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The Mutiny

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"You're relieved, Captain!"

"For the Watch." [stab]
Alliser Thorne, Game of Thrones

Here's the situation: you're on a ship. The Captain is supposed to be the commanding officer on the ship, and his word is supposed to be law. But sometimes, members of the crew don't see it that way. Maybe someone gets it in his head to become captain himself, and the current captain needs to go. Maybe the captain is a bit too tyrannical or soft for the crew's liking, or they think the captain has lost his mind and is leading them on a suicidal course, and the crew would rather go back to Tahiti. Whatever the reason, someone gets the bright idea to take up arms against the captain and before you know it, we've got a mutiny on our hands.

Militarily speaking, a mutiny is the military form of sedition, a conspiracy to disobey a superior officer whose orders one is legally bound to obey. But in popular fiction, particularly pirate stories, the term is mainly used for the rebellion of members of the crew against the captain or other person in charge of a ship, either at sea or in space. Just like rebellions on land, a mutiny may or may not be justified, though it's worth telling that mutinies are far less likely to be justified than regular rebellions. In many stories (and in real life) the penalty for mutiny is usually death, so many mutineers do not live long if they fail.


It's not always illegal. If the commanding officer's actions are illegal, immoral, or are themselves contrary to higher orders, his ranking underling can take action to "relieve him of command," usually using those exact words. Of course, the captain will still think it's mutiny. The junior officer will, of course, be expected to justify his actions before a full inquiry, military tribunal, court martial, or other group of stern old officers in the Dénouement. When The Captain is the one who is technically disobeying orders from a higher power, it's an Anti-Mutiny.

As you might expect, mutinies are a case of Truth in Television, and there are many cases throughout history of mutinies happening not only on board ships, but on land as well.

Fictionally, Pirate ships may face mutinies that are treated just as seriously as those on other ships. In Real Life, pirates set up their ships so they could depose a captain as they pleased. Pirate captains were mostly elected by their crews to begin with too.


When the commanding officer does something illegal with the ship, that's not mutiny, that's barratry.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Infinite Ryvius is basically a revolving-door mutiny machine.
  • In Code Geass, Schneizel holds a meeting with The Black Knights where he reveals Lelouch's identity as Zero along with his Geass power, he also presents evidence to them where Lelouch confesses to starting the massacre done by Euphemia. In response to this, The Black Knights agree to turn on Lelouch in exchange for Japan's freedom.
  • In Full Metal Panic: Invisible Victory, after escaping from Amalgam, Tessa explains that they ran of supplies with some members revolting and destroyed the submarine. Later she began acting rash towards the survivors which ended with them leaving her on the road. It turned to be a ploy to lure Amalgam out into the open.
  • In Super Dimension Fortress Macross/Robotech, this is what saves the SDF-1 when the order comes down to attack to destroy it. By that time, so much of the Zentraedi forces are enamored with Human culture that a wave of mutinies erupt throughout the fleet to protest the order. At this disorder, Commander Breetai orders a ceasefire.

