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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

tomatometer

79

Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 207
Fresh: 163 | Rotten: 44

May leave you exhausted like the theme park ride that inspired it; however, you'll have a good time when it's over.

67

Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 43
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 14

May leave you exhausted like the theme park ride that inspired it; however, you'll have a good time when it's over.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 33,114,876

My Rating

Movie Info

Following his surprise-hit American remake of The Ring in 2002, director Gore Verbinski took on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the second of recent films to be based upon Disney theme-park rides (the first being The Country Bears). When Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley), the daughter of Governor Swann (Jonathan Pryce) is kidnapped by a group of pirates led by Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and taken aboard their ship, The Black Pearl, Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), the

Dec 2, 2003

$305.3M

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Latest News on Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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All Critics (207) | Top Critics (43) | Fresh (163) | Rotten (44) | DVD (58)

Here -- in a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced high-seas adventure that incorporates roaring cannons, oddball comedy, a love story and more than a touch of the supernatural -- Depp unleashes his theatrical bravado. He's hilarious.

November 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Newsweek | Comment (1)
Newsweek
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Depp invests this overfed, action-tractioned swashbuckler with a voluptuous wit and spry spontaneity it surely doesn't deserve.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Buries its treasures -- mainly Johnny Depp in eye shadow and dreads as Captain Jack Sparrow -- in briny clichés.

July 31, 2003 | Comments (5)
Rolling Stone
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pirates reminds me of a vintage MGM musical, a movie that is more choreographed than directed, and one that serves up good clean fun of the PG-13 variety.

July 25, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Observer
New York Observer
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At, say, 85 minutes, this would have been a jolly little swashbuckler, but at 143 it turns into an unholy trial.

July 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Slate | Comment (1)
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An awkward pirate epic that's jampacked with energy, ambition and spectacular effects.

July 16, 2003 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Rip-roaring fun for kids who don't mind skeletons.

December 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Entertaining, exciting, and engrossing with a genuine feel of adventure along with excellent performances...

April 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinema Crazed
Cinema Crazed

Were it not for Johnny Depp's crassly reassured character creation of scoundrel pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, there would be nothing to relish in this overlong and witless waste of celluloid based on a Disneyland ride.

April 18, 2009 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

It's just a lot of fun.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

one of the all time greatest adventure flicks

April 9, 2008 | Comments (7)

Oops, there I go again talking about Johnny Depp. Get used to that. He's all you'll remember from the movie.

July 14, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound
Big Picture Big Sound

The whole feature film is one giant ride -- which considering its origins is perhaps to be expected. ... Depp gives his loosest and looniest performance yet -- and it is spectacular.

May 31, 2007 Full Review Source: Murphy's Movie Reviews
Murphy's Movie Reviews

Pirates of the Caribbean is exactly what you look for in a summer blockbuster, all while delivering a much-needed overhaul to the classic pirate flicks of the golden years.

July 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Bullz-Eye.com
Bullz-Eye.com

Depp's highly strange, oddly magnetic, and irresistibly entertaining performance energizes the overextended, two-hour-plus proceedings.

January 3, 2005 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

It echoes the ambition, mischief, boyish glee, and whimsical wit of 80s adventure films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Gremlins, The Goonies, and The Princess Bride....

December 6, 2004 | Comment (1)
Looking Closer

If you think the title is long, wait until you see the movie.

October 7, 2004 Full Review Source: tonymedley.com

Tthe real surprise here is how strong the writing holds up.

August 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Comes close to recreating some of the bigger-than-life wonder that we experience at the movies in our childhood. Depp is a fey, hilarious wonder.

July 6, 2004 Full Review Source: F5 (Wichita, KS)
F5 (Wichita, KS)

May cause you to sing "Yo, ho-ho and a bottle of rum" and shout phrases such as "Tie the scurvy dogs to the yardarm" just for the fun of it.

June 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

It's a rare thing when I come out of a movie theater these days saying the words, 'Geez, I hope they do a sequel to this thing.'

March 4, 2004 Full Review Source: eFilmCritic.com
Oz
eFilmCritic.com

Depp is wonderful here, and Sparrrow is the best creation of the movie year.

February 28, 2004 Full Review

...Full of colorful visuals, amazing special effects, and plenty of silly fun for the whole family.

