Billy Budd


Billy Budd

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 9

Audience Score

Ratings: Not yet available
User image

Billy Budd Photos

Movie Info

This allegorical tale of good verses evil comes from the classic novel by Herman Melville. Billy (Terence Stamp) is an eager 18 year old who goes to sea on a boat commanded by Captain Vere (Peter Ustinov). Billy is relentlessly harassed by the sadistic master-of arms Claggart (Robert Ryan) and his equally slimy underling Squeak (Lee Montague). When Billy kills Claggart, the Captain is torn between own compassion for Billy and the maritime law calling for Billy's death by hanging. He ponders the moral dilemma when a strong case is given for justifiable homicide. Peter Ustinov produced and directed the film. The screenplay was co-written by Ustinov and Robert Rossen.

Watch it now


Terence Stamp
as Billy Budd
Robert Ryan
as John Claggart
Peter Ustinov
as Edwin Fairfax Vere
Melvyn Douglas
as The Dansker
John Neville
as Lt. John Ratcliffe
David McCallum
as Lieutenant Wyatt
Ronald Lewis
as Jenkins
Paul Rogers
as Lt. Seymour
Niall MacGinnis
as Capt. Graveling
John Meillon
as Kincaid
Ray McAnally
as O'Daniel
Victor Brooks
as Amos Leonard
Barry Keegan
as Charles Mathews
View All

Critic Reviews for Billy Budd

All Critics (9)

  • The problem with well-worn historical themes like the eighteenth-century British navy is how to clean the past of the clichés that now barnacle it... Here we have just the usual costume stuff.

    Jul 10, 2019 | Full Review…
  • The script thoughtfully examines the dangers of placing the letter of the law over true justice.

    Jul 22, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • Terence Stamp received his only Oscar nomination (supporting category)for playing the titular role, the naive and charismatic youth, in Peter Ustinov's version of Melville's classic.

    Mar 14, 2012 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • Director Ustinov indulges his own performance, but otherwise, it's a great yarn well told.

    Aug 14, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

Audience Reviews for Billy Budd

Billy Budd Quotes

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

News & Features