Mutiny on the Bounty

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Mutiny on the Bounty is the title of numerous novels, non-fiction books, films, plays and radio plays about the historical mutiny on the HMS Bounty , which took place in 1789 on a three-master of the British Admiralty . The Bounty set out in 1787 under the leadership of Lieutenant William Bligh on a trip to the South Seas to bring cuttings of the breadfruit tree from Tahiti to the Antilles .

The fact that it was precisely this mutiny that aroused and aroused continued interest is due to its extraordinary accompanying circumstances. Above all, this includes the nautical performance Lt. Blighs, who was abandoned by the mutineers along with 18 other men and covered 3,600 nautical miles in an open boat from Tonga to Timor . Then there is the fate of the mutineers, some of whom were caught and brought back to England, others - which only became known decades later - settled on the remote South Sea island of Pitcairn , where some of their descendants still live today.

Film adaptations

The first novel-like and dramatic adaptations of the material were made shortly after Bligh's return to England. The scripts and film adaptations of the 20th century were based, with one exception, on the trilogy of novels by Charles Bernard Nordhoff and James Norman Hall from the 1930s. In it, William Bligh is portrayed as a brutal, sometimes even sadistic captain, which met the taste of the audience, but according to historical research does not correspond to the facts.

The exception to this is the 1984 film by Roger Donaldson and Dino De Laurentiis , which is based on the novel Captain Bligh and Mr Christian by Richard Hough. The film tried to be more precise, on the one hand by conveying the emotions on board, which escalated and led to the mutiny, on the other hand by the first-time reconstruction of the ship according to original plans and in original size - but in steel, current safety regulations and the needs of the film crew to suffice.

Five feature films deal with the topic:

In addition, a multi-part television film entitled Island of the Mutineers was produced in 1989, directed by François Leterrier . The work is a film adaptation of the novel Die Insel by Robert Merle . Even if the plot and the names of the protagonists have been modified, the parallels to the bounty events are clearly visible. The film tries to give an answer to how the mutineers on Pitcairn fared immediately after the mutiny and what social problems arose.

In addition, the German documentary Pitcairn - Endstation der Bounty was produced for WDR in 1988/89 with funds from the Bavarian Film Fund. The FSK rated the film as "valuable". It was shown at the film festival Max Ophüls Preis 1990, in the BR 1990, 1998 and 2009.

In 2007 ZDF produced the documentary Logbook Bounty. Let colourFIELD produce the riddle of the mutiny (script and direction: Petra Höfer and Freddie Röckenhaus ). The restorer Antony Zammit from the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia, where Bligh's logbooks are kept, has his say. During the restoration of the second volume, he noticed that the captain had subsequently changed pages, including the one from the day of the mutiny. What reasons he had for this and when he did it is unclear. The film tries to reconstruct the actual events that led to the mutiny in simulated scenes.

Radio plays

There were also radio plays about the mutiny:


  • The mutineers of the Bounty (1879, original in French Les Révoltés de la Bounty); Short story by the French author Jules Verne .
  • The Bounty Trilogy by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall :
    • Mutiny on the Bounty, 1932; Insel-TB 3208, Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 978-3-458-34908-2 .
    • Men against the Sea, 1933
    • Pitcairn's Island, 1934
  • The Cabin Boy (2011; English original edition: Mutiny on the Bounty , 2008); Irish author John Boyne's youth book ; tells the story from the perspective of John Jacob Turnstile, a cabin boy on the Bounty.
  • The mutiny on the Bounty (first edition Göttingen 1959, several new editions by various publishers); Children's book by the author Günter Sachse ; Presentation of the story of the mutiny in the form of an adventure novel. In his description, Sachse remains close to the details of the events known at the time.
  • The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty ; historical and scientific presentation by the journalist and author Caroline Alexander (German translation by Friedrich Griese) after evaluating the sources; Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-8270-0625-7


  1. Pitcairn - the end of the bounty ( Memento from May 9, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  2. Radio play: The mutiny on the Bounty ( Memento from January 10, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) (1973), on
  3. Radio play: Meuterei auf der Bounty (1977), on
  4. Radio play: Meuterei auf der Bounty ( Memento from July 5, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (2006), on
  5. The mutineers of the Bounty. In: Retrieved June 26, 2016 .

Web links