History Buffs: Master and Commander

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History Buffs is back! To thank you all for your patience while I've been away on holiday, I'm starting off with Master and Commander! SUPPORT HISTORY BUFFS ON PATREON /> ● Like us on Facebook: /> ● Follow us on Twitter: /> ________________________________________­­_________________________________ - Check out These Videos - Zulu Review - Gladiator Review - />We Were Soldiers - />Kingdom of Heaven – />The Last Samurai – />Why Game of Thrones reads like a History Book and not a Fantasy Epic - />The Patriot - />The Ghost and the Darkness - />300 - />1492 Conquest of Paradise - />Amadeus - />Braveheart - />Vikings Historical Accuracy and Season 4 Predictions - />Waterloo - />Alexander - />Lawrence of Arabia - />Goodfellas - />Agora - />Saving Private Ryan - /> Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 American epic historical drama film written, produced and directed by Peter Weir. The film stars Russell Crowe as Captain Jack Aubrey and Paul Bettany as Dr. Stephen Maturin. The film, which cost $150 million to make, was a co-production of 20th Century Fox, Miramax Films, Universal Pictures, and Samuel Goldwyn Films, and released on November 14, 2003 to critical acclaim. The film's plot and characters are adapted from three novels in author Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey–Maturin series, which includes 20 completed novels of Jack Aubrey's naval career. At the 76th Academy Awards, the film was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture. It won in two categories, Best Cinematography and Best Sound Editing and lost in all other categories to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.

Kalo Arepo
Love the music of Bach and Boccherini as used in this film.
Paul Thompson
Humbly speaking, this movie goes down in cinema history as one of the most under-rated and ubder-appreciated movies of all time. Indeed, the movie bordered on masterpiece. It also has an outstanding soundtrack, similar to Amadeus and The Mission. Sometimes I feel embarrassed that the culture in the States prefer DC-type super heros over quality history films as this. Your analysis and praise for it is worthy and well deserved.
I think I speak for most of America when I say that we can easily watch a film where the Americans are not the protagonists (especially in regards to history). However, considering that no ship and captain actually took down the U.S.S. Constitution, using a fictional ship is completely fine imo. I do wish that we got a more nuanced film about Britain during this period though. I would love a film about the Revolutionary War that portayed the legitimate reasons that someone would remain loyal to Britain and give us a nuanced view of both sides of the conflict rather than just "good vs those evil lobsters". American audiences at large would not reject it the way I see it, however, Hollywood just won't take that chance.
Joe D'Antonio
“It wasn’t French, it was American” *guitar riff of American National Anthem, Eagle scream, George Washington punching George III in the throat*
I can highly recommend the Aubrey-Maturin book series by Patrick O'Brien, some of the best, most historically accurate naval fiction around, and very entertaining as well.
ethan hatcher
let's here it for Old Ironsides everybody!
Thomas Cochrane sounds like the most awesome sailor who ever lived. The brass balls on a man like that.
Foxhill Films
One of the things I respect the most about this film was the decision to leave out all cringy love-clichés that you find in almost every movie out there.
Wesley Jarboe
At the end of your video you raise three criticisms of the movie. In order, they are... 1. A failure to understand why a "French warship" would be built in the United States. Answer: The Acheron was NOT a French warship. In the movie, it is stated that she is a privateer. A privateer is a privately owned warship, frequently from a completely different country such as the United States, which operates under the flag of the nation that issued the letter of marque, in this case France. In short, the Acheron was a privately owned American ship whose captain had gotten a letter of marque from France allowing him to hunt British merchantmen under a French flag. That would have been an act of piracy without a letter of marque. It was an act of war with one. That leaves the question of why the crew spoke French. The best speculation I've got is based on the fact that there are, and were at that time, a lot of French speaking Americans. That was especially true in the area around New Orleans which had been purchased from France in 1803. So perhaps the captain and crew were from New Orleans, while the ship was built in New England. 2. Why did the British pursue the privateer around the cape in a storm? Answer: Pride. Pure and simple. The British believed themselves to be the masters of the sea, and frequently refused to be stopped by it. That is purely speculation. The speculation is historically feasible however. 3. Why did Hollywood make the ship an American privateer under a French flag instead of using a frigate of the U.S. Navy. Answer: Because Hollywood is a bunch of elitist assholes who think they're grownups and everyone else is a bunch of children. Once again, this is speculation. It is however the best speculation I can offer.
