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Watch The Movie The Bounty

Updated on October 26, 2016

The Bounty (1984) is the most recent film adaption of the mutiny on the HMAV Bounty. This movie review will discuss why I found this to be such a wonderful film. When it first came out in 1984 it received mediocre reviews, but it is actually a gem of a movie and I suggest you check it out. Some of the bigger stars today such as Liam Neeson and Daniel Day-Lewis made their debuts in The Bounty, so it is interesting to see how these two got their start. In a previous hub I addressed the historical background behind the mutiny and the how the mutineers who stayed with Fletcher Christian decided to hideout on Pitcairn Island. In this movie review I would like to address some of the reasons why The Bounty is a great film and has been overlooked. The Bounty is the fifth film version of the events surround the mutiny on the HMAV Bounty, but this is the most accurate and one of the most interesting of all the movies. Do you like movies about pirates and thought that Pirates of the Caribbean was a great flick? If so, you will be surprised to see how much better this true to life story about about how the dignified British master's mate Fletcher Christian became a pirate when he seized the HMAV Bounty.

It is the most historically accurate of all of the five film versions, but it is not 100% accurate. The opening scene of The Bounty is great because we see Fletcher Christian (Mel Gibson) and Lieutenant William Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) interacting with each other as friends, which is quite a departure from earlier films. Lit. Bligh sought Christian out at his gentlemen's club, which shows the class differences between the two men. Bligh is wearing a somewhat modest suit of the times, whereas Christian is wearing a very elegant one and is even accompanied by a servant. Not all of these details are completely accurate because in reality Christian's immediate family had lost their wealth and were relying on family connections to maintain their status in society. In the opening scene Bligh goes to Christian and asks him to accompany him on his expedition to collect breadfruit trees from Tahiti and bring them back to Jamaica as a cheap food source for the slaves in the West Indies. In this movie scene it seems as if Bligh is at the disadvantage asking Christian to accompany him, especially since Christian had many upper class family members. In reality Christian was excited about Bligh asking him to go on the expedition because his immediate family was in financial narrow straights, and the prestiege of this trip would help to preserve his family name.

However, what this scene brilliantly conveys is that Christian has certain connections that Bligh does not have. Bligh even goes so far as to snub Christian about his family connections, which makes the latter laugh to disguise the awkwardness. When you look at Christian's expression you can tell he is laughing, but he is also a little uncomfortable with Bligh's comment. At this time Christian seems to dismiss the comment because the gentlemen are both friends and colleagues.

The Bounty's trip seems very tranquil up until it reaches Cape Horn. Christian appears to be a novice who says little, but he is very observant of everything that is said and done around him. Bligh and his men experienced many difficulties trying to round the Cape Horn, so he decides to turn the ship west and sail for the Cape of Good Hope. At this juncture Bligh demotes Master Fryer from second in command, and makes Christian his new second in command. Fryer (Daniel Day-Lewis) is very upset about being replaced by a novice and he gets in a confrontation with Bligh. Here we glimpse the first traces of Bligh's anger and he seems way too upset about Fryer's questioning. Also, we are able to see what a great actor Lewis is because he does a good job of conveying Fryer's disposition and personality. During this scene Christian (Mel Gibson) just observes at Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) thrashes about complaining about Fryer's ineptitude. Christian seems to be taking many things in and we must wonder what he is truly thinking.

Christian vs. Bligh


The next pivotal scene in the movie is when the Bounty lands in Tahiti is and is greeted by the islanders. The woman are very beautiful and exotic in this scene, and you can tell the men have a very hard time paying attention to their duties as Quintal falls backwards when he is rowing, rather than paying attention to the task at hand. We can see in this scene that Bligh is very conscientous because he belittles Quintal and asks him if he has "ever seen a woman before?", and then goes on to tell him to keep "eyes in his work". Bligh does not seem to have much tolerance for men who are happy to see women after a long sea voyage.

It is on Tahiti during the mission of collecting breadfruit trees when tensions develop between Christian and Bligh. Since Christian was in charge of the shore party, he was able to be away from Bligh for large amounts of time and got to know the Tahitians very well. History shows that Christian did not meet the love of his life until after the mutiny when the Bounty returned to Tahiti, but center of the plot in The Bounty revolves around Christian deciding to mutiny because he wants to return to his lady love. Although this may not be the reality, it makes for an interesting movie plot and tension. Christian (Mel Gibson) makes a handsome young Christian and we are smitten by the beautiful Mauatua (Tervaie Vernette). It is unfortunate this is Vernette's only credited film as she had great talent and charisma, but there has been little published about her since the release of The Bounty. Bligh (Anthony Hopkins) is very troubled by Christian's love for Mauatua, especially since it results in the later becoming indifferent towards the purpose of the Bounty's mission to collect breadfruit plants. I suggest you watch The Bounty so you can see this wonderful film and make your own decisions. I would like to say more about the film, but I do not want to give the entire plot away.


