Mutiny on the Bounty (1935 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mutiny on the Bounty
Poster - Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).jpg
Advertorial poster
Directed by Frank Lloyd
Produced by Frank Lloyd
Irving Thalberg
Written by Novel:
Charles Nordhoff
James Norman Hall
Talbot Jennings
Jules Furthman
Carey Wilson
Starring Charles Laughton
Clark Gable
Franchot Tone
Music by Score:
Herbert Stothart
Nat W. Finston (uncredited)
Walter Jurmann
Bronisław Kaper
(both uncredited)
Cinematography Arthur Edeson
Edited by Margaret Booth
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • November 8, 1935 (1935-11-08)
Running time 132 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $1,950,000[2]
Box office $4,460,000[2][3] (rentals)

Mutiny on the Bounty is an American 1935 film starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, and directed by Frank Lloyd based on the Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel Mutiny on the Bounty.

The film was one of the biggest hits of its time. Although its historical accuracy has been questioned (inevitable as it is based on a novel about the facts, not the facts themselves), film critics consider this adaptation to be the best cinematic work inspired by the mutiny.



Filming locations[edit]

Hollywood star James Cagney (then on a hiatus from Warner Bros. during a contract dispute) and future stars David Niven and Dick Haymes were uncredited extras in the movie. Cagney is clearly visible toward the beginning of the film.

Charles Laughton, who had a severe self-image complex concerning his weight and unattractive looks, suffered horribly in comparing himself to the handsome, masculine Clark Gable.[4] Laughton would constantly watch his own walk, gestures, and face, making sure not to let his complex be projected.[4]


A British merchant navy officer[5] recalled in his memoirs seeing the fore and aft-rigged schooner Commodore II being broken up in Cape Town in 1945, having suffered severe gale damage, and that this was the ship that had been re-rigged for the film.

Box Office[edit]

According to MGM records the film earned $2,250,000 in the US and Canada and $2,210,000 elsewhere resulting in a profit of $909,000.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

Academy Awards[edit]

This film is, as of 2014, the last Best Picture winner to win in no other category (following The Broadway Melody and Grand Hotel). It is the only film to have three Best Actor nominations.

Award Nominee Result
Best Picture Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
(Irving Thalberg and Albert Lewin producers)
Best Director Frank Lloyd John FordThe Informer
Best Actor Clark Gable Victor McLaglenThe Informer
Charles Laughton
Franchot Tone
Best Writing, Screenplay Jules Furthman, Talbot Jennings and Carey Wilson Dudley NicholsThe Informer
Best Music, Scoring Nat W. Finston and Herbert Stothart
("Love Song of Tahiti" written by Walter Jurmann, uncredited)
Max SteinerThe Informer
Best Film Editing Margaret Booth Ralph DawsonA Midsummer Night's Dream

Other honors[edit]

American Film Institute recognition


Other Film Versions[edit]

A 1962 three-hours-plus widescreen Technicolor remake, starring Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian and Trevor Howard as Captain Bligh, was a disaster both critically and financially at the time, but has come to be reevaluated by critics.

In 1984, Mel Gibson played Christian opposite Anthony Hopkins as Bligh in a film (based not upon the Nordhoff-Hall novels but on an historical work by Richard Hough) called The Bounty. This latest version, which gives a far more sympathetic view of Bligh, is considered to be the closest to historical events.

The 1935 version was itself not the first film account of the mutiny. In 1933, an Australian film entitled In the Wake of the Bounty, with the then-unknown Errol Flynn as Fletcher Christian, was released, but was not successful and received few bookings outside Australia. There was also an even earlier film, the 1916 Australian–New Zealand film, The Mutiny on the Bounty directed by Raymond Longford


  • Friz Freleng's cartoon Mutiny on the Bunny casts Yosemite Sam (called Shanghai Sam) as a foul-tempered skipper who shanghais Bugs Bunny, only to see Bugs rebel. Also, in one scene in Freleng's earlier Buccaneer Bunny, Bugs dresses up as Capt. Bligh (including a visual and vocal impression of Charles Laughton) and barks out orders to Sam (called Seagoin' Sam).
  • The 1967 Lost in Space episode "Mutiny in Space" features Ronald Long imitating Charles Laughton in the role of spaceship captain "Admiral Zahrk."
  • Morcambe and Wise performed a sketch with Arther Lowe famous for playing Captain Mainwaring in Dad's Army as Capatain Bly. At the end of the sketch it is announced Bligh has some loyal crewmen who turn out to be others stars of Dad's Army.
  • In The Simpsons episode "The Wettest Stories Ever Told" features the family telling stories set on ships. The second segment is a parody on Mutiny on the Bounty and casts Principal Skinner as Capt. Bligh, brutalizing the crew members (played by Bart, Milhouse, Martin, Nelson, Jimbo, Dolph and Kearney).


  1. ^ Brown, Gene (1995). Movie Time: A Chronology of Hollywood and the Movie Industry from Its Beginnings to the Present. New York: Macmillan. p. 125. ISBN 0-02-860429-6.  In New York, the film opened at the Capitol Theatre, the site of many prestigious MGM film premieres.
  2. ^ a b c The Eddie Mannix Ledger, Los Angeles: Margaret Herrick Library, Center for Motion Picture Study .
  3. ^ Mutiny on the Bounty, Overview. Movie Guy 24/7. Retrieved April 14, 2013
  4. ^ a b "Charles Laughton". Hollywood Greats. Series 2. Episode 5. August 31, 1978. 12-13 minutes in.
  5. ^ Le Page, Peter "A working lifetime" (1991)

External links[edit]