Moby Dick
UK DVD cover
Based onMoby-Dick
by Herman Melville
Screenplay byAnton Diether
Franc Roddam
Benedict Fitzgerald (uncredited)
Directed byFranc Roddam
StarringPatrick Stewart
Henry Thomas
Ted Levine
Bruce Spence
Hugh Keays-Byrne
Gregory Peck
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes2
Executive producersRobert Halmi Sr.
Francis Ford Coppola
Fred Fuchs
ProducersFranc Roddam
Kris Noble
Running time180 minutes
Production companiesAmerican Zoetrope
Hallmark Entertainment
Nine Network Australia
USA Pictures
BudgetUS $20 million
Original release
NetworkUSA Network
ReleaseMarch 15 (1998-03-15) –
March 16, 1998 (1998-03-16)

Moby Dick is a 1998 American television miniseries directed by Franc Roddam, written by Roddam, Anton Diether, and Benedict Fitzgerald, and executive produced by Francis Ford Coppola. It is based on Herman Melville's 1851 novel of the same name. It was filmed in Australia in 1997 and first released in the United States in 1998.[1][2] The miniseries consisted of two episodes, each running two hours with commercials on March 15 and 16 of 1998 on the USA Network.[3] This is Gregory Peck's final on-screen role.


Ishmael is a young sailor who joins the crew of the whaling ship Pequod. Queequeg, a Pacific Islander and experienced whaler, meets Ishmael at an inn and joins him in this whaling journey. The captain of the Pequod, Ahab, soon reveals his obsession with the legendary sperm whale Moby Dick, who bit off Ahab's leg years earlier. Since that day, Ahab has sworn to find and kill Moby Dick himself.

Ahab rejects the repeated pleas of his first mate, Starbuck, to stop chasing Moby Dick because the ship is operating at a loss due to Ahab's apathy towards hunting whales other than Moby Dick and because he fears the captain's narrow-minded pursuit puts the entire crew's safety at risk. Queequeg, assigned to work as Starbuck's harpooner, also disagrees with the captain's mission and engages in passive resistance by completely refusing to do any work on the ship, even throwing down his harpoon when ordered to join a whale hunt.

As months pass by with no sighting of Moby Dick, Ahab's madness becomes more and more obvious. He refuses to assist another ship searching for the son of their captain, who was lost at sea. He forces the crew to drag the Pequod over ice with ropes and sail through a massive storm. Yet even as their fellow sailors perish and their survival becomes more and more uncertain, the majority of the crew refuses to challenge Ahab, eager to help him claim the prize of Moby Dick.

Finally, the Pequod locates Moby Dick, and Ahab personally leads a group of men to kill the beast. Despite being harpooned, the whale manages to crush the boat and kill everyone except Ahab. When the captain tries to untangle his harpoon rope, he gets caught and Moby Dick drags him underwater to his death. The Pequod is rammed and sinks, with Ishmael the only survivor.


Patrick Stewart took the lead role shortly after making a striking reference to the book, and quoting from it, in Star Trek: First Contact.[4]

Gregory Peck appeared as Father Mapple more than 40 years after he played Ahab in the 1956 film adaptation directed by John Huston.

Awards and nominations

Moby Dick received award nominations: including five Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards (winning Best Supporting Actor for Peck), a Satellite Award, and a Television Critics Association Award. Also composer Christopher Gordon was nominated and won for his score including an Australian Guild of Screen Composers Award and a APRA Music Award.

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Artios Awards Best Casting for Mini-Series Lynn Kressel Nominated [5]
Australian Guild of Screen Composers Awards Best Original Music in a Television Series or Serial Christopher Gordon Nominated [6]
Best Original Title Theme Composed for a Television Series, Serial or Mini-Series Won
Best Soundtrack Album Nominated
International Film Music Critics Association Awards Best Original Score for an Adventure Film Nominated [7]
Online Film & Television Association Awards Best Actor in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Patrick Stewart Nominated [8]
Best Sound in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Best Visual Effects in a Motion Picture or Miniseries Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Miniseries Robert Halmi Sr., Francis Ford Coppola,
Fred Fuchs, Franc Roddam,
Kris Noble, and Steven R. McGlothen
Nominated [9]
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Patrick Stewart Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie Gregory Peck Nominated
Outstanding Art Direction for a Miniseries or a Movie Leslie Binns, Andrew Walpole,
Peter Kendall, and Jill Eden
Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries or a Movie Brian Pearce, Peter Armstrong, Rob Heggie,
Lisa Wang, Dale Duguid, James Rogers,
Tim Crosbie, Ry Snow, Kit Amore,
Jamie Doolan, Mike Logan,
David Tremont, and Graham Duesberry
Television Critics Association Awards Outstanding Achievement in Movies, Miniseries and Specials Nominated [10]
Australasian Performing Right Association Awards Best Television Theme Christopher Gordon Won [11]
Australian Cinematographers Society Award of Distinction (Telefeatures, TV Drama & Mini-series) David Connell Won [12]
Golden Globe Awards Best Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Patrick Stewart Nominated [13]
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television Gregory Peck Won[a]
Satellite Awards Best Actor in a Miniseries or a Motion Picture Made for Television Patrick Stewart Nominated [14]

See also


  1. ^ Tied with Don Cheadle for The Rat Pack.


  1. ^ Lloyd, Robert (August 1, 2011). "Television review: 'Moby Dick' / William Hurt stars as Captain Ahab in the new version on Encore, but Herman Melville seems to be missing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 22, 2011.
  2. ^ Russo, Tom (March 13, 1998). "Captain My Captain: Patrick Stewart takes the helm of a new ship in 'Moby Dick'". Entertainment Weekly. No. 422. Time Warner. Retrieved August 4, 2011.
  3. ^ Scott, Tony (March 11, 1998). "Review: 'Moby Dick'". Variety. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Captain My Captain". Entertainment Weekly. March 13, 1998. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "1998 Artios Awards". November 4, 1998. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  6. ^ Dennis W. Nicholson (ed.). "AGSC Australian Guild of Screen Composers". Australian Soundtracks. Archived from the original on March 21, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  7. ^ "1998 FMCJ Awards". International Film Music Critics Association. October 18, 2009. Retrieved December 18, 2021.
  8. ^ "2nd Annual TV Awards (1997-98)". Online Film & Television Association. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  9. ^ "Moby Dick". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  10. ^ "'Moon' on the beam". Variety. July 20, 1998. Retrieved December 22, 2013.
  11. ^ "1999 Winners - APRA Music Awards". Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) | Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Archived from the original on September 18, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  12. ^ "Award Winners". Australian Cinematographers Society. Retrieved July 6, 2023.
  13. ^ "Moby Dick – Golden Globes". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved July 2, 2023.
  14. ^ "International Press Academy website – 1999 3rd Annual SATELLITE Awards". Archived from the original on February 1, 2008.