George Hamilton
Well, the difference is that the Americans would have lost in "Master and Commander" whereas they did win in "Iwo Jima."
Chrisjan Wust
How we have 9 spiderman movies, yet no Master and Commander sequel, is beyond me.
Fun fact: at no point in history did England posses the most modern ships. Theirs were always 'an older model' and new ones were often captured ships. Because their crews and officers were so much better, they sunk or captured the enemy ships, who would have to build a new (and modern) ship to replace it. The English just had to repair theirs.
Norwegian Blue
I agree that it is not giving American audiences enough credit for being able to handle a movie where they are the "bad guys", as long as it is somewhat historically accurate. It actually pissed me off when the film makers made the crew of "U-571" American, when it was a movie obviously based on the achievements of British sailors.
Choppington Otter
Those pesky British keep getting in the way of European dictators. Considering the island is only about 500 miles long so tiny in comparison to France etc. it must REALLY annoy the continentals 😁
Ok I am pretty sure Russell Crowe teased on his twitter a sequel.
Phil Dunn
Think of history to understand why the antagonist was changed to the French: It started filming 17 June 2002. It was probably funded in late 2001. What happened in late 2001, which might make American audiences not too excited about being portrayed as the enemy? After 9-11 it would be box office poison. The US was traumatized and pissed enough to start two wars. Weir &co wanted the movie to be a success - Why add an anchor? While not quite the same, think "Letters from Iwo Jima" after Pearl Harbor.
"This ship is England" But what if some of them were scottish?
Grely Moly Cremp
Can you do the TV series Hornblower, I found it pretty good.
Heinz Guderian
Man i am still bummed they opted out of another movie. Master&Commander might very well be one of my favorite movies out there.
Early Crowd
So.. Letters from Iwo Jima next?
"america is a little bit smarter than that" we allowed hillary and trump to be strong candidates for election, and we ended up electing trump. ill leave it at that.
Miquel Vico
Recentlly re-watched, love how Aubrey always refers to midshipman Blakeney as lord (him beina a duke) despite of his age, even when he is comforting him after the amputation.
Science Chap
Please please please please please stop referring to Surprise as "the" HMS Surprise. She's either the Surprise, or HMS Surprise. HMS stands for His / Her Majesty's Ship. You wouldn't say or write "the Her Majesty's Ship". Otherwise, great video!
Chick Sage
The HMS Guerriere was well known, in America, especially in Baltimore, as a ship that had boarded several American vessels and pressed hundreds, or more, American citizens, into the service of Her Majesties Royal Navy. In all, over 5,000 native born American citizens were forced to serve in the British navy. Britain didn't recognize the right of it's citizens to renounce their citizenship, and claimed this as their main justification, for pressing Americans into service. This, being one of the chief reasons for American declaring war, on Britain, and kicking off the War of 1812, it's worth noting. Thank you for making these videos.
Jack the Gestapo
this movie is terribly underrated.
Alan Seeling
Since childhood I have been captivated by the old sailing ships. They are, to me, one of the most beautiful creations of mankind, a product of practicality and necessity. Not previously being familiar with Patrick O'Brian, this movie stirred me to read his 20 books. Not once, but twice, and then to listen to all on Audible THREE times. The performances of the readers is really something to hear. Amazing. Then, crying out for more of the same, I struck upon Bernard Cornwell and his description of Wellington's historic campaigns and battles, from India to Waterloo, told from a infantry man's point of view. The BBC made some very trashy "episodes" but they are best not viewed. Someone needs to do a good job on these, The Sharpe series. He, by the way, is the author and semi producer of the History Channel series dealing with the history of England after the Roman withdrawal, The Last Kingdom. I have read every word of Cornwell's multiple series of books dealing with an historical England. To my way of thinking, Cornwell is far and above every current historical novelist.