    Comic Books 
  • Issue #68 of The Powerpuff Girls has the Micro-Puffs (mischievous dimensional sprite versions of the girls) brainwashing Bubbles and Buttercup into thinking they're the leader of the team. It doesn't work on Blossom, since she's the leader already. She gets some help from (of all people) Mojo Jojo.
    Mojo Jojo: If you needed help, why do you not go to your hotshot Professor, hmmm? Why come to me?
    Blossom: [coyly] Because, Mojo, I needed not only a brilliant mind but a diabolical one to help me beat the Micro-Puffs!
  • In the season 2 finale of The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye most of the central cast gets kicked off the Lost Light and left to fend for themselves against the Big Bad thanks to a mutiny led by Getaway. The mutiny is sparked by a combination of Megatron being let off the hook and Rodimus's poor leadership.
  • Near the finale of Revival the military administrator is formally replaced. She proceeds to rally the troops to her cause and retake control of the operation.
  • Star Wars (Marvel 2015) has the fittingly titled "Mutiny on Mon Cala" arc, which is all about the Leia, Luke, and Han trying to convince the Mon Calamari navy to turn on their Imperial overseers and join the Rebel Alliance.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana's entire high command starts feeling like she's risking them unnecessarily and they should take what they've been able to get and move on to live their lives since they don't feel they can actually defeat the empire, though only Sakritt and Ectreba start planning a mutiny. Diana is able to talk them out of it rather easily, though Sakritt does mention the truce has its limits.
  • It happens in Superman story The Krypton Chronicles: During Val-El's sea voyage, his brother Tro-El starts a mutiny, intending to maroon his brother and start out a career as a pirate. However his mutiny fails, and Tro-El and his followers are marooned instead in the island of Bokos, which they turn into a pirate haven.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf alternate timeline story "Papa Smurf & Mama Smurfette", Empath leads a secret mutiny against Papa Smurf after he marries Smurfette, recruiting Smurfs without anyone's notice. By the time Smurfette gives birth to Papa Smurf's child, the entire adult male Smurf population of the village has turned against Papa Smurf, and Empath signifies the change of authority by replacing Papa Smurf's red hat for a white hat while replacing his own star-spangled hat for Papa Smurf's red hat.
  • Earth's Alien History: The Tesskan War ends with the Fillopods, realizing they're doomed to get curb stomped otherwise, rebelling against the Tesskans, taking over their fleet, and promptly surrendering to the Terran Treaty Organization.
  • The Temeraire fanfic Black Wings, Black Sails is built on this trope.
    • Laurence's pirate career begins when he becomes captain to a prison ship bound for Australia. Still bound by his gentlemanly sense of honor and morals, and abolitionist ideals courtesy of his father, he treats the prisoners fairly and with decency, which sows distrust among his crew as they come to believe he cares more for the prisoners than his own crew. It culminates in his crew trying to have him removed as he comes down with fever. The prisoners he cared for and the crewmembers sympathetic to him keep him safe and fight back against the mutinying crew, and end up winning the ship back for Laurence, who want him for their captain.
    • The same thing eventually happens to Temeraire as a result of his rescue of Laurence- he becomes suspected of disloyalty, with most of the Allegiance's crew, as well as some of his own twenty-man crew advocating that he be turned over to Laurence entirely, "a black dragon for [Laurence's] black heart".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The infamous 1789 mutiny aboard HMAV Bounty, in which the sailors aboard a British frigate mutinied and set their captain and his loyal sailors adrift, has inspired at least four films: 1933's In the Wake of the Bounty (the film debut of Errol Flynn), Mutiny on the Bounty (with Clark Gable, and the Oscar-winner for 1935), Mutiny on the Bounty (with Marlon Brando), and The Bounty (a 1984 film that starred Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson).
  • The Caine Mutiny, and the book of the same name by Herman Wouk on which the movie was based, concerns a mutiny aboard a WWII destroyer-minesweeper against a captain accused of cowardice and incompetence. In the end, the mutineers are acquitted, but their attorney tells them that if they'd stood by their captain, it never would have been necessary to unseat him.
  • Crimson Tide had a mutiny aboard a submarine during rising tensions between the United States and Russia that were set to go nuclear. Tricky, in that none of the participants are sure who the mutineer actually is, as both sides claim legitimate authority within the Articles of War governing the United States Navy.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean, a few times, notably The Black Pearl taken from Jack in the backstory and at the end of the third film. And Jack in On Stranger Tides which would've been successful had Blackbeard not had a mystical sword that controlled the ship.
  • Battleship Potemkin. Truth in Television and a cinematic masterpiece.
  • Kirk skirts this line over and over again in the Star Trek (2009) reboot.
  • H.M.S. Defiant placed in the time of Spithead mutiny, the crew plans it from the beginning, and Dirk Bogarde's super-evil, sadistic first lieutenant gives them pretty good reason to do it.
  • In The Son of Kong, the ship crew stages a mutiny because they don't want to go back to Skull Island. Egged on by the villain of the film, but then they throw him overboard too.
  • Retrograde: A group of men are sent 100 years back in time to prevent a meteor carrying a deadly alien virus from colliding into Earth and bring humanity to the brink of extinction. However, during the mission, one of the commandos, Dalton, tries to take over the ship and kill the other crew so that he can change the past and remake the future in his own image.
  • Space Mutiny features The Mutiny... IN SPACE! Shaped Like Itself and Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • Likewise Mutiny in Outer Space (1965). The mutiny takes place on a Space Station which has become contaminated by a lethal alien fungus. Unfortunately the station commander has fallen victim to Space Madness and so has to be removed from command.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 had this happen to Yondu when his faction of Ravagers see him as weak for not wanting to turn Peter in for a bounty placed on him.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi: One was nearly attempted by Poe when he thought that Holdo was acting quite cowardly and kept refusing to give him a straight answer when he questioned her tactics, even when it looked like she was preparing to sacrifice the bulk of the crew to save herself. It's stopped when it turns out she was acting under Leia's orders whom was still recovering after she was nearly blow out into space, in order to slip the remaining rebels under the First Order's radar.
  • Yellowbeard: Having stacked the crew with his own band of cutthroats, Mr. Moon leads a mutiny against Captain Hughes and seizes control of the Lady Edith: setting Hughes and the other officers adrift in a longboat.

  • Very commonly found in Napoleonic naval fiction. Occurs in the first Richard Bolitho novel, and in Lord Hornblower.

