I studied this play in school and it left a lasting impression on me. Written by Herman Melville, this classic tale of good versus evil is set against the backdrop of the 1797 Spithead Navy Mutiny where British sailors, sick of the Admiralty's indifference, refused to set sail and demanded a pay rise as their pay had not been increased for a century. In this, his film debut, Terence Stamp plays Billy Budd as an almost Christ-like figure contrasting violently with Robert Ryan's sadistic master-at arms, Mr. Claggart. Peter Ustinov stars as the captain but his performance verges on over-acting at times and is occasionally reminiscent of his portrayal of Nero in 'Quo Vadis?'. Ustinov also directed the film which may explain his acting. This is a thoughtful film which sticks closely to the original story and even the minor roles are brilliantly portrayed. The evergreen David MacCallum is in one of his finest roles and plays the perfect counterpoint to Ustinov's Captain Vere. Billy Budd is falsely accused of an offence by the evil Claggart but his speech impediment prevents him from defending himself when he is forced to face Claggart's brazen lies in front of Captain Vere. The story follows the moral maze people have to navigate when justice and legal process collide. The whole story unfolds on board a British warship and is thought-provoking story which provides the perfect antidote to today's airhead offerings.