February 10, 2004 Full Review Source: Film Quips Online
Film Quips Online

Both kids and adults will thoroughly enjoy this movie. It's a lot of fun and well worth checking out. I highly recommend checking it out on the big screen.

February 7, 2004 Full Review Source: ComingSoon.net
ComingSoon.net

Audience Reviews for Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

The original story of the now ubiquitous franchise was an abject lesson in how to create a feelgood summer hit. It has no pretensions to being high art; just a hugely entertaining romp that ticks all the right boxes. Spectacular set pieces, great effects, likeable characters and a well written script that never patronizes the audience. But we all know what really made this film, and that's Johnny Depp's hilariously eccentric performance; he literally owns this film. We all love an anti-hero at the best of times, but what Depp brings to the film is a genuine sense of FUN. Something that's missing all too often from a studio system used to grinding out soulless formulaic blockbusters that completely lack the kind of magic that makes a film special. The final result here is a film that successfully lives up to the traditions of the classic Hollywood swashbuckler from Fairbanks jr and Errol Flynn right through to Raiders Of The Lost Ark. One of the most enjoyable family films of recent years.
December 13, 2013
garyX
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Well who'd of thought a film about a theme park ride would become so huge. A simple theme park attraction that I rode when I was but a wee nipper in Disney World Florida, and it wasn't that amazing if I recall. So Verbinski and Bruckheimer take many ideas and leafs out of the video game The Secret of Monkey Island and low and behold we have our pirate flick.

Tis the year of our lord errr...the late 17th Century, or possibly the early 18th Century, not too sure, but plundering be a plenty!. The crew of the Black Pearl are after cursed treasure and the blood of the last remaining pirate so they can break the curse put upon them for stealing the cursed gold in the first place. Unfortunately the last pirate is dead (cos they killed him) so they need his offspring instead, in the mean time 'Captain Jack Sparrow' is wanting his beloved vessel back under his control.

The plot is actually kinda fiddly methinks and even now I'm having to wrap my head around exactly why and how things happen. So the Aztec gold is cursed and that curse turns the pirates into the undead, skeletal warriors that are unable to be killed. Now is that really a curse? these guys are pirates, they live a life of danger and plundering, surely being immortal and invincible would be really handy traits to have no?. I don't really understand why these guys wanna break the curse so badly and make themselves vunerable to death which inevitably awaits them at every turn. Especially with the whole British Navy after them all the time.

There are many little quibbles I have with the plot really, in all the battle sequences the good guys fight the pirates, but what for?? they can't win, the pirates can't be killed, it just seems so pointless to me haha. To break the curse all the pirates that stole the gold need to put their blood back into the chest along with all the gold...I think, yet that isn't made clear. You tend to think its just the offspring of 'Bootstrap Bill', this is why Sparrow wipes his blood on the coin in the end which I never clicked on. That leads me to the other point or mistake that 'Barbossa' is shot by Sparrow before 'Turner' drops the last blood soaked coin into the chest. So doesn't that mean that at the exact moment he was shot he was still cursed and invincible? thusly he should have survived that bullet. The coin should of been in the chest before Barbossa was shot surely.

Quibbles aside the film is actually a rollicking good adventure the likes of which hadn't been seen for some time. In the good old fashioned tradition of Errol Flynn swashbucklers by jove. I can't deny that the film is tremendous fun enhanced of course by the campy performance of Depp which came straight out of left field. No one really expected what Depp came up with and it was really fresh! the film could so easily have become a stuffy straight laced predictable action romp ('Cutthroat Island' anyone?) but the inclusion of Depp's Sparrow really gave a different angle. You have the obligatory hero in Bloom and of course the damsel in distress with Knightly but Sparrow was such a unique character giving such a quirky boost to the traditional proceedings.

On top of that was the inclusion of a vast array of really decent pirate characters both good and bad from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds. This not only gave the film a nice comic book-esque feel but also actual realism as of course pirates of the day were a scurvy bunch from all over, pirates were pretty politically correct and hired anyone. I personally liked 'Mr Cotton' and his parrot in the traditional sense there, 'Ragetti' and 'Pintel' are a classic slapstick duo of baddie pirates that amuse nicely and Kevin McNally as 'Gibbs' gives us another traditional approach with lots of golden pirate dialog that I think stems from Robert Newton and Disney's 1966 Treasure Island film.

Gotta give kudos to the makeup and costume designs for the pirates, they really do look completely unwashed. Their teeth, facial hair, coarse knotted looking head hair, even their eyes, it all looks really authentic. Naturally Sparrow isn't quite as scruffy as the rest but his attire is definitely more effeminate which is funny, more so with his body language. Oh and Barbossa...Soul Calibur the movie much? 'Cervantes' if you ask me, just running that up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes it.

In all honesty there are so many good characters in this film its hard to narrow them all down. Then you have the typical type of visuals that you'd think Tim Burton had a hand in, excellent dark atmospheric sequences and shots including dark misty seascapes, fog bound galleons, the yellow glow of light from a cross hatched window pane breaking through the gloomy night, skeleton pirates in the moonlight, bleak islands by night etc...Then on the flip side there are the gorgeous daylight visuals of the British ports, sandy beaches, palm trees, galleons and various other vessels harbouring against tropical settings etc...its all here, everything you'd expect to see and everything you want to see in a good old fashioned pirate film.

I can see why the film expected to bomb as its one of those dodgy types of genres, but from the offset you can see the quality of detail on display. Everything really looks top dollar all the way through the film but amazingly the film has such a good range of characters (which is unusual lets be honest) it really doesn't matter. For once a Hollywood blockbuster actually got it right and gave us something other than flashy special effects, they gave us good fun characters we care about...to a degree. Also the special effects aren't all CGI which is one for the books (skeletons aside), a lot of the action is using real sets, real explosions, real stunts and in real locations which really does make all the difference, just like in the good old days.

The actual pirate skeletons still look OK but of course feel a bit dated these days. The CGI can't be hidden with these guys and it is obvious, that inescapable fake plastic feel about them. Should have used stop motion I reckon hehe.

To this day I still can't believe this summer blockbuster managed to do what the creators set out to do. To make a film harking back to the days of the silver screen, the golden age of Hollywood and at the same time use traditional real time effects without much use of CGI (what they did use was sensibly done, sparingly). They took an Errol Flynn swashbuckler added some nice touches of humour, a little modern action here and there, a dash of good old fashioned sea tales/myths and cranked up the location visuals to produce a top adventure. If only the plot had been a little clearer in places. Gotta love the film title though huh.
November 12, 2013
phubbs1

Super Reviewer

Although I had expectations ( from watching the trailers ) that this might be a good movie, I was still surprised that it's as good as it is. The story is actually more complex than I had expected, involving cursed pirates and their quest to rid themselves of the curse. I won't say more than that so as not to spoil it if you haven't seen it.

There aren't as many action scenes as I had thought there would be in a pirate movie, but the ones that are in the movie were very fun and enjoyable. After seeing it, I think it had the right balance of action and drama. There are also, of course, a lot of funny bits interspersed between the action and drama. Some really good special effects also add to the enjoyment of this movie.

I wasn't much of a fan of Johnny Depp until I saw this movie. I think he deserved to win the Academy Award for best actor. It's largely because of his performance, IMO, that the movie was so good. Most of the supporting cast did well, mind you, just that Johnny Depp stood high above the rest. I did find Orlando Bloom's performance a bit wooden, but other than that the acting was good. 4 1/2 Stars 9-28-07 (Updated 2013)
October 17, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Fun
February 17, 2013
Louis Rogers

Super Reviewer

    1. Jack Sparrow: There'll be no living with her after this.
    – Submitted by Paul A (15 months ago)
    1. Captain Barbossa: You know Jack, I thought I had you figured out. But it turns out you're a hard man to predict.
    2. Jack Sparrow: Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you never know when they're going to do something incredibly stupid.
    – Submitted by The Artist Formerly Known a (17 months ago)
    1. Jack Sparrow: Gentlemen! You shall always remember this as the day that you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!
    – Submitted by Jack P (20 months ago)
    1. Jack Sparrow: I know those guns.
    – Submitted by Izaack R (22 months ago)
    1. Captain Barbossa: You better start believing in ghost stories Miss Turner, you're in one!
    – Submitted by Izaack R (23 months ago)
    1. Jack Sparrow: The last time you left me a pistol with one shot.
    – Submitted by Izaack R (23 months ago)
View all quotes (70)

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