May 19, 2011

MRQE Rewind: The Most Iconic Pirate Movies

The big weekend release coming to us Friday is the highly anticipated fourth Pirates of the Caribbean film, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, starring Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz. This is actually their second movie together since Blow. Anticipation is growing not only to see this duo on screen together again, but also because of the massive Pirates of the Caribbean fan base. And, with the swashbuckling Capt. Jack Sparrow staggering back onto theaters, we turn the tides and explore the great pirates that washed up onto the big screen. Although most of these don’t hold a match to the success of the Disney series, all are widely entertaining films.

Hook (1991) – MRQE Metric: 62

Hook is a film that truly defined my childhood experience with pirates; and is the scariest character around. An adaptation of the original Peter Pan story, Hook finds an elder Pan who let life and bills get in the way of remembering what Neverland was all about. A truly solid film with an exceptionally talented cast--including Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts (as Tinker Bell)--Hook was nominated for multiple Academy Awards and brought in over $300 million in revenue. Hook stands as one of Steven Spielberg’s most successful films.

Peter Pan (1953) – MRQE Metric: 72

From Hook to it's original source, Peter Pan--the classic Disney cartoon--premiered 58 years ago this week at 1953 Cannes Film Festival. Peter Pan is probably one of the most original tales of “angry pirates.” When a family of three kids are awakened from their sleep by spritely Peter Pan and his little pixie friend, Tinker Bell, they are whisked away to the island of Neverland. Though, just offshore are Captain Hook and his sidekick Mr. Smee. A tale of mystery, adventure, and danger, Peter Pan remains an entertaining 76-minutes for audiences of any age.

The Buccaneer (1938) – MRQE Metric: n/a

Cecil B. DeMille's The Buccaneer was one of the first films about pirates to come out on the silver screen. The 1938 swashbuckling adventure starred classic film actors Fredric March, Franciska Gaal, and Akin Tamiroff in a story about the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans. The film was a smash hit when it originally was released, and was later remade in both Technicolor and VistaVision in 1958.

Treasure Island (1934) – MRQE Metric: n/a

The classic Robert Louis Stevenson tale has been adapted 11 times, including the famous Disney version, the 1990 version with a young Christian Bale, the 1996 version with the Muppets, and one that even sets the tale in space. However, aside from the lost silent film from 1920, this 1934 version is the one that started it all. Innocent Jim Hawkins (Jackie Cooper) is simply trying to follow a treasure map. Though, when his adventures go astray, he is taken over by notorious pirate Long John Silver (Wallace Beery). While this adaptation was no smash upon release, this film remains as an all around classic adventure.

The Black Swan (1942) – MRQE Metric: n/a

This is truly the original “Black Swan” -– not the one with Natalie Portman galloping around the Silver Screen. This 1942 classic, which was also nominated for a handful of Academy Awards, is about pirate Henry Morgan, played by Laird Cregar, becoming the Governor of Jamaica. A pirate’s tale of lusting for impossible women, the trading of pirates, and an impossible destiny among shipmates, this film is one of the more original of "pirate/love affair" stories -- it's clear where Capt. Jack gets it from.

Sinbad the Sailor (1947) – MRQE Metric: n/a

Any film about Alexander the Great and pirates already establishes a strong plot line. This 1947 Technicolor fantasy film tells the remarkable story of Sinbad and his “eighth” voyage to discover Alexander’s lost treasure. Starring an A-list cast of Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Maureen O’Hara, Walter Slezak, and Anthony Quinn this film is a true Silver Screen adventure that has the ability to captivate the audience and transport them into the murky, rough waters of a classic pirate’s tale.

The Bounty (1984) – MRQE Metric: n/a

Talk about some attractive pirates, this film stars a long list of leading men including Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Liam Neeson. The story of Lt. William Bligh and Fletcher Christian has been played out in many versions, the most famous being The Mutiny on the Bounty and it's 1962 remake. However, this version is notable as being the first to accurately portray Bligh and Christian as friends prior to the famous mutiny. The Bounty was similarly praised by critics like Roger Ebert for its "production triumph" and true-to-tale replication of the mutiny towards the Lieutenant.

The Sea Hawk (1940) – MRQE Metric: n/a

An epic battle of England vs. Spain is told in this adventure about the "Sea Hawks," a crew of English privateers that convinced the Queen of England to allow them to loot Spanish ships of their jewels. It's a true hunt of gold, which all pirates lust over. The Sea Hawk was praised by critics as a true adventure to see on screen. Of course, there's the handsome Errol Flynn, as lead pirate Geoffrey Thorpe, and stunning Brenda Marshall, as Dona Maria, which makes The Sea Hawk an exceptional film, with an outstanding lead cast!

Captain Blood (1935) – MRQE Metric: n/a

Johnny Depp owes a bit of debt to Mr. Flynn, as the two are perhaps the most well known as a swashbucklers of the silver screen. Captain Blood is not only one of Flynn's most iconic roles, but it's also one that made him a star. With it's Caribbean Port setting for the film, Flynn is certainly the original "Pirate of the Caribbean." The film's captivating adventure, and suave leading man--along with the stunning Olivia De Havilland--made this Best Picture nominee one of the most popular movies of the 1930s. Of course, nothing is sacred in Hollywood, which is why a sci-fi remake has been optioned a few years ago.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – MRQE Metric: 73

By far the best of the franchise, Disney's adaptation of their famed theme park ride was an unexpected hit. Raking over $650 million at the box office, and being nominated for multiple Academy Awards (including a Best Actor nod for Johnny Depp), this film was an all around smash for Jerry Bruckheimer. Revolving around the Caribbean costs and a seductive, swaggered-out, and slightly drunken Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Depp (and channelling a bit of Keith Richards), this film is a remains a modern classic and immediate fan-favorite among any action-loving audience goer.


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  2. I love to see Sinbad the Sailor when I was child but after seen Pirates of the Caribbean I
    am a big fan of (Johnny Depp)Jack Sparrow.About Pirates of the Caribbean movies The first one was
    genuinely fun and offered a big budget summer film which was perfect for summer
    blockbuster crowds. The second one was over long, bloated and presented one of
    the least satisfying endings to a film in recent memory...


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