The Pirate Movie


D: Ken Annakin

20th Century Fox (David Joseph)

Australia 1982

104 mins


W: Trevor Farrant [based on the operetta "The Pirates of Penzance" by W.S. Gilbert & Arthur Sullivan]

DP: Robin Copping

Ed: Kenneth W. Zemke

Mus: Mike Brady & Peter Sullivan, Kit Hain, Terry Britten, Sue Shifrin &  Brian Robertson

Kristy McNichol (Mabel), Christopher Atkins (Frederic), Ted Hamilton (The Pirate King), Bill Kerr (Major-General Stanley), Maggie Kirkpatrick (Ruth)

Shiver me timbers! The Pirate Movie is a complete mess of a film, financed in Australia and mixing the original songs of Gilbert & Sullivan's Operetta "The Pirates Of Penzance" and 80's pap as though to emulate the success of Grease, although with spoof humour akin to Mel Brooks' work, except this isn't funny.

It's fair to say that nobody knew what this film was supposed to be, throwing in endless references to so many different movies and popular fads at the time, it's clear that this had to be a huge inspiration to Jason Friedberg & Aaron Seltzer (Disaster Movie, Meet The Spartans, etc)

The film had a wraparound story which serves no purpose other than getting some McDonald's product placement in there before the "musical adventure" begins, where two outcasts, one a young pirate fed up with pillaging and a young genteel lady, meet on a beach, sing a song and suddenly want to marry, but first have find the Pirate King's treasure...

It's pointless explaining the story, since there isn't one. It's just a collection of silly scenes with an occasional song thrown in amongst some zany humour, sexual innuendos, pathetic slapstick and obnoxious winks which break the fourth wall.

The original songs are atrociously bad, even if you take into account that they're supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, and "Pumpin' and Blowin'" is, by far, the worst song on the soundtrack.

Christopher Atkins' performance is so incredibly bad, he takes all the heat off the other terrible performances, including Kristy McNichols' incredibly obnoxious and unlikeable leading lady / love interest.

The perfect phrase to sum this one up would be "Thar, she blows!"


Kristy McNichol & Christopher Atkins in The Pirate Movie
Kristy McNichol & Christopher Atkins in The Pirate Movie