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Fun Friday–Favorite Movie Pirates

Friday, April 16, 2010


I have pirates on the brain. Probably because I have two crews of them that I’m dealing with in Ransome’s Quest. To that end, I’ve been recording a bunch of classic pirate-themed movies off of Turner Classic Movies as well as adding a bunch more to my Netflix queue. Now, I haven’t had a chance to watch all of them yet, obviously, but since they’re what I’m thinking about, that’s what you’re getting. So this list may change once I see several more, but, eh, I never claim that these lists are anything but fluid.

Here are five of my favorite movie pirates:

5. Jamie Waring, The Black Swan—Hello! It’s Tyrone Power. Why wouldn’t he be on this list? Actually, Jamie-Boy is technically a former-pirate who is working with the newly dubbed governor of Jamaica, Sir Henry Morgan (yes, that Henry Morgan). Someone—who turns out to be the inconvenient fiancé of Jamie-Boy’s love interest, played by Maureen O’Hara—wants Morgan discredited and so gives information about the English fleet’s movements to those pirates who didn’t reform along with Morgan and Waring, so it looks like Morgan is aiding his old friends. Jamie is tasked with hunting down these former friends and finding the saboteur before it’s too late. The love story in this film is quite unbelievable in its quickness and intensity, but Jamie-Boy is one heckuva pirate!

4. Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Hook—Probably the first pirate we were all exposed to as children in Disney’s version of Peter Pan, Captain Hook is the gold standard to which we hold our pirate characters, isn’t he? The over-the-top wig and costume, the hook, the twirled mustache—he’s perfect.

3. Captain Shakespeare, Stardust—I don’t think I’ve laughed as hard as I did at the character of Captain Shakespeare the first time I saw Stardust in a very, very long time. First, it’s Robert De Niro—tough-guy, man’s-man, right? Then, before he ever comes on screen, we’re told several times of his “fearsome” reputation. I mean, he’s a pirate. Right. Good thing he’s got a good crew!

2. Captain Peter Blood, Captain Blood—After being convicted for “comforting the enemy” (plying his trade as a doctor, in his words) during the tumultuous Monmouth Rebellion in 1685 (when the Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles II tried to seize power from his uncle, James II), Doctor Peter Blood ended up transported to Jamaica, where he was sold as a slave—in the book to Colonel Bishop, in the movie he’s purchased by Miss Arabella Bishop, the Colonel’s daughter, who is instantly attracted to how he stands up for himself. During a Spanish attack on Port Royal, Peter and his fellow slaves escape, commandeer the Spanish ship, and set themselves up as pirates. Peter, of course, is a somewhat moral pirate (after all, he’s our hero!), so when he discovers, a few years later, that another pirate has kidnapped Miss Arabella from her ship on a return voyage from England, Peter tries to negotiate her away from him. But the other pirate won’t have it and they fight a swashbuckling duel—which, of course, Peter wins.

I learned, in the intro to the broadcast of Captain Blood last week, that this was Errol Flynn’s first major movie role (and he was very much a bottom-of-the-barrel choice). He was only twenty-five years old. Olivia deHavilland, in the role of Arabella Bishop, was only nineteen. This was the first of eight movies they made together—and it’s the epitome of the classic pirate movie.

1. Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean. ’Nuff said.

  1. Friday, April 16, 2010 7:39 am

    Oh, I love Tyrone Power…I have a copy of The Black Swan but I haven’t watched it in quite some time. Maybe I will have a viewing this weekend. 🙂 Also love, love, LOVE me some Errol Flynn. Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk are two of my all-time favorite classics.


    • Friday, April 16, 2010 11:31 am

      I still have a bunch of the movies TCM aired on my DVR. Hopefully I can watch a couple of them this weekend (and burn them to DVDs in the process—love having a DVD recorder hooked up to that TV!).


  2. Friday, April 16, 2010 9:17 am

    Ahoy, there, matey! What a fun post. Errol Flynn! Capt’n Jack Sparrow!


    • Friday, April 16, 2010 11:31 am

      Yep—now I’ve got to be careful that I don’t make my pirates so “over the top” as these guys!


  3. Friday, April 16, 2010 9:40 am

    Oh yeah! I totally agree nobody can beat Capt. Jack Sparrow! I’ve been in love with him since the first Pirates movie!

    I’ve never seen the other films but they all look interesting, I’ll have to check them out.

    XOXO~ Renee


    • Friday, April 16, 2010 11:33 am

      I still haven’t gotten around to adding the DVD of the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie to my collection. Guess I should do that now—when I could write it off as research materials! Yo-ho-ho!


  4. Friday, April 16, 2010 10:52 am

    OK, you’ve made me realize how FEW pirate movies I’ve actually seen! Of course Jack Sparrow tops them all, but the mention of “Peter Pan” made me think of Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook in “Hook.” We LOVE that movie. Also there were some pretty scary pirates in Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson,” if I recall!


    • Friday, April 16, 2010 11:35 am

      There’s such a huge and widely scattered base of pirate characters to have to choose from. And I was surprised when Googling to make sure I’d covered my bases how few “favorites” lists are out there. I’m just glad TCM decided to do their “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie marathon now, when I’m still in the process of developing my pirate characters.


  5. Friday, April 16, 2010 11:06 am

    Kaye, after reading this, I almost want to revoke the FF I posted for you on my blog today.

    How can you not have these guys in the top 5?


    • Friday, April 16, 2010 11:27 am

      Uh . . . because I don’t have kids.


      • Friday, April 16, 2010 12:29 pm

        You don’t have to have kids to lov…um…kids! Yeah! That’s it! I never watched those videos until I had kids! I promise! I never did! 😉


  6. Joan permalink
    Friday, April 16, 2010 11:41 am

    Love this list. Tyrone Power was so drop-dead gorgeous as Jamie.

    Johnny Depp KILLS me as Jack Sparrow – what an actor.


  7. Lori C permalink
    Friday, April 16, 2010 12:14 pm

    CAPTAIN Jack Sparrow is no.1 on my list of pirates in our modern time,but Errol Flynn by far is the all-time greatest pirate!


  8. Lizard permalink
    Friday, April 16, 2010 5:46 pm

    what about the Dread Pirate Roberts? There are so many good one liners in the Princess Bride


    • Friday, April 16, 2010 5:49 pm

      He was on my list . . . until I remembered Captain Shakespeare.


  9. Audrey permalink
    Friday, April 16, 2010 6:17 pm

    Captain Jack. Nuff said. So glad he’ll be in Pirates 4. It’s not a movie without him. Though I fail to see why a 4th one is needed.

    I do like Captain Hook as well, but only played by Dustin Hoffman in “Hook” The Disney Hook animated just doesn’t cut it. Hoffman had the pirate personality in him, which made his version of the character even more fun.


  10. Saturday, April 17, 2010 7:10 pm

    Love this list!!! Captain Blood, yes. I was eight the first time I saw the film and thought Errol Flynn was so dashing (and then I ended up “casting” him as the ladies’ man antagonist in my historical. 😉 ). Dustin Hoffman’s Hook is brilliant. I agree, the Dread Pirate Roberts would be on my list (just watched it again last night…brilliant script).

    Loved this!


  11. Jess permalink
    Sunday, April 18, 2010 8:07 pm

    Hey, Kaye. I’m thinking of attending ACFW this year, and I was wondering if you’d mind posting about when you decided to get business cards, what you put on them (before you were published) how many you got, how you chose the style to match your novels’, etc.
    If you don’t want to go into all that detail, would you mind posting what your business cards look like–currently or in the past?



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