Billy Budd

Billy Budd

Peter Ustinov (1962)

124min
U Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Co-writer/director Peter Ustinov's adaptation of Herman Melville's unfinished allegorical novel about life aboard an 18th-century British warship has a cannonade of powerful performances. One of the best is from Ustinov himself as the indecisive captain, but Robert Ryan as the sadistic master-at-arms and an Oscar-nominated Terence Stamp as the innocent Billy also do well. The film backs off from the fable that Melville intended, but it's a rather plodding treatment compared with Benjamin Britten's intense opera version.

Summary

This period drama is a fine adaptation of Herman Melville's classic novel about a naive, idealistic sailor who finds himself facing a court martial for the murder of a sadistic master-at-arms. The cast includes Terence Stamp, Robert Ryan, Peter Ustinov, Melvyn Douglas and Ronald Lewis.

Cast & Crew

Billy Budd Terence Stamp
Master-at-Arms John Claggart Robert Ryan
Capt Edward Fairfax Vere Peter Ustinov
The Dansker Melvyn Douglas
Jenkins Ronald Lewis
Lt John Ratcliffe John Neville
Squeak Lee Montague
O'Daniel Ray McAnally
Director Peter Ustinov
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Rank Film Dists Ltd
Drama