated* movie stats here

To see my reviews of Oscar Winning Performances check out this link

To see my reviews of all Oscar Best Picture Winners click here (now complete)

Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

3 thoughts on “Billy Budd (1962)

  1. Pingback: Did They Get it Right? – Best Supporting Actor – Oscars 1962 |

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1962 |

  3. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z | MovieRob

Let me Know what you think!!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.