Lord Jim (1965) Script

Joseph Conrad wrote:

"If you want to know the age of the Earth, look upon the sea in a storm. "

But what storm can fully reveal the heart of a man?

Between Suez and the China Sea are many nameless men...

... who prefer to live and die unknown.

This is the story of one such man.

Among the great gallery of rogues and heroes...

... thrown up on the beaches and ports...

... no man was more respected or more damned than...

The story of Jim begins when Queen Victoria's fleet...

... of merchant ships served a vast empire of trade and commerce.

On the day he received his sailing papers...

... Jim's class proved it was shipshape.

It was a grey, overcast, ominous day...

... but not for Jim.

For him, it was the beginning of an honourable career.

He was particularly smart aloft, especially in the t'gallant yards.

There, he could live out his private dreams...

... the kind of dreams most of us have.

Even on graduation day, it was clear that Jim...

... was the sort of man you would trust on sight. One of us, so to speak.

He was exactly the kind of man I wanted on the deck of my ship.

He found life exacting, but dull.

Demanding, but empty.

There's such a magnificent vagueness that drives some of us to roam the sea.

Such a beautiful greed for adventure and mystery.

He withdrew into a private world of fantasy.

For which of us has not dreamed of rescuing a pretty girl...

... on a picturesque raft?

In these flights of fancy, he won fame, fortune...

... and respect by saving his captain from a very nasty mutiny.

Single-handed, of course.

Jim was acclaimed, loved, and, above all, trusted.

Then, on a calm day, in a perfectly smooth sea...

... Jim met his first seagoing hazard face to face.

We put in at the nearest port...

... so that Jim could have proper hospital care.

Goodbye, sir.

The other patients were delighted to be safe on land.

But Jim craved the open sea, action.

Meanwhile, he haunted the teeming waterfronts.

He held himself aloof from the uprooted human wrecks.

How about a couple of coppers, sir? They'll help me.

Thank you.

Directly, he could navigate without a stick.

He signed on with the first available ship.

That ship was the SS Patna.

Mister, you're looking at a dead ship for certain.

She was bound for the Red Sea.

Cargo: 800 Muslims on a holy pilgrimage to Mecca.

Good morning, captain. I'm the new first officer.

How long you was first officer?

Two years. British, huh?

The ship was peaceful, secure.

The world was firm beneath his feet.

He felt that he alone was responsible for every soul aboard ship.

He was equal to the challenge.

There was nothing he could not face.

Hey, mister, barometer dropping fast.

- For how long, sir? How the devil I know?

I get up, she's down. I think soon we catch a squall.

Then maybe this old iron stove cools off, huh?

Mr. Robinson! Cut your engines to half speed.

No! Shut up! Keep her steady as she goes.

Hot. " Hot" is no name for it down below.

What are you doing on my bridge?

Where'd you expect me to take a breather?

Down that hellhole with them scurvy toads?

What you? Drunk?

How else can I stand this godforsaken stinkpot?

I throw you in the brig, you scum!

- What is it? The chart shows 100 fathoms.

- Something afloat, awash? More.

- We're stove in, done for. Where are you going?

To see if there's damage below.

- I heard something. No cause for alarm, sir.

- It seemed... It's the fog.

Makes us imagine things.

It's all right.

They only wanted water.

I felt it bulge, I swear. There's a million tons of pressure...

...and nothing holding it back but this rusty brown paper. Paper!

- She'll go down like a lump of lead. Shut up!

- We'll shore it up. Listen.

- She's coming apart. Wait!

There's no time. There's 800 of them and only two boats!

- Shut your engines off! There's no time...

Shut your engines off!

Yes, sir.

Very sensible.

Clear thinking, sir.


There, in the dark, alone with the unexpected...

... Jim was finally infected with the other man's terror.

His imagination made him see what he feared to see.

Yes. Yes.

- Are we in danger? Only if you panic!

You must let me free the lifeboats.

Why, so you can abandon us?

You believe that?


Let him pass. Let him pass.

Lend a hand, quick.

- We've got to free both of the boats. Sure, sure, but one at a time.

We got to clear out before the storm hits.

Push! Push!

What about them? Who?


They're dead! Finished! Nothing can save them!

Jump! Hurry! Jump!

Hurry! Jump!

Jump! Jump! Hurry up!

Jump! Hurry! Jump!

Well, we're all in the same boat.

We all gotta have the same story.

- I don't know... She sank, didn't she?

I saw her.

I saw her go down with all hands.

Gone. I swear it.

All them poor heathens.

Hey, you! It's a lucky thing we jump! You understand?

To the trio of dirty owls...

... the Patna 's rescue was proof of their desertion.

Jim saw it as a monstrous practical jok e on himself.

Paper! Paper!

There never would have been an open inquiry if Jim had vanished...

... with the others.

When he insisted on making a public confession...

... the Patna affair became a public disgrace.

- What changed your mind? He did.

- How? He gave his word. I trusted him.