  • Alexis Carew: Mutineer is explicitly based on the historical mutiny aboard HMS Hermione. Captain Neals is a Jerkass from the beginning, free with the lash and doing his damnedest to drive Alexis to resignation out of sexism, but he finally goes too far when he disratesnote  Alexis for refusing to beg forgiveness on bended knee and has her flogged as well. Within a day, the mutiny that had been threatened in an earlier chapter ends in the enlisted crew locking up the officers, killing most of the Marines, and sailing into enemy territory to seek asylum.
  • The story of HMS Bounty has been rendered many times. One of the most famous is The Bounty Trilogy, a series of three novels recounting the mutiny aboard HMS Bounty, the harrowing voyage of Bligh and his loyalists after the mutiny, and the flight of Fletcher Christian and the mutineers to Pitcairn Island.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Brake", although the captain wonders whether passengers can mutiny, he chiefly deals with stopping them by force and then surviving the damage.
  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Thieves, Athena wakes up to find that her father's crew have mutinied and are coming after her.
  • Empire from the Ashes begins with a mutiny onboard the Fourth Imperium warship Dahak instigated by the chief engineer, who wants the ship for himself. The captain instead orders the central computer to render the vessel uninhabitable and to stay in the star system they're in until the mutiny is suppressed, resulting in all the surviving crewmembers stranded on an uninhabited planet. Fast-forward 50,000 years, and the mutiny still hasn't been resolved. Not to mention the small faction of counter-mutineers who have been waging a secret war against the larger group.
  • As Tom Clancy points out in The Hunt for Red October, what happens is not this trope, but barratry as it involves the captain and his officers. It's also pointed out that most successful mutinies involve the ship's officers, because they're the only ones who know how to navigate the ship.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, the Colony Ship Jacob's Ladder was catastrophically damaged in an event called the Breaking. A disagreement over what to do afterwards escalated into the engineers mutinying against the command crew. This led to the permanent division of the ship into the warring kingdoms of Engine and Rule.
  • Kydd:
    • The premise of the fourth book in the series, Mutiny. Kydd initially joins the mutiny at the Nore in good faith, but he later regrets his decision when the situation turns ugly. In later books, it becomes an Old Shame for him.
    • This later becomes a threat for Kydd in Treachery (The Privateer's Revenge in the U.S.), when he treats the crew of Teazer badly to due to his grief over the death of his fiancée, Rosalynd.
  • The Lost Fleet has the Glory Hound Captain Falco lead a mutiny against the Alliance fleet commander John Geary, whom he thinks is a coward. He takes off with 40 ships to break through the enemy forces. He comes back with thirteen, and having completely lost his wits after his 'plan' (if you can call it such) ends in disaster. It's something of an in-universe Alas, Poor Scrappy moment for Geary, who wasn't terribly fond of Falco even before he pulled this little stunt, and he has him confined to quarters until he can be committed to an asylum. Falco ends up dying anyway when the ship he is on is lost in action, which causes some complications later on.
  • The backstory of The Midnight Folk features a ship carrying a valuable cargo where one of the officers leads the crew to mutiny against the captain, maroon him, and take the cargo for themselves. Then the crew mutinies against the new captain and maroons him as well.
  • First Mate Cox leads a mutiny on the Sweet Judy in the backstory of Nation. It fails when the captain realizes that If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him, and the mutineers are set adrift — leaving the Judy undermanned in the tsunami that sets off the plot of the book proper.
  • A mutiny was what contributed to the conditions on the Generation Ship of Robert A. Heinlein's Orphans Of The Sky (originally two short stories, "Universe" and "Common Sense"), during which the ship's piloting crew was killed off, the survivors later forgetting their original purpose.
  • In F.M. Busby's Rissa Kerguelen series, spaceship crews sometimes mutiny in order to get free of their totalitarian government; we see two of these mutinies in the books.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire,
    • A group of Night's Watch brothers, after surviving a large-scale attack by the undead Others, take shelter in a small keep owned by Craster, a sometimes friend of the Watch. During their stay, Craster mocks the Brothers and feeds them only meager rations, claiming that it is all he can afford to give. Several of the watchmen, half-starved and nearly crazed from the battle and subsequent retreat, accuse him of holding out on them, claiming that he must have ample stores for the coming winter to supply himself and his many wives. Lord Commander Mormont tries to put an end to their belligerence but is cut down by his own men, who proceed to murder Craster, raid his stores, and rape his women. Only Samwell holds back, fleeing the keep before the traitors recover themselves to bring word back to Castle Black about the Lord Commander's death.
    • The fifth book ends with Jon Snow being stabbed and apparently killed by a group of Night's Watch mutineers.
    • A backstory example featured in Fire & Blood: When Rhaenyra's army arrived to assault the defenceless King's Landing during the Dance of the Dragons, the rank and file of the City Watch, who remained loyal to Rhaenyra's husband Daemon, their former commander, promptly murdered the politically appointed officers that Aegon II had put in charge of them and opened the city gates to Rhaenyra's troops.
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On the Razor's Edge, this is what finally brought down a maxraj, ordering his troops to engage in a particularly brutal repression.
  • In Stark's War, given the manifest incompetence of the army's officers, it's no surprise that they're worried about dissent in the ranks. This comes to a head during a particularly stupid attack in which repeated waves of troops are sent directly into heavy enemy bombardment. Stark chooses to disable his officer and lead his people to help the wounded, prompting a wider mutiny across the army.
  • Tarzan of the Apes opens with a mutiny. The crew of the Arrow rise up, kill the brutal officers and steal the ship. Because Lord Greystoke had been kind to the leader of the mutiny during the voyage, he and his pregnant wife are put ashore on a remote stretch of the African coast rather than being killed.
  • In Terminal World, a mutiny is planned against Ricasso, the leader of the Swarm.
  • Treasure Island:
    • Captain Flint's crew, under Long John Silver, rebelled in the backstory.
    • Silver recruits most of his old pirate compatriots to crew the Hispaniola, and plans to mutiny after they have dug up the treasure. Unfortunately for Silver, they're all so excited about the treasure that he can barely get them to remember the part about mutinying after they find it, and the fighting breaks out almost as soon as they reach the island.
  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, by Avi, is a young adult novel about a mutiny on a ship where the protagonist ends up joining the mutineers.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga: In The Vor Game, Miles comes face to face with one against his commanding officer. To enliven matters, the question of whether the orders should have been defied is ambiguous.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel The Flight of the Eisenstein, the captain of the Eisenstein is told that what he is doing is mutiny. He retorts that mutiny is when the crew revolts against the captain; when a captain disobeys the commander of the fleet, it's barratry. He still, in defiance of orders, flees in order to Bring News Back of Horus's treachery.
  • Spaceship Medic by Harry Harrison. The eponymous medic takes command of a spaceship after the other officers are killed by a meteor strike. As he has to react to one crisis after another, he ends up alienating the passengers who launch a mutiny under the leadership of a retired General Ripper who feels he should be running things instead (as the crew are not involved this is technically space piracy, but it's played the same as this trope). Fortunately one of the mutineers only joined so he could foil the plot, and quickly arranges a counter-mutiny with the aid of the crew, who remain loyal to their new captain.
