The Bounty (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


The crew of the H.M.S. Bounty are pushed to their limits by the strict discipline of their captain and decide to launch a mutiny.

Estimated reading time: 8 minutes

Roger Donaldson’s 1984 film The Bounty was the fourth cinematic dramatization of the 1789 incident aboard the H.M.S. Bounty. Eschewing the usual source material of the novel by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall, Donaldson adapts the novel Captain Bligh and Mr. Christian from author Richard Hough. The result of this difference in source material is more exposition on the relationships and the cause of the infamous mutiny.

Captain Bligh (Anthony Hopkins, The Father) and his good friend Fletcher Christian (Mel Gibson, Mad Max) head a crew to the South Pacific on a mission for the British Crown to find breadfruit to transport to the West Indies as food for their large quantity of slaves. The trip becomes increasingly wrought with danger as the strict disciplinarian and narcissist Bligh wants to set a record by taking a hazardous route around South America’s Cape Horn. Resources and moral now low, Bounty finally makes land in Tahiti where they find warm welcome by the natives and King Tynah (Wi Kuki Kaa), who is already familiar with the British through contact with Captain Cook.

Their stay in Tahiti quickly devolves into debauchery with the beautiful native women and overindulgence in drink. Some men begin to feel like disserting, especially those who have fallen in love with one of the many Tahitian women. This includes acting lieutenant Christian who has fallen in love with the king’s beautiful daughter Mauatua (Tevaite Vernette in her only known film role) and has completely absorbed himself in the local customs, including tattooing himself.

Sensing his crew’s devolution in discipline, Bligh begins to impose strict punishments including floggings, and decides they have been too long in this land and order they will be setting sail. Miserable crew members loathe to leave the island paradise and their women behind find themselves under even more torturous discipline once they set sail. Resources begin to run low because of the water taken up by the breadfruits and tempers boil over due to the increasingly unhinged level of discipline from Bligh. Mr. Christian decides to do something about it along with other disgruntled members of the crew.

The Bounty was shot on a ship built especially for this production, way back in 1977, before the production was suspended by Dino De Laurentiis. Eventually, thanks in part to the ship still being in their possession, the production was restarted, and Mel Gibson was brought on for the role originally intended for Christopher Reeve.

The cinematography for the film is every much the match for the less successful 1962 film, Mutiny on the Bounty, starring Marlon Brando. Stunning coral blue seas, lavish period costumes and sets, and the aesthetic pleasure of the sweeping shots of the tropics make the film dazzling to watch.

The numerous tensions during production, such as being stuck on the ship for weeks, the conflict between actors and Gibson’s reported heavy drinking, all allowed to purposely fester by Donaldson led to excellent performances from Gibson, Hopkins, and others in the ‘Bounty’ crew. Then there is the charming and gorgeous Tevaite Vernette who sadly did not give the world any more performances on film. The film also stars screen legend Laurence Olivier as Admiral Hood, and a young Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson.

  • The Bounty (1984) – Imprint Collection #225
  • Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty (1984)
  • Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Liam Neeson, Dexter Fletcher, and Phil Davis in The Bounty (1984)
  • Mel Gibson and Tevaite Vernette in The Bounty (1984)
  • Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty (1984)
  • Anthony Hopkins in The Bounty (1984)
  • The Bounty (1984) – Imprint Collection #225

The Video

Imprint lists The Bounty coming from “a 4K scan of the original negative.” It is presented in a 2.35:1 AVC 1080p encodement on this Blu-ray release. I do not know when this scan was done, but it does not look like a brand-new scan and restoration given the amount of little blemishes that can still be seen in this source. The grain is toward the coarse side, but looks natural. I did see what looked to be slight microblocking near the top of the frame in some spots, but this was when paused. Everything looked natural and satisfying in full motion. The colors present well, look natural, and in the scenes in Tahiti have a warmth that truly conveys that tropical feel.

The Audio

The Bounty comes with an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and LPCM 2.0 stereo mix. The film ran in theaters with a Dolby Stereo mix, so we do not really have the ‘authentic’ theatrical mix here, but the 5.1 mix may come closer than just the two-channel mix. The 5.1 is not as bombastic as one would assume, even in the storm scenes. There are some mild atmospherics in the surround channels and the low frequencies are slight but do provide an adequate heft to the action.

The Supplements

Imprint Films provides The Bounty in one of its delightful, highly collectible limited-edition boxes and includes a second special features Blu-ray that has several new bonus features. My personal favorites in this set are the two featurettes covering the history of the story of the HMS Bounty being adapted to the screen, stretching way back to 1919! One archival featurette on the Feature Film disc, The Bounty on Film, and one on the second special features disc, A Long Hard Voyage: Adapting ‘Mutiny on The Bounty’.

Limited Edition Features:

Strictly Limited Edition Hardbox set with unique artwork and booklet featuring the original press kit. (1500 copies)

Disc One – Feature Film Disc:

  • Audio Commentary by Director Roger Donaldson, Producer Bernard Williams, and Production Designer John Graysmark
  • Audio Commentary by Historical Consultant Stephen Walters
  • “The Making of The Bounty” – Documentary Narrated by Edward Fox (720p; 00:52:36)
  • “The Bounty on Film” (720p; 00:12:25)
  • Theatrical Trailer (720p; 00:02:06)

Disc Two – Special Features Disc:

  • A Fated Ship – documentary surrounding the construction of The Bounty replica ship and the early development of the film (1981) (720p; 00:48:27)
  • In Bligh’s Wake – documentary charting the voyage from New Zealand to Tahiti to deliver The Bounty replica for shooting the film (1984) (720p; 00:48:05)
  • A Desperate Enterprise: Directing ‘The Bounty’ – interview with director Roger Donaldson (1080p; 00:22:31) (NEW)
  • A Long Hard Voyage: Adapting ‘Mutiny on The Bounty’ (1080p; 00:36:21)– featurette (NEW)
  • Limits of Endurance: Scoring ‘The Bounty’ – featurette (1080p; 00:27:36) (NEW)
  • Making Waves – feature-length documentary with members of ‘The Bounty’ film crew (1080p; 02:00:11) (NEW)
  • Mixing Waves – interview with dubbing mixers John Hayward and Robin O’Donoghue (1080p; 00:31:22) (NEW)
  • Voyage of Our Own – interview with second unit cameraman Douglas Milsome (1080p; 00:28:05) (NEW)
  • A Turbulent Journey: The Making of ‘The Bounty’ – Production Slideshow (1080i)

The Final Assessment

The Bounty is one of the better screen adaptions of this story, coming second – a distant second – to the 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty with Charles Laughton as Bligh and Clark Gable as Mr. Christian. That said, this is a very enjoyable film that is exhilarating to watch. Imprint Films release is packed with bonus features and housed in beautiful packaging as well. Recommended.

The Bounty (Limited Edition) is out on Blu-ray in Australia June 28, 2023, from Imprint Films.

  • Rating Certificate: Australia: PG
  • Studios & Distributors: Dino De Laurentiis Company | Bounty Productions Ltd. | Imprint Films
  • Director: Roger Donaldson
  • Written By: Robert Bolt | Richard Hough | Ian Mune
  • Run Time: 131 Mins.
  • Street Date: 28 June 2023
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1
  • Secondary Audio: English LPCM 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English HOH

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The crew of the H.M.S. Bounty are pushed to their limits by the strict discipline of their captain and decide to launch a mutiny.The Bounty (Limited Edition) (Blu-ray Review)