The 10 Best Pirate Films Ever Made

Group of friends eating popcorn and watching a movie at home on the couch

There are many popular tales and legends about pirates out on the open seas. Maybe it’s the romance of finding treasure, the thrill of adventure or just the freedom that comes with living by your own rules — who knows!

What we do know is that as an online bingo site, we’re all about finding the booty and enjoy anything that inspires us to set sail on an epic quest.

Below are our picks of the top 10 pirate films made over the last century. From comedy to drama, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re more of a landlubber or a scallywag.

Top 10 pirate movies of all time

10. Pirates

If you want to get a feel for life on the seven seas, Pirates takes you straight out to the open ocean. In the opening scene, the main character, Captain Thomas Bartholomew Red (played by Walter Matthau), and his cabin boy, Frog, are adrift on a raft but are eventually “rescued” by a Spanish Galleon.

Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen, but either way, it’s the start of an adventure! This 1986 film didn’t perform well at the box office, but it is said to have been the movie that inspired future films like Pirates of the Caribbean, which is enough reason to include it in this list.

9. Blackbeard’s Ghost

Pirate movies tend to have a serious undertone, which is why we thought we’d throw in a lighthearted one like Blackbeard’s Ghost — because having fun is what online bingo games are all about, right?

In a twist on Blackbeard’s fearsome reputation, this 1968 film shows a sillier side to him, as his ghost starts to cause havoc in a coastal town after a new track coach comes to stay at Blackbeard’s Inn.

There might not be open cannon fire or dramatic effects, but there are some laughs for anyone who appreciates slapstick humour.

8. The Princess Bride

Based on the novel by William Goldman, The Princess Bride has everything you could want from a fantasy tale, including pirates.

Buttercup and Westley are in love, but he doesn’t have enough money to propose, so he leaves on a voyage to find his fortune. Unfortunately, he is captured by the Dread Pirate Roberts and disappears.

A brokenhearted Buttercup is then forced into marriage with another prince. But not before she is kidnapped by outlaws, and the adventure begins! One of the most famous scenes in the movie is a sword fight, which is up to our swashbuckling standards.

7. The Black Swan

Old compass and map

Moving onto more classic films, The Black Swan is based on a novel by Rafael Sabatini and promises all the action you’d expect from this kind of movie. This includes cannon fire, ships and once again, romance.

Starring Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara, this film was released in 1942 and was nominated for three Academy Awards. It won Best Cinematography and is celebrated for its fabulous costumes.

6. The Goonies

It’s not a traditional film in the buccaneer sense, but there is a pirate and a treasure map, so we think it counts!

A group of friends who call themselves “The Goonies”, based on the place where they live in Oregon, find a treasure map and start the search for the booty of a lost 17th-century pirate called One-Eyed Willy. However, they’re not the only ones looking for the treasure, and so an exciting hunt for loot begins!

5. Treasure Island

As fans of our bingo site will know, where there’s treasure, there’s a map or someone who knows where to find it. In this Disney film — the company’s first foray into live-action — Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story is brought to life, with all the characters aboard the Hispaniola that you would expect to see.

This includes the infamous Long John Silver, who we think might have known a thing or two about how to find some loot while playing bingo games.

4. Captain Blood

Hollywood legend Erroll Flynn takes the lead in this classic, playing the role of Peter Blood, an Irish doctor who is sold into slavery in the Caribbean after being arrested for treating a rebel during the Monmouth Rebellion.

Blood then takes his destiny into his own hands by seizing a Spanish ship in the West Indies and becoming a first-class freebooter. Based on a Rafael Sabatini novel, this 1935 film brings vibrant action to the screen, even though it was shot in black and white.

3. Hook

J.M. Barrie’s famous tale of Peter Pan, the Lost Boys and of course, Captain Hook, has been a part of many children’s lives over the last century. In this movie, which is perfect viewing for a rainy day, we see Peter Pan all grown up, and having to go back to Neverland to rescue his children (who have been kidnapped by the vengeful Hook).

You’ll see lots of action between Peter and his nemesis in this version, which gets the thumbs up from us. Of course, with a cast of actors like Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, and Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell, you can’t go wrong.

2. The Buccaneer

Many stories on this list might be fictional, but for a more historical take on piracy, we’ve chosen The Buccaneer as number 2 on this list. This 1958 film focuses on the War of 1812 in America, and centres on the character of Jean Lafitte, a privateer who comes to the aid of the Americans during the war.

The movie is a fictionalised take on historical events, but it’s worth watching just to see Hollywood greats like Charleton Heston (who plays future US President Andrew Jackson) in action.

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirate ship sailing in the ocean at sunset

Johnny Depp might have been a famous actor before, but he took his acting career to the next level in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, which are all based on a ride at Disneyland.

In the first film of the series, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, we are thrown into a dark tale of cursed treasure, with actors like Orlando Bloom and Kiera Knightly coming along for the ride. This movie is a must for all pirate fans, and thanks to all the incredible special effects, makes it to number 1 on our list.

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