  • In Beyond Thirty, while Lt. Turck and his three subordinates are out fishing the Coldwater is successfully repaired and flies off, leaving the fishermen to their fate. It is implied that Turck's second officer Alvarez, who has clashed with his superior, is behind both the original sabotage and subsequent abandonment.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In the first book, ShadowClan fights back against and deposes their tyrant leader Brokenstar, with the help of ThunderClan.
    • In A Dangerous Path, Fireheart realizes that Bluestar's about to lead her Clan into unnecessary war due to her mental issues and paranoia. He swiftly puts together a plan to try and stop the battle, and also picks cats for the "attack" who also think that it's unjust and may not fight if she commands it. His plan works, and they come to a peaceful agreement instead of battle, but Bluestar still views it as treachery.
    • In Thunder and Shadow, a large percentage of ShadowClan consider Rowanstar to be a weak leader and blame him for their problems, and they join together to kick him out, choosing to follow the rogue Darktail instead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones.
    • A bunch of hungry, pissed-off Night's Watchmen rebel in "And Now His Watch Is Ended", with violent results.
    • Quoted above is the end of the fifth season, in which Alliser Thorne and several other accomplices, upset with Lord-Commander Jon Snow's decisions, such as evacuating the Wildlings from Hardhome, stage a mutiny. The mutiny succeeds in killing Jon, but Melisandre is able to revive him, and Jon has the mutineers hanged.
  • In the pilot of seaQuest DSV, Commander Ford relieves Captain Stark of duty as she's about to launch a nuclear strike without just cause.
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: Voyager starts on the premise of a Starfleet crew in an Enemy Mine alliance with the rebel Maquis they've been sent to capture, so this is a possibility in the early seasons. In "Parallax", a rumor starts that the Captain is planning to put the Maquis crewmen under house arrest, so two of them approach Commander Chakotay and inform him they have his backing if he wants to launch a mutiny. Despite being Maquis himself Chakotay threatens to throw them in the brig, as he knows A House Divided is the last thing they want right now. Towards the end of Season Three, the crew stumble across a half-completed holodeck simulation designed to train Voyager security officers to counter a Maquis mutiny. Ironically by this time Maquis/Starfleet relations are running so smoothly that everyone assumes it's a fun roleplaying game. However in another episode Tuvok leads a mutiny thanks to brainwashing he received from a fanatical Maquis holdout.
    • Star Trek: Enterprise.
      • In "Hatchery" Archer becomes obsessed with protecting a Xindi insectoid hatchery at the expense of their mission to save Earth. The MACO's as by-the-book Space Marines follow his orders without question, while the crew (who've been together long enough to realize Archer is Not Himself, and now have the self-confidence to do something about it) try to apprehend Archer and find out what is wrong with him.
      • In the Mirror Universe Archer (who's only second-in-command) leads a mutiny against his captain, and later his admiral, as in that alternate timeline Klingon Promotion is a way of life.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • There is an interesting case in the episode "Turnabout Intruder", where Kirk had switched bodies with his jealous, insane ex-lover, who wanted to be captain. The rest of the crew became suspicious of their captain's irrational behavior. However all medical tests showed that Kirk was perfectly fine and even when Scotty suggested that they mutiny, McCoy pointed out the medical report was all that Starfleet would accept and they would be the ones who irrationally mutiny against their captain. Apparently illegally ordered executions don't qualify under Starfleet regs.
      • Spock mutinies in the pilot episode "The Menagerie", falsifying records and taking off with the Enterprise, in order to help his former captain Christopher Pike. Once Kirk catches up with them on a shuttlecraft, Spock surrenders calmly...but only after making sure that the computers running the ship will keep on the course he set.
      • In "The Tholian Web" Ensign Chekov asks if the crew of the Defiant mutinied while examining the ship. They didn't - not intentionally, anyway.
    • The pilot episode of Star Trek: Discovery ends with Commander Burnham neck-pinching Captain Georgiou and trying to order aggressive actions against a Klingon ship. Georgiou quickly recovers, however, and stops said mutiny by pulling a phaser on Burnham and sending her to the brig before any shots are fired. (This does not, however, stop the Klingons from attacking soon after and starting a full-scale war. This also doesn't prevent Burnham from being court-martialed, stripped of rank, and imprisoned.)
  • Battlestar Galactica (1978). In "Take The Celestra", a spaceship crew mutiny against the iron-fisted rule of their captain, but it's actually a plot by his Number Two (who's behind the worst of the oppression) to seize the ship for himself.
  • Battlestar Galactica. With the support of Vice-President Zarek, Lt. Gaeta leads a full-scale armed mutiny against Admiral Adama and President Roslin.
  • An episode of JAG, "Cowboys and Cossacks", plays with both this trope, and the Barratry gag from The Hunt for Red October, when Harm and Bud, while guests aboard a Russian sub, conspire with one of the Russian officers to take the ship from the renegade Captain. Harm explains to Bud that what they are doing can not be legally defined as mutiny, given that they are not members of the crew. Technically, it's an act of terrorism.
  • Stargate Universe: One is staged by the civilians and scientists in the aptly named "Divided", orchestrated by Rush and Camille, who want power away from the military. Suffice it to say it doesn't go so well. T.J. even points out the stupidity of a bunch of civilians going up against US Air Force Colonel.
    Chloe: Don't worry. You won't have to stay in here for much longer.
    T.J.: I know , 'cause the colonel's gonna take back the ship. You don't have any idea what you're up against.
    Chloe: I think we do.
    T.J.: Not a clue. (She sits up and glares at Chloe.) Sorry, but a bunch of civilians up against the colonel's training and experience?
    Chloe: It's about listening to reason.
    T.J.: (standing up) Not once you took this ship. That made it war, and that's what we do.
  • The mini-series Horatio Hornblower features mutiny in its second instalment (episodes "Mutiny" and "Retribution"), which are an adaptation of the book Lieutenant Hornblower, but with notable changes. The lieutenants of HMS Renown have to deal with a Crazy Captain and a Doctor Jerk who hesitates to pronounce him unfit to command. Too bad Captain Sawyer is a Living Legend because that only complicate things further and a subsequent court-martial screws the poor men over.
  • Das Boot: Wrangel seizes command of U-612 with help from dissident crew members who don't like Hoffmann.
  • The Terror features one attempted mutiny and two that actually get off the ground, as the chain of command breaks down in the Arctic cold.
    • Early on, Captain Crozier decides to ignore Captain Franklin's orders and leave with a party down the Back River, hopefully finding civilization and rescue. This plan is stopped in it's tracks as he is collecting supplies with the death of Captain Franklin, leaving Crozier in charge of the expedition.
    • After things have truly gotten bad, Hickey stages one, taking men and supplies from Crozier's loyalists, and becoming a recurring threat.
    • Finally, Crozier's loyalists don't precisely mutiny, but do ignore orders to bring the sick and dying with them as they march south.
  • While not played completely straight, this was offered as a twist in Survivor - whenever a player opts to Mutiny, they join the other team.
    • In Thailand, and Pearl Islands, this was offered. Nobody took it.
    • In Cook Islands, this twist was offered and Jonathan Penner & Candice Woodcock took it to join their allies. This resulted in the Aitutaki tribe being reduced to just four players, against a team that was twice their size.
    • Tocantins also offered this, but only on an individual basis. Nobody took it.
  • Farscape: In the penultimate episode, Commandant Grayza attempts to order her command carrier to turn its weapons on the Scarrans and shoot their way out of the failed negotiations. Captain Braca decides he's had enough of her poor decisions and cites the Peacekeeper code articles that allow him to remove her from power. Grayza attempts to order a sergeant to shoot Braca for mutiny but she's been such a Bad Boss that the sergeant sides with Braca instead. Evidently her removal didn't stick as she's restored to power by the Wrap It Up miniseries.