Evidently, you were mistaken.

Thank you very much.

The French officer, please.

- You salvaged the Patna? Yes, sir.

Would you say that the ship was in danger of sinking?

- Possibly. When we towed her in... That is not the point.

Danger is never the barometer of an officer's conduct.

Will you admit, lieutenant, that his behaviour...

...was the unmitigated, inexcusable act of a coward?

It is not for me to say if another man is a coward.

Isn't that a decoration for bravery?

In a war, in front of others, one is expected to be brave.

The trade of war demands it.

At sea, we're always at war with the elements.

Officers are expected to go down with the ship.

Honour demands it. Honour?

- Honour is a personal thing. Very well! The law demands it.

What law? Where is such a law written?

Among civilized men, there's such a thing as the unwritten law.

An idea created by insurance companies.

Necessary because if even one crewman remains on board...

...the ship cannot be claimed as salvage.

Then loyalty. What about loyalty?

Once, there was loyalty to ships under sail...

...but when ships changed to steam, perhaps men changed too.

Could you do what he did?

Who knows?

Under certain conditions, fear will come to any man.

It's always there, waiting for us.

- The fear. Thank you very much, lieutenant.


Why did you insist on eating all that dirt?

How could you make that disgusting confession...

...in public, before all those grinning natives?

If you had to rut around in shame...

...why didn't you run, hide, crawl 20 feet underground where you belong?

Do you realize what you've done here today?

Do you know what you've done?

You're one of us. Your disgrace reflects on us.

You put all of us on trial!

Don't you understand that?

Yes, sir.

I understand.

Jim! Jim!

He beat his way from port to port...

... trying to lose himself among the nameless.

He no longer dreamed of fame or glory.

He no longer wanted to dream at all.

He took on any job, anywhere, for any pay.

Up to the hotel, boy.

He craved anonymity.

He wanted, finally, to become one of the nameless flotsam...

... he formerly had scorned and pitied.

He hungered to forget his failure...

... the recurring nightmare aboard the Patna.

But the scandal followed him...

... found him...

... made him run again.

The perfect skipper had jumped, it seems, from his own ship.

His final entry in the ship's log read:

"If fear can find the flaw in even one of us...

... why not in any of us?"

One hope k ept Jim going, a hope common to most men.

Rich or poor, strong or weak...

... who among us has not begged God for a second chance?

Jump! Jump!

Jump! Jump! Jump!

You did not jump with the others. Why?

Maybe I can't swim.

So much depends on this cargo.

No, wait. Please.

The fire was not accidental.

The men on your boat, you know them?

Could I ask your name, please?

Herr Stein?

Shall we put the powder in the warehouse?

No. We move it upcountry tonight.

Now, this could never show my gratitude, but...


Is it really yourself, Jim, lad?

It's me, your old shipmate.

You're not gonna forget I saved your life aboard that bucket, the SS Patna.

No need to feel uneasy.

Not on my account.

I know just how you feel, mate. It's a mean, untidy world run by toads.

What is it you want, Mr. Robinson?

God bless you, lad, just a couple of quid to see me through.

Stop. Hello.

Mr. Stein, please.

Can you show me one butterfly with a weak heart?

Can you show me one butterfly who's a 70-year-old businessman?

What can I do for you, please? Mr. Stein.

- Up here, young man. Sit down, please.

Here, a rare specimen of life.

Perfection. Beautiful.

Beauty's nothing. Look at the accuracy, the harmony.

Fragile but strong.

The exact balance of colossal forces.


Look into the body of man for a real masterpiece.

Man is amazing, yes, but too many flaws.

Man makes too much noise about himself.

Disturbs the equilibrium.

He wants to be a saint, and he wants also to be a devil.

Always, he wants to be what he is not. What do you think?

I think you ought not to go upcountry tonight.

Be a nice butterfly. Stay in your cocoon.

And for this, one of these.

No smoking, no excitement. Everything in moderation.

Even death?

If I had your strong, young heart...

Is your burden really so heavy as you look?

No, sir. Good.

I want to ship out tonight. That is not so serious.

Where are you bound? What port?

It doesn't matter.

That makes it serious.

I don't want your money.

Just mine, or anyone's?

- Take it. I owe you... Nothing.

I do not trust a man who does not respect money.

One moment, please.

If you want to be an idealist, you must also be tolerant.

Are you running from the police?

So much pride.

Even you must have a name.

Jim. That's all? Jim?

A man of mystery, huh?

Today, you risked your life for who-knows-what reason.

Would you risk it again for ambition, chivalry, adventure?

Are you making an offer?

The role of a hero appeals, huh?

It might interest you to know that some men can never become heroes...

...and some heroes never become men.

And some are lucky enough to be both.

Who says they are lucky?


...if someone tries to make another fire...

...kill him.

That stuff makes you uneasy?

Well, sir, gunpowder is highly impersonal.

It will blow up anybody.

- How fast can you load and fire a rifle? About five seconds.

