AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Mutiny on the Bounty
Director: Lewis Milestone (Dir)
Release Date:   1962
Duration (in mins):  179
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Cast: Marlon Brando  (Fletcher Christian)
  Trevor Howard  (Capt. William Bligh)
  Richard Harris  (John Mills)
 

Summary: In December of 1787, H. M. S. Bounty sets sail from Portsmouth, England. Her destination is Tahiti, and her mission is to transplant thousands of breadfruit plants from that island to Jamaica in the hope that the plants will become a food staple for plantation slaves. The vessel is commanded by William Bligh, an experienced but tyrannical captain who quickly arouses the ire of the crew. His first officer is Fletcher Christian, a somewhat foppish country gentleman, though an excellent sailor, whose genteel family background irritates the lowborn Bligh. As a result of Bligh's disastrous attempt to reach Tahiti by rounding Cape Horn in midwinter, the ship loses a month of sailing time and arrives in Tahiti at a time when the breadfruit plants are dormant. Bligh is enraged, but the crew is delighted at the prospect of spending 4 months on the beautiful tropical isle. Once the Bounty is again at sea, trouble erupts anew. Goaded on by seaman John Mills and by his own mounting anger against Bligh's cruelty, Christian leads a mutiny and takes control of the ship. Bligh and 18 other men are set adrift in a boat and eventually reach Timor. Christian takes the Bounty back to Tahiti to pick up supplies and those natives, including his own beloved Maimiti, who wish to start a new life with the mutineers. Aware that the British Navy will soon send ships in search of them, Christian looks for a new home and eventually finds the remote and uncharted Pitcairn Island. He soon realizes that he and his men must return to England or forever be hunted as criminals, but he loses the possibility of a choice when some of the mutineers set fire to the Bounty . In a hopeless attempt to save the ship, Christian is fatally burned. Before dying, he urges his men to stifle their rebellious natures and live in peace with one other. 

Distribution Company: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.
Production Company: Arcola Pictures Corp.
Director: Lewis Milestone (Dir)
  Carol Reed (Dir)
  James Havens (2nd unit dir)
  Ridgeway Callow (Asst dir)
Producer: Aaron Rosenberg (Prod)
Writer: Charles Lederer (Scr)
  Eric Ambler (Scr)
  William L. Driscoll (Scr)
  Borden Chase (Scr)
  John Gay (Scr)
  Ben Hecht (Scr (see note))

Subject Major: H.M.S. Bounty
  Captain William Bligh
  Cape Horn
  Fletcher Christian
  Class conflict
  Great Britain. Navy
  John Mills
  Mutiny
  Pitcairn Island
  Portsmouth (England)
  Sailors
  Sea captains
  Ship fires
  Tahiti
  Timor

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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