The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

The Pirates of Penzance


No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...


Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Joseph Papp's notion of staging one of Gilbert and Sullivan's best-loved operettas with two pop singers (Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith) in the leads paid off as a surprise Broadway smash in the early 1980s, and this film faithfully reproduces Papp's production, featuring most of the original cast and the original director. Frederic (Smith) has been taught since childhood to be a sea-going bandit by the Pirate King (Kevin Kline), but with his 21st birthday imminent, Frederic wants to leave … More

Rating: G
Genre: Action & Adventure, Musical & Performing Arts, Classics, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Wilford Leach
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 30, 2003
Universal Studios


as The Pirate King

as Frederic

as Major-General

as Sergeant

as Captain

as Policeman

as Pirate

as Policeman

as Other Daughter
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Pirates of Penzance

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Critic Reviews for The Pirates of Penzance

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (2)

Gilbert & Sullivan's durable The Pirates of Penzance has been turned into an elaborate screen musical by basically the same hands responsible for Joseph Papp's smash New York Shakespeare Festival and Broadway stage production, and result is a delight.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Top Critic

There are too many attempts to single out particular performers when ensemble acting ought to prevail. That doesn't mean the leading players aren't appealing and accomplished, because they are.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

The cast is charming, the sets intentionally stagy, and the musical performances fine.

Full Review… | October 24, 2013
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Grand operatic fun with dashing Kline and wonderful supporting cast.

October 14, 2005

Leach seems utterly mired in the staginess of it all -- a problem exacerbated by his insistence on presenting the film with patently unreal stage settings.

Full Review… | March 24, 2005
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Well made musical. Proof that Kline can do ANYTHING!

November 11, 2004
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

Audience Reviews for The Pirates of Penzance

Stagy but exuberant. The cast members give it their all.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

I was in the chorus of the Pirates of Penzance in high school, so I always wanted to see this to see if it stirred any memories. I hope our school version 45 years ago was better than this movie as I thought it was terrible. Hard to follow the words. Rather silly story. Unless you are a fan of operettas, skip this movie.

Red Lats

Super Reviewer

I love this movie. Ever since seeing it when it came out in 1983 it has been a favorite of mine. If you love musicals you will enjoy it. Linda Ronstadt, Rex Smith, Angela Lansbury, & Kevin Kline are a great cast in this film. Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith are at there peak. Check this gem out...though it is hard to find on tv.

Mason Williams

Super Reviewer

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