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Herman Melville's short novel Billy Budd is adapted for the screen in this 1962 film, which is distinguished by Robert Krasker's expressive black-and-white cinematography and Peter Ustinov's crisp direction. Terence Stamp is Billy Budd, a seaman forced to serve in the British Navy during the war between England and France in 1797. Billy looks upon all men as inherently good and, although his crew mates are initially skeptical about this sailor who appears too good to be true, he proves his mettle by his skills as a sailor and gains the respect of the crew -- all except for the ship's reviled master-at-arms John Claggert (Robert Ryan), who attempts to poison Billy's reputation by accusing him of instigating a mutiny. When the ship's captain, Edward Vere (Peter Ustinov) questions Billy about the charges, Billy reacts by striking Claggert, who falls over and dies from a blow on the head. A court-martial is called and Vere has to determine whether Billy should be hanged or acquitted.

Product Details

Release Date: 12/09/2014
UPC: 0888574106621
Original Release: 1962
Rating: NR
Source: Warner Archives
Time: 2:03:00
Sales rank: 28,980

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Robert Ryan Master-at-Arms Claggart
Peter Ustinov Capt. Edward Fairfax Vere
Melvyn Douglas The Dansker
Terence Stamp Billy Budd
John Neville Lt. John Ratcliffe
Ronald Lewis Jenkins
David McCallum Lieutenant Wyatt
Paul Rogers Lieutenant Philip Ratcliffe
Thomas Heathcote Payne
Ray McAnally O'Daniel
Robert Brown Talbot
John Meillon Kincaid
Cyril Luckham Hallam
Niall MacGinnis Capt. Graveling
Lee Montague Squeak
Victor Brooks Amos Leonard
Barry Keegan Charles Mathews

Technical Credits
Peter Ustinov Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Don Ashton Production Designer
DeWitt Bodeen Screenwriter
Jack Harris Editor
Anthony Hopkins Score Composer
Robert Krasker Cinematographer
Anthony Mendleson Costumes/Costume Designer
Peter Murton Production Designer
Robert Rossen Screenwriter

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Billy Budd 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a delight to see this DVD issue of a great film, one that brought Herman Melville's tale so wonderfully to the screen. Peter Ustinov directs and acts with assurance and sensitivity, the casting is impeccable, and the screenplay (credited to two writers whose other accomplishments aren't particularly remarkable) is outstanding. This film works on so many levels that it will benefit from repeated viewings--it's a Christian allegory, a profound morality play harking back to the most ancient themes of struggling good and evil, a subtle exploration of sexual and power relationships in a male world, a devastating critique of the limits of legal thought--and more. And, oh yes, it's also a ripping good yarn that's entertaining anyway, whether you look for all that other stuff or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago