Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked) 2009

Pirate Radio

Critics Consensus

The good cast and rollicking soundtrack eventually drown when this comic homage to pirate radio loses its quippy steam.

61%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 165

71%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 267,076

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Movie Info

In 1966, BBC radio broadcasts less than an hour of pop music a day, forcing pirate DJs to take up the slack from boats anchored outside British waters. Quentin (Bill Nighy) is the commander of such a pirate station, overseeing a host of seedy, lusty and dope-smoking DJs, including the Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman) and Dave (Nick Frost), who makes it his personal mission to see to it that Quentin's newly arrived godson (Tom Sturridge) loses his virginity.

Cast & Crew

Tom Brooke
Thick Kevin
Rhys Darby
Angus "The Nut" Nutsford
Will Adamsdale
On-the-Hour John
Richard Curtis
Screenwriter
Tim Bevan
Producer
Richard Curtis
Executive Producer
Debra Hayward
Executive Producer
Liza Chasin
Executive Producer
Danny Cohen
Cinematographer
Emma E. Hickox
Film Editor
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News & Interviews for Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)

Critic Reviews for Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)

All Critics (165) | Top Critics (56) | Fresh (100) | Rotten (65)

  • The Boat That Rocked is pointless, shapeless, historically bogus and so emotionally disengaging you can't even feel the soundtrack.

    August 29, 2018 | Full Review…
  • No morals, no shame and good music; who wouldn't want to climb aboard Radio Rock?

    August 14, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Curtis's movie is loosely based on the historical truths of the time, but it isn't meant as a documentary, a rockumentary, or even a docucomedy. It's just a hell of a lot of fun.

    November 22, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Grudgingly irresistible

    November 19, 2009 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • It just sits there in the water.

    November 16, 2009
  • Any serious music fan -- that is anyone who sees the radio pirates as kindred spirits -- will be outraged by its sloppy approach to the history of rock and roll.

    November 16, 2009

Audience Reviews for Pirate Radio (The Boat That Rocked)

  • Feb 06, 2015
    This is a pretty fun movie with a really likable cast and an excellent soundtrack. I don't think this film really managed to be anything more than a crowd-pleaser, but then again I don't think it was intended to be anything more than that to be perfectly honest. While the movie does have a narrative of the DJs doing their best to avoid the government shutting them down, it honestly feels more like a series of sketches, however entertaining they may be, than a full-fledged narrative. For the most part, the DJs have their own little side stuff going on but it never really affects the overall arc of the film's main narrative. It's just something to add a little flavor and color to the film's characters. And I understand that, but it feels, ironically enough, shallow. While I ended up liking all of the characters, even Kenneth Branagh's character, who had some of the funniest lines in the entire film, I was never really emotionally invested in them. Again, not that this was the film's intention. I don't want to say that they do the bare minimum as it relates to character development, but they really mostly on their talented actors to carry things as opposed to writing out fleshed-out characters with distinct personalities. They rely on the talented actors and a soundtrack in order to distract you from its flaws. It's misdirection really, putting your attention elsewhere so you don't focus on the real issues. I don't wanna sound like I'm shitting on this movie, because I genuinely had a fun time with it, but I think that the movie, ironically enough, ran out of stream before before it was over. No reason this had to be as long as it was. Maybe 105 minutes would've been good. Keep the film moving at a brisk pace. This isn't a big issue since the movie didn't feel long at all, it just didn't need to be close to two hours. There's just simply not enough material to justify it. But, again, the cast and the soundtrack does a good enough job at distracting you from that. This is a fun movie though, it was meant to be a good time and I definitely enjoyed myself whilst watching it. Something to watch, enjoy, smile, and move on to the next film. Perhaps the thing about this film, that's something that I've known for years, is how it does a great job at showcasing how important music really is for humanity as a whole. The world would be a whole lot sadder without music in it. I love film as an art form, trust me on this one, but I think music, in some ways, is far more essential to our daily lives than even films are. Music, in one way or another, is all around us. It's something that can make us happy in an instant. Some songs more than others of course. I think that's really the best thing about this film, even if it's something I've already known for a long time. This film is a fun little distraction. Flaws aplenty, but there's more than enough about this film that's good. Solid rental here...or it's worth a buy if you find it cheap, which I did.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 31, 2013
    Pirate Radio stretches its plot pretty thinly over two hours and the script is fairly mediocre, but it packs a great soundtrack and a star-studded cast, and it's harmless and well-meaning enough to be watchable if not entirely successful.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • May 30, 2013
    Add this too the long list of films that endeavor mightily to capture the soul of rock and roll only to prostitute the admittedly bad old girl shamelessly. Cue the classics of yore, present cast et al "grooving to the beat", and cut to credits. Better to light one up, reheat the lava lamp and put on some Floyd.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2013
    A great comedy about 1960s rock and roll and how far people will go for their love of awesome music.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer

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