New generations of viewers were intrigued with the concept of living the life of a pirate when the Pirates of the Caribbean films first appeared in theaters in 2003. In truth, it’s much less glamorous and exciting, but movies sure do a good job at making it appear that way. Popular pirate legends like Blackbeard’s have long captivated the public’s imagination. There’s something alluring about the idea of living a life without respect for the law. According to pirate movies, all you need for a happy life is a ship, a crew, and an open sea.
However, the wonderful world of pirate flicks is not limited to the infamous Jack Sparrow. There’s a pirate film out there for everyone, from the 1930s classics to today’s tales of sea-swept adventure. You don’t need an eye patch or a talking parrot to enjoy these classic pirate flicks.
1. The Crimson Pirate
The 1950s were a golden age for pirate movies. However, adventure films like The Crimson Pirate still give thrilling escapism, brilliant action sequences, as well as scallywags worth rooting for, even without the sophisticated special effects and CGI that modern directors have at their disposal.
It all begins with Caribbean pirate Captain Vallo and his men seizing control of a royal navy vessel in the opening scenes of The Crimson Pirate. No one save Vallo suspects that his crew will be entangled in a civil war on Cobra Island, where they were destined to face off against the monarchy. Vallo gets to work right once, creating a scheme to supply the island’s insurgents with weapons. However, he is eventually persuaded to kidnap El Libre, their commander, in exchange for a reward. Vallo soon falls in love with El Libre’s daughter when he arrives at Cobra. The Crimson Pirate is a swashbuckling tale of romance, comedy, and action, all rolled into one.
2. The Sea Hawk
The Sea Hawk, a 1940s action-packed pirate film with a plot based on real-life events, is a great choice. King Phillip II of Spain plans to invade England during the Elizabethan age in order to expand his power. King Henry VIII sets about building an enormous fleet of ships capable of defeating England’s armed forces, and he does so while keeping his plans a secret from Queen Elizabeth I. A privateer and captain of the Albatross named Geoffrey Thorpe captures a ship transporting Don Alvarez, his ambassador to England, in an attempt to deceive her. Thorpe falls in love with Alvarez’s niece, Dona Maria, since, well, it’s a pirate movie. Thorpe is torn between his feelings for Dona Maria and his responsibilities to the queen.
A favourable representation of British involvement in the Second World War is not exactly the most accurate depiction of the events that had place. But as long as you remember that it’s not a documentary, you’ll have a good time and learn a few important facts about the time period.
3. Treasure Island
There have been numerous film adaptations of Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. It is impossible to ignore Disney’s 1950 adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, which was the studio’s first entirely live-action feature. Whether you’re a kid or an adult, you’ll like this film. Anyone who has ever been a kid or an adult can attest to the allure of the mythical quest to unearth a long-lost treasure.
When Jim Hawkins, a little boy, obtains a strange treasure map from a pirate, he becomes desperate to discover what lies beneath the sand. On the other hand, he can’t get to the farthest island on the map on his own. Treasure Island is Hawkins’ destination, and he has the support of Dr. Livesey, Squire Trelawney, and even the renowned pirate Long John Silver on board the Hispaniola to get there. Though the riches is sought after by Hawkins and his crew, they’re far from the only ones interested. Almost everyone wants a piece of it, and they’ll do anything to get their hands on it.
4. Captain Phillips
“Captain Phillips” isn’t your standard pirate movie set in a bygone age of sail; rather, this film is based on recent events. The 2009 Maersk Alabama hijacking off the coast of Somalia in the Indian Ocean is the subject of this suspenseful biographical thriller. Captain Richard Phillips was kidnapped by four pirates who boarded and captured the ship.
Unlike many other pirate movies, this one does not sugarcoat the realities of piracy in any way. With Captain Phillips, you’ll see the true face of modern-day piracy, and you’ll be horrified to learn what the real-life Captain Phillips and his crew had to deal with.
Tom Hanks’ performance as Captain Phillips and newcomer Barkhad Abdi’s role as Abduwali Muse, the commander of the pirates, were both hailed for their superb acting in Captain Phillips. Six Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, came as a result of the film’s enormous critical success.
5. A High Wind in Jamaica
A High Wind in Jamaica, based on the novel by Richard Hughes of the same name, is a classic tale of piracy. A hurricane hits Jamaica in 1870, bringing heavy rains, flooding, and wind. Having raised five children in Jamaica, a British couple fears that their children would grow up “uncivilized” if they don’t send them to school in England.
It’s a bumpy ride over the Atlantic Ocean, though. During the chaos of the pirate invasion, the youngsters become confused and end up on the pirate ship by mistake because of their confusion. Naturally, the pirates have little interest in the children and search for a location where they won’t be noticed. Suddenly, the pirates have a change of heart after a tragic event occurs. The existence of altruistic pirates may contribute to the film’s dreamy atmosphere, but it’s hard to say for sure. No matter what time or place, a High Wind in Jamaica will whisk you away.
Hook, Steven Spielberg’s 1991 retelling of the classic tale of Peter Pan, was a critical and commercial success. Peter Pan swore he would never grow up, but if he had to leave Neverland and start a new life as an adult, what would happen? That’s exactly what Hook does, and he does it in an exciting and unexpectedly heartfelt way.
