Over the last century there have been dozens of movies made about pirates. Starting back in the silent film era, they became very successful with audiences, making several stars out of there cast. Until around the 1950's when interest started to fade, and Hollywood began to move away from producing them. Some makers of these films have gone to great lengths to build realistic looking sets and pirate ships. They staged elaborate sea battles, and filmed on actual historical locations. However very few of these movies give an accurate account of the real history about the pirates and their lives. Most are based on fiction, or alter the historical facts around the real pirates they portray. Many great book authors have entertained generations of readers much the same way with their stories and adventures of fictitious pirates. There is nothing wrong with this, and there is no reason why the movies should not do the same. But the fact remains that the lives of some of the historical pirates and their adventures are just as fasinating and exciting as any of these works of fiction. As a life long fan of these types of movies I wanted to share some of my favorite classics as well as lesser known pirate films that others have enjoyed. Some of the movies listed below are currently available to buy or rent in the video marketplace. But most of the older ones that were filmed in black and white are now sadly very hard to find, some having never been released on VHS or DVD.
Brethren's Catalog of Movies
ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET CAPTAIN KIDD
1952 ~ Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Charles Laughton - A mix-up between a love letter and a treasure map has waiters Abbott and Costello on the wrong end a cutlass in this slapstick swashbuckler.
ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN FABIAN
1951 ~ Errol Flynn, Micheline Presle, Vincent Price, Agnes Moorehead - Standard swashbuckling romp with the one and only Errol Flynn.
AGAINST ALL FLAGS
1952 ~ Errol Flynn, Maureen O'Hara,
Anthony Quinn - A spy for the English (Flynn) infiltrates a major pirate haven.
ANNE OF THE INDIES
1951 ~ Jean Peters, Louis Jaurdan, Debra Paget, Herbert Marshall - The story was intended to be based on the true life of pirate Anne Bonny. What ended up on the screen was very different from the original story.
1949 ~ Donald Woods, Trudy Marshall, Lenore Aubert - The U.S. government trys to foil pirates when the Bey of Tripoli starts demanding tribute from American merchant ships in the Mediterranean in the early 1800's.
THE BELOVED ROGUE
1927 (silent) ~ John Barrymore, Conrad Veidt, Marceline Day - The French poet-patriot Francois Villon enters a battle of wits with King Louis XI and fights to save his beloved in this exciting and romantic adventure. An enormous production with lavish sets and costumes. In this swashbuckling story the great John Barrymore truly shows why he was the best of his silent era.
THE BLACK CORSAIR
1976 (Italian) ~ Kabir Bedi, Carole André, Mel Ferrer - An Italian adventure film based on two Emilio Salgari's novels, The Black Corsair and The Queen of the Caribbean.
THE BLACK PIRATE
1926 (silent) ~ Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. - A nobleman pushed too far by a mob of cuthroats. Features one of the most famous swordfight scenes ever filmed. Silent with original music score this is the type of film that made Fairbanks a swashbuckling legend on the screen.
THE BLACK PIRATES
1954 ~ Anthony Dexter, Martha Roth, Lon Chaney Jr - About a band of pirates scouring a small Central American town for a buried treasure.
THE BLACK SWAN
1942 ~ Tyrone Power, Maureen O'Hare,
Anthony Quinn - A high-seas adventure about a dashing pirate intent on rescuing a beautiful woman. Based on the Sabatini book of the same title.
1968 ~ Peter Ustinov, Dean Jones, Elsa Lancaster - Fun Disney film with Peter Ustinov as the infamous Blackbeard.
BLACKBEARD THE PIRATE
1952 ~ Robert Newton, Linda Darnell, Irene Ryan - Newton is rambunctious as a 17th century buccaneer, with lovely Darnell his captive.
THE BOY AND THE PIRATES
1960 ~ Charles Herbert, Susan Gordon, Murvyn Vye - A young boy is magically transported back in time to an 18th century pirate ship on the high seas.
1938 ~ Frederic March - About Jean Lafitte and the Battle of New Orleans.
1958 ~ Yul Brynner - a good remake of the 1938 film.
1950 ~ Yvonne De Carlo, Philip Friend, Robert Douglas - A New Orleans entertainer falls for a robin hood style pirate leading a double life.
