"Master and Commander" is an inspiring film which uses colorful characters, action, and drama to display leadership traits and principles through both good and bad reactions to circumstances. Set in 1805, aboard the H.M.S. Surprise, Captain Jack Aubrey and his trusted friend, the ship's scholarly surgeon, Stephen Maturin, are ordered to hunt down and capture a powerful French vessel off the South American coast. Though Napoleon is winning the war and the men and their crew face an onslaught of obstacles, including their own internal battles, "Lucky Jack" is determined that nothing will stop the Surprise from completing its mission. Although this movie was set years in the past the lessons learned can be applied to this day. The main leadership traits and principles displayed in the film include all eleven of the U.S. Navy's leadership principles and all fifteen of the Navy's leadership traits.
The main focus of this film was Captain Jack who displayed all of the aforementioned principles in one way or another. The Captain does not always display the principle, for example, when the first principle. Know yourself and seek self-improvement. The captain knows of his reputation as lucky however he is unaware of his lack of experience with failure and therefore gets frustrated when it appears as though things are not going his way. Be technically and tactically proficient. Jack uses the knowledge of his crew, particularly Stephen to decide upon a course of action. Know your subordinates and look out for their welfare. It is established early in the play that Jack is familiar with his crew or at least attempts with great success to know his crew. When a young boy in training to be an officer is badly wounded in the first engagement in the film, Jack makes it a point to go see the boy in the infirmary and give a book which he knows the boy loves. This results in the motivation of this young boy to study science with Stephen and on the larger scale it shows the other sailors that the Captain does in fact care and looks out for their well-being.