The movie, Battleship Potemkin, is a story about the maltreatment of the crew of the Potemkin battleship, which leads to riots against the use of rotten meat to prepare dinner. Apart from the rotten meat, several other acts of mistreatment such as unwarranted whippings increased the resolve by the ship’s crew to rebel against their cruel leaders.
The desirability of a revolution is evident by discussions among groups of sailors who compare their situation to that of the Russians in Japanese camps (Nelmes 404). Sentimental crewmembers discuss the need to respond to the unbearable conditions they had to face every day. On several occasions, the ship’s officers overlooked the plights of the crewmembers and used intimidations to suppress any protests against unjust acts.
Although the ship’s doctor inspects the meat and confirms that it has maggots, he indicates that the meat is suitable for consumption since the cook could wash out the maggots using brine. Some of the sailors who had witnessed maggots in the meat refuse to eat the soup, which is the only available food.
The reaction to the lack of enough food is evident in the kitchen during dishwashing when one sailor comes across a dish with inscriptions about the daily bread. His desire for better feeding is evident when he smashes the dish.
The ship’s captain, Captain Golikov, illustrates his intolerance of rebellious crewmembers by ordering the shooting squad to fire at the group of the rebellious sailors. However, against the captain’s expectations, the shooting squad does not shoot the sailors. The marines’ refusal to shoot their colleagues is a clear illustration of their desire for change. In addition, the marines exhibit heroism by protecting the crewmembers from the captain’s brutality.
The marines highlight the fact that killing the crewmember is unjust since they are innocent. Furthermore, the hesitation by the shooting squad allows one brave sailor to intervene and save the crewmembers. The sailor convinces his shipmates to rebel against the captain and officers who had increasingly mistreated crewmembers and wanted to shed innocent blood.
The attempt by reformist sailors to take over control of the ship causes violence to erupt (Pramaggiore and Tom 192). In the ensuing scuffle, the sailor dies after an officer shoots him. The mutineers sail the ship to port Odessa where they burry the sailor.
The bloodshed that the sailor sought to prevent occurs at the Odessa staircase when soldiers open fire on people who had gathered to welcome the battleship. The incident is horrific with bodies of men, women and children lying all over.
The Potemkin crew reacts angrily to the acts of the soldiers who shed innocent blood and are keen on launching an assault to prevent the carnage. The crew realizes that they faced an attack by warships and start signaling the approaching ships that they are not a hostile party. However, as the ships come into range, Potemkin’s crew realizes it is the mutineers and thus allows them to pass through.
Towards the end of the movie, the need for survival replaces the theme of revolution as evident by the fact that the Potemkin crew extends friendliness to the mutineers upon the realization that they are outnumbered. Collaboration between reformists and ant-reformists corrodes the concepts of a revolution, which is the main theme at beginning of the movie.
Nelmes, Jill. An Introduction to film studies. 3rd ed. London: Routledge, 2003. Print.
Pramaggiore, Maria , and Tom Wallis. Film: A Critical Introduction. London: Laurence King Publishing, 2005. Print.