I've polished the brass on The Constitution twice, and I love that ship.
Harry Ford
The Acheron in the film is anachronistic. In the novel "The Far side of the World" it is 1812 and Aubrey is chasing an *American* 44 gun frigate. This made perfect sense in the novel but it absolutely does not when dealing with a French letter of marque in 1805. That the writers kept this in is really annoying.
Chris Djernaes
Fantastic! Please do another Incredible Story on the USS Constitution and Thomas Cochrane :) Truth is ALWAYS stranger and more exciting than fiction. Sadly Hollyweird abhors Truth.
My favorite line from the movie is "To wives and sweethearts. May the never meet.".
Kalle Konttinen
As an Hornblower fan and Finnish Army reservists I'm sorry about one mistake that is not mentioned about Master and Commander. In a couple scenes Captains decisions are argued and debated as in modern UK film script team would argue their writings in London office while tasting a late. In 1800's Royal Navy you didn't debate Captains decisions because that was death sentence offence! Royal Navy wasn't modern democratic society where you can debate superiors decisions freely.. I'm not sure is this mistake in orginal book because I have read it over ten years a go, but I noticed this mistake while watching film.
Mr Vinson
One of my favorite movie.
SuperSix Delta
Outstanding film. Kept me glued to my seat.
jake jones
Im american and i wouldnt give two shots if our people were the enemy. God knows we have been in many wars.
kar muts
I know this is late but I review on Das Boot would be nice? It's probably the best U-Boat film ever. Like ever.
Damn cant stop watching these :0
Well as far as the American audiences not being upset by Letters of Iwo Jima and may be upset by Master and Commander if it was an American ship they were fighting I bring about this question. Who won? At the end of Master and Commander the British ship won. At the battle of Iwo Jima the Americans won. That could have been a factor in changing the movie to the French.
Alexander Jakubsen
Great review but its more like a game of cat and also cat.
I've just discovered your channel, and found your take on the historical elements of Master and Commander fascinating. I still have a bucket wish that Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany had been able to reprise their roles in a sequel, given the number of Aubrey-Maturin books published by Patrick O'Brian. Master and Commander is (still) a brilliant film.
This makes Master and Commander so much better
jeff walther
This historical documentary video is peerless candy, saltwater taffy, of exquisite taste, etc., i.e., What if the film were 100% historically accurate, 100% realistic, (as law allows), and told the 100% REAL story of the REAL jack -- THE true and actual Sea Wolf, doing all his absolutely unique, phenomenal sea-wolfish things he did, waiting here for us to use, like money, like historical salvage. What i mean is this: What if the actual Sea Wolf, is misunderstood in life as sane. What if he's a 19th century, ocean-going Freddy Kruger in the Royal Navý; a Jack the Ripper, who didn't know it or care, like everyone around him, who were as bloodthirsty as can be? What would the dinner conversation really be like in THAT warship's officer's mess?
Michael Kennedy
thomas cochrane vs john paul jones
Mike D
Fantastic flick...modern classic
Carter Hanson
I saw this movie for the first time when I was 9 or 10, and I loved it. This was back in 2007ish, so we were all into Pirates of the Carribean, but just watching M&C I could tell that it was the real deal. I still love the first Pirates, and have a soft spot for the second and third, M&C is still my go-to age of sail movie.
