The Bounty is an intelligent, firstrate, revisionist telling of the famous tale of Fletcher Christian's mutiny against Captain Bligh. Particularly distinguished by a sensational, and startlingly human, performance by Anthony Hopkins as Bligh, heretofore one of history's most one-dimensional villains.
Occasionally, this Bounty seems about to soar; the scene in which the ship first makes land at Tahiti, all throbbing drums, bare breasts and hooting sailors, is wonderfully rich if no less cliched. At other times, as when the Bounty leaves calm water for a gale in a split-second cut, the film seems almost amateurish. The rest of it occupies the middle ground between ho-hum and grand -- sure to disappoint those knowledgeable about the early films, still likely to engage those with two hours to kill. [05 May 1984, p.C5]
Though The Bounty is almost willfully perverse in thwarting audience expectations, and though it ends anticlimactically, you can't dismiss it. You know you've seen something. A spell, however faint, has been cast, like the one the island casts on the Bounty's crew. [14 May 1984, p.81]
The Bounty has an incredible cast and a fabulously well-put-together production, and pays impressive attention to historical accuracy – more than any of the previous cinematic recreations. With all this going for it, it's a pity that the drama falls flat.
Like so many modern movies, The Bounty appears interesting and even spellbinding when preoccupied with settings and textures, but maddeningly obtuse when obliged to clarify basic dramatic conflicts. [17 May 1984, p.E8]