The Bounty (1984)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Bounty</strong> (1984)

(On Cable TV, January 2019) If I recall correctly, The Bounty is the third version of The Bounty Mutiny story that I’ve seen in slightly more than a year. Fortunately, it may be the best—perhaps not as impressive as the 1935 version for its time, but certainly the one with the better actors and the most nuanced take on the story. Defying the older fictionalized portrait of Captain Blight, modern histories of the event seldom think that the opposition between Blight and Christian Fletcher was a clear case of one being right and the other being wrong. This 1984 version comes to reflect much of that ambiguity, with Blight not necessarily cast as a villain or Christian as a hero, but as a tragedy in which the two men come to fight over different opinions. The ending is a bit glum, reflecting the record although not all of it. Aside from a stronger (but not perfect) historical accuracy, The Bounty relies on none other than Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson in the lead roles, with some improbable appearance by notables such as Laurence Oliver, Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson in smaller roles. Roger Donaldson directs in a fashion that allows both the grandeur and the adventure of the story to come through, featuring a surprising amount of (historically accurate!) nudity, but also the hard choices that come to dominate the second half of the film. Partially designed for people who have seen earlier version of the same story, The Bounty remains an incredible story, leading to improbable survival at sea.

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