->"Situation quiet; the [[CaptainQueeg Captain's]] been put away for the night."
-->'''Lt. Keith'''

->''It was not a mutiny in the old-time sense, of course, with flashing of cutlasses, a captain in chains, and desperate sailors turning outlaws. After all, it happened in 1944 in the United States Navy. But the court on inquiry recommended trial for mutiny, and the episode became known as "the ''Caine'' mutiny" throughout the service.''

The 1951 Pulitzer-Prize winner for Literature, ''TheCaineMutiny'' was written by Herman Wouk. He adapted the novel into a play, "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial", which opened shortly before a film version of the novel, also titled ''The Caine Mutiny'', was released in 1954 starring HumphreyBogart, Josť Ferrer, Van Johnson, and Fred [=MacMurray=].

A young sailor, Ens. Keith, graduates from Officer Candidate school and is immediately assigned to the destroyer-minesweeper ''Caine''. Its first CO, Commander [=DeVriess=], is uncouth and sloppy, but also an effective and well-respected commander. When he receives a promotion, he is replaced by the mercurial [[CaptainQueeg Lt. Cmdr. Queeg]], a strict and unreasonably demanding man.

The story follows the ''Caine's'' tour of duty through the Pacific Theatre of WorldWarII. During its voyage, Queeg gradually loses the respect of his crew through various instances of incompetence, bullying, paranoia, and perceived cowardice. After he becomes so obsessed with a missing quart of strawberries that he begins to ignore his other duties, some of his officers begin to suspect that he is insane.

Everything comes to a head when the ''Caine'' is caught in a typhoon, during which Queeg becomes paralyzed by indecision. His second-in-command, Lt. Maryk, relieves him, citing mental illness, and brings the ship safely through the storm. Such an extreme act must be justified if Maryk (and Keith, who, as officer of the watch, supported him) is not to be found guilty of mutiny.

The next part of the book deals with Maryk's trial. His defender, Lt. Greenwald, chooses to focus more on Queeg's actions than on Maryk's, eventually causing Queeg to break down on the stand. Maryk is acquitted (and Keith is never charged), but his and Queeg's naval careers are effectively over.

Keith returns to the ''Caine'', where he serves as Executive Officer. When the ship is struck by a Kamikaze off Okinawa, he keeps his head and saves her and most of her crew when the current commander, Keefer (who was instrumental in Queeg's downfall) panics and jumps overboard. Instead of being repaired, the ''Caine'' is ordered to New York for decommissioning. As the officer assigned to take her home, Keith has the bittersweet honor of being the last captain of the ''Caine''.

CaptainQueeg's character has [[FountainOfExpies since become]] a model for TheNeidermeyer.
!!This book / film / play features examples of:

