Wednesday, October 26, 2011

TOP 300 MOVIES OF ALL TIME: #232 " BILLY BUDD " (1962)

Robert Ryan as always delivers a fine performance as the Master at Arms of a British warship during the Napoleonic Era. He just evil, and he reserves his venom for Terence Stamp in the title role of "Billy Budd". It is Stamp's first part on film as a dim witted seaman accused of murdering Ryan. It is a sincere and sympathetic performance.

There are many fine performances in this film. Melvyn Douglas as the Sail Master. David McCallum as the officer trying to avoid execution for Billy Budd.

The only performance in this film that can be said to exceed Stamp's is that of Peter Ustinov as Captain Vere who stubbornly holds to the rules and insists to the court martial board that Budd must die in spite of his being provoked. The court scenes are the best in the movie. 

The end of this film is simple, but brilliant in its execution. A highly underrated film based on a story from the pen of "Moby Dick" scribe, Herman Melville and directed by the same Peter Ustinov. Highly recommended.

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