1935 ~ Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone - This classic pirate epic has it all, and is one of the best of it's era, with Flynn starring in his first swashbuckler. Based on Sabatini's novel of the same name. Dr. Peter Blood is a british physician unjustly sentenced to slavery. Bought by the niece of a brutal plantation owner, Blood eventually escapes by leading his fellow slaves in the overtaking of a ship. Once on board, "Captain Blood" embarks on a series of swashbuckling adventures.
CAPTAIN HORATIO HORNBLOWER
1951 ~ Gregory Peck, Virginia Mayo - Exciting, well-produced sea epic based on C.S. Forester'S british naval hero of the napoleonic wars.
1945 ~ Charles Laughton, Randolph Scott, John Carradine, Gilbert Roland - A pirate double crosses the King of England after making a deal to safeguard a fleet of treasury ships from india. Great cast and classic era film.
CAPTAIN KIDD AND THE SLAVE GIRL
1954 ~ Anthony Dexter, Eva Gabor, Alan Hale Jr. - Entertaining cast.
1952 ~ Louis Hayward, Patricia Medina, John Sutton - Story based on the Rafael Sabatini novel Captain Blood Returns. Captain Blood is pardoned by the Crown for his crimes. By 1690 he is living in the West Indies on his plantation where he practices medicine and is to be married to Isabella. His new life is put in danger when he is arrested on a piracy charge after somebody raids the island making him look guilty. To prove otherwise he has to sail again.
1952 ~ John Payne, Arlene Dahl, Sir Cedric
Hardwicke - Also known as "Carribean Gold", A revenge minded pirate fights a greedy plantation owner. This was one of the better pirate films of it's day.
THE CRIMSON PIRATE
1952 ~ Burt Lancaster, Nick Cravat - A well done funny spoof of pirate movies.
1995 ~ Gena Davis, Matthew Modine, Frank Langella - A female pirate and her companion race against their rivals to find a hidden island that contains a fabulous treasure. This film had a high budget, good action scenes, great locations and costumes, but still managed to bomb at the box-office. Lack of promotion and questionable casting played a big part in it's low turnout. But this movie is still very entertaining and underated.
THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES
1964 ~ Christopher Lee, Barry Warren, Suzan Farmer - The plot is fairly typical but very well told. It has a bit more depth than your standard swashbucklers. Also Christopher Lee excels in the role of the nasty Captain Robeles.
1950 ~ Donald O' Connor, Helena Carter, Will Geer - A light comedy about a young man who after being falsely accused of dishonesty decides to become a pirate.
FAIR WIND TO JAVA
1953 ~ Fred MacMurray, Vera Ralston, Robert Douglas - At the end of the 19th century in the Dutch East Indies, an adventurous captain of an American merchant vessel is looking for a sunken Dutch vessel containing 10,000 precious diamonds.
FIRE OVER ENGLAND
1937 ~ Laurence Olivier, Flora Robson - Spain and England fight it out on the high seas.
FORTUNES OF CAPTAIN BLOOD
1950 ~ Louis Hayward, Patricia Medina - A meager remake of "Captain Blood" with an altered story. The same cast is used two years latter in it's sequel "Captain Pirate".
1944 ~ Joan Fontaine, Arturo de Cordova, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce - Based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier. An English lady falls madly in love with a French Pirate.
THE GOLDEN HAWK
1952 ~ Rhonda Fleming, Sterling Hayden - Based on the book by Frank Yerby.
1985 ~ Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman - A group of kids embark on a wild adventure after finding a pirate treasure map.
THE GREAT ADVENTURES OF CAPTAIN KIDD
1953 ~ Richard Crane, David Bruce, John Crawford - In 1697, two agents are sent on an undercover mission by the British Fleet to find and gather information on the notorious pirate, Captain William Kidd. They soon join Kidd's crew and discover, to their surprise, that the Captain is far different than they had expected.
1962 ~ James Mason, Neville Brand, Kate Manx - On an island off the Carolina coast, an 18th century family is being besieged by murderous pirates.
A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA
1965 ~ Anthony Quinn, James Coburn, Dennis Price - Some parents of children living in Jamaica, afraid that their kids are growing up uncivilized, decide to send them to England. But during the voyage, the childrens' ship is boarded by pirates.
1991 ~ Dustin Hoffman, Robin Willimas, Bob Hoskins, David Crosby - An entertaining adventure which has an adult Peter Pan fighting the evil Hook.