* ZeroPercentApprovalRating: Queeg achieves this in record time.
* TheAce: Maryk. [=DeVriess=] and Queeg both praise his skills on the ''Caine''.
* AdaptationDistillation: Most notably cutting down the TokenRomance to only a scene or two, and skipping past nearly everything leading up to Willie coming aboard the Caine.
* [[TheAllegedCar The Alleged Ship]] / WhatAPieceOfJunk: The ''Caine'' is a rusty, obsolete tub left over from WorldWarOne. She's constantly being repaired, and the crew fights a neverending battle against the spreading rust. But not even a direct hit from a kamikaze can sink her.
* AntiMutiny
* ArtisticLicenseShips: Averted in the adaptations, which replaced the novel's four-piper destroyer-minesweeper conversion with a Gleaves-class conversion.
* AuthorAvatar: An unusual case, verging on AntiSue. Tom Keefer closely resembles Herman Wouk in many respects - and is also cowardly, conniving, lazy, and disliked by the rest of the crew (except Keith). Greenwald even goes so far as to call him [[spoiler:"the real villain of the ''Caine'' mutiny."]]
* BackedByThePentagon: The film got the support of the US Navy, under condition that a disclaimer be put in the opening credits that the story is completely fictional, and there had never actually been a mutiny on a Navy ship.
** It must be noted, however, that three sailors aboard the brig ''USS Somers'' were convicted and executed for conspiracy to mutiny in 1845. The conspirators may have actually made an attempt to carry it out, the Navy's records note that the ''Somers'' suffered some extremely suspicious damage while at sea.
* BeamMeUpScotty: A partial example. Even though the word "Mutiny" is right there in the title, Maryk is actually charged with (and acquitted of) "conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline" - and Keith is never charged at all.
* BluffingTheMurderer: Or rather, bluff TheNeidermeyer: the defense goads Queeg into a VillainousBreakdown on the stand, thus proving his removal from command was justified.
* CaptainQueeg: [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] for TheNeidermeyer in RealLife, hence the expression ''"Queeg-like"''.
* CharacterTics: Queeg has a compulsive habit of rolling steel ball bearings in his hand when under strain.
* TheDanza: Inverted; May Wynn's name came from her character in the film.
* DeadManWriting: From the main character's father.
* DirtyCoward: Keefer, who put the idea of relieving Queeg into Maryk's head, but denied any involvement at the court-martial. Later, when he became the captain of the ''Caine'', he panicked and jumped overboard after the kamikaze attack. He's painfully aware of all this, comparing himself to LordJim.
** It's Queeg's cowardice in battle that ultimately turns the men of the ''Caine'' against him.
*** In the novel, at least, it's implied Queeg's cowardice is more due to having [[ShellShockedVeteran been on active duty for too damn long]], since by all accounts he served with distinction in the Atlantic escorting convoys.
* DoorStopper: The novel itself is a robust 500 or so pages depending on what edition you're looking at. And in-story, Tom Keefer's novel is longer than ''WarAndPeace''!
* EngineeredPublicConfession: Queeg is a victim of this.
* AFatherToHisMen: Captain [=DeVriess=]. Under him the ''Caine'' performs admirable (if unconventionally), crew morale is high, and there's an almost brotherly bond from Captain, to Officers, to Sailors. The crew even buys him a silver wristwatch as a going away present when he's finally relieved of command. Of course, this is in direct opposite to [[TheNeidermeyer Queeg]].
* ForegoneConclusion: The title of the work.
* GlamorousWartimeSinger: May Wynn.
* GreyAndGreyMorality: Queeg was far from a great captain, but the officers aboard the ''Caine'' hardly make things easier for him. Greenwald maintains that the whole situation with the typhoon would have been avoided if the officers had just given him the support he needed despite his failings.
* [[FountainOfExpies Iconic Character]]: Captain Queeg.
* JerkAss: Lieutenant Thomas Keefer.
* LoveEpiphany: Keith suddenly realizes that he really loves May just when the kamikaze hits the ''Caine''.
* MommasBoy: In the book Keith starts out like this, but matures over the course of the story.
* ManipulativeBastard: Lt. Keefer, who pushes Keith and Maryk into mutinying and then denies all involvement during the court-martial.
* TheMutiny: ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.
* NoAccountingForTaste: Keith thinks that his relationship with May can never end in marriage, because he has difficulty overcoming the fact she is of a lower social class than him.
* NoodleIncident: The court martial of Bellison and Crowe. All we know is that it involved a riot in Auckland, and that De Vreiss rigged it to get them acquitted.
* ThePerfectionist: Mentioned by the Navy psychiatrist as one of Queeg's faults.
* PetTheDog: Queeg gets a few, explaining his motivations for an early near-breakdown to Keith, and more notably after the "yellow stain" incident when he asks his officers for help controlling his demons. The latter is [[WhatTheHellHero specifically cited]] by Greenwald during his [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech climactic harangue]].
* PlayingAgainstType: HumphreyBogart, best known for playing tough, hard-boiled heroes plays the incompetent, paranoid and cowardly Captain Queeg.
* PyrrhicVictory: Maryk is acquitted, but his naval career is destroyed.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: After the trial Greenwald gives one to the Caine crew and especially to Lt. Keefer.
** Followed by his [[FoodSlap tossing a drink in Keefer's face]] and challenging him to do something about it.
* ShoutOut: After Queeg shares his no-nonsense command philosophy with the other officers:
-->'''Keith:''' Well, he's certainly Navy.
-->'''Keefer:''' Yeah. So was [[MutinyOnTheBounty Captain Bligh]].
* SiblingYinYang: Roland Keefer, Tom Keefer's brother, is rough, crude, BookDumb, but infinitely more honorable; pulling a HeroicSacrifice to save the ship he was on.
* SmugSnake: Lieutenant Thomas Keefer.
* StageNames: May's real name in the book is Marie Minotti. Donna Lee Hickey, the actress who played her in the film also used this stage name.
* SupportingProtagonist: Arguably Keith, who doesn't really advance the plot much until after the titular mutiny and the court-marshal is finished. Maryk comes across more as TheHero of the story, and Keefer, Greenwald and Queeg also make for much more interesting characters. Even his role in the mutiny feels shoe-horned in; he was the Officer On Deck at the time and supported Maryk's decision, something most of the other officers ([[DirtyCoward aside from Keefer]], perhaps.) [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating would likely have done]].
* TokenRomance: Keith's relationship with May really doesn't advance the plot ''at all'', and the chapters focusing on it arguably make up some of the most unbearable chapters of the book. It gets worse when Keith is spending half his time in those scenes trying to dump her.
* TyrantTakesTheHelm: Queeg, definitely.
* UpperClassTwit: Keith starts off this way, but improves over time while on board the Caine. Unfortunately, he seems to revert back immediately whenever he's not on the ship.
* VillainousBreakdown: A classic, with Queeg goaded into a witness-stand rant about all the problems the crew gave him, with an unfortunate focus on the minor strawberries incident and also displaying his nervous tic of rubbing a pair of ball bearings. Partway through he [[OhCrap realizes what it looks like]], but it's too late.
* WhatTheHellHero: Greenwald's final speech to the officers of the ''Caine''.
* WhiteAngloSaxonProtestant: Willie Keith. One of the reasons he thinks his relationship with May can't get serious is that she's the daughter of Italian emigrants.
* WhosLaughingNow: After Maryk announces his intent to carry out article 184, Keith becomes smug about the situation, but doesn't openly show it. Maryk, on the other hand, continues to treat Queeg with respect, which partly saves him during his Court-Martial.
* WorldWarII: The setting of the story. The ''Caine'' takes part in the invasion of Kwajalein, and survives a kamikaze attack near Okinawa.