Brendan Culph
Thumbs up if you want a review of Schindler's list
as a side note.... you can thank the British for USS Constitution still being in the shape she is in. a common practice of the British was to make a full set of working plans (blueprints) of all captured ships. in January of 1815 the British captured the 44 gun frigate USS President . her construction was the same as that of USS Constitution.at the end of the 1990's the USS Constitution was in bad shape. rot had weakened her to the point where just towing her was a concern. it was decided that she would be "refit" and unlike other maintenance done on her, this work would be done in a manner to restore her to her original condition and form. the plans made from the captured USS President were found in British archives and used as the basis for rebuilding USS Constitution.
Are you familiar with Peter Jansen Wessel "Tordenskiold" (Thundershield).. if not look him op... born, 28 October 1690 – died, 12 November 1720) Vice-Admiral when in his 20s (a skandinavien Cochrane)
Daniel Apostol
Letter of Iwo Jima is a bad example. No-one expects the viewers to root for the Japanese and the outcome is clear since it is in a historic setting. That movie is more of a scripted documentary, you can't compare that to an old-fashioned adventure movie.
James Longstreet
I keep hoping they make another Master Commander.Done in the same amazing way.⛵
If you don't do All Quiet on the Western Front we riot.
How can you call Napoleon "master of Europe" if he never conquered Portugal, one of the greatest Empires at the time?
A possible theory regarding the choice to alter the American ship to a French ship has to do with the peculiar relationship of Anglophone nations. It's hard to argue against the idea that we were children of England that eventually became siblings, but the element of hate is so far removed that nobody really grasps why we would ever be at war with England. It's peculiar to watch our nations at arms against each other without some mustache twirling villain behind it all. In a situation where you have two captains doing what they do, it does become a bit more complicated to decide the limits to which you can feel for Aubrey and his crew. They're clearly the protagonists, they are clearly the driving force of the movie, but at the end of the day for an anglophone audience, it's easier to not see us at each others' throats. Juxtapose this with a move like Letters From Iwo Jima or Casualties of War and you get a different dynamic. The visceral dislike for the Imperial Japanese and Vietnamese in the two movies is still real for some people. We killed oodles of one another, but once war ends there has to be some sort of catharsis, a need to humanize those that were once you enemies to reconcile the natural homicidal tendency in humans. In Letters from Iwo Jima, we were given a few sympathetic Japanese characters that we already KNEW were doomed by dint of the historical record of what occurred on the Bonin Islands. In short it comes down to a sort of instinctive need to convince yourself why you don't want to kill them anymore and a sort of need for closure by leaving the perception of the evil enemy behind. It is this sort of thing that motivates men to go back to the countries they fought in long after a war and find the unique camaraderie among their former enemies as the men who survived it. Between Britain and America, you'll never have that need for catharsis in the modern era because we've been close for well over 100 years now.
Joseph Demis
Excellent review Vic. And you're right when you ask "Why can't we have both?" Entertainment AND historical accuracy! This is one of my all-time favorite movies, along with Zulu, Cross of Iron, and The Unknown Soldier, a Finnish Continuation war movie from 2017. Keep up the good work!
Johnny Solipsis
Talk about confusing! I love Das Boot and I'm naturally rooting for the crew. But of course they are killing fellow Brits and I feel bad about that. (spoiler alert) When most are killed at the end, it's terribly sad, but I've got to say, when the formation of Spitfires break, my heart swells with pride for our airmen. As they say, go figure.
Snuggles McSquishbottom
Came for the cello, stayed for the history.
Brick 0119
Iwo Jima was a good film, shows there are 2 sides to every story I guess.
Science Chap
Oh, and this is far and away my favourite historical movie ever. They should have made one of these every 2 years. Patrick O'Brien wrote such a rich history that there is ample opportunity. Such a shame that only one was made.
Erasmus SixFiftyFour
Great video! A neat little coincidence : that kid who gets his arm amputated also was in Rome as a young not-yet son and heir of Ceasar . 😀
It's truly one of the best historical movies I've seen and really great because it portrays the harsh reality of the ship life back in the 1800's. The movie gets just about everything right, from visuals to music to a number of details and one amazing cast. You might have Crowe and Bettany as the main characters but it wasn't just about them, the whole crew starred and brought the movie to life. Everyone from the officers to the powder-monkeys were characters. If there's one complaint I've had about this, it's the fact that they never got to make another one despite wanting to.
