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Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World

Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World

4.3 50
Director: Peter Weir

Cast: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd


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Director Peter Weir's high-seas adventure Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World stars Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey. Along with his loyal crew, Aubrey engages in a grand game of cat-and-mouse with a renegade French frigate from Napoleon's army. Adapted from the series of novels by Patrick O'Brian, the film is presented on DVD in widescreen with


Director Peter Weir's high-seas adventure Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World stars Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey. Along with his loyal crew, Aubrey engages in a grand game of cat-and-mouse with a renegade French frigate from Napoleon's army. Adapted from the series of novels by Patrick O'Brian, the film is presented on DVD in widescreen with a wealth of audio options. Not only can viewers choose either DTS 5.1 Surround Sound or Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound versions of the original English soundtrack, there are also Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks dubbed in French and Spanish. Along with English and Spanish subtitles, the disc is rounded out by a handful of theatrical trailers. Fans interested in additional supplemental features should check out the two-disc edition that was released simultaneously with this disc. A full-screen version is also available.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Fans of seafaring sagas along the lines of Horatio Hornblower will be duly enchanted by Master and Commander, a rousing adventure in the grand tradition of Hollywood's Golden Age. Australian filmmaker Peter Weir wrote and directed this magnificent adaptation of two of Patrick O'Brian's bestselling novels, set during the Napoleonic period, when Britain still ruled the seas. Charismatic Russell Crowe is perfectly cast as O'Brian's larger-than-life hero, "Lucky Jack" Aubrey, one of Her Majesty's most able sea captains. Spotting the French warship Acheron in the waters near South America, he decides -- against the urging of his close friend, the ship's doctor, Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany) -- to pursue the phantom raider that has been laying waste to British vessels, calculating that the element of surprise will help him offset the Acheron's superior speed and armament. While Weir's adaptation offers its share of thrillingly staged open-seas combat scenes, he unfolds the yarn at a leisurely pace and lavishes a great deal of screen time on the supporting characters, particularly delineating Aubrey's relationship to his loyal crew. O'Brian's characters aren't mythic archetypes -- they're believable, flesh-and-blood entities driven only by their duty to Queen and country. Loyalty, honor, and patriotism aren't often celebrated in contemporary movies, but Master and Commander reminds us that these qualities still fuel entertaining tales. It's a gripping film with just about everything you could want: action, suspense, drama, and even a bit of humor.
All Movie Guide
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a beautifully realized, atypically intimate action drama. After an absence of five years, director Peter Weir has made a bold and impressive return. With high seas films notoriously difficult to manage in regards to both budget and box-office marketability, Master and Commander deftly avoids the pitfalls and stands as one of the high points of the genre. The film's attention to period detail is fascinating and renders the setting of the ship as a character all its own. The film is so rich with detail that one gets an almost authentic sense of what everyday life was like on such a ship in the early 19th century. Accolades must go out to all of those involved with art direction, set design, and cinematography. Director of photography Russell Boyd, who has worked with Weir on several previous films, works wonders here, capturing images from seemingly any angle from which one could film a ship. His sweeping photography deftly conveys the grandeur and scope of the ship(s) against the backdrop of the sea, the minute details of life on the ship, and the claustrophobic, crowded lives of the men on board. Sporting an impressive cast of both stars and unknowns, young and old, Master and Commander reigns in their talents to create an utterly convincing ensemble of characters. Perfectly cast as Captain Jack Aubrey, Russell Crowe, not-surprisingly, delivers another layered, intriguing performance. Equally, if not more, impressive is the moving portrayal of ship surgeon Stephen Maturin by Paul Bettany, who sinks into the role and reveals further depths to his acting. The two men, captain and surgeon, display an interesting friendship, characterized by mutual interests (playing music together), sharp divisions (military vs. nature/science), and hearty debate. But between them, and between all of the men on the ship, there is a great sense of mutual respect that is the heart of the film. Also noteworthy, among several impressive youths, is newcomer Max Pirkis as Lord Blackeney, a young midshipman who must deal with a very emotional loss early in the film. Despite all of its successes, the film does pose a few problems, the most notable being the incomprehensibility of much of its dialogue. Along with the film's attention to period and nautical detail, many of the accents and terminology are difficult to grasp, especially when characters are talking fast or dialogue is spoken in the heat of battle. But even that does not deter one from becoming engrossed in the intrigue and drama of the film; in fact, the period accents and dialogue further set one in another time and place, where things are both foreign and strangely relatable. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a rare feat -- a quiet action film. Though the scenes of battle and broken bodies are brutal and gruesome, and every cannonball threatens to crush bones as callously as it shatters wood, much of the film is calm and contemplative. Weir has managed to craft a masculine, yet emotional, film that draws one in to the lives and world of the characters it portrays without necessarily offering too much detail as to their personal stories. In this way, it is a collective, balanced story and not simply a spotlight for any one actor.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
[Wide Screen]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; [None specified]

