Sailors mutiny aboard the H.M.S. Defiant when the humane captain is wounded and the cruel first mate takes command. In spite of the mutiny, they join the British fleet to fight the invading French. — Genre: Feature Film-Act... more »ion/Adventure
Bruce Trinque | Amston, CT United States | 10/20/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First I'll repeat what I wrote in my review of the VHS version of "Damn the Defiant!": "There aren't a lot of movies about the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, despite the popularity of novels such as those written by Patrick O'Brian and C.S. Forester, but "Damn the Defiant" is an action film far above average. Not only does it boast fine acting by Alec Guiness and Dirk Bogard, it presents an unusually realistic look at life aboard a warship in the Age of Fighting Sail. If you like Jack Aubrey and Horatio Hornblower, then this is a movie you shouldn't miss.""And I will now state that the DVD version is even better. It presents both the "widescreen" as well as the clipped "full screen" versions (the VHS has only the "full screen") and visually the "widescreen" is much more impressive, giving an even better impression of life aboard a sailing man of war. If you are at all interested in this era of history, this DVD is a real keeper!"
If you are a Hornblower fan, you'll like this one!
Alan R. Holyoak | 05/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The movie presents a side of Napoleanic British Royal Navy life I have seldom seen in film. Lashings are common enough in sailing films, but the use of corporal punishment, press gangs, and poor shipboard life and the like reveal a picture of life in the Royal Navy in the early 1800s less often shown.As for the movie...while a a good and decent ship's captain (played by Alec Guinness) prepares for sea, we learn that his young son will ship out with him as a new midshipman. In the meantime navy pressgangs are out on the streets rounding up men to be pressed into service in the navy. Involved in rounding up men for the crew is a new first officer (Dirk Bogard).The story centers around conflict between the good and fair captain and his devious and conniving first officer. Caught in the middle of them is the young, innocent midshipman son of the captain.A supporting plot involves a plan by the sailors to seek for improved conditions...and there is, of course, the war.One thing leads to another, and the captain is wounded in battle. While the captain is bedridden the now outwardly abusive first officer takes over and runs roughshod over the crew and the ship.I enjoy this film for it's fine efforts toward historical accuracy. The character development is excellent, and you can feel the strain on the captain as he stands by and is helpless to remove his son out from under the thumb of the 1st officer. An excellent yarn of life at sea. Guinness is, as always, outstanding. Top notch! Top marks! 5 stars."
Excellent story of the age of wooden ships and iron men!
Roger J. Buffington | Huntington Beach, CA United States | 08/02/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fine story of life aboard a British naval vessel during the Napoleonic wars. Alec Guiness stars as the enlightened and thoughtful captain, Dirk Bogarde is the cruel and hard first lieutenant (executive officer). The two are locked in a battle of wills and leadership concerning the means by which the ship will be commanded. The captain believes that a happy ship is an efficient ship, and seeks to lead by inspiration. The first lieutenant believes in merciless discipline, reinforced with his sadistic love of inflicting punishment. This conflict is complicated by the fact that the men of the British fleet are plotting the famous Spithead mutinies, and the first lieutenant has influential friends in London. This is a very interesting story of leadership and conflict.The storyline moves along smartly most of the time, and the acting is quite good. The special effects are very good--no "bathtub ships" or battles. Guiness does his customary excellent job in his role as captain, although I personally thought he might have exerted more personal force than he did; his leadership style as portrayed in the film is somewhat understated. Bogarde is excellent as the villainous first lieutenant--you'll hate him by the end of the movie.This is a fine movie worth watching more than once."
In the tradition of Hornblower
Dan Thompson | Huntsville, Alabama | 11/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Damn the Defiant is built around a true incident, the "Spithead Mutiny" of the British Channel Fleet during the war with France in 1797. British sailors rose up in a mostly peaceful rebellion against the abominable conditions in which they were forced to serve. The movie, based on the novel "Mutiny" by Frank Tilsley, tells the story of the frigate Defiant, on a solitary mission deep into the French held Mediterrean Sea. The crew, already involved in the planning for the fleet-wide mutiny, suffer under the lash of the ship's sadistic First Lieutenant (Dirk Bogarde), while the Captain (Alec Guinness) is incapacitated, first by the torture of his son and then by the loss of his arm in a battle with a French frigate. But the good triumph in the end, as is right. It is a surprisingly complex story with well developed characters, but it delivers plenty of action as well. The battle scenes are well done, though the final action with a fire ship is too clearly model work. The DVD provides a fine viewing experience. The video is generally very good. The picture is soft occasionally and the rich colors become over-saturated in a few brief instances, but I did not find any of these flaws too distracting, and it is far better than my old VHS recording. The sound is very full and the dialogue was always clear and never overwhelmed. Obviously, a movie this old is not going to provide the same kind of audio as a contemporary film, but I found no serious fault with it. I highly recommend Damn the Defiant to any fan of naval adventure in the age of sail, as typified by Horatio Hornblower."
In the Tradition of O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series
SereneNight | California, USA | 11/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Alex Guinness stars as the newly appointed captain of the Defiant, a ship in distress because of the oh-so-evil first mate played by Dirk Borgarde. At first unwilling to believe the rumors of his first officer's nefarious ways, the captain attempts to give the First Officer the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that Defiant is NOT a happy ship, and his new first officer is entirely to blame.
Flogging, abuse, and a impending mutiny threaten to destabilize the Defiant. Can the captain appease the mutineers or will he (and his son), pay the ultimate price.
I thoroughly enjoyed Damn the Defiant! This was an entertaining movie with a cast of great characters. My only peeve? By the end of the film I really, really hated the first officer. I really wanted him to SUFFER for what he did to the crew. In my opinion, he got off a bit too easily.
Overall, an excellent film, which will appeal to those who like Horatio Hornblower or Master and Commander. "