Poll: What’s Your Favorite Historical Pirate Movie?


Yeah, Talk Like a Pirate Day is pretty played out. But that doesn’t mean we won’t use it as an excuse for a silly quiz!




Tell us why in the comments — or name another historical fave!



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Three historical costumers who decided the world needed a podcast and blog dedicated to historical costume movies and everything right and wrong with them.

50 Responses

    • Madeleine

      I was hoping someone would mention this!! So terrible and cheesy, and of course I adored it when I first saw it.

      • Kaye Dacus

        I wasn’t sure if I should mention it, since it really can’t be considered a typical historical costume drama; but it IS a pirate movie, so I had to. I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s a fan of this cheez-factory!

  1. Kate D

    Muppet Treasure Island! Tim Curry was great! And seeing muppets in historical costumes is just delightful.

  2. Lisa

    Well, I choose The Muppets, but my real favourite it Roman Polanski’s Pirates.

    • Jennie Gist

      Polanski’s Pirates had zero chemistry between Walter Matthau and his young sidekick (“Frog”) but killer costumes and full-bottomed wigs on the Spaniards.

  3. toranut97

    I chose Captan Blood, because it had to be Errol Flynn! But his acting was so much better in the Sea Hawk — plus it had Flora Robson as Elizabeth I!

    • Barbara

      I might be the only person on the planet who just really, really loves Cutthroat Island, but yes, if Sea Hawk had been in the running it would have been a harder choice (<3 Flora Robson’s Elizabeth). But I guess it wouldn’t count as a pirate movie because technically Geoffrey Thorpe is a privateer … riiiiight. ;)

  4. RikeThePolishSeal

    I don’t really like any other one of the series but the first Pirates film was really good

    • Lady Hermina De Pagan

      ” you want to learn the true meaning of pain? Try wearing a corset!”

      • Sandy Baker

        Ugh. I hate this line more than anything. Its nonsense but more and more modern period films are adding lines like this. Its so aggrivating!

        A properly fitted corset is comfortable and actually provides good back support without much restriction of movement. Corsets being bad is a fairly modern idea.

        I have corsets and stays (which is what they would have been called in the period) from various decades from 1760 -1910. They are all more comfortable than a modern underwire!

  5. Jennie Gist

    Pirates of Penzance, with Kevin Kline doing his best Errol Flynn. Plus Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith and Angela Lansbury. We love it!

    • Viola

      I met the costume designer for that film during a course I did at the V&A but I didn’t find out he’d done Pirates until after, and I was devastated! I love that film, it’s so joyfully mad, and we had all been in Pirates with our Light Opera Society so we knew all the words.

  6. broughps

    Hard to pick between Pirates of Penzance and Pirates of the Caribbean, but had to go with Penzance since in college it was much like Rocky Horror Picture Show – interactive. The whole theater was singing along to the music.

    • Northcountry Gal

      That’s a great one! And almost unknown. The best Treasure Island I’ve ever seen. Both Bale and Heston were perfect.

      • Gillian Stapleton

        I love that one too! Great actors and a fantastic version of the story.

  7. Teresa

    The Pirate from 1948 w Gene Kelly and Judy Garland! Totally cheesy but awesome.

  8. Sarah Faltesek

    The first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was a perfect pirate film and I loved it, but the rest of the series fell short. Especially since they cast Chow Yun Fat as a Chinese pirate lord, but then didn’t show him actually being a pirate and killed him off almost immediately.
    I love Captain Blood and Muppet Treasure Island deeply, but I voted for Black Sails because I think it’s underrated.
    My boyfriend became so impressed with Toby Stephens as an actor that I’ve been getting him to watch period costume drama just because he’s in it.
    The development of characters over the course of the show was really, really well done, particularly in the cases of Long John Silver and Jack Rackham.
    I will admit I almost stopped watching after the first few episodes (unnecessary sexual violence as a plot point), but it had been recommended to me by people I trusted, so I decided I would give it a bit more time. Thankfully that bit ended quickly.
    By season two I was completely hooked.

    On another note- there is a fabulous Claymation film ‘The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!’ from 2012. It’s based on a series of short comedic novels by Gideon Defoe, and features the voice talents of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, David Tennant, and more. I highly recommend it- especially if you’ve had a bit to drink.

    • Viola

      Ahhhh yes, what a fantastic film! And Flight of the Conchords are on the soundtrack!

  9. Andrew.

    Let us not forget the pirate movie that set the look for all future pirate movies. The Black Pirate (1926) Two-strip Technicolor silent staring Douglas Fairbanks. Here’s the movie.

    Otherwise, Captain Blood.
    And the 1990 Treasure Island. Not only Heston and Bales, but also Oliver Reed as Billy Bones and Christopher Lee as Blind Pew. Music be The Chieftans.

  10. Aleko

    The 1990 Treasure Island. It’s marvellous. It reminds me a bit of John Huston’s The Man Who Would Be King, in that you can tell that the makers loved the original story and passionately wanted to tell it straight. And the talent they rounded up to do it!

  11. CEW

    Captain Blood — Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, based on a Raphael Sabatini novel (which were romance novels for me, my uncle was SO INTO THEM). Nothing better.

  12. Natalie Ramirez Weyermuller

    The only ones I’ve seen are the Muppets and the 1st 2 pirates of the Caribbean sooooo Muppets it is!

  13. Lynn Abbey

    It’s not on your list, but I vote for 1952’s The Crimson Pirate with Burt Lancaster & Nick Cravat

  14. Catharine Emma Hershey

    You included the animated Peter Pan and not the 2003 version?! crying

  15. C.M. Taylor

    Honestly, a surprisingly tough decision to make. I went with Muppets for the nostalgia and timeless quotes. I have to agree with Catharine though and say that the 2003 ‘Peter Pan’ is my honorable mention. So good!

  16. Alissa Pyrich

    Captain Blood, because it has the best Golden Age of Hollywood swordsman, Basil Rathbone

  17. Lisa H

    Black Sails is the most romantic series I’ve seen on TV. All the kinds of romantic.

  18. Liesbeth

    Black sails is the best ever. It felt real, loved the crossover with fictional and real pirates. The dubbele crossing and the character developments was so fun to watch. Also… Billy Bones’s arms, holy Mary mother of God….

  19. Cecilia

    Mine is missing!
    “Pirates” by Roman Polanski. To me it is the greatest pirate movie ever. The costumes are georgeous! There are so many authentic details! And it has plenty of dry humor ;)

  20. Kersten

    As much as I love Muppet Treasure Island and Captain Blood, Pirates of Penzance gets my vote for two reasons: Angela Lansbury (all hail Jessica Fletcher) and (this is my primary reason) my very formative experience of Kevin Kline in what are basically tights and a pirate shirt. He can be my Pirate King any day. fans self

    • MoHub

      Angela Lansbury hated Gilbert and Sullivan, and it shows in her performance. Papp should have gone with Patricia Routledge, who was in the stage production and clearly had a ball playing Ruth.

  21. Lynn

    You missed Hook!! Robin Williams! Dustin Hoffman! Cute kids! Redeeming dad! <3

    • Karen

      THIS. The fanciest damn pirate movie ever. The scene with the shoes shaped me for life!

  22. Angie

    Disney’s Peter Pan, the 2003 Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean, Black Sails, Cutthroat Island, and Disney’s Treasure Planet.