Well, this weapon can shoot five bullets in the same time.

- Is somebody gonna fight? Well, it doesn't have to be your fight.

Is it yours? Yes.

For pleasure, profit or patriotism?

Nothing so noble.

I go to help a friend, if it is not too late.

Now, tomorrow we come to Batu Kring.

End of railroad, end of province, end of police escort.

Our destination...

...Patusan. By engine boat, 12 hours away, through enemy country...

...and no protection, sitting on all that dynamite...

...which somebody already tried to destroy.


...what do you say?

I'd say our situation...

...was highly inflammable.

What do you expect to find in Patusan?

I was rather hoping...

...to find paradise.

Patusan is like a jump into the unknown.

My first trading post was in Patusan.

And my first friend was Chief Du-Ramin.

We fought side by side against river pirates.

But today, 30 years later, the enemy is a warlord without a country...

...a precise militarist, intelligent, ruthless, and deadly...

...with an army of escaped criminals, riffraff.

The General suppresses thousands, collects taxes, also tribute.

From here, rubber. From this province, tea and precious stones.

Patusan, tin.

And those who refuse to operate the mines now work as chained prisoners!

Life is cheaper than tin.

So on a certain day, all men will mine tin or be shot.

And that certain day will be three days from now.

But on that day, people will resist.


One old, rusty cannon, useless without that powder.

Without these weapons, it will be spears against rifles.

But if we don't get there on time...

...or not at all?

They will still resist.

- What with? Mostly with courage.

- Schomberg! Just a minute.


Where is Schomberg's engine boat?



Hello, hello! Welcome, Papa Stein, you look sensational.

- Where is the boat? Take your pick...

...sampan, sailboat, barge. What you want, Schomberg's got.

- You promised the engine boat. True, true.

- Well, where is it? Where else? In dry dock.

- Fungus, dry rot, terrible shape. I will buy it.

- No, no, it's not for sale. But you promised.

Yeah, a promise straight from the heart.

The heart says "yes," but the conditions say " no."

All my life, I'm a victim of conditions, so it's got to be " no."

Better you don't go where you're going.

Nobody gets up that river, not alive, not since the General.

Positively not carrying contraband cargo.

- How do you know it's contraband? I know nothing. I don't even know you.

- You've got your business, I got mine. Your business is renting boats.

Please, my business is to stay in business.

You can have any boat I got, but not the engine boat.

The one at the pier rigged for sail.

- You can't push her up the river alone. Get me a couple of men.

That's very funny, mister. You think everybody is dying to die?

At most, a few fools who are desperate for money. Ridiculous.

Get them!

- Get them. I can see you're a born leader.

Leave it to Schomberg.

Do you want a doctor?

Does he have a prescription for failure?

We haven't failed yet, sir.

Without the engine boat, there is not enough time.

- Not enough time. We can rig a sail.

And if there's no wind?

Then we'll row, paddle, push.

For 20 hours?

We can try.


- Yes, we can try. You're not coming.

- But without me... We might make it.

You can't pull your own weight.

No offence, sir.

This elephant camp is halfway point. You must reach it by morning.

After that is a little difficult and dangerous.

If you sail openly into Patusan...

...the only welcome you expect is a bullet or worse.

Now, Du-Ramin's people expect us.

His plan is simple. Also, it is tricky.

Two miles before you reach Patusan, you find these ruins.

And behind them, hidden in the jungle...

Try not to use the rifle. Even one shot would upset the plan.

These weapons must not fall to the General under any conditions.

If such a thing happens, destroy the rifles, everything.

You are under no obligation to me, even now.

Lf you wish to... Jump?

...withdraw, I would understand.

- Your man at the trading post... Cornelius?

- Can he be trusted? Why?

Well, you haven't said much about him.

You haven't said much about yourself, but I trust you.

We each have our weaknesses.

I am too romantic, Cornelius drinks too much...

...and you? Goodbye, sir.

- Is there nothing I can do for you? Yes, sir.

Cast off.

If I knew where I could write your parents, your friends...

...and tell them...what?

Tell them...


Kill him.

Captain, this man wants to kill...

You see? That crazy rascal tried to kill you.

Sun sickness, I bet you.

Lucky for you, l...

What for you do that, sir? Sun sickness.

That gun cannot shoot without you put another bullet in, sir...

Pick up that oar.


General, I salute you.


Your information correct.

Coming from trading company of Stein, weapons, gunpowder.

Weapons? Rifles.

How many?

The man who brought them?


Big bang, huh?

Yeah, big bang.


...you are a corrupt, depraved drunkard.


- This weakness I overlook. The General is compassionate.

Your employer, Mr. Stein, conspires against me.

- A sentimental gesture. Supported by new rifles.

- Harmless, where they are. They are here.

- Impossible. Possible, probable, actual, here.

And you know it.

For disloyalty, I kill.

Disloyal to you?

You already betray the people of Patusan.

Why not me?

Because you are supremely powerful, and I am incredibly selfish.