1951 ~ Jon Hall, Marie Windsor, Romo Vincent - Explorer Ponce de Leon searches for the Fountain of Youth in the Florida swamps.
THE ICE PIRATES
1984 ~ Robert Urich, Mary Crosby, Anjelica Huston - A light hearted comedy about space pirates.
1980 ~ Michael Caine - A modern day pirate tale based on the novel by Peter Benchley.
THE KING'S PIRATE
1967 ~ Doug McClure, Guy Stockwell - A well done remake of "Against All Flags".
LAST OF THE BUCCANEERS
1951 ~ Paul Henreid, Jack Oakie, Karin Booth - This very good swashbuckler is about the adventures of Jean Lafitte. Set after he helped to save New Orleans from British invasion during the war of 1812.
THE LIGHT AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
1971 ~ Yul Brynner, Kirk Douglas, Samantha Eggar - Adventure film, adapted from Jules Verne's classic 1905 novel Le Phare du bout du monde. The plot involves piracy in the South Atlantic during the mid 19th century, with a theme of survival in extreme circumstances, and events centering on an isolated lighthouse.
THE LION OF ST. MARK
1963 (Italian) ~ Gordon Scott, Gianna Maria Canale, Alberto Farnese - A fast moving, colorful pirate adventure set in a Venice 1620 timeline. Something quite different from the usual Caribbean scenery. The lively music by Carlo Rustichelli also deserves mentioning.
LONG JOHN SILVER
1954 ~ Robert Newton, Kit Taylor, Connie Gilchrist - Newton does an outstanding job in his role of the fictional pirate Long John Silver.
1995 ~ Andrew Divoff, Zachery Ty Bryan -
A 13-year old discovers a fantastic new world that lies
beyond the pages of a magical book about pirates. Jack gets whisked into the book itself, and encounters land sharks,
beautiful mermaids, duels & danger during his breathtaking
adventure on Magic Island.
THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE
1953 ~ Errol Flynn, Anthony Steel, Beatrice Campbell - Starring Flynn as a Scottish Lord driven from his family and homeland by the English then forced to join in with pirates. Errol is showing his age in this film, along with a less than top rate budget and cast. Still it is a great period classic.
THE MASTER OF BALLANTRAE
1984 ~ Richard Thomas, Michael York, Timothy Dalton - A dismal remake of the 1953 classic.
MORGAN THE PIRATE
1961 ~ Steve Reeves, Valarie Lagrange, Chelo Alonso - A well-rounded pirate adventure. This was truly one of Reeves best movies.
MUPPET TREASURE ISLAND
1996 ~ Tim Curry, Kevin Bishop, Jennifer Saunders - A muppet twist on the classic tale.
NATE AND HAYES
1983 ~ Tommy Lee Jones, Michael O'Keefe - Jones plays the part of Captain Hayes who is transporting a couple to an island to be married. The evil captain of another ship raids the island and takes it's inhabitants as slaves to sell. Hayes gets blamed and has to fight to get the couple back.
1953 ~ Animated - Classic fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney.
2003 ~ Jeremy Sumpter, Jason Isaacs, George Darling, Olivia Williams - Fantasy film which is based on the classic play and novel by J. M. Barrie.
PIPPI IN THE SOUTH SEAS
1970 ~ Inger Nilsson, Maria Persson, Pär Sundberg - In this kids adventure, Pippi with the help of her friends ventures to a South Pacific island to rescue her father, who was captured by ruthless pirates.
1948 ~ Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Walter Slezak - A girl is engaged to the local richman, but meanwhile she has dreams about the legendary pirate Macoco. A traveling singer falls in love with her and to impress her he poses as the pirate. This is a classic MGM musical/romance.
1986 ~ Walter Matthau, Cris Campion, Damien
Thomas - A well meaning film which looks good but falls short in the story line.
THE PIRATES! BAND OF MISFITS
2012 ~ Animated - A British-American comedy adventure.
PIRATE OF THE BLACK HAWK
1961 ~ Mijanou Bardot, Gérard Landry - A routine low budget pirate adventure filmed in Italy/France. Also known as: Pirate de l'épervier noir, Le (1958).