  • Running Wild song "Mutiny" on the album Port Royal.
  • Alestorm's "Captain Morgan's Revenge" kicks off with a mutiny that ends with the pirates making the title captain Walk the Plank, only for him to pronounce a dying curse upon them all...
  • Grand Funk Railroad's "I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)" revolves around the captain trying to talk his crew down from one of these, but he apparently doesn't succeed.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Star Fleet Battles includes the possibility of mutiny aboard heavily damaged Klingon ships. The backstory for the Klingon Empire in SFB states that the empire is composed of ethnic Imperial Klingons (the actual Klingon race proper) and numerous subject races. These subject races serve in significant numbers aboard Klingon warships often composing up to 75% of the crew. However, they are always in strictly support roles (boarding parties, manual labor, ect) and they are never taught how to operate the ships or weapons. Naturally, none are ever officers, let alone, put in command of a vessel. While not slaves, they are not considered politically dependable, which is why Klingon vessels have security stations to heavily monitor subject race crewmembers. If these stations are all destroyed in battle, the player must roll for mutiny. If a mutiny is successful, the ship falls under control of mutineeers and will surrender to the other player. If the mutiny is put down, the player need not roll again, as anyone else who would have tried it is probably already dead. The mainstream Star Trek universe does not have this issue with Klingon vessels as they are manned solely by the Klingon race. Any mutinies that might happen there would be instigated by other Klingons and would be seen as dishonorable.
  • In Rogue Trader, a mutiny can result if the ship's Morale rating sinks too low. Around 50% Morale, it will slowly degrade the ship's fighting capability as the loyal crew fight the open mutineers and crewmen stop showing up for duty shifts. If it ever sinks to 0%, the ship is basically lost, and the command staff are well advised to leave before they're caught.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: Kharadron Overlords have an unusually formal version of this as an actual part of their code. Any airship captains that haven't turned a profit can be removed and replaced by the crew at will, demoting the former captain to just another crewmember. They can get captaincy back, but they need to prove themselves again.