That makes me your most loyal subject.


- Can we bury this one? They cremate their dead.

Chief Du-Ramin was told?

This morning, sir!

When their women bring food, they will take him away.

Hey, General...

Chop, chop, chop.

Father, please stay in the house.

Thank you.

What hostility brings you here?

Politics? Business for Mr. Stein.

I like men of business.

We have a common language: money.

You sell munitions, I buy.

They' re gone.

Blown up. Exploded.

One explosion.

You bring nine separate barrels of powder.

So there should be many separate explosions.



You have two paths. First path, we trade.

You give rifles and powder, I give a boat...

...and freedom. And the second path?

It leads to the same place, only not so pleasant.



Can all men...

...be persuaded?


And if it is too late?

He may have told them where he put the weapons.

Then they would not still be searching.

And while they search, we must wait.

That is why we must act swiftly.

And the dead prisoner...

...is it proper to use his body this way?

If the dead can serve the living...


In spite of overwhelming odds, you made a noble effort.

No, please, don't deny it.

What did the General call it? "Gallant. Admirable."

Self-sacrifice for one's own kind, yes, understandable.

Why suffer excruciating agony if you have to submit anyway?

And for whom? For the glory of the trading company?

Look at me. Eight years of loyal service in this godforsaken hellhole.

Deserted, forgotten.

No gratitude, no respect...

...no future.

Be sensible.

Think of yourself.

I am. Capital.

I'll see you have first-class treatment. You can depend on it. Right?

Now, tell me, where is it?

Where did you hide the rifles?

What about them? Who?


Nothing can save them.

Tomorrow morning, they are finished...

...as a nation, as a people.

Down the drain, gone without a trace.

- Like a sinking ship. Exactly. Done for.

With our without your weapons, done for.

In that case...

...why all the fuss?

You don't even know them.


Have you ever considered what makes pain unbearable?

One thing. The brain.

Put the brain to sleep, and the flesh can be burned, torn...

...twisted, chopped without pain.

Awaken the brain...

...anticipate pain...

...then every touch, sight, sound...

...becomes exaggerated.

Mind betrays the body.

And finally, the pain becomes unbearable.

Nothing to say?

You think silence is strength.


A man's strength is relative to his imagination.

The more imagination, the less resistance.

For God's sake, tell him. Tell him.

They'll never know you spoke, so there's nothing to be ashamed of.

Never test another man by your own weakness.

Science bores you?


No man is a stranger to fear.

Fear is the perfect tool for persuasion.


...what do you fear most? What do you prize most?

Your strong, young body? Your manhood?

Your eyesight?

What could make you cheat a friend, forsake honour...

...desert a post of duty?

What fear could turn you into a coward?

Interesting man.

I hate him.

Naturally. He endured where you could not.

You should have killed him.

He knew I would not kill him, not until...

Of course.

He knew!

For one hour, he is not to be molested.

Attend his comfort.

Indulge your senses.

Feel life.

Eat, smoke, dream, make love.

If he wishes privacy with her, permit.


The essence of pleasure.

Warm, sweet, ripe.

A woman can satisfy all your senses at the same time.

She is the only reality.

She is life.

Death is the end of all things real.

It is the end of all feeling, desire, hope.

Death is nothingness.

And that is what you fear most. Death.

Not pain, but oblivion.

In one hour, I will ask for the weapons.

I will ask but once.

If you refuse, if you lie...


One hour.

Do you believe that death is the end of everything?


I believe you must leave here...

...before you learn the answer.

Then why not save one of your own people?

You, they will chase.

And while they hunt for you...

...we will get the weapons.


I don't mind being chased.

But I'd like not to get caught.

If you hesitate...

...we fail.

If you move too soon, we fail.

If the moon comes out too soon, we fail.

Each thing must be exact.


A nice, fresh, long one, please.

Full of life.

You're the one on the boat...

...and the fire.

You know, if you'd done a proper job of sabotage...

...neither of us would be in this mess, would we?

Now, mister...

I thought it was him.

Find him.

One moment, please.

To pray for a dead soul.

Come, I shall pray for you also.

Hey. Hey!

We found the body of the dead prisoner at the monastery.

That is how the Englishman escape.

Chain them with the prisoners.

What's it mean?

That the Englishman is safe with them. That means they have the weapons.

And that means...

...armed resistance.

Now we can resist.

To resist is not enough.

If this becomes the battleground...

...your women and children become the first casualties.

We have 10 rifles, they have a hundred.

Ours are better weapons, but they have unlimited bullets.

According to Mr. Stein, you have a cannon, a six-pounder.

Yes, but not fired for many years, buried in some old ruins.

It's useless there.

But if we place it here in the village, it brings the stockade within range.

You think the General will wait?

His men will sweep over us like locusts.


...if we can keep them locked in their own stockade...

...and at the same time...

...if we can destroy the ammunition dump with a cannon...

...if we can attack on their ground...

...if we can keep them inside, on the defensive...