As Peter Pan in Neverland, Robin Williams plays Peter Banning, a guy who has completely forgotten about his past. The couple has two children together, one of them is Wendy’s great-granddaughter, Moira. As an attorney, his profession has been fairly fruitful; nonetheless, he spends far too much time working and has lost his creative edge. Everything changes when Captain Hook, a former foe, reappears on the prowl. On one particular evening, Peter and Moira take their children out for dinner with the elderly Wendy, and when they come home, they discover that the children have gone missing, with the only hint to their location coming from the notorious pirate captain himself. When Peter finally gets back to Neverland, he’ll be reunited with his children and rediscover his true self.
7. The Buccaneer
The Buccaneer is the ultimate pirate film for anyone who enjoy historical fiction and military flicks. “The Buccaneer,” which takes place during the War of 1812, is about a privateer named Jean Lafitte, who took part in the Battle of New Orleans.
A large British navy is coming in on New Orleans, leaving just a small American army to defend the city against it. In order to defeat the British, he realizes that he must take use of every tactical edge at his disposal. The buccaneer Jean Lafitte is in charge of a nearby island that either army may seize as a strategic advantage. Lafitte is torn as both factions try to win him over. Will he side with the British rather than the Americans, despite his desire to favor the former?
Take everything you see with a grain of salt because this movie is a highly dramatized version of the history it depicts. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the events in American history, this is a great movie to see.
8. The Goonies
If you haven’t seen the iconic 1985 comedy film The Goonies, be assured that there is a search for buried wealth, a pirate ship, and even a walk down the plank.
The Goonies are a gang of five friends who dwell in a neighborhood called the Goon Docks. Their hopes for the future of their neighborhood are dashed when they learn that affluent real estate developers intend to foreclose on their properties in order to build a country club. As a surprise, they discover an old map that may take them to the legendary pirate “One-Eyed” Willy’s secret treasure. Although they aren’t alone in their quest, it’s a race against time to see if the Goonies can gather enough loot to save their community. – –
Pirates, released in 1986, opens with two guys in perilous circumstances: An English pirate named Captain Red and his ship’s cabin lad Jean-Baptiste, alias “Frog,” are marooned on an uncharted raft in the middle of the ocean with no food or water. Fortunately, they are boarded by the Neptune, a Spanish ship returning to its home port in the country. Now they’re safe and sound! Right?
Wait a second. The ship they find themselves on is in a state of considerable disarray as they board it. Captain Linares was poisoned because the ship’s previous cook wanted the wealth in the hold for himself, which included an Aztec gold throne taken from the king. Red and Frog investigate this discovery. Hearing this gives Red some new ideas, and he resolves to do whatever it takes to gain control of the throne in the first place. The real fun begins when he assumes charge of the ship. Romance, betrayal, and breathtaking action scenes follow.
10. Captain Blood
As a result of his performance in Captain Blood, Errol Flynn was elevated to superstardom in the 1930s. Despite the fact that the picture is shot in black and white, the plot is so compelling that you won’t notice the difference.
Flynn portrays Irish doctor Peter Blood, who is detained after aiding a Monmouth Rebel participant. To topple James II, the king of England and Scotland and Ireland was the goal of the rebels. Blood is sentenced to die after being found guilty of treason against the monarch. When the king decides to send Blood and a small group of rebels to the West Indies instead of selling them into slavery, he has a chance to escape. Capt. Blood and his fellow rebels steal a Spanish ship after being bought by the niece of a military leader. Even now, it’s still an exciting time.
11. The Black Swan
At a period when most movies were still made in black-and-white, the magnificent visuals of this 1942 pirate drama were lauded. The Black Swan was the first film to win an Academy Award for Best Cinematography, Color, which is no longer given out. Interestingly, Rafael Sabatini, the author of Captain Blood, also penned a novel with the same title as the inspiration for The Black Swan.
As England and Spain reach a peace pact, former pirate Henry Morgan decides to leave his life of crime behind him. Because of his dedication to reform, he has been named the new Governor of Jamaica, a position that pays generously. Nevertheless, his new position requires him to expel all of his former “comrades” from the Caribbean, and if they refuse to comply, he will resort to force. Is it really possible for this pirate to “retire” and put his former ways behind him? In the event Morgan decides to turn on his former crew, what can he expect to happen?
12. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
As amazing as it may seem, the Pirates of the Caribbean films have been an enormous hit with moviegoers of all ages. The films are based on an actual experience at Disneyland. When moviegoers were exposed to Captain Jack Sparrow in Curse of the Black Pearl, it permanently transformed the way pirate movies were portrayed.
Governor Swann and his small crew rescue Will Turner, a teenage shipwreck survivor, while on their way to Jamaica with their daughter Elizabeth. In order to keep his identity a mystery, Elizabeth decides to preserve the pirate jewelry he is wearing around his neck.
Years later, Captain Jack Sparrow saves Elizabeth from drowning when he steps off the mast of his sinking ship onto the docks of Port Royal. The Black Pearl’s tragic crew was alerted to her existence when she fell into the ocean wearing her medallion. Elizabeth and Will are now entangled in the breaking of an ancient curse, and it is unclear whether or not they will survive the ordeal. This is where the series began, and it still has some of its best moments in terms of action, humor, and excitement.