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Russell Crowe Captain Jack Aubrey
Paul Bettany Dr. Stephen Maturin
Billy Boyd Barrett Bonden
James D'Arcy 1st Lt. Tom Pullings
Lee Ingleby Hollom, Midshipman
George Innes Joe Plaice
Mark Lewis Jones Mr. Hogg
Chris Larkin Captain Howard
Richard McCabe Mr. Higgins, Surgeon's Mate
Robert Pugh Mr. Allen
David Threlfall Killick
Max Pirkis Lord Blackeney
Edward Woodall 2nd Lt. William Mowett
Ian Mercer Mr. Hollar
Max Benitz Calamy, Midshipman

Technical Credits
Peter Weir Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Todd Arnow Co-producer
Carlos Benassini Set Decoration/Design
Russell Boyd Cinematographer
John Collee Screenwriter
Alan B. Curtiss Asst. Director,Executive Producer
Iva Davies Score Composer
Samuel Goldwyn Producer
Christopher Gordon Score Composer
Meyer Gottlieb Co-producer
Doug Hemphill Sound/Sound Designer
Duncan Henderson Producer
Edouard Henriques Makeup
William Hiney Set Decoration/Design
Mark Hitchler Set Decoration/Design
Kevin Ishioka Set Decoration/Design
Richard King Sound/Sound Designer
Manuel Martinez Set Decoration/Design
Paul Massey Sound/Sound Designer
Nick Navarro Set Decoration/Design
Arthur Rochester Sound/Sound Designer
Hector Romero Art Director
William Sandell Production Designer
Mary Selway Costumes/Costume Designer
Lee Smith Editor
Wendy Stites Costumes/Costume Designer
Daniel Sudick Special Effects
Bill Taliaferro Set Decoration/Design
Richard Tognetti Score Composer
Fiona Weir Costumes/Costume Designer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Titles [2:03]
2. The HMS Surprise [1:56]
3. A Shape in the Fog [2:03]
4. Under Attack [2:17]
5. Lucky Jack's Gambit [3:44]
6. The Butcher's Bill [:37]
7. Aubrey's Plan [2:36]
8. No Braver Patient [2:47]
9. Duet [:08]
10. The Ship of the Future [2:09]
11. The Captain's Table [4:03]
12. Turning of the Tide [1:56]
13. A Small Surprise [1:40]
14. The Storm [2:23]
15. Man Overboard [1:05]
16. Pride or Duty? [5:05]
17. Our Destination [:16]
18. The Galapagos [2:55]
19. Survivors [2:50]
20. Broken Promises [3:08]
21. Batteries and Biology [3:04]
22. The Doldrums [:38]
23. Hollom's Weakness [5:06]
24. Jonah [:31]
25. The Doctor's Dilemma [3:04]
26. Heal Thyself [3:34]
27. The Fighting Naturalist [:48]
28. An Unexpected Find [1:59]
29. Nature and Naval Warfare [1:44]
30. Surprise Is on Our Side [2:15]
31. Against the Acheron [:38]
32. Wolf in Sheep's Clothing [2:38]
33. Committed to the Deep [2:01]
34. Captain's Orders [:45]
35. Requirements of the Service [4:28]
36. End Titles [1:34]