...if we can be ready by tomorrow's sunrise...

...then perhaps...

...we might win. Lf.

The night is too short for ifs!

To take human life is a sin against Buddha.

Can peaceful farmers be made...

...into an army in one night? Yes!

- Begin before we talk the night away. Can you use an old artilleryman?

Now we can fight.

Looks peaceful to me.

Too peaceful.

- What about these? Will they fire? Yes...

...if there was something to fire.

Bits of iron, nails, broken glass.

Why wait? Attack! Now!

- Do their spears frighten you? Fools frighten me.

Would you lead an attack by torchlight...

...with 500 spears waiting in the darkness?

There is the margin of victory. Firepower.

Yes, yes.

We will slaughter them.

Yes, yes, but will we defeat them?

Rockets, like fireworks. Many.

This kite...

When the sun rises, be ready.

- You're not well. I'm fine.

- We have far to go. Women.

- Not a job for... lf we can plough a field...

...we can pull a cannon.

Everything go as planned? Yes.

- You didn't forget the bamboo poles? Everything as planned.

He will need someone to lead the way.

- Lf you see a kite flying? We fire.

And keep firing till you hit the blockhouse.

- Lf that ammunition dump explodes? We have won.


- Lf we send up a white rocket? Our shot is too long.

- A red one? Means we are short.

I know not why...

...you've made our cause yours, but... Does it matter?

It matters that you risk your life for us.


Goodbye, sir.

God go with you...

...Tuan Jim.

What's it mean...

..."Tuan Jim"?

A Tuan is a man of bravery...

...a man to respect.

A lord.

Yes. " Lord Jim."

- For my mother. Oh, I'm sorry.

Why should you sorrow for the dead?

What lives once lives forever.

Many people wait here to be purified by fire.

Only then can their souls be freed from their bodies.

A proper funeral should have music and dancing...

...and fine gifts for the gods and beautiful painted towers to burn.

But it is very, very expensive.

So we wait for a rich man to die, and then...

...we quickly bring out our dead and join the cremation.

It is a happy time when so many souls come back to us.

One day, my mother's soul will return to a new life...

...sweet and bitter as the old...

...but one step closer to perfection.

The sign of the true believer.

You wear the Jesus medal, yet you beseech Buddha.

Last week, it was Mohammed. Before that, Confucius.

I was lonely.

At times like this, I can't stand to be alone.

Besides, I always did believe in God.

In your mouth, that is blasphemy.

What do you think of before a battle?

Killing? Death? God? A woman!

I think only of what the enemy is thinking.

- And you? Oh, I feel a griping pain here.

Probably something I ate.

Probably a precious stone, perhaps.

Like all things great and small...

...it will pass.

And when it does...

...give it back.

- The cannon. Is it ready? It is in position.

It's always there, waiting for us. Waiting...

It's always there. Fear.

Why didn't you run, hide, crawl 20 feet underground where you belong?

- What about them? Who?

- Them! They're dead! Finished!

- Nothing can save them. Jump! Jump! Jump!

- I will go now. Wait! Please.

I need some help with this.

Count by ones.

- Now! One, two...

...three, four...

...five, six...

...seven. Seven.

That man, what did he want?

What does a child want when it cries in the dark?

At a time like this, most of us...

...are afraid.

Not you.

Oh, yes.

I know what they did.

You told them nothing.

Next time, I would have told them everything.

The General is a persuasive man.

He knows human nature. String, please.

He knew how much I wanted you.

Would you have given yourself?


Because of fear?

Because it was necessary.

It is only what we do, what we think...

...that makes us unclean.

At sunrise, we invade Patusan. Resistance is expected.

Consequently, you will go in front.

You will form a human wall...

...a shield to protect my men.

Therefore, ask them not to resist.

Your lives depend upon the mercy of your brothers.

At sunrise, then.

Will the gods be on our side today?

- Do you wish me to pray for you? I already have.

That is good. To which god?

We have only one god.

That is unfortunate.

There is too much work for one god, no?

Go. Go!

Why didn't you keep firing?

I cannot...

Tuan, attack! Attack!


If we try now, too many die.

- When it's dark. Thank you. Thank you.

No chains. No chains.

Thank you. No chains.

All the fuses must be lighted at the same time.

All the spears must be thrown at the same time.

- What are you waiting for? Darkness.

And then?


The tunnel! From there, under the walls.


General, I salute you.

We are much more alike than I thought.

An escape hatch for all of us.

Not all.

Oh, yes. Too bad, yes.

Some are destined to fight to the very end.

A glorious death.


For what would you be willing to die?

Willing? Certainly not honour.



Perhaps this treasure?


...didn't know where else to go.

You are welcome everywhere, but here is your home.


My mother.

The man is my father.

He came here for Mr. Stein.

I remember him...

...as a golden god.

My mother worshiped him...

...loved him even as she died.

I was born in this house.

We had many happy times together...

...until one day...

...the golden god ran away.

Perhaps, after all, he was not a god.