    Video Games 
  • Suikoden IV: Snowe Vingerhut finds himself on the bad end of one when he cracks under the pressure of leadership. But then, what can you expect when you're only in charge of a crew of much more experienced soldiers thanks to daddy's influence?
  • Monkey Island:
    • In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush's crew end up turning on him as soon as they set sail for the titular island. It works out in the end, though.
    • And in The Curse of Monkey Island, the crew mutinies after they shipwreck on Blood Island, because they wish to return to their occupation as a Barbershop Quartet.
      "We be hearing the call of the sirens. She be wanting us to wash her hair."
  • Allegiance, a team-based multiplayer Space Sim / Real-Time Strategy hybrid, has The Mutiny as part of its gameplay mechanics. One player on each team fills the role of a commander, taking care of most of the RTS-level elements of the game — building bases, investing in research, and managing the big picture of the battle. At any time, any other member of the team can propose a mutiny, at which point everyone on the team gets a vote — and if the mutiny passes, that player takes over. This doesn't happen too often, but will happen to commanders who make egregious mistakes, especially if they behave arrogantly or harshly towards the rest of their team despite their own obvious flaws. (Competent commanders can usually get away with it, though...)
  • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, the War Room erupted into this after the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff attempted to call off the Nuclear Strike after he learned from Big Boss that the missile data was fake.
  • In Sid Meier's Pirates!, you take command of your first ship (at 18!) as the result of a mutiny. Also, while you're commanding your fleet, if you have too many pirates and too little gold, the crew will become upset after a time and mutiny. Also if you run out of food. Or try to sail for too long without dividing the loot from the expedition. However, the mathematics for happiness work in your favor here: if you have enough gold in the hold to ensure 1000 gold per person minimum (after your cut), the crew will never get upset about the amount of time you spend sailing, and you can keep the expedition alive indefinitely (though the risk of losing it all in a bad engagement is very real, as your crew is likely relatively small).
  • Final Fantasy VIII: After a failed attempt to assassinate Edea, the real boss of Balamb Garden, NORG, decided to offer the head of the involved SEEDs (your party, that is) to her on a silver plate to save his own arse. Cid doesn't take this well, and decided that he's through with this greedy bastard. A Garden-wide armed conflict ensues between NORG's goons and students loyal to Cid.
  • In the backstory of Mass Effect: Andromeda, there was a mutiny on the Nexus between its arrival and the arrival of the arks, due to leadership that was unprepared for an Apocalypse How to have taken place throughout the destination star cluster between departure and arrival, and things just getting worse from there. An underling of the Initiative's leaders thawed out the krogan complement early to put down the uprising, with the promise of more political powers if they helped. They banished the surviving mutineers (who become the Exiles faction and are forced to survive as Space Pirates), but then Tann refused to honor the deal with the krogan, who left to set up their own colony on Elaaden rather than put up with it. (Though of note, an email found in the first failed colony suggests Sloane Kelly, who ended up going with the exiles in protest against the use of krogan, had been planning her own thing before the riots kicked off).
  • In Star Traders Frontiers, your crew may mutiny against you if their morale drops too low. Certain crew jobs have talents that can help end a mutiny and mitigate the consequences.
  • In the second and fifth versions of The Oregon Trail, you can play as a trail guide and monitor an entire wagon party. If you let the morale get too low, your party will kick you off the train and the game will end.
  • Return Of The Obra Dinn begins with the protagonist, an insurance investigator with a magic pocket watch allowing one to see a corpse's last moment frozen in time, watching the last few sailors aboard the Obra Dinn attempt to mutiny against their captain, who proceeds to slay them to a man, leaving him the last living soul aboard the ship before taking his own life in despair. As the game progresses, the player can discover other mutinies that occurred over the course of the doomed voyage, one of which was the first domino in the tragedy.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Rising Angels, the conflicting claims to authority of Commander Rasoona (in charge of the ship) and Major Puccile (lower in rank, but in charge of the mission that the ship is on) can, depending on choices, result in disagreement as to who gets to make a certain crucial decision. If it comes to that, Major Puccile removes Commander Rasoona from her post — which is legal, but not accepted. This results in an unsuccessful attempt to regain control in which Rasoona is killed.