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Master and Commander - The Far Side of the World 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 50 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 83 y/o mom and I saw this movie and LOVED it, for the adventure, the relationships,particularly b/w Maturin and Aubrey, complimented by the violin/cello relationships, the intelligence, the MUSIC (the soundtrack is a MUST HAVE), the cinematography,the stop-off at the Galapagos, and on and on.... The feeling of high seas adventure that was transporting... i am usually the Merchant-Ivory type and not fond of violent movies but this was just amazing and i didn't feel the violence was at all gratuitous. Russell Crowe was amazing, as were Max Perkis and Paul Bettany. (There was a lot of testosterone on that ship!!! ) One of the best movies I have seen in a very long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Many people didn't like this movie. My friend told me that he didn't like it because nothing happens in it. That kind of criticsm shows what is wrong with movie-going audiences today. The want continuous explosions, nudity, promiscuous sex, drug use, and excessive language. This movie is a breath of fresh air to all those who feel that filmmaking still has a chance for success. There is a lot in this movie that might turn people away: there are no women, not much action, and it's about male bonding on a war ship. All of these elements fall into place to make a great movie. Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany shine as two friends who don't always share the same values, but must get along to make the ship of warriors run well. The beauty of the story is the way it balances character development with action, which is astounding when it happens. Say what you will, but this is a great movie that comes along maybe once in a lifetime. Especially in today's world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
A movie for anyone that likes movies about sea adventures. The performances were good, especially the main characters. You might recognize some familiar faces. Some sad moments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dauphine More than 1 year ago
Excellent movie. You won't watch this just once. There is so much detail that each time you will find something you missed before. It is a timeless movie. Sometimes you feel there is too much realism but it is exactly why this movie is so good. It is probably too intense for young children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was great. It was one of the best ones that I have seen in a long time. I would recommend it to anyone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
There's too much to say about this film so I'll just say it: This is the best movie ever! Everyone should see it and it's now my favorite movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An amazing film based off two novels. With extordinary acting and directing, its one of the best of 2003.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On of the best movies I have seen in a very long time. Excellent directing and casting; the movement of the film keeps one on the edge of their seat. Head and shoulders above Pirates of the Caribbean.
Vesper More than 1 year ago
Personally, it should have taken the Best Picture Oscar. Regardless of the Academy's oversight in that category, this is a truly brilliant film. Crowe and Bettany give equally stirring performances and have wonderful chemistry. The supporting actors are none to balk at either. The action is captivating. The plot intriguing albeit a tad predictable. And the period accuracy would make a dramaturg swoon! And, as with any Peter Weir film, the direction and cinematography are beautiful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a terrific movie! Historical accuracy adds significantly to enjoying this well-interpreted (and perhaps even better adaptation) of the books upon which the film is based. It's smart, well-edited and well-acted.
Guest More than 1 year ago
adventure, great wild scenery, a good plot, excitement & suspense, educating & enlightening...what more could you want?
RedShikari More than 1 year ago
I'm not going to lie: this film is a bit boring at times. When the ship is stranded with no wind, sweltering in the sun, you feel a little miserable too. When they crest yet another wave, you wonder how many more there are. But in the seemingly endless, pointless shots of the ship at sea, chasing its French nemesis, you begin to feel as if you are there, a part of the crew, suffering and celebrating with them through every mile of their journey. Sure, this story probably works best as the novels the movie was based on, but the soundtrack is amazing, and I guarantee you'll end up with a newfound respect for all of those who risked their lives on the high seas in the days before GPS. If you want to feel what it was like to go to sea, this is the movie for you. Plus, Paul Bettany is always a joy to watch, here as fussy ship doctor/scientist, Stephen Maturin.