Mr. Stein sends other men.

They promise never to leave us, like my father.

But always, they dream of someplace else.


...something pulled them away. Always, they leave.

You too.

You will go away, back. Yes, back to your own kind.

I won't go back.

One day, a letter will come.

Or the whiskey soda will remind you of a woman, a dream, a memory.

- Something will make you leave. Do you want me to stay?

Everyone will be honoured.

Do you want me to stay?


Only because...

...I do not wish to die weeping...

...like my mother.

You see?

It is already too late.

Then I might as well stay.

I'll never go...

Never is forever.

Let us try to live one day at a time.

At least 10 wooden chests filled with money. Worth 50,000, maybe more.

A gallon of stones worth who knows how much.

- Ours for the taking. Why didn't you take them?

By myself? I could have managed a handful...

...but with your engine boat, we get it all like a breeze.

That easy, eh?

Kill one man, becomes easy.

Well, personally, I'm not a man for killing. Are you?

So we need a specialist in these matters.

The captain of this ship is...

Did you ever hear of Gentleman Brown?

For this, we don't want any gentleman.

This gentleman, Captain Brown...

...has given more business to death than the bubonic plague.

From Java to Fiji...

...he's wanted for piracy, for slavery, for mutiny...

...for rape, murder, even some things that are not mentioned in the Bible.

- You were saying? On the day of the festival...

...Patusan will be like a wild and noisy carnival.

Tea? Thank you.

We can be in and out before they know what hit them.

If an army couldn't take this money, what makes you think we can?

The General was too ambitious.

All we have to do is...

... eliminate a certain person.

You mean murder?


Kill one pompous fool and...

Let's see, now. You're out, he's in, but he's the fool.

- Could I have whiskey, please, captain? Did you bring some with you?

Now, where is this gold kept? Is it guarded?

If so, how? And by whom?

How do I know I can trust you?

You don't know.

- What do you think? I'm a silent partner.

Well, I suppose we have to take each other's word as gentlemen.

I suppose.


If we can cut a canal from here to the river, we can ship 30 percent more tin.

Fifty percent if you had machines.

But that takes much money.

- Are you still against money? No, sir.

Good. With machines...

...we could build a dam, which would give us two rice crops.

Wait a minute. Not so fast.

This is still their land...

...their future. They must decide. They have.

Waris, his father, the people. Full approval.

Do they understand what they are approving?

Not entirely. I gave them my word.

Seemed to be enough.

I see. Well, this project is practical, yes.

It takes only one thing to make it workable.

Well, then.

All you must do is kill an evil phantom.

Let's see now, you can't kill a ghost with a bullet or a spear.

Black magic?

The weapon is truth.

You know.

That phantom's been with me a long time.

- It won't die. No, son. Not in the dark.

- But if you bring it out into the open... You expect me to tell them?


The stink of the Patna belongs to another world.

There is only one world.

The long arm of this trading company has reached across 10,000 miles...

...right here into your hiding place. This is from Amsterdam.

"Your request for Jim, alias James, Burke...

...to represent us in Patusan is denied."

But let Chief Du-Ramin insist on Jim, as he will, and I'll back you all the way.

But no secrets. Everybody, eyes open.

Then, if anything happens again...

I meant...

You meant exactly what you said.

You know the truth.

- Can you trust me? I did.

Then. Before you knew.

What about now?

Just now, you were thinking, " lt'll happen again.

Tomorrow, the next day, when there's dirty weather. Watch out.

He'll slip, turn coward, jump."

You expect it to happen.

It'll always be there, the doubt. Waiting.

You have visitors of much importance.

Now you are one of us, it is proper to become family.

My mama.

Her mama.

Her mama.

We hope for you to happy.

They respect you.

We respect each other.

Enough to share a secret with them?

Not that one.

You won't even tell the girl?


If she can trust you with her love, if they can trust you with their faith...

...why can't you trust them with the truth?

Did you take a look at them out there?

A good look?

Do you know what they felt?

What I feel right now?

The trust in their eyes means more...

You think I want to see in their eyes what I see in yours?

I earned their respect, and you want me to...

No. I can't.

I won't. I cannot tell them and stay here, and I'm staying.

Whether I work for you or not, I'm staying.

Now, if you want to tell them about me, go ahead. Just go ahead.

You gave me this chance.

Don't ask me to throw it away.

Not now.

You know, the time of the harvest...

...is a season for gifts.

An ancient custom invented by me just now.

For your collection.

According to Professor Stein, rare, exact specimens.


We are only what God made us.

Nothing more.

Drunk, you're useless and unreliable.

- Sober, he's the same. Tell me about his man Jim.

- I told you 20 times. Start again. From the beginning.



- It's the lascar, hurt bad. Leave him.

He sounds terrible. I think he'll die slow and painful.

- They should put him out of his misery. One bullet.

An act of compassion?

Good for us, bad for him.

Please, please do not let me die.


Ahoy there.

This is Captain Brown.

