Arrrrrrghhh! Today is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, ye mateys! And thar’s no better way to get in the swashbuckling mood than by popping in a good old fashioned tale of the high seas. Here are some recommendations!
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
The movie that revitalized the entire sea-faring genre, the first Pirates of the Caribbean is a must-watch on Talk Like a Pirate Day. It’s hard to believe there was a time when no one had heard of Jack Sparrow, but Johnny Depp’s Keith Richards-inspired pirate stumbled and swayed his way into pop culture immortality. Who knew a movie based on a Disney ride could be so much damn fun?
Peter Pan is a character that embodied the childhood fantasy of never having to grow up. Steven Spielberg traveled into uncharted waters, then, when he offered his take on what would happen Peter became an adult like all the rest of us. Robin Williams is great as a middle-aged Peter who has forgotten everything about Neverland, but the real standout is Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, who shows that even pirate captains just need to be loved. Plus, watching Hook will give you a reason to shout “Not the Boo Box!” at total strangers, which is an obvious bonus.
Almost ten years before Pirates of the Caribbean succeeded, a little movie called Cutthroat Island tried to breathe life back into the swashbuckling genre. It didn’t exactly fare well, but if you’re looking for a so-bad-it’s-actually-kinda-fun action movie, it’s worth your consideration. Just be warned, Geena Davis and Matthew Modine are no Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, and you may want a flagon of ale in hand to make the cheese go down easier.
The Pirates of Penzance
If you prefer your pirate tales with a little bit of song and dance, the 1983 adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta starring Kevin Kline should be right up your alley. It’s the story of a young man released on his 21st birthday from his indentured servitude to a band of pirates, only to find out that he was born on a leap year and his service must continue. It might not have quite as much cannon fire as some of the other movies on this list, it’s sure to brighten your spirits like a dubloon never could.
Hey you guys! I know plenty of people for whom whether or not you like The Goonies is a strong indicator of friendship. One of the pivotal movies of many ‘80s childhoods, this tale of kids finding buried treasure is a blast from start to finish. It really has everything: henchmen, chases, booby-trapped treasure, Sloth, and even Josh Brolin.
The Princess Bride
Another cult classic, The Princess Bride may not be an outright pirate movie, but it’s about as fun a fantasy film as you can ask for and it features the Dread Pirate Roberts, so it earns a spot in your NTLAP rotation. It might be one of the most quotable movies of the last 30 years and never takes itself too seriously while still supplying plenty of heart. Passing Talk Like a Pirate Day without a viewing of The Princess Bride? Inconceivable!
I have to imagine that Robert Louis Stevenson’s book was most people’s first introduction to the world of Jolly Rogers and wooden legs, and there are plenty of movie adaptations to choose from. If you want to go old school, there’s a version from 1934 starring Jackie Cooper and directed by Victor Fleming of The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind fame. Or for something more contemporary, check out the 1990 TV movie starring Charlton Heston and a young Christian Bale. Or you could watch…
Muppet Treasure Island
All the adventure of the original but with 100% more Gonzo! Miss Piggy, Fozzy and the whole gang hit the high seas along with Jim Hawkins and Tim Curry’s Long John Silver, proving that in storytelling, more Muppets is always a good thing.