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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl


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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Movies)
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Information about Pirates Of The Caribbean The Curse Of The Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is a 2003 (16 years ago) adventure film, based on the the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney theme parks. The story follows pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp (9 walls)) and blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom (7 walls)) as they rescue the kidnapped Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley (93 walls)) from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, captained by Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush). The movie was directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and became the first Walt Disney pictures (wallpaper) release to earn a PG-13 rating by the MPAA (all previous WDP releases were rated G or PG).

The world premiere was held at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, on Jun. 28, 2003 (16 years ago). The Curse of the Black Pearl was an unexpected success, with positive reviews and grossing over $654 million worldwide. The movie became the first in a series, with two back-to-back sequels, Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, released. The movie was nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Depp.


As Governor Weatherby Swann and his twelve-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, sail to Port Royal, Jamaica, their vessel, HMS Dauntless encounters a shipwreck with a sole survivor, the young Will Turner, floating among the wreckage. Elizabeth finds and hides a gold medallion she found around the unconscious Will's neck, fearing he would be accused of piracy. She then glimpses a ghostly pirate ship (the Black Pearl), disappearing into the mist.

Eight years later, Captain James Norrington of the British Royal Navy is promoted to Commodore. At his ceremony, he proposes to Elizabeth. Before she is able to answer, her corset causes her to faint and fall off the rampart, tumbling into the bay. The medallion she is wearing emits a mysterious pulse through the water.

Meanwhile, pirate Captain Jack Sparrow has arrived in Port Royal to commandeer a ship. Seeing Elizabeth fall, he rescues her, but is promptly arrested for piracy. He escapes and ducks into a blacksmith shop where he encounters Will Turner, now a blacksmith's apprentice and self-taught expert swordsman. Following a swordfight with Turner, Sparrow is knocked unconscious and jailed, set to be hanged the next day. That night, Port Royal is besieged by the Pearl, answering the medallion's mysterious call. Elizabeth is captured and invokes parley— an agreement ensuring one's safety until meeting and negotiating with the opposing side. Not wishing to reveal that she's the Governor's daughter, Elizabeth tells Captain Barbossa her surname is Turner. She negotiates for the pirates to cease the attack on Port Royal in exchange for the medallion. Barbossa agrees but, employing a loophole in their agreement, keeps Elizabeth prisoner, believing she is the key to breaking an ancient curse they are under.

When Commodore Norrington refuses to take immediate action, Will, who loves Elizabeth, persuades Captain Jack Sparrow to help him rescue her in exchange for freeing him from jail. Jack agrees only after learning Will's last name is Turner. After commandeering the HMS Interceptor Jack and Will recruit a crew in Tortuga with help from Jack's old friend, Gibbs, a former boatswain in the Royal Navy. They set sail for Isla de Muerta, a mysterious island Jack knows the pirates will go to in order to break the curse.

While en route, Will learns about Jack's past. He was once the captain of the Pearl, but when he shared the bearings to a hidden chest of Aztec gold coins, First Mate Barbossa instigated a mutiny and marooned Jack on an island. Jack escaped three days later. The pirates found and spent the treasure, but soon learned it was cursed—turning them into near-immortal skeletal beings whose true forms are only revealed in moonlight (a way to kill them is found later, when a cursed crewmember has a bomb shoved into their chest and is pushed out of the moonlight). The curse can only be lifted when every coin and each pirate's blood is returned to the chest. William "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, Jack's only supporter, sent a coin to his son, Will, believing the crew should remain cursed for what they did to Jack. Barbossa had Bootstrap tied to a cannon and thrown overboard, only to realize later that his blood is also needed to break the curse; a Turner relative must now take his place.

In a cave full of treasure on Isla de Muerta, Barbossa, believing Elizabeth is Bootstrap's child, anoints the last coin with her blood and drops it into the chest—unsurprisingly, the curse remains unbroken.

