Action / Adventure / Comedy / Family

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Rotten 30%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Spilled 52%
IMDb Rating 6.2 10 7626

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Uploaded By: OTTO
October 29, 2013 at 06:58 PM



Walter Matthau as Captain Thomas Bartholomew Red
Charlotte Lewis as María-Dolores de la Jenya de la Calde
David Kelly as Surgeon
Roy Kinnear as Dutch
868.49 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 1 min
P/S 0 / 19

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by st-shot 3 / 10

Polanski walks the plank

Roman Polanski is a fish out of water in this high seas mess that sinks early. Lurching between comedy and drama it never gets much of a footing as it erratically veers off course for two hours.

Adrift at sea Captain Red and Jean Baptiste save their lives by crawling onto a Spanish galleon displaying poor manners and get themselves tossed in the brig. On board the ship is a gold throne that Red is determined to take ownership of once he gets the crew to mutiny.

Sumptuously photographed with a lush set design Polanski stumbles through it all setting an inconsistent tone from the outset as he attempts to give it a Terry Gilliam dark humor that seems beyond his grasp. A bit of a disappointment given the suspense director made the very funny Fearless Vampire Killers in his younger days with a dark comic wit that took the Dracula theme in a totally different direction. Here he allows things to drag and his comic timing is woefully late. Matthau as Red is decent enough to deserve a better script but overall performances are heavy handed, scene after scene lacks rhythm and a slap happy music score does it no favors. Pirates is one scattered disaster of a picture. Scuttle this scow.

Reviewed by Greg_Deane 2 / 10

A waste of Matthau and Polanski

I expected more from the 1986 film, Pirates. When I saw Walter Matthau was the main character and that Roman Polanski was the director, I had high expectations that were dispelled the moment Matthau's character Captain Red bit the buttock of his faithful fool, a Frenchman he calls Frog. This stereotypical name is perhaps the high point of humour in the disjointed and aimless film. The officers of the Spanish galleon are all dressed as if they are courtiers at Versailles, while the cabins are furnished as lavishly as any of the Sun King's rooms. In fact, Polanski doesn't seem to be aware that he is making a film centred round a Spanish galleon.

Clichés extend to the overuse of enemas by a ship's physician whose remedies are implicitly responsible for the captain's death; though he expires just after confessing his doubt in God's existence,thus revealing himself to be worthy of redemption. The priest who confesses him is another sanctimonious cliché who is apparently intended to represent the harshness of the Spanish Inquisition, who blithely confesses pirates and criminals to be garroted.

The only notable female in the film is María-Dolores de la Jenya de la Calde, played by Charlotte Lewis. It is easy to understand why she is not well-known and why she hasn't made any films for 13 years, though she was only 19 when she played María-Dolores de la Jenya de la Calde; this character was particularly vacuous and vain insisting that her ransom should be 30,000 doubloons instead of 3,000, and asking her uncle to agree that her honour is worth more than a kingdom, when she is about to be raped; at the same time, he coy smile implies that she hopes Frog does rape her.

There are no heroic characters, nor even interesting villains. Damien Thomas, who plays, Don Alfonso de la Torré, the officer who takes over command of the galleon, the Neptune, after the death of Captain Linares, gives the most competent performance as a would-be ruthless schemer though he proves to be a foiled fop through a series of slapstick accidents that are obstacles to development of any sensible storyline as much as they are to any entertainment value in the film.

All in all, a dreadful experience.

Reviewed by Phil Hubbs 6 / 10


Back before Johnny Depp revolutionised the pirate movie with his camp ways there were the odd rum fuelled flicks such as this. Roman Polanski doing what he does best which is creating lavish productions that tend to not be overly successful at first but gain cult status.

The story is naturally a typically salty one involving Walter Matthau's 'Captain Red' and his young French sidekick trying to pinch a golden throne from some fancy pant Spaniards. At the same time there is of course a love interest for the young dashing French sailor, mutinies, plenty of galleon boarding from both sides and lots of skullduggery on land and at sea.

I think this film is very similar to 'The Fearless Vampire Killers' in the fact that its actually kinda dull but looks beautiful. All the pirates, especially Matthau, look as they should do, covered in dirty rag-like attire, greasy facial hair, deep tans, golden teeth...every bit the stereotypical swashbuckling sea dog. I was quite intrigued with the wooden leg Matthau's Captain has, it really looks like he has a real wooden peg leg! and this is before CGI folks, impressed. On the flip side the Spanish look perfectly rich, aristocratic, pompous, snooty and dignified in their very impressive duds. The wigs sell the whole look if you ask me, really authentic looking.

I was also very impressed with Matthau's cockney English accent. He genuinely does a sterling job with it and comes across not American that's for sure. At the same time Damien Thomas as the preening perfume smelling 'Don Alfonso' is by far the stand out performance. You can truly see the disgust and contempt in his face for the wretched pirate scum, I really enjoyed his peacock-like display of regal superiority.

All the characters and extras look great and are accompanied by some luscious tropical locations and some nice olde worlde period ports (real locations). Did I mention the ship yet? no? well lemme tell you, it looks awesome. Fully realised to scale with a working motor so it can sail, completely detailed from top to bottom with everything you'd expect to see on a 17th Century Spanish vessel.

Yep its all visually stunning with good performances but unfortunately that's about it. There is very little of interest going on plot wise, the film is way too long and there isn't that much swashbuckling going on surprisingly. This isn't a silly fantasy flick nor is it a historically accurate flick, but it does bring a more down to earth approach to the genre. There isn't much flamboyant heroics here ladies and gentlemen, more like backstabbing with every man for himself, more genuine. No way is it as bad as suggested and I'm not sure why it didn't do better at the cinema, its a solid romp. Think along the lines of Richard Lester's Three Musketeer movies but with less comedy.


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