BILLY BUDD
1962, Warner Bros., 123 min, UK, Dir: Peter Ustinov

Herman Melville’s last novel was staged in 1951 as both a Benjamin Britten opera and a Broadway play; the latter served as the basis for this superb high-seas adventure. Peter Ustinov directs and co-stars as the captain of a British ship during the Napoleonic wars who gives his Master of Arms (an unforgettably cruel Robert Ryan) a free hand, leading to tragic consequences. In the title role as a young sailor pressed into service, Terence Stamp earned an Oscar nomination.


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