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Imagine for a moment that you were standing outside of your favourite restaurant sniffing the wonderful smells from the kitchen within !! This is basically what this movie accomplishes. No single film could ever do justice to the 20 volume saga concerning the lives and times of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin characters. But ..in Peter Wier's defense , he comes darn close . The detail lavished on this film is astounding . The story is basic enough. A British Frigate commanded by Capt. Jack Aubrey R.N. is ordered to " Capture , burn or sink " the much larger and faster French privateer "Acheron". The quest becomes an obsession with Aubrey ( wonderfully played by Russel Crow ). His best friend and alter ego Dr.Steven Maturin (played by Paul Bettany ),Physician, philosopher and Naturalist is often at odds with Aubrey over this obsession. Just as in O'Brian's books , character developement and uncompromising attention to detail is the most important aspect of this film . Everything from the Captain's whining steward , Killick ,to rowdy officers drinking and singing is here. Some would say that this movie moves to slowly and that there is not enough action but in truth this movie is not totally about action. This one focuses more on the friendship between Aubrey and Maturin as well as being an absolutely uncompromisingly accurate depiction of life in the British Navy during the Napoleonic era. If all you crave is a lot of fighting I respectfully suggest you go watch "Star Wars" or "Saving Private Ryan". The life of a warship can last for years but it's combat time can be measured in hours. My hat is off to the cast and crew of this movie. It actually made me read all twenty of the books and they are even better then the movie !!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was amazing. The cinematography was fantastic, especially in the battle scenes. The movie did not rely on a gorgeous cast or a tropical location to grasp your attention, but rather the camera and editing elements truly made the film what it was. My main critiques are that the movie was a bit too predictable (the cycle was quite recognisable), and that there was no central plot, mainly little vignettes of battle and dialogue. Overall, however, a fantastic movie with an amazingly talented cast and crew. I'd recommend it for people 14 and older if they have a strong stomach and are not ADD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beautiful historical movie; great story, great action scenes, superb acting by an outstanding cast led by Russell Crowe. Touches your mind and your emotions. When Mr.Crowe is there, you KNOW it will be exceptional!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Best movie in a long while. This is one you will want to watch more then once. Excellent cast and directing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is one of the few lately to take some time to be historic, truthful, well thought out, AND full of action. The battle scenes are visually jaw dropping and accurate. The actors seasoned veterans. And the plot actually sticks close to the book from which it was originally taken from. Not recommended for those who can't pay attention for more than five minutes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is historical but still action.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This fine movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is actually based on NOT one but TWO of the 20 Napoleanic War-era adventure novels (the two novels are in fact titled Master and Commander *and* The Far Side of the World) in author Patrick O'Brian's AUBREY/MATURIN series!!! This blending may prevent another good movie being made from the books, but I hope not. That's why I withheld the fifth star in my rating.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you liked the movie, READ THE BOOKS! Not even Peter Weir's excellent adaptation does Patrick O'Brian's 20-book series justice. They're wonderful, wonderful reads.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I laughed, I cried... I loved everything about this movie. Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany (both superb actors) are fascinating to watch together, and their friendship is at the heart of the story. They are opposites in almost every way, but both characters are very likable (and attractive, I must say). The battle scenes are extremely intense and realistic. The plot takes many, shall we say, side excursions, but these make the movie all the more interesting, in my opinion. Some viewers may be turned off by the length, but I just couldn't stop watching. I plan to pick up a Horatio Hornblower novel soon. That, I think, is the ultimate test of a good movie: does it make you want to read the book- especially a book about naval warfare? This movie does. And despite its length, I could watch it several times, and not only stay interested, but find something new that I love about it every single time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want to spend your money to see a movie with a lot of white men sailing and chasing each other, day in and day out, then this is the movie for you. It is long and boring and mindless, just like sailing.