THE PIRATES OF BLOOD RIVER
1962 (British) ~ Kerwin Mathews, Glenn Corbett, Christopher Lee, Oliver Reed - While in a penal colony, a man is captured by pirates led by Capt. LaRoche (Christopher Lee) who force him to lead them back to his home village to retrieve a treasure supposedly hidden there.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: The Curse of the Black Pearl
2003 ~ Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley - Very entertaining disney adventure with plenty of action, humor and thrills. An excellant cast with a well rounded script combine to make this by far the best big budget pirate movie released in decades.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Man's Chest
2006 ~ Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley - The sequel to the highly successful Curse of the Black Pearl. Jack owes an unpaid debt to Davy Jones...his soul. Now, he must find a way to save himself before his time runs out. This tale is deeper, darker and less humorous than the first film.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: At Worlds End
2007 ~ Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, Keira Knightley - This third effort ties up most of the loose ends in the storyline created in the second film. Great special effects and stunts... perhaps the best of the series, along with an awesome musical soundtrack make this a must see for fans of Captain Jack Sparrow and company.
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: On Stranger Tides
2011 ~ Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Ian McShane, Penelope Cruz - The fourth adventure for Captain Jack. This time without the meddlesome Will Turner and his wife. Jack Sparrow and Barbossa embark on a quest to find the elusive fountain of youth, only to discover that Blackbeard and his daughter are after it too. Nice stunts and some humorous scenes, but lacking the depth and wit of the first film. Still an enjoyable movie in the series.
PIRATES OF THE GREAT SALT LAKE
2006 ~ Kirby Heyborne and Trenton James - Two boys stumble across a long lost treasure map that has the power to not only fulfill their wildest pirate dreams but curse them as well.
PIRATES OF THE HIGH SEAS
1950 ~ Buster Crabbe, Lois Hall, Tommy Farrell - Adventurer sails to a Pacific island to help an old friend whose freight line is being sabotaged by a ghost ship.
THE PIRATE MOVIE
1982 ~ Christopher Atkins, Kristy McNichol - A light-hearted musical comedy. If you are a fan of true Gilbert and Sullivan, then this movie is NOT for you.
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE
1983 ~ Kevin Kline, Angela Lansbury, Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith - This movie is an fair adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name.
PIRATES OF THE PLAIN
1999 ~ Tim Curry, Seth Adkins - A pirate and his ship is transported through a time warp to Nebraska. A farm boy and the Pirate captain fight the crew for a buried treasure. Shot on location in South Africa.
PIRATES OF THE SEVEN SEAS
1965 ~ Steve Reeves - Based on the novel "The Pirates of Malaya".
PIRATES OF TORTUGA
1961 ~ Ken Scott, John Richardson - This one is about Sir Henry Morgan's adventures.
Pirates of Treasure Island
2006 ~ Lance Henriksen, Tom Nagel, Rebekah Kochan - Prequel to the novel "Treasure Island".
THE PIRATES OF TRIPOLI
1955 ~ Paul Henreid, Patricia Medina - Princess promises a brave pirate captain a fabulous reward if he helps her regain her lost kingdom.
1934 ~ Richard Talmadge, Lucille Lund, Walter Miller - A young man looking for buried treasure on a tropical island fights against thieves trying to steal his map, and then his treasure.
1953 ~ James Warren, Lynne Roberts, Paul Cavanagh - More of a 50's low budget sci-fi than a pirate adventure. About the legendary pirate town of Port Royal rising from the sea.
PRINCE OF PIRATES
1953 ~ John Derek, Barbara Rush, Carla Balenda - A very entertaining pirate film, with an excellent cast.
THE PRINCESS BRIDE
1987 ~ Peter Falk, Billy Crystal - A story of how Wesley leaves his love 'Buttercup' promising his return, to make his fortune and meets "his end" with the Dread Pirate Roberts.
THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE
1944 ~ Bob Hope, Virginia Mayo, Walter Brennan - Princess is travelling incognito to elope with her true love instead of marrying the man her father has betrothed her to. This was a very well made comedy that still manages to entertain.
QUEEN OF THE PIRATES
1960 ~ Gianna Maria Canale, Massimo Serato, Scilla Gabel - A 16th century sea captain and his daughter escape false charges by running away to become pirates.
QUEEN OF THE SEAS
1961 ~ Lisa Gastoni, Jerome Courtland - This is the story of a female corsair, Mary Read, who takes over a ship of pirates and wreaks havoc on the high seas.