Is it Duncan Brown? Yes, sir.

Gentleman Duncan Malcolm Brown at your service.

- What do you want? A truce.

I'm prepared to discuss terms...

...but only in private and with the white man, the one they call " Lord Jim."

Him alone. No other.

- Is it a truce or not? Ignore him.

How do you ignore a fact?

Well? Yes or no?



I'd use it.

Yes, I think his majesty has pretensions to heroism...

...a form of mental disease induced by vanity.

Kill him. Just one shot.

You have a natural talent for disaster.

Try to improve yourself into an ordinary failure...

...by keeping your mouth shut.

My lord, it's a privilege and an honour.

Yes, well, what a waste...

...to risk so much on the drunken fantasies of the idiot Cornelius.

Pure folly on my part.

You, my lord, what brought you to lotus land?

A weapon may seem inconsistent with a truce...

...but habit... Hunted men are creatures of caution.

Yes. Fired in self-defence.

Someone close to you was hurt?


The wounded lascar we left in your own personal care was like my own...

...and only sweet son.

You let him die.

And there you are. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh...

Now, what's our situation? We have two choices.

One, you give us our boats, accept our apology, we leave peacefully.

Choice two, we fight.

- You'd lose. Granted.

But in all good conscience, my lord, is it worth even one innocent life...

...merely to remove worthless rabble, riffraff, like myself...

...who one day will die on the gallows anyway?

Really, my lord, you don't have the moral right to spend their lives.

Besides, what would you gain by our death?

Just that. Your death.


...your mouth full of stinking piety. Hypocrite!

Have you said one word touched with Christian charity and pity?

Are you so pure?

Nothing fishy about your life? Nothing to be ashamed of?

No white man hides himself in the wilderness without a reason!

Come, my lord, what made you run from your world?

Are we not exiles, you and I, not good enough for the world out there?

Are we so far apart?

Have we not the same roots, the same skin?

Same God?

Same weaknesses?

Have you never begged forgiveness, never needed a second chance?

You'll give up your weapons.

And leave my men helpless?

I may be a scoundrel, but a deserter...

No, sir. I'd rather die than spend another day in prison.

And if we're to die, this place is as good as any.

But remember, when it comes to saving one's life in the dark...

...one doesn't care how many go down. Do you? Three more, 30, 300.

That's the choice. Let us go, be rid of us, or fight and be damned.


If you hear a big bell tolling...

...you'll get your boat...

...and a safe passage out.

- Lf you hear a rifle shot... Till when do we wait?

- Till it's decided. Decided? By whom? By them?

Even if you tolled the bell, is your word good enough against theirs?


You're white, clean through.

In the name of God Almighty himself, I trust you.


- You should have killed him. Shut your gob.

- I could've gone home rich, respected... And dead.

Without even a penny to keep your eyes closed.

Might as well be dead as go home empty-handed.

If I am an expert judge of human weakness, depravity and avarice...

...and I am...

...we shall not leave here unrewarded for our labour.

Give them their boat.

- Let them go away. Why? Those men broke the law.

Now they must answer to the law.

That law is the oldest of our land. The law of survival. Death for death.

- There's more than one kind of law. Which kind?

Your private law? Colonial justice?

Or is it perhaps your Christian conscience?


Perhaps your conscience is coloured by your skin.

His lordship has the self-righteous stench of a converted sinner.

He'll trust us to prove that we can trust him.

But what's the profit? What's he get?


Forgiveness for his sins.

What's he done?

It doesn't matter very much what he's done.

Just so he thinks it much.

- You said they'd go in peace. Yes.

You trust their word? Yes.

Their word.

Ask the police of any port from Jidda to Makassar...

...about the word of Gentlemen Brown.

Tell the boy's mama...

...and her mama...

...how very sorry I am.

- Why must you go against the majority? Is the majority always right?

Is your conscience, yours alone, right?

Why must you take this thing on yourself?

Because I'm responsible for everyone on...

Yes. But Brown...

What is he to you, or you to him? You owe him nothing.

This has to do with me, not him!

This is my word, not his. Words.

Even for the cleanest mouth, words are a poor security.

All right.

If even one of your people dies because of what I ask...

...l'll forfeit my own life.

It comes to one thing:

- Do we trust him? Do you?


Ring the bell. Close the book.

- Quench the candle. What's that?

Never heard the final sentence of excommunication?

- For God's sake, are we safe? What sinner is safe from damnation?

Father? Go to the temple, Father.

Tell the people to stay at home.

- That's my boat, all right. Captain, I salute you.


Now, place all guns on the boat.

We have one objective, only one. The money.

And may I remind you that vengeance belongs to God...

...is that clear? That's not.

The trusting souls are even lighting our way.

Notice all of them posted downriver. Perfect.

Now, then, mister, illusion is the trick. Make it slow and noisy.

Stall your engine, start again, keep moving, stop...

...anything to keep attention on the boat.

Your boat will be the pied piper. They'll follow as you go.