Ruben Silva
Review "letters of iwo jima please"
"Great Britain at the time had the greatest navy in the world"... and now is becoming an islamic colony. Crazy how nature do that
Jim Eiden
I’ve read the entire series. It’s fantastic.
Robert Trageser
The movie was one of the best films Ive seen. Yes the title is confusing. The books are even better. Ive read the whole series of books twice (24 books,about 8000 pages) Ive just started again. It will take me 2 or 3 years to get through them. Yes, they’re that good! If you read them take your time with a thesaurus or wikipedia handy.
So happy you have a review of this. This is my most favorite movie of all time.
There is much speculation about Jack Aubrey being based on Cochrane but if anyone has read the latest biography of Edward Pellew they'd be struck by the obvious parallels between Aubrey's character and career and those of Pellew. Pellew was the greatest seaman of his time and it was his aggression and obsession with gunnery training that set the standards that came to characterise the Royal Navy of the early 19th century.
Adam wiggins
My new favourite movie critic
jesus christ the sea wolf dude captured 53 ships ,. that is insane
paul kohler
I really liked the Movie & Music. No one could beat the Royal Navy at Sea in most cases. By 1812, USA had the Frigate Class which was heavier that British Frigate, but USS Constitution would not engage a Man of War - Out Classed. That being said, America's limited Navy did well - On the High Seas - on a limited level, but the USA won a major engagement on Lake Champlain to affect negotiations for Peace with Britain. Can not forget that England had their hands full with the war with France. Thanks for Video. I liked the TV Series Hornblower; could you do a review ?
American Prepper
Nothing like a little sodomy on the high seas to get your day going there lads
Boochi Man
Please do Titanic.
Keith Graham
History (and science) are fascinating enough without Hollywoods 'added drama'. It angers me to see misinformation when it is so easy to get it right.
Jack Murphy
You should review The Last of the Mohicans next. or even Troy! I bet you'd have a field day with that one!
John Smith
Ryan Yeager
Thr next movie you should do is Gangs of New York.
Keith Dean
I've never seen Master and Commander but the comments remind me of Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) starring Gregory Peck. Maybe the characters were inspired by the same people.
Cameron Adams
Hms victory in Portsmouth Harbor, yeahhhhh
bout time. missed you boo <3
Acute Gryphon
I hate to be nit picky, but you said the USS Constitution fought in the Atlantic Ocean, but the battle actually happened in Lake Erie, of the Northern coast of Ohio, right there next to Put-In-Bay
What did Nick mean by calling the officer a "Joner" at 17:24?
Gerard Gillespie
the plot was taken from the old Robert Mitchum picture: The Enemy Below
I feel like switching your flag is kinda low. I mean, its smart, but smart on the same level that cheating in a video game is. It gets you to win, (which is really all that matters in a life and death situation) but it doesnt take that much skill.
Charles S
The book is not as good as the movie, mostly because Captain Aubrey is an oaf in the book.
Masturbator and commander
Dennis Steubing
no americans are not smart. And the reason why Hollywood do not want to show USA as an enemy is Propaganda.
Not sure if your example works very well when talking about the fragile egos of Americans and what they can or can't take. You use Letters from Iwo Jima as an example at how Americans can take watching a movie from the "enemies" perspective. Let's not forget that they made 2 movies, a companion piece to Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of our fathers. One from the Japanese perspective and one from the Americans. Essentially giving the Americans the option to those who can't stomach the one enemy perspective version. Listen, I am American, and I can tell you for sure we have fragile egos. This is both a negative and a positive. It does instill that undeniable drive we Americans have to try and be the best. We don't like to lose at all. (not that anyone does really. Some hate it more than others though.) But the negative is........we can be a ripe bunch of cunts sometimes.