RAGE OF THE BUCCANEERS
1962 ~ Ricardo Montalban, Vincent Price - Standard low budget pirate flick.
RAIDERS OF THE SEVEN SEAS
1953 ~ John Payne, Donna Reed, Lon Chaney Jr. - A hollywood tale about a pirate named Barbarossa.
REAP THE WILD WIND
1942 ~ Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Susan Hayward - In the 1840s, clipper ships taking the shortest route between the Mississippi and the Atlantic often end up on the shoals of Key West. Salvaging the ships' cargos has become a lucrative business for two rivals. This very well done, not your typical pirate adventure.
RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND
1954 ~ Tab Hunter, Dawn Adams - Standard tale.
RETURN TO TREASURE ISLAND
1985 (6-part mini-series) ~ Brian Blessed, Christopher Guard - Well made Disney pirate adventure which teams Long John Silver with an adult Jim Hawkins.
SCOOBY DOO: PIRATES AHOY!
2006 ~ Animated - Scooby and the gang take a mystery-themed cruise through the Bermuda Triangle. As ghost pirates are prowling the legendary waters of the Triangle, searching for a priceless treasure.
1953 ~ Yvonne de Carlo, Rock Hudson - Another standard pirate film.
THE SEA HAWK
1940 ~ Errol Flynn, Brenda Marshall, Claude Rains - An exciting adventure drama about an english pirate, who upon learning that the Spanish plan to invade his native England with their armada, rushes back to save Queen and country. Great cast and ship scenes make this a classic B&W era film.
THE SEA PIRATE
1967 ~ Gerard Barray, Antonella Lualdi - An Italy/Spain production on the low budget side.
SEVEN SEAS TO CALAIS
1962 (Italian) ~ Rod Taylor, Keith Michell, Edy Vessel - The film depicts the career of Sir Francis Drake.
SINBAD THE SAILOR
1947 ~ Douglas Fairbanks Jr, Anthony Quinn, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak. - One of Douglas Fairbanks Jr.'s best films. A lavish Technicolor adventure with an excellent cast that resurrects the exuberance of his father's swashbuckling classics. Has great action sequences. It tells the tale of the "eighth" voyage of Sinbad, wherein he discovers the lost treasure of Alexander the Great.
1990 ~ Stian Smestad, Gabriel Byrne - A young Norwegian boy, and a girl stowaway discover that some of their shipmates are actually pirates.
THE SON OF CAPTAIN BLOOD
1962 ~ Sean Flynn - Errol's son Sean trys his hand in films as a swashbuckler.
THE SPANISH MAIN
1945 ~ Paul Henreid, Maureen O'Hara, Walter Slezak and Binnie Barnes - A pirate captain takes on a greedy Spanish governor. Great cast and musical score, classic era film.
1976 ~ Robert Shaw, James Earl Jones, Peter Boyle - An excellant cast in this classic romp with plenty of swordplay. Too bad the script didn't make better use of the talent.
THREE LITTLE PIRATES
1946 ~ Moe Howard, Curly Howard, Larry Fine - The usual zany antics are here from these comic masters in this classic short film.
1934 ~ Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper - First Film Adaptation Of Robert Lewis Stevenson'S Classic 1883 Novel.
1950 ~ Robert Newton - This exciting live action production of the classic Robert Louis Stevenson pirate tale was the best of them all, With Newton magnificent as the infamous treasure seeker Long John
Silver. After this movie, Newton continued his role in the Disney TV series.
1972 ~ Orson Welles, Kevin Burfield -
Welles portrays Long John Silver in this version of Robert
Louis Stevenson's pirate tale.
1990 ~ Charlton Heston, Christian Bale, Oliver Reed, Christopher Lee - This made for TV version is one of the best adaptions of the classic novel.
2002 ~ Animated - The film is a science fiction adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure novel Treasure Island produced by Walt Disney Studios.
TWO LOST WORLDS
1951 ~ Kasey Rogers, James Arness, Bill Kennedy - Low budget film, Story begins with an American clipper ship attacked by pirates off the Hebrides in 1830.
1952 ~ Jeff Chandler, Scott Brady - Standard pirate tale with a good cast.
1983 ~ Peter Cook, Graham Chapman, Peter
Boyle - Classic satire with an all star cast. Yellowbeard, a pirate's pirate, is allowed to escape from prison to lead the authorities to his hidden treasure.