Film / Nate and Hayes

Nate and Hayes (also known as Savage Islands in Europe) is a Swashbuckler adventure film from the year 1983.

Set in the South Pacific during the late 1800's, the film centers on Pirate Captain Bully Hayes, who is caught by the authorities for dealing arms to islanders. In prison he retells the events that lead him there; 18 months before, he transferred two missionaries, Nathaniel "Nate" Williamson and his betrothed Sophie, to the Island of Wakaya. He took a liking to Sophie and accepted her offer to become business partners.

However, after Bully's departure, his Arch-Enemy Ben Pease, a "blackbirder" (slaver) who has been framing Bully for his crimes for years, attacks the island, taking its inhabitants for the slave-market and also kidnapping Sophie while he's at it. Nate teams up with Bully to get her back. While chasing Ben they run into Count Heinrich von Rittenberg, representative of Imperial Germany, who plans to start coal mines and anchoring points for the Empire with the help of Ben Pease's "merchandise."

The film stars Tommy Lee Jones as Bully Hayes, and it was partially written by John Hughes.

This film contains the examples of:

  • Arms Dealer: Bully is working as one in the opening of the film, trying to sell rifles to an anti-colonialist island tribe.
  • Artificial Limbs: One man in Bully's crew has a peg-leg made of bones.
  • Auction of Evil: A slave auction is being held in Samoa as our heroes arrive there. Nathaniel tries to stop it, but gets thrown out.
  • Bad Habits: Sophie has disguised herself as a nun during the daring attempt to Bully from the noose.
  • Badass Boast: Bully gives one regarding his life in piracy.
    Hayes: Are you writing in that book that I'm a pirate?
    Clerk: (nervously) Yes, I suppose I am.
    Hayes: Good, 'cause I am one. And a damn good one. Oh, I never flew the skull and crossbones, that's for your fictioneers. But I have sought pleasure and profit in every port known to man, without regard to any man's law. That's not to say without morals and standards. I've got morals and standards. I've never killed anyone who didn't have it coming, I've never cheated an honest man, I've never pillaged and I've never raped.
  • Boarding Party: Knowing that they can't outrun von Rittenberg's gunboat, Bully's crew boards it to fight its crew and sabotage its mechanisms.
  • California Doubling: The film was shot in New Zealand and Fiji.
  • Calling Card: Ben leaves a blackbird sign on the buildings and foreheads of his victims to make sure that Bully (as it's really his sign) takes all the blame for his wrongdoings.
  • Cannibal Tribe: King Oatapi's people on the island of Ponape.
  • Cool Ship: Count von Rittenberg's small steam-powered gunboat.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Early on Bully claims that even if he is a pirate, he still has morals and standards.
  • Evil Colonialist: The South Pacific slave trader Ben Pease, and, to a lesser extent, the German navy personnel who employ him in order to use slave labour to establish island coaling stations for their navy.
  • Eyepatch of Power: One of von Rittenberg's men has it.
  • Flynning: Prevalent when Bully's crew boards the German gunboat and starts fighting its crew.
  • Frameup: In order to have Revenge on his former partner Bully, Ben has framed him for all his crimes.
  • Graceful Loser: After Count von Rittenberg is struck lethally, he makes sure to salute the victor before keeling overboard.
  • Groin Attack: The reason why Ben hates Bully so much is because he got shot in the balls by him when they got into a fight over a woman.
  • Guns Akimbo: Sophie gives cover with these as Nathaniel climbs across a wall with Bully.
  • Human Sacrifice: Ben delivers Sophie to the cannibals of Ponape for this use to sweeten the deal between them and the Germans.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The islanders try stop Bully with rising spikes from the ground, but he simply jumps over them. One of the locals chasing him tries to do the same, but ends up landing on one.
  • Improvised Weapon: During the gunboat raid, everyone else is Flynning while Sophie defends herself with a lifebelt.
  • Love Triangle: A non-contentious one among Sophie, Nate, and Bully, resolved fairly early and not causing any open conflict.
  • Man in White: The uniforms of the imperial Germans. Bully also wears a white outfit for half of the film.
  • The Missionary: Nate and his wife-to-be Sophie intend to be these, but her kidnapping leads them to a different path.
  • Moral Dissonance: After saving Sophie, Nathaniel doesn't give a thought about the Wakayans that were sold to slavery in Samoa.
  • Name and Name: Used for the original title of the film.
  • Nice Hat: Both Bully's and Ben's crew has these.
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: Samoa, where pirates and other scoundrels gather and which is also a place to buy slaves.
  • Number Two: Mr. Blake, Bully Hayes' first mate, who is always first to converse with his captain about the state of things.
  • Off with His Head!: Ben and Count von Rittenberg use barrels filled with severed heads as merchandise with King Oatapi.
  • Parental Incest: Ben claims that King Oatopi does this with his offspring.
  • Pirate: Bully's crew is comprised of of "heroic scoundrel" types, while Ben's crew is made of unscrupulous types who won't shy away from rape and slavery.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: One of Ben's many methods of operation is attacking small villages and enslaving their inhabitants.
  • Rope Bridge: After the the arms deal in the opening goes south, Bully is chased on to a rope bridge, which he cuts to avoid his pursuers.
  • Say My Name: Nathaniel yells out Bully's name in anguish after the attack on Wakaya, as he thinks that Bully's men are behind it.
  • Shirtless Scene: Bully is working without his shirt when his crew spots Nathaniel stranded on a rock at sea.
  • Shoot the Hostage: After being imprisoned by Ben Pease, Sophie captures one of his men and threatens to kill him if Ben won't let her go. Ben then simply kills the man himself to rob her from a bargaining chip.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nate and Sophie start their adventure as determined, but inexperienced couple trying to get back together. By the end of the film, they have become rogues comparable to Bully himself.
  • The Voiceless: Fong never says anything, closest we get is him giving hand signals.
  • The Von Trope Family: Count von Rittenberg.
  • Wedding Smashers: Ben and his band of slavers attack Wakaya on the day of Nathaniel's and Sophie's wedding.
  • You No Take Candle: The islanders of Wakaya and cannibals of Ponape talk like this.
    King Oatapi: Pease man, what bring? Happy me good now.