    Web Comics 
  • Gloog briefly attempts this in A Game of Fools.
  • Invoked but not executed in TwoKinds.
  • Dubious Company:
  • In Freefall, Sam tries to organize a mutiny against himself, because he doesn't want to be captain anymore.
  • Zebra Girl: Vampires of Sandra's hometown were just biding their time. Once Sandra discovers that there is a conspiracy against her, Bloo decides it is time for Sandra to take a nap, and drugs her.
  • In The Order of the Stick, after Bandana becomes acting captain of the Mechane, she comes into conflict with chief engineer Andi, who considers her unworthy of the captaincy due to being on the ship for less time, and due to still thinking of Bandana as the kid she once babysat. Tensions come to a head during a battle when Andi, fed up with Bandana's decisions, knocks her out with a wrench and takes command. She then proves herself utterly inept at leadership, enough that a tied-up Bandana is eventually able to convince the rest of the crew to let her go; one Death Glare later, and a panicked Andi quickly surrenders control back to her.
  • Jackie Rose: Elizabeth's crew do this when one of them hears that she wants to drop out of piracy after paying off a debut to a criminal and thinks she won't give the men a cut of the profits.

    Web Original 
  • In Pay Me, Bug!, Velis Enge organizes a mutiny against Captain Vindh.

    Western Animation 
  • Exo Squad had Captain Marcus lead this against Admiral Winfield in the final story of the first season. Why? Because he thinks Winfield has lost the will to fight the Neosapiens because he's determined that they rebuild the Exofleet first. Even though he knows that the Neosapiens outnumber even a full-strength Exofleet. Neadless to say, his mutiny ends as badly as it possibly could, with Exofleet decimated and Marcus himself shot down. Frankly, it's amazing he managed to drum up any support in the first place, since the one time he took legitimate control (in the first five episodes, when Admiral Winfield was injured by a Space Pirate attack), he got about a third of the Exofleet killed by charging off to fight the Neosapiens (resulting in half the fleet being left behind — and they were outnumbered to begin with) and then freezing up when the Neosapiens proved stronger. To say nothing of the fact he led Exofleet into several Space Pirate ambushes before that.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer unintentionally mutinied against the Naval Captain while part of a Naval Reserve Sub Crew (It makes sense in context). The captain had to clean out a bunch of items (specifically contraband junk food that was implied to have been belonging to Homer.) and promoted Homer to captain in his stead. However, shortly afterwards, the sub Homer was on was about to collide with another submarine (which Moe claimed was an enemy sub). Homer, when wondering what his captain said, decided on saying fire the torpedo. Unfortunately, he forgot that his captain was still in the torpedo tube, and... well... he was fired into the enemy sub, comically making an impression on the enemy sub. Similarly, the enemy sub also considered using their officer to do so (although only because of a poor choice of words on the officer's part), but stopped when he explains he meant fire a real torpedo. Homer then unwittingly commits treason and nearly starts a world war. Par for the course.
    • Plus a segment from "The Wettest Stories Ever Told" is based on Mutiny on the Bounty, with the schoolkids are the mutineers and Skinner as Captain Bligh.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: "This is mutiny" is delivered straight by Dick Dastardly in the Magnificent Muttley episode "Muttley on the Bounty" with Muttley in the Fletcher Christian role and Dastardly as Captain Bligh. Dastardly says this standing on the gangplank Muttley is sawing off the ship.
  • Looney Tunes: In "The Hasty Hare", Bugs Bunny tries to convince Marvin the Martian that his companion K-9 is trying to stage a mutiny.
    Marvin: You mean he against me?
    Bugs: Soiteny! Don't tell me you haven't noticed that low criminal forehead.
  • A Popeye cartoon, appropriately titled "Mutiny Ain't Nice", has Popeye being captain of a sea expedition and his crew attempting a mutiny for allowing stowaway Olive on board.

