Damn The Defiant! (1962 with Alec Guiness and Dirk Bogarde)


UK / 1962

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Writers: Nigel Kneale, Edmund H North, based on Frank Tilsey’s novel Mutiny

Cast: Alec Guinness, Dirk Bogarde, Maurice Denham, Nigel Stock, Richard Carpenter, Peter Gill, Anthony Quayle, David Robinson

British sea adventure is set during the Napoleonic Wars. Alec Guinness is the captain of the HMS Defiant, Dirk Bogarde his brutal lieutenant, whose cruel treatment of the sailors has added fuel to the fire among the crew who have planned to participate in a fleet-wide mutiny against the British Navy.

Guinness is unaware of Bogarde’s behaviour, but when the lieutenant inflicts a vicious punishment upon Guinness’s midshipman son David Robinson, he begins to see the light. A confrontation is delayed when the ship comes across a French frigate and a battle ensues for its capture. The Defiant is victorious, but it costs Guinness an arm. A captured French officer reveals that his country plans to invade England when the massive mutiny is put into action.

The mutiny eventually starts, led by Anthony Quayle, but Guinness convinces the mutineer to head the ship back to England to warn the military of the planned invasion by the French. When the King hears of the mutiny, he agrees to meet the mutineers’ demand and the ship returns to an uneasy state of normality. However, the truce is shattered when an angry crew member knifes Bogarde. Once again, Quayle leads the ship out to sea where it meets a French fireship. Quayle redeems himself by leading his men into action in the ensuing battle.