Two Years Before the Mast (1946) - Rotten Tomatoes

Two Years Before the Mast (1946)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Based on a famous book by Richard Henry Dana, Jr., this grueling saga of shipboard oppression is set in the mid-19th century. Charles Stewart (Alan Ladd), the wealthy son of a Boston shipowner, is hijacked by Amazeen (William Bendix), the first mate on a ship bound for California. Francis Thompson (Howard Da Silva) is the tyrannical captain of the Pilgrim who was booted out of the U.S. Navy for mistreating his sailors. Now he wants to set a record sailing time, and he and Amazeen mete out severe punishment for the slightest of infractions. They even deny the men permission to go ashore and pick fruit when they stop in California and pick up the beautiful Maria Dominguez (Esther Fitzgerald). Without fruit, the men develop scurvy and begin to mutiny. Stewart allies himself with the author Dana (Brian Donlevy), whose brother died on one of Captain Thompson's previous voyages. Dana wants to write an expose of Thompson. Stewart steals guns and tries to take over the ship, but Amazeen subdues and imprisons him. The film was shot on a Hollywood set, but with devices on the set that simulate rolling waves so effectively that much of the cast got seasick.


Alan Ladd
as Charles Stewart
Brian Donlevy
as Richard Henry Dana
William Bendix
as First Mate Amazeen
Barry Fitzgerald
as Terence O'Feenaghty
Howard Da Silva
as Capt. Francis Thompson
Esther Fernández
as Maria Dominguez
Darryl Hickman
as Sam Hooper
Roman Bohnen
as Macklin
Ray Collins
as Mr. Gordon Stewart
Tom Powers
as Bellamer
James Burke
as Carrick
Duncan Renaldo
as Mexican Captain
Kathleen Lockhart
as Mrs. Gordon Stewart
Rosa Rey
as Mercedes
Pedro de Cordoba
as Don Sebastian
John Roy
as Sailor
Carl Voss
as Sailor
Joe Palma
as Sailor
Rex Lease
as Rider
Barry Macollum
as Chief Clerk
Arthur Loft
as Crabtree
Pierre Watkin
as Staunton
James Flavin
as Crimp with Amazeen
Stanley Andrews
as Policeman
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Critic Reviews for Two Years Before the Mast

All Critics (2)

It's played to the hilt all around.

February 1, 2021 | Full Review…

The ensemble drama was effective largely because of the superb acting, the salty dialogue and the strong direction that kept things authentic.

February 20, 2010 | Rating: B | Full Review…

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