Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5
United Kingdom, 1962. Allied Artists Pictures, Anglo Allied. Screenplay by Peter Ustinov, based on the play by and and the novel Billy Budd, Foretopman by Cinematography by Produced by Peter Ustinov. Music by Antony Hopkins. Production Design by Donald M. Ashton. Costume Design by Anthony Mendleson. Film Editing by Jack Harris.
Diverting drama is a dark side to Horatio Hornblower. stars and directs as the captain aboard an eighteenth-century ship that has undergone various crew changes, culminating with the arrival of a young, naive and irresistibly kind seaman named Billy Budd ( in his film debut).
Budd immediately becomes the target of a sadistic, high-ranking crew member () who singles him out for his degrading torture; when Ryan ends up dead thanks to a blow being given to him, quite righteously, by Budd, the young man finds himself on trial for murder.
Ethical issues are weighed out with intelligence and ease and a few healthy tinges of homoeroticism, though you won’t love it if it isn’t already your kind of movie.
All the performances are wonderful, particularly a marvelously young and beautiful Stamp and terrifying Ryan.
Academy Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actor (Terence Stamp)