This is one of those unfortunate films that’s wonderful without being very good, enjoyable without being memorable, filled with admirable things that don’t add up to much.


Marlon Brando gives one of his quirkiest performances as Fletcher Christian, a supercilious twit who’s called to heroism, but too late in the tale to make us admire him.  When he’s on screen you can’t take your eyes off of him, even though you often wish you could.


Everything about the film is a mixed blessing.  Splendid shots on the open seas and on location in Tahiti alternate with mediocre back-screen shots.  The score by Bronislau Kaper has the feel of a grand epic symphony without any melodic, stirring passages.


The movie is always one step away from becoming a grand entertainment, and never quite manages to take that step.  It’s big enough and ambitious enough to keep you engaged for over three hours, but not magical or dynamic enough to inspire you for more than a few shots or scenes at a time.

It’s both entertaining and dispiriting in equal measures.

7 thoughts on “MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1962)

  1. I’m curious how Marlon wasted $6 million by sulking on the set from the Saturday Evening Post cover.

    Was that because he went “native?”

      • According to Wikipedia he essentially tried to take over directing duties from Carol Reed, who quit and had to be replaced by Lewis Milestone. On a production that costly, the resulting delays would have added a lot to the budget.

  2. As an 8-9-10 year old, I was deeply disturbed by the film. Specifically the flogging scene. I recall being aroused by the scene and repulsed by my arousal. I’ve never been able to return to it until a few minutes ago when I watched a clip of the scene. Pretty convincing scene and too much for my young mind at the time.

    • I saw it at age 12, but had already seen the Laughton version, so was prepared for the flogging. Still very disturbing.

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