Saw this in theaters with my dad when it came out (I was a young kid at the time). Definitely the reason why I love historical films and 1800's nautical history
One of my biggest complaints about master and commander was the unneccesary and anachronistic insertion of the evolution narrative. Why would a captain in the middle of what he considers his highest duty and a fierce naval engagement randomly decide to dock his ship while still in pursuit of his enemy? How did he know about turtles and birds 50 years before Darwin published his evolution of the species? Evolution wasn't even considered a serious scientific topic until well after, people like Lamarck were barely beginning to theorize on speciation and mechanisms of genetic drift, yet here is this random British captain waxing philosophic about how science would soon solve all our problems... It didn't make sense to me and took me out of the story pretty effectively. Also added many minutes that were better served not being present. Or at least not shown onscreen
David Stasny
Wow, that was pretty cringe worthy... never let the truth get in the way of a good tale, eh?
Risky Nights
It’s because America still won the war.
The French and their Spanish allies had bigger and better ships at the time, but the English vessels had a better trained officer corps, more experienced sailors, and were able to fire three broadsides to the enemies' two in the same amount of time. Also, the English blockade of French and Spanish ports at the time ensured that the English had plenty of practice while the French and Spanish were cooped up in harbor.
Jove Joved
Difference with "Letters from Iwo Jima" is that no matter how much we got to know the primary Japanese characters as humans with their own motivations, the incoming Americans were still fighting for a just cause. In the book Far Side of the World, "preying" on British whalers would truly place Americans in a villainous position.
Christian Burrell
Of course, in the movie Letters from Iwo Jima, everyone knows the Americans ultimately will win and they also had a companion movie told from the American perspective. IMO - the Director was right, American audiences would not have liked keeping the book true. Just think if they tried it in Trump’s America. There would have been a riot.
when it comes to weather or not Americans would back the movie if the enemies were an American ship, most Americans are really bum (and I'm an American) and blindly patriotic, so they wouldn't have backed the movie
Adam Cliett
If you think Americans want to see a movie where Brits are the protagonist and the US is the antagonist then you're clueless. Being told from a different prospective is not the same by the way. Also, if it's based on actual events that's much different than historical fiction. You know, you're very biased against America and that's strange to me as I'd guess many of your subscribers are from the US.
Johnny Thunder
While I agree with Nick's comments on changing the enemies from being American to French I actually do like that change: because one of the things at stake in the movie is maintaining British naval superiority that prevents France from invading England. Had the surprise lost to American enemies that would have been bad for them, but it would not have endangered England. Having the enemies be Napoleonic France adds a layer of suspense.
RALF 08/15
Austerlitz and Tschenna? 🤣 Jena und Auerstedt. 1806. Against Preußen (Prussia) Austerlitz was in Dezember 1805, a Why are you anglophon peoples unable to speak names of foreign towns? For example when an English or American speaks the name of the German capitol it sounds like "Bööhrlin". Hilarious. We Germans can't stop laughing about it.😉
Burnt Bookfilms
I know Im a year late to say this but... No the Victory is not the oldest ship still in use. The Victory is a ship converted to be a museum and is only dropped into the water occasionally just so the British can claim it's still in use. The Constitution (Olde Ironsides) is literally still in use as a navy ship. We still use Ironsides as an active navy ship.
What should I say? I'm German and we are the bad guys in almost any movie we appear in. Even in the rare incident of German actors acting in Hollywood movies and not playing a German they almost always still are the bad guys.
Old Fart Films
Another gem by director Peter Weir: 'Picnic at Hanging Rock’, ‘Gallipoli’, ‘Witness’, 'The Mosquito Coast’, 'Dead Poets Society’, 'Green Card’, ‘Fearless’, 'The Truman Show’ and, in the case of ‘Master and Commander’, director & screenwriter. 👍🏻😊
Rob Williams
A small point - you can't say "The HMS" HMS means of course His Majesty's Ship and saying "the His Majesty's Ship" is silly.