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Set in 1797 at the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars, Damn the Defiant! (also known as H.M.S. Defiant) is an enthralling British naval drama made to capitalize on MGM's epic remake of Mutiny on the Bounty, also released in 1962. It's based on Frank Tilsey's novel Mutiny and stars Alex Guinness as a fair-minded captain locked in psychological conflict with his manipulative, coldly malicious first officer (Dirk Bogarde), and the parallels with the famous true story are clear. However, there were many naval mutinies during this period, and this large-scale saga, which includes some spectacularly staged widescreen naval battles, offers a realistic depiction of life in the British navy at the time--from the press gangs and floggings to the appalling food and living conditions.
Director Lewis Gilbert--who previously helmed Sink the Bismarck! (1960)--strikes a good balance between the personal drama and sweeping maritime adventure. Guinness successfully varies his firm-but-fair officer from The Bridge on the River Kwai, Bogarde is chillingly hateful, and Anthony Quayle gives strong support. --Gary S. Dalkin
Great movie but like the classic " Stagecoach" I purchased the picture broke up during the final, dramatic scene of the movie. Simply maddening.Published 13 months ago by MarkSamuel
A fairly accurate portrayal of the goings on in the little world that was naval life at the time. A must have for fans of the era.Published 17 months ago by Thomas P Hurlbut
The film is an excellent portrayal of the British Navy in 1797. The scenes showing the press gangs, the hard and dangerous work, the brutal floggings for relatively trivial... Read morePublished on April 6 2003
What can you say about the powerhouse teaming of Alec Guiness and Dirk Bogarde?? Two of the greatest actors of our time. Read morePublished on July 1 2002 by Deborah MacGillivray
I love stories set in the wooden ship time period. This one is not a disappointment...the battle scenes and the depictment of life on a frigate are very realistic. Read morePublished on Dec 13 2001 by M. La Vean