Arrrr! As kids, we’ve all probably dreamed of becoming seafaring pirates on the prowl for loot and treasure in the high seas. But since that dream won’t likely happen it’s fun to live vicariously through onscreen pirates who go on an exciting adventure all the time.
To fuel your imagination, here are 10 of the best pirate movies ranked and reviewed.
Top 10 Best Pirate Movies of All Time
Believe it or not, renowned filmmaker Roman Polanski made a pirate film. And if you’re a fan of his other more famous works, you better give Pirates (1986) a watch.
The film is one of the rare critical flops from Polanski. And if that ain’t enough, even viewers didn’t like the film.
On paper, the film seems like a great idea. But when this story of a peg-legged pirate dreaming to sit on the Aztec throne hit the theaters something about it just didn’t seem to work. It’s one saving grace though is its spectacular score.
The Buccaneer (1958)
The Buccaneer (1958) is a highly fictitious retelling of the war of 1812.
In the film we see General Andrew Jackson getting ready with his men to defend New Orleans from the British. The title refers to the pirate Jean Lafitte, the titular last buccaneer on whose shoulders the outcome of the war rests on.
The film stars Yul Brynner and was a remake of a 1938 movie with the same name.
Peter Pan (2003)
Of course, we couldn’t forget a mention of Peter Pan (2003) when we’re talking about pirates.
Based on JM Barrie’s play of the same title, the film tells the well-known story of the boy who refuses to grow up and his home in Neverland, a magical place filled with ‘Indians’, mermaids and pirates.
Although the titular Peter Pan is the story’s protagonist, his arch-enemy, Captain Hook always steals every scene he’s in. He’s your stereotypical pirate. A hook for a hand? Check. A knack for walking people off the plank? Check. Hook is played by Jason Isaacs (before he was Lucius Malfoy) in the film.
Crimson Pirate (1952)
Burt Lancaster plays feisty pirate Captain Vallo in Crimson Pirate (1952).
The film is a ‘feel good’ story about a good pirate who takes the side of a group of island people in order to defeat a common enemy. An old but gold film, Crimson Pirate is a fun watch because of its buffoonery and acrobatics.
Treasure Island (1950)
Treasure Island (1950) is a live action Disney adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel of the same name.
It tells the story of Jim Hawkins who finds a map that leads to the famous hidden treasure of a notorious pirate called Captain Flint. Determined to find the treasure, Hawkins assembles a doctor and a squire to go with him on his journey. On their way, they encounter and are joined by an infamous pirate and a group of swashbucklers on their ship, the Hispaniola.
The film is notable for being Disney’s first live action full-length feature and for being the first full-color movie adaptation of the novel.
The Goonies (1985)
The Goonies (1985) is a comedy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg about a gang of misfit kids, the titular Goonies, who goes on a search for pirate gold in an adventure of a lifetime. The film retains its charm because it appeals to everyone who watches it kids and adults alike.
Director Spielberg takes us to two hours of comedy hijinks, booby traps and a treasure hunt we’ll never forget. The Goonies is one of the 80’s best movies about pirate.
The Sea Hawk (1940)
The Sea Hawk (1940) is your classic pirate movie. It stars Errol Flynn as Geoffrey Thorpe, a privateer, who plunders Spanish ships for the sake of gold with the help of other privateers.
The film also shows a take on the old Spanish and English rivalry siding with the English by portraying King Philip II of Spain as a sort of Hitler-like character.
Captain Blood (1935)
Another Errol Flynn starrer, Captain Blood (1935) is a loose adaptation of Rafael Sabatini’s book of the same name.
Credited as the film that brought Flynn into the Hollywood limelight, it tells the story of Peter Blood, a physician who is arrested for treating rebels. He eventually gets deported and becomes a slave in the Caribbean where he would become Captain Blood.
The story of a good man wronged by the justice system, the film moved the audience and became a hit in the box office which is a milestone for the Warner Bros studios. Captain Blood is one of the best pirate films of all time.
Captain Phillips (2013)
The film is based on the real-life hijacking of a US container ship by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean. It stars Tom Hanks as the titular Captain Phillips who was kidnapped and taken hostage by the pirates after robbing the ship he’s on.
The film is most notable for Tom Hanks complex portrayal of the real-life captain. It is also one of the few films which discuss the real-life threat that the presence of Somali pirates in the Indian pose in the seafaring community.
However, netizens may recognize the film most for its famous scene which has been turned into the popular meme, ‘Look at me. I’m the captain now’.
Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
We bet you’re not surprised that this film got the number one spot on our best pirate movies list.
While the more recent installments of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has gotten a bad rep, the original film still holds up.
This is the film that introduced us to everybody’s favorite quirky pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp. It is credited for revitalizing the pirate movie subgenre after a very long lull. Pirates Of The Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl is considered one of the best pirate movies of all time.
Who knew a Disneyland ride would turn into such a successful movie and video game franchise?
Did you like our list of the top 10 best pirate movies of all time? Don’t forget to check out our other best movie lists!