Reaching the island, Will suspects Sparrow may betray him and knocks him out. He rescues Elizabeth, and they escape to the Interceptor. Jack barters with Barbossa—he will reveal Bootstrap's real child in exchange for the Pearl. Jack's negotiations come to naught, however, when the Pearl pursues the Interceptor, sinking her and taking the crew captive. Will reveals that he is Bootstrap Bill's son and demands that Elizabeth and the crew be freed, or he will shoot himself and fall overboard, lost forever. Barbossa agrees but craftily applies another loophole and maroons Elizabeth and Jack on a deserted island (the same island Jack was on ten years before) and throws Jack's crew into the brig. Will is taken to Isla de Muerta for the ritual. On the island, Elizabeth discovers the truth behind how Jack really got off the island. The island that Jack was imprisoned on was used as a cache by rum runners, who are long since out of business.

Elizabeth burns an abandoned cache of rum to create a signal fire that is spotted by Norrington. She convinces Norrington to rescue Will by accepting his earlier marriage proposal. Returning to Isla de Muerta, Norrington sets an ambush outside the cave while Jack goes inside and persuades Barbossa to form an alliance. He tells him to delay breaking the curse until after they have taken the Dauntless and killed the crew. Jack then removes a coin from the chest, rendering himself immortal. But whatever Jack's actual intent is, his plan goes awry when Barbossa orders his crew to infiltrate the Dauntless from underwater. Jack tosses his bloodied coin to Will, who returns the last two medallions to the chest, breaking the curse. Jack's true allegiance is revealed when he attacks and then shoots Barbossa. No longer immortal, the wounded Barbossa falls dead. Realizing they are no longer cursed, the now-mortal pirates surrender to the navy.

Back in Port Royal, Jack is about to be executed. Believing Jack deserves to live, Will rescues him. Both are quickly captured, but Elizabeth lends her support and declares her love for Will. Norrington releases her from their engagement, and Will is pardoned. Jack escapes by inadvertently falling from the fort and into the bay. His crew, who escaped with the Pearl, rescues him. Norrington is impressed enough to allow him one day's head start before giving pursuit.

After the credits, Jack the monkey swims back to the treasure chest, near Barbossa's dead body, and steals a gold coin. The camera shows his skeleton body, and Jack jumps at the screen, which blacks out.


  • Johnny Depp (9 walls) as Captain Jack Sparrow: An eccentric pirate noted for a slightly drunken swagger, accompanied by slurred speech and awkwardly flailing hand gestures. His obsession for rum is only matched by his obsession with regaining the Black Pearl, which he captained ten years before. Jack uses his wits rather than weapons, and has gained a reputation with made up stories of how he escaped from the deserted island he was put on. The actor found the script quirky: rather than trying to find treasure, the crew of the Black Pearl were trying to return it in order to lift their curse; also, the traditional mutiny had already taken place. Initially Sparrow was, according to Bruckheimer, "a young Burt Lancaster, just the cocky pirate." At the first read-through, Depp surprised the rest of the cast and crew by portraying the character in an off-kilter manner. After researching 18th century pirates, Depp compared them to modern rock stars and decided to base his performance on Keith Richards. Although Verbinski and Bruckheimer had confidence in Depp, partly because it would be Bloom who was playing the traditional Errol Flynn-type, Disney executives were confused, asking Depp whether the character was drunk or gay, and Michael Eisner even proclaimed while watching rushes, "He's ruining the film!" Depp answered back, "Look, these are the choices I made. You know my work. So either trust me or give me the boot."
  • Orlando Bloom (7 walls) as Will Turner: A blacksmith's apprentice working in Port Royal, he is in love with Elizabeth Swann. Will struggles with the fact his father, "Bootstrap" Bill, was a pirate, unable to reconcile that he was a good man too. Bloom read the script after Geoffrey Rush, whom he was working with on Ned Kelly, suggested it to him.
  • Keira Knightley (93 walls) as Elizabeth Swann: The daughter of Governor Weatherby Swann, Elizabeth has been fascinated with pirates since childhood. During the Black Pearl's attack on Port Royal, she gives her name as Turner and is mistaken for "Bootstrap" Bill's child. She also is in love with Will Turner. Elizabeth abandons the "damsel in distress" image (wallpaper) and in time her personality changes to that of a noble pirate. Knightley came as a surprise to Verbinski: he had not seen her performance in Bend It Like Beckham and was impressed by her audition.
  • Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa: The captain of the Black Pearl, he was Captain Jack Sparrow's first mate before he led a mutiny ten years before. He and his crew stole cursed Aztec gold, for which they walk the Earth forever. He has a love of green apples and his monkey Jack, which never leaves his side. Verbinski approached Rush for the role of Barbossa, as he knew he would not play it with attempts at complexity, but with a simple villainy that would suit the story's tone.
  • Jack Davenport as Commodore Norrington: An officer in the Royal Navy who is in love with Elizabeth, and also has a deep-seated dislike for pirates. He considers Jack Sparrow to be, "the worst pirate I have ever heard of".
  • Jonathan Pryce as Governor Weatherby Swann: Governor of Port Royal, Jamaica and father of Elizabeth Swann. Tom Wilkinson was negotiated with to play the part, but the role went to Pryce, whom Depp idolized.
  • Lee Arenberg as Pintel: A pirate aboard the Black Pearl. He and Ragetti dress up as women to provide the distraction that allows the cursed pirates to board the Dauntless near the end of the movie. He and Ragetti provide the majority of the comic relief for the pirate side of the story.
  • Mackenzie Crook as Ragetti: A pirate aboard the Black Pearl, Pintel's buddy, with a wooden eye that never seems to stay in place.
  • Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs: Jack Sparrow's friend and first mate, he was once a sailor for the Royal Navy. He is usually the one who tells the legends of Jack Sparrow.
  • Zoe Saldana as Anamaria: A female pirate furious with Jack Sparrow for stealing her boat. He promises her the Interceptor in an attempt to assuage her anger.