- Take off your shoes. I'll stay with the boat, just in case.

Take off your shoes.


Captain Brown! At your service, my lord.

- Light your portside lamp! Yes, sir.

- But it'll be slow-going in this muck. Just keep moving. Don't stop.


Whatever for?

Don't you fret, milord, a gentleman's word is his bond.

You won't regret this kindness. May God bless and keep you.

- Where's my blasted first officer? Here, sir.

Take over, mister.

Look lively, men.

Ready to cast off? Cast off!

- Hey, hey! Who's yelling? What happened?

Wait! Hey, it's the donkeyman, Captain Brown, sir.

He's still ashore!

- He says he can't. He's hurt his foot. Go get him!

- Aye, aye, sir. Won't be a minute, captain, sir.

And I gotta get some steam up anyway.


Something wrong? No, nothing.

And yet, something.

Perhaps it is not a thing. More like a feeling.

- Yes. You sense it also?


Does it have a name, this feeling?

Many names.




Then all of this was meant to happen?

And of all places to happen.


...in paradise.


Take two letters from Patusan, U and S.


What's left?

- " Patna." What is Patna?

An ugly hag of a sea witch.

A phantom ship coming to settle an old account.

Something that happened a long time ago...

...on a night like this.

In a fog like this.

Stand by, everybody! Cast off at the stern. And keep a sharp lookout!

You. You. Reconnoitre. Clear the decks.

You show them the way.

Keep her midstream. Starboard. More to starboard!

Don't let that engine die.

Let me talk to Brown!

I told you to watch that engine, stupid.

I found the trouble, Captain Brown, sir. It's the feed line.

Nothing can stop us now. He's done for.

Jim. Finished.


This is what they came to get.

They must not leave without it.

The windows.

We must make them come through there.

Forgive me.

We do...

...what we must.


Jim, boy.

Here. Take the money.

Take it!

Sometimes, from a good intention comes evil...

...if God wills it so.

This was not done by the hand of God.

Nor by Jim.

His hands are not clean.

Your judgment is clouded with a father's anger.

Become a father...

...before you judge a father's anger.

But the law is without anger.

Look at your son.

Did he die in anger?

Tell him to go.

Tell him...

...to take the woman and go...


Thank you.

In the morning, if I find him still here...

...by his own word...

...he owes the law...

...his life.

- Ready? I'm staying.

Have you understood nothing? If you stay, you die.

That's a simple fact. Must it be explained?

Do facts ever explain anything?

I know you, mister.

You don't expect to die. You expect a miracle.

You will strut out there like a hero.

Du-Ramin will shoot, but the gun will not fire.

Already, you hear the cheering.

Always, you hear the applause before the deed.

Your kinds of hero need victims.

You profit by their despair.

And who will be the victim this time?

This time...

...l'll be my own victim.

So you want a neat, orderly world.


Perfect conduct for the imperfect man in his imperfect world.

- That's right. A quick, clean ending.

- Yes. Full of morals and high purpose.

What morals? What purpose?

Do you think you'll pay for the Patna this way?

I don't know any other way.

You think the world cares how you die?

I care.

But... But there is nothing in suicide.

No victory, not even salvation.

Not even peace?

There is too much pride in your humility.

Perhaps there is no best way.

But surely not his way.

Be practical. Take him and run.

Someone else said that.

" Run," he said.

" Hide."

" Crawl into a hole 20 feet deep and disappear."


How do you hide with a stone the size of the Patna around your neck?

How do you end a bad dream?

The dream is not bad and not good.

Not a vice and not a virtue.

The dream exists, like the... Like the Earth, like the sea.

The dream is you.

To end the dream, you must end yourself.

To survive a dream, you must, to the destructive element, submit yourself...

...and fight with hands and feet.

Fight to make the deep, deep sea keep you up, alive.

You must look at yourself as you are.

You must face the truth.

The truth.

What is the truth?

I've been a so-called coward...

...and a so-called hero.

And there's not the thickness of a sheet of paper between them.

Maybe cowards and heroes are just ordinary men...

...who, for a split second, do something out of the ordinary.

That's all.

I've never wanted so much to live...

...and I've never been so afraid to die.

I'll get you a new start.

You'll see.

It will be...

You're like a father to me.


...don't save me.

Help me, Papa.

Help me do what I have to do.

We both know what that is.

I don't know why things happened the way they did.

You do something wrong...

...and it begins.

You lie to yourself, and that's wrong.

You try to cover up, and that's wrong.

And once these things get to moving...

...they take their own course...

...and there's no stopping them...

...till they reach their own end.

Just being sorry doesn't change it or make it right.

And it's not even what you do...

...but why you do it.

I guess that's really the eye of the needle.

Maybe... Maybe next time you...

This is my next time.


...with the morning...

... end the dream.

Give yourself another chance.

I had my chance, Papa...

...and I lost.

But if I lose without honour...

...if, at the last moment, I weaken...

...then it's all...

...without meaning.