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The Best Pirate Movies, Ranked

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The Best Pirate Movies, Ranked

Pirates! The ancient lore of swashbuckling scoundrels pillaging and plundering has inspired classic fantastical tales. With societal preconceptions making pirates seem fun to be around, that was by no means the reality. However, film interpretations can be open to a bit of leniency. It is always a blast to see a band of pirates sailing the high sea on the search for treasure. After all, the story of piracy encapsulates danger and adventure, and who doesn’t want to see that on screen (or live it out, as seen in the delightful recent HBO comedy Our Flag Means Death).

The reality of pirates was that they were not at all empathetic or humane in the moral sense. But as most stories go, the characters must have a bit of relatability to the audience. There have been motion pictures that tell the tale of piracy while maintaining a bit of cinematic fun. Seeing what pirates truly did would not be all that enjoyable an experience. However, a majority of pirate-themed stories have grounded themselves in the children’s or family genre. There are a few classic stories of pirates that live on and set a standard for films of the genre.

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Tim Curry and the charming Muppets together in a pirate-themed adventure is enough to describe and sell the classic Muppet Treasure Island. While it is solely a children’s film and maintains the musical whimsy of most Muppet stories, the film is an enjoyable ride, and it is one of the biggest scaled Muppet films to date. The familiarity of the characters like Kermit, Fozzy and Gonzo pull the audience in, but Tim Curry truly steals the show as Long John Silver. His dedication to the role is palpable and makes for one entertaining experience.

Related: These Are the Best Tim Curry Movies, Ranked

Disney’s underrated animated movie from 2002, Treasure Planet, is a steam-punk reiteration of the Treasure Island story. The combination of the pirate-themed genre as well as science-fiction meld together in a way audiences have not seen before. The film is ambitious and takes the audience through galaxies of unique locations with entertaining characters. However, the heart of the film is truly that adventure for something wondrous, which is expressed perfectly by the prominent theme of piracy and its impact on the overall tone of the film.

Robin Williams soars off the screen as Peter Banning in Steven Spielberg’s Hook. The film has a dedication to childlike amazement and embracing imagination. The story is more of a redemption tale for Williams’ character, who has forgotten who he truly is: Peter Pan. Once he unlocks the adventure within him, the film becomes the swashbuckling ride we had hoped it would be. It is filled with one-liners and clashes between good and evil. But the heart of the movie is the love of one’s family. It is one of Williams’ classic roles and Spielberg’s more innocent interpretations.

The great Aardman Animations sits on a high stature when it comes to stop-motion animated features. With a wide range of genres and character designs, the studio continues to show that they can pull off any type of story. The Pirates! Band of Misfits (or as it’s also known, The PiratesI In an Adventure Witch Scientists!) is their crack at the pirate genre, and it is a lighthearted adventure about friendship.

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