Drama |English | 123 minutes | 1962
Aboard an eighteenth-century naval ship, Billy, an overly optimistic eighteen-year-old, sets off on his first voyage. Billy is relentlessly tormented by Claggart, the vicious master-at-arms and his equally despicable lackey, Squeak. The harassment builds up to a boiling point and Billy kills Claggart. It’s a classic case of good vs. evil. The ship’s commander, Captain Vere, is tormented between his compassion for Billy and following maritime law which calls for Billy to be hanged. That is the question Captain Vere must now decide.
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 90%
- Academy Awards: Nominated, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Terence Stamp)
- Golden Globes: Winner, Most Promising Newcomer (Terence Stamp)
- National Board of Review: Selected, Top Ten Films of the Year
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The script thoughtfully examines the dangers of placing the letter of the law over true justice.
The classic conflict of good and evil, of a pure young British soldier tormented by a vicious master-at-arms, is firmly battened down and rendered shipshape in a splendid film based upon the book and on a recent play. The physical setting of the drama is flawlessly achieved.
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