Before its release, many journalists had expected Pirates of the Caribbean to be a flop. The pirate genre had not been successful for years, with Cutthroat Island (1995, 24 years ago) a notable flop. The movie was also based on a theme park ride, and Johnny Depp (9 walls), known mostly for starring in cult films, had little track record as a box office leading man. Walt Disney pictures (wallpaper) also took a big risk in allowing it to be the first PG-13 rated movie by the studio, with one executive noting that she found the movie too intense for her five-year old child. Nonetheless, the studio was confident enough to add The Curse of the Black Pearl subtitle to the movie in case sequels were made, and to attract older children. Verbinski disliked the new title because it is the Aztec gold rather than the ship that is cursed, so he requested the title to be unreadable on the poster. Their confidence paid off: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl opened at #1, grossing $46,630,690 in its opening weekend and $70,625,971 since its Wednesday launch, and eventually made its way to $654,264,015 worldwide ($305,413,918 domestically and $348,850,097 overseas) becoming the fourth highest grossing movie of 2003 (16 years ago).

Critics favourably received the film, as indicated by a 79% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 153 positive reviews out of 193 listed. Alan Morrison of Empire felt it was "the best blockbuster of the summer", acclaiming all the comic performances despite his disappointment with the swashbuckling sequences. Roger Ebert acclaimed Depp and Rush's performances, with "It can be said that [Depp's] performance is original in its every atom. There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie... his behavior shows a lifetime of rehearsal." However, he felt the movie went for too long, a criticism shared by Kenneth Turan's highly negative review, feeling it "spends far too much time on its huge supporting cast of pirates (nowhere near as entertaining as everyone assumes) and on bloated adventure set pieces that redound to no one's credit", despite having also enjoyed Depp's performance.

For his performance as Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp (9 walls) won Best Actor at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the MTV Movie Awards and the Empire Awards, and was also nominated but didn't win at the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and the 76th Academy Awards, in which The Curse of the Black Pearl was also nominated for Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects. Awards won by Curse of the Black Pearl include Best Make-Up/Hair at the BAFTA Awards, a Saturn Award for Best Costumes, a Golden Reel Award for Sound Editing, two VES Awards for visual effects, and the People's Choice Awards for Favorite Motion Picture.

The movie has been mentioned in many TV shows and movies (Epic Movie), as well as video games, (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Carribean: At Worlds End, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Legend of Jack Sparrow, Kingdom Hearts 2).


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