The Caine Mutiny (1954)
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Humphrey Bogart + Fred MacMurray, what else could I ask for!?
The Caine Mutiny gives you a lot of context before getting to the heart of its subject matter, so by the time Bogart's Captain Queeg rows in, you're familiar with ship personnel and operations, and you've experienced more than just his command style. He's a tragic figure as well as a villain, but the film maintains an ambiguity about his competence that perhaps reflects your own relationship to authority. By the time we get to the third act, we've probably chosen a side, and we'd be punching the air along with the other characters the same way we might have in A Few Good Men during the JAG sequence. But that's not the final word, is it? The climax resolves a bit after that, giving the characters - and the audience that was, in a way, part of the plot - much more to think about. Things are not so cut and dried as they might be in a more formulaic movie. What attitude do we take in the epilogue, knowing what we now know? I've seen the influence this film has had on a lot of stories put to the screen since (including a couple of standout Star Trek episodes), but it takes nothing away from the original. If it doesn't get a perfect score, it's that the romantic subplot is totally surplus to requirements.
A good one - not sure how I've not seen this before now. What a cast!
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In 3 official lists
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This movie ranks #133 in NY Times' The Essential 1,000 Films to See
This movie ranks #148 in All Time Box Office
This movie ranks #194 in Academy Award Best Picture Nominees