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    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 5 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks Aya,

      I also like the book The Bounty by Caroline Alexander and Fragile Paradise by Glynn Christian, which also get deeper beneath this subject than the movie did. Ultimately the trip to collect breadfruit might have gone better, but they gave Bligh way too small of a ship to command, and he was not made captain. However, I am still fascinated by how this trip ended in mutiny, and it did result in the settling of Pitcairn Island. Even though the mutiny was an unfortunate result, no one was harmed during the mutiny, so it could have gone worse. Fletcher Christian did not want anyone killed over his decision to go back to Tahiti, and I have always admired him for that. So many other people in the same situation would not have thought twice about killing Bligh, who was not a bad man per sea. He just did not have the charisma as a leader at sea as many people like Captain Cook did.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thanks for this very detailed review. I think that I will watch the movie when I get the chance, as it contains information that might be useful to anyone writing about maritime relationships and the tensions of command.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 6 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi Deborah,

      I highly recommend buying the movie so you can watch it again. I rented it several times through Netflix, before I realized I just wanted a copy of my own. Also, this is one of my favorite movies, so how could I resist.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      I watched this movie years back and I remembered I loved it.. I love how you told the story line.. excellent.. Makes me want to watch it again.. Thank you for writing this. I am going to follow you.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 8 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Hi Brownlickie, There are a few inaccuracies in the 1984, but it is the most accurate of all five versions. The Brando film is so inaccurate because he practically took over the director's role and changed the story line.

    • profile image

      brownlickie 8 years ago

      Hi sweetie pie, I am also doing a hub on mutiny on the bounty and after reading the reports that written at the time , I find the Marlin Brando movie to be completely untrue. I have not seen the 1984 movie yet, but it seems that everybody thinks that this film is the most accurate, so I will view it and add it to my hub regards Brian

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      Thanks very much countrywomen. Althought The Bounty (1984) was not a box office hit I like it because it is based on real historical events. It is not one hundred percent historically accurate, but it is the most true to life movie tale of the Munity on the HMAV Bounty that we have today.

    • countrywomen profile image

      countrywomen 9 years ago from Washington, USA

      I haven't seen this movie but will now try to watch it. You do write so many hubs and you never cease to amaze me.

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA

      I am captivated by the story because part of me has always wanted to live in the South Pacific, no matter how impractical that dream may be. I truly love Polynesian culture and connected with the mutineers desire to stay in Tahiti. Who could blame them, although I do not agree with their actions per sae. Never the less in the heat of the moment things happen and I think both Christian and Blight regretted their past actions.

    • profile image

      Omjin 9 years ago

      I'm also glad to see that other people enjoyed the movie as much as I did, lol.

      I must ask, what makes you personally so captivated with the story of the Bounty?

    • SweetiePie profile image

      SweetiePie 9 years ago from Southern California, USA


      Your excitement about the Bounty is great and I glad to finally meet someone on here that shares my passion about this topic. Have you ever heard of the Friends of Pitcairn group on Yahoo? It is a great place to discuss past a current events regarding the history of Pitcairn and Mutiny on the Bounty. Some islanders even go on there and discuss life on the island and sell items such as honey and quilts. If you are interested you can email me through my profile page and I will give you more details.

      Yes you are right, remnants of the Bounty can still be seen in Bounty Bay today.

    • profile image

      Omjin 9 years ago

      lol, I happened across your articles while searching for "The Bounty" on Google, and I must say, you write with vivid eloquence about one of my favorite subjects- the history of the mutiny on board the Bounty. I first got into the Bounty lore after hearing about it from a Hawaiian kid I used to go surfing with, and after seeing the 1984 version, I was fascinated ever since.

      The 1984 version is personally my favorite. The musical score in particular is wonderful, especially the opening and closing themes composed by Vangelis. Although, truly, the traditional Polynesian marriage chant from the Marlon Brando version was also hauntingly beautiful. If you've never heard it before, try going to and searching for "Mutiny on the Bounty", then clicking on the mp3 for Track 18 of Disk 3 of the original soundtrack- the mp3 is entitled "Love Song From Mutiny on the Bounty (Follow Me) (Tahitian album track)". It's under the "Track List" section on the right hand side of the screen. I don't think the version with the original Tahitian vocal chanting was used in the actual movie, but it's instead included as a bonus extra on the soundtrack.

      Apparently you can still actually see some of the remaining ballast from the original Bounty in the bay of Pitcairn Island.

      Something about the entire story is just timeless and haunting. Hard to fully describe. Thanks for writing about it with such depth.