The hugely successful HBO Max series, Our flag means death, which wrapped its first season in late March 2022, suggests there’s still an appetite for pirate-focused stories. Of course, in many ways that’s unsurprising, given how often the swashbuckler figure has appeared on the big screen.
Almost from the beginning, Hollywood, in particular, had a great affection for the figure of the pirate. Luckily, Reddit users have identified some of the best movie pirates, many of whom continue to influence the genre.
Ice Pirates (1984)
As its title suggests, ice pirates is about a group of pirates living in a future where water has become a precious commodity, controlled and exploited by the Templars of Mithras. The film’s story, however, revolves around Jason, the leader of the pirates, and his romance with kidnapped princess Karina.
Although it’s a very silly comedy, it still has its charms, so much so that many Reddit users watch it with great nostalgia. Redditor TheKramer18, for example, calls it “a childhood classic.”
Robin Williams was one of the finest actors of his generation, appearing in many iconic roles. Hookwhich focuses on Williams’ adult Peter Pan, is one of them.
While Williams’ Peter is obviously the focus of the story, Dustin Hoffman also puts on a fine, campy performance as Captain Hook, who kidnaps Peter’s children to bring him back to Neverland. It’s proven to be hugely popular with audiences (but not critics), with one Reddit user simply saying: “Hook is great.”
The Muppets’ Treasure Island (1996)
The Muppets have appeared in a truly massive amount of media, from TV to movies. Among Muppet fans, The Muppets Treasure Island ranks highly, as it manages to capture both the swashbuckling spirit of Stevenson’s original novel while remaining true to the wacky spirit of the puppet characters.
Plus, Tim Curry’s rendition of Long John Silver is truly one of the best. No wonder it’s become hugely popular with Reddit users, one of whom, IamTheSwagCat, says, “The Muppets Treasure Island is tall. Best pirate movie about puppets.
Swiss Family Robinson (1960)
Although Disney had always been famous for its animated feature films, throughout the 1950s and 1960s it was equally famous for producing live-action family entertainment, including Swiss Family Robinson is a great example.
It centers on a family shipwrecked on an island in the Pacific, where they must deal not only with native wildlife, but also with a band of rapacious pirates. RhubarbCharb points out that they enjoy the film for “nostalgic reasons”, demonstrating how popular it remains among many Reddit users.
Captain Blood (1935)
The 1935 movie, Captain Blood, is significant for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it demonstrated Errol Flynn’s appeal at the box office. He would, in fact, become a huge Hollywood star throughout the 1930s and 1940s, especially in roles that called for dynamism and action.
Belbivfreeordie calls it “A stone cold classic”. It’s easy to see why they’d characterize it that way, given that it’s got everything you’d expect from a pirate movie, complete with sword fights and sleight of hand tricks.
Nate and Hayes (1983)
In some ways, the 1980s was something of a golden age for adventure film, especially since it was the time when IndianaJones was born. Although it was not particularly well received at the time, Nate and Hayes went on to have a successful afterlife, especially among those who appreciate this era of pirate movies.
He is particularly notable for playing Tommy Lee Jones at a relatively early stage in his career. It has also proven popular among Reddit users, with scottishbuzzard saying: “wild islands [its original title]is fantastic.”
Master And Commander: The Far Side Of The World (2003)
Although not technically pirates, Master and Commander: The Other Side of the World is still notable for being one of the best swashbuckling movies, especially of the 2000s.
Bunyip_Jack is a particular fan of the film, noting, “Master and Commander is a fantastic film for me simply because of the barracks. In addition to historical realism, they also establish the sense of community aboard the ship. With its historic authenticity and powerful performances, it’s no wonder it retains its power to enchant and entertain.
Treasure Planet (2002)
Although it didn’t receive as much love as Disney’s other highly respected Renaissance films, treasure planet still deserves acclaim for its artistic sophistication and interesting take on the story of treasure island.
In the years since its release, it has managed to earn a healthy dose of appreciation from subsequent generations of Disney fans. J-Unity, for example, offers to “assist”treasure planet”, suggesting that he maintains a certain following among Reddit users.
Cutthroat Island (1995)
Although the pirate film has, for the most part, been a reliable source of revenue for Hollywood studios, that was not the case with cutthroat island. While the movie seemed to have all the ingredients for a successful swashbuckler, especially with its production design, its chaotic production made it one of the biggest box office bombs in Hollywood history.
However, it still entertains some audiences, with DeeJayDelicious calling it: “A legendary bombshell of a movie but nonetheless lighthearted and entertaining.”
Treasure Island (1990)
Robert Louis Stevenson is responsible for one of the most famous pirate stories of all time, treasure island. The novel has been adapted for film several times, but Reddit users are particularly fond of the 1990 version.
Absente claims that “one of the best pirate films that is true to history”. Considering how many iterations the story has, that’s high praise, and the film is particularly notable for having both Charlton Heston and a young Christian Bale.
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