Roger Donaldson’s film of the classic tale of discipline and revolt in the British navy (1984) is far better than its predecessors, despite the dim wattage of Anthony Hopkins (as Captain Bligh) and Mel Gibson (as Mister Christian). Robert Bolt’s screenplay was originally prepared for David Lean, and it contains a lot of Bolt-ish/Lean-ish disquisition on the question of civilization versus savagery. But Donaldson brings it alive by applying the agonizing rhythm of tension and release, suppression and explosion, that governed his superb New Zealand film Smash Palace. Hardly another filmmaker in the 80s could leap from smooth classicism to dynamic modernism with such agility and expressiveness. The appalling electronic score, by Chariots of Fire‘s Vangelis, is the film’s only grating flaw. With Edward Fox and Laurence Olivier.