    Real Life 
  • This is of course Truth in Television, so expect several references to mutinies here.
  • Mutinying was rather infamous during The Vietnam War, including throwing a grenade into an unpopular commanding officer's tent while making it seem as though the enemy threw it inside, to which in some cases the Pentagon even encouraged that behavior in certain circumstances. This type of mutiny even has a name: Fragging.
  • The Vietnam war also was the last incident of mutiny aboard an American vessel. In 1970, two US merchant marine sailors, Clyde McKay and Alvin Glatkowski, smuggled pistols aboard their ship, the cargo ship SS Columbia Eagle, and hijacked the ship by taking the captain hostage at gunpoint. At the time, the ship was full of Napalm for a delivery to a US Air Force base in Vietnam. The mutineers forced most of the crew into lifeboats and then sailed the ship to Cambodia, where they expected to receive a hero's welcome and be granted asylum by the nation's anti-US ruler, king Norodom Sihanouk. However, less than 3 days after the ship docked in Cambodia, the Sihanouk government was overthrown in a palace coup and replaced by the pro-US Sirik Matak and Lon Nol. McKay and Glatkoski were both imprisoned, while the ship and remaining crewmen were returned to the US. Glatkowski was extradited back to the US where he agreed to a plea deal in court and received a 10-year prison sentence (of which he served seven), but McKay escaped and was never heard from again, though he is believed to have been killed by Khmer Rouge forces.
  • An attempt to stop Emperor Hirohito from negotiating peace with the allies occurred from an entire 24 hours on August 15, 1945, earning the title Japan's Longest Day.
  • The Spithead Mutiny in 1797 was an interesting one. It was a mutiny by an entire fleet of British ships in time of war. It was so orderly that historians often compare it to a labor strike. This mutiny was notable for the political savvy of the mutineers which involved demanding no more then they could demand without losing sympathy. This included a pay raise, removal of corrupt officers, and a more standardized enforcement of regulation. Notably it did not demand the abolition of flogging; the sailors were prepared to accept much severity, including flogging, if it was predictable severity, but they did not want captains whose punishments were erratic. It also did not address the issue of impressment: forced conscription of civilians into the navy against their will. Another notable part of their proposal was to concede from the beginning the promise to renounce the mutiny and sail into battle if the French were spotted coming out of harbor as demonstration of their non-treasonous motives. These PR gambits made the Spithead Mutiny more successful then many.
  • The Russian Revolution of 1917 (the first one, not the second) and subsequent German Revolution of 1918 that deposed the Kaiser began in earnest via naval mutinies.
  • As mentioned above, famously occurred on HMS Bounty in 1789. The descendants of some of the mutineers still live on the island they sailed to. Pitcairn Island is one of the most dysfunctional societies on the face of the Earth, featuring a system of institutionalized child abuse: the older men have complete sexual access to young girls from puberty to marriage. This was kept an absolute secret from outsiders for well over a century, until some people finally left the island. Fletcher Christian has a lot to answer for.
  • William Bligh probably had something conducive to the mutiny about him. 19 years later, when he was the Governor of the New South Wales, he had another mutiny — the famous Rum Rebellion.
  • One of the bloodiest mutinies in the history of the Royal Navy occurred aboard the HMS Hermione in 1797, due mainly to the depraved sadism of its captain, Hugh Pigot. Pigot was known as a harsh disciplinarian, even by the standards of the time. The final straw occurred on September 20 1797, when his crew was working on the topsails after the ship had been struck by a squall. Dissatisfied with the progress of the operation, Pigot shouted to his men "I'll flog the last man down!" In the ensuing mad dash by the crew to complete the work and get down to the deck as fast as possible, three young sailors fell to their deaths. Pigot then simply ordered their bodies thrown overboard without any funeral and without showing the slightest degree of remorse. The following morning, a group of sailors stormed into Pigot's cabin, hacked him into submission with knives and cutlasses, and then threw him overboard while he was still alive. 10 additional men were killed in the ensuing mutiny, while the survivors sailed the ship to Spain and request asylum, telling Spanish authorities they had merely sent their officers away on a lifeboat, as with the case of the HMS Bounty 8 years earlier. The Royal Navy would eventually recapture the ship and apprehend 33 crew members, 24 of whom would be executed for their role in the mutiny.
  • The last mutiny by a Royal Navy ship's company occurred in 1945 on the support ship HMS Edinburgh Castle, as it passed through the Panama Canal. Embarrassingly for the Royal Navy, United States Marine Corps assistance was called for to put down the mutiny. The Edinburgh Castle mutiny is regarded as such a "perfect storm", where all the possible causes of mutiny came togethernote  that it is taught at military academies as both warning and management problem.
  • Though, if one includes the Royal Indian Navy Mutiny of 1946, that isn't quite the last. It was slightly unusual that, while it started due to poor conditions and inadequate pay, it took on a different tack within a day or two due to the Independence Movement in India. The Other Wiki elaborates it.
  • In late 1943, there was a serious mutiny among British soldiers serving in Italy. Men wounded in action in north Africa and in the early stages of the Italian fighting, who had been cleared as fit for combat, were sent to a replacement camp in Italy with the intention they would then be posted on to units requiring men. The issue was that many of these men belonged to parent units that had been redeployed back to Britain in preparation for the invasion of France. There was a sense of injustice, rage and resentment that men discharged from hospital, who had missed being posted back to Britain, were not being repatriated to join their friends, but were expected to go to wholly unfamiliar units to continue the fight in Italy. Many of these men had been in the front line continually since 1940 and firmly believed they had done their bit and it was somebody else's turn. Several thousand soldiers in this position grounded their weapons, refused to go to the front as strangers in unfamiliar units, and demanded to be posted back to their own units now in Britain. While the mutiny was put down and many of these men ended up court-martialled and in the glasshouse, the British army thought again about the issues involved, and conceded men in this position have a right to go back to their parent units. This became standard practice after the Salerno mutinies.
  • The Storozhevoy Mutiny took place in 1975 when the political officernote  aboard the ship used the grievances of the crew to frame a much larger political statement about Leonid Brezhnev's tenure as Premier. The Soviet Baltic fleet intercepted the ship, which was boarded and the mutiny put down. The instigator of the mutiny was tried and put to death.
  • Henry Hudson's crew mutinied during his last voyage in the summer of 1611. Hudson had planned to continue across the icy Canadian waters of the Northwest Passage despite the majority of his crew wishing to return to England. The mutineers set Hudson, his son and seven other crew members adrift, symbolically in what is now Hudson Bay. When the remaining crew members arrived in England, they were arrested and later acquitted of murder.


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