Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)

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Early promotional poster for Curse of the Black Pearl, before Disney decided to abandon the anti-Spaniard angle.

Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy adventure films created by Jerry Bruckenheimer and produced by Disney. Set in the late 17th century Caribbean — in an era known to be the golden age of pirates, sea battles, magical artifacts, giant ocean monsters, and cursed squid people — the films follow the adventures of part-comic relief part-badass Captain Jack Sparrow, eunuch Will Turner, kisser-of-death Elizabeth Swann, and a large host of other colorful characters, most of whom are there for comic relief and not much else.

The series is made up of five films, with more in the works. While many fans and critics would argue the series has been stretched one or two (or even three) movies too long, Pirates of the Caribbean nevertheless remains the fifth highest-grossing film series of all-time, earning a pile of cash marginally larger than America's debt crisis.


Curse of the Black Pearl[edit]

Will Turner and his fantastic mustache.

In the early 18th century while sailing to Port Royal, Jamaica, Governor Weatherby Swann, his daughter Elizabeth, and Lieutenant James Norrington encounter a shipwreck and recover a boy, Will Turner. Elizabeth discovers a golden pirate medallion around his neck, keeping it so as to protect him. Elizabeth sees a ghost ship vanish into the fog. Eight years later, Norrington is promoted to Commodore and proposes to Elizabeth, but her corset makes her faint and fall into the sea. Captain Jack Sparrow comes to Port Royal to commandeer a ship, and rescues her. Norrington identifies Jack, and a chase ensues. Jack encounters Will, now a blacksmith and swordsman. They duel, and Jack is captured and imprisoned.

That night, the Black Pearl, which Elizabeth saw as a child, attacks Port Royal searching for the medallion. Pirates capture Elizabeth, taking her to meet Captain Barbossa for negotiations. Elizabeth claims her last name is Turner, to conceal her identity as the governor's daughter, but Barbossa takes her prisoner. Elizabeth learns that after Barbossa's crew took the treasure of Cortés from Isla de Muerta, they were cursed as immortals; they appear as heavily decomposed corpses in moonlight. To lift the curse, they need to return all 882 gold pieces with the blood of the owner of each piece. Elizabeth's medallion is the final piece.

Will Turner frees Jack to rescue his love Elizabeth. Jack agrees upon learning Will’s surname. The two commandeer the HMS Interceptor and head for Tortuga to recruit a crew, including Jack’s friend Joshamee Gibbs. Jack reveals that Will’s father Bootstrap Bill Turner was a pirate, who was thrown overboard while tied by his bootstraps to a cannonball. Gibbs tells Will that Jack was captain of the Black Pearl until Barbossa mutinied and marooned him. At Isla de Muerta, Will and Jack witness Barbossa sacrificing Elizabeth's blood and the final gold piece. The curse is not lifted because the medallion belonged to Bootstrap Bill, making Will the owner by bloodline. Will rescues Elizabeth and brings her to the Interceptor, while Jack is captured Barbossa and his crew and gets locked in the brig of the Black Pearl.

Elizabeth Swann

The Pearl pursues the Interceptor, taking the crew hostage and destroying the ship. Will makes a deal with Barbossa to release Elizabeth in exchange for his blood, but Barbossa exploits a loophole in the agreement, marooning Jack and Elizabeth on the island Jack was left on before. Elizabeth makes a smoke signal, and Commodore Norrington brings the HMS Dauntless to rescue Elizabeth and arrest Jack. Elizabeth requests Norrington to return for Will, convincing him by accepting his marriage proposal. That night, the Dauntless arrives at Isla de Muerta. Jack plans to lure the pirates out to be ambushed by the crew of the Dauntless, but the plan goes awry when Barbossa's crew walks underwater to attack Dauntless. Elizabeth escapes the Dauntless and frees Jack’s crew from the Pearl. They refuse to rescue Will, so Elizabeth sets out on her own.

Jack reaches a deal with Barbossa to operate a pirate fleet, but suddenly frees Will and duels Barbossa, while Elizabeth and Will fight off Barbossa's crew. Barbossa stabs Jack, but he is revealed to be under the curse, having taken a piece of gold from Cortez’s chest. Jack reveals the deception as a coup to win back the Pearl. Jack shoots Barbossa, and Will drops the medallion into the chest, with his blood on it. The curse is lifted, causing Barbossa to die from Jack's gunshot; the rest of Barbossa's crew are defeated by the Navy. At Port Royal, Jack is led to the gallows to be hanged for piracy. Elizabeth diverts Norrington's attention and Will attempts a rescue, but Will and Jack are surrounded and held at gunpoint. Elizabeth intercedes and declares her love for Will, leaving Norrington crestfallen. Jack dives into the sea and escapes aboard the Black Pearl, which is waiting nearby. Governor Swann pardons Will and gives his blessing for Elizabeth to marry him. Norrington permits Jack and the Pearl "one day's head start" before initiating pursuit.

In a post-credits scene, Barbossa’s pet monkey steals a piece of gold from the chest and regains immortality.

Arriving in Port Royalpainindaass, Sparrow attempted commendeer a ship, but ended up saving the wretched life of Elizabeth Swann, had a fight with a eunuch blacksmith, thrown in prison, tormented by his former crewmates when they come bombing the port, convinced to save Elizabeth by the eunuch, picks up a crazy crew of homies in Tortuga, goes to Isla Don't Matter, and... just go watch the damn films.

It was later revealed he had been looking for his father when he was found. Jack Sparrow fought him in the blacksmith chamber, only for him to be knocked out by Mr. Brown for disrupting his yoga class. Will later made a bargain with Sparrow to help him save Elizabeth, in return he would release him from prison. After that, Will does little for the rest of the trilogy except be around conviniently to move the story along, kiss Elizabeth multiple times, slowly become a homosexual dreaming about shirtless pirates as time passed. He briefly was reunited with his father, Bootstrap "Jockstrap" Bill. In the final part of At Wikipedia's End, Will proposed to Elizabeth to get married, which they did with a little help from Barbossa. Will, however, got Pwned by Captain Squidward McTentaclybeard.

Dead Man's Chest[edit]

The wedding of Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann is interrupted by Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company, who has arrest warrants for the couple as well as for Commodore James Norrington, for allowing Captain Jack Sparrow to escape execution. Norrington's whereabouts are uncertain, as he resigned after his obsessive pursuit of Sparrow resulted in the Navy's flagship, HMS Dauntless, being destroyed in a typhoon. Elizabeth is imprisoned, but Beckett promises to free her if Will tracks down Jack and brings Beckett Jack's magic compass which points to whatever the holder wants most. Shortly after, Governor Swann tries to escape Port Royal with Elizabeth but is captured. Elizabeth negotiates with Beckett to let her escape to find the compass herself, and she hides aboard a Scottish merchant vessel, the Edinburgh Trader.

On the Black Pearl, Jack reunites with Will’s father Bootstrap Bill, who reveals he is a crewman on the Flying Dutchman, captained by Davy Jones, whom Jack previously made a deal with to raise the Pearl from the depths. Jack must join Jones' crew or be dragged to Davy Jones' Locker by the monstrous Kraken. Will eventually finds Jack's crew on an island ruled by cannibals, who worship Jack as a god, from which they escape. The crew meet voodoo priestess Tia Dalma (Naomie Harris), who tells them Jones’ weakness is his heart, locked within the Dead Man’s Chest. Locating the Dutchman, Will is shanghaied into service while Jones sends Jack to bring him one-hundred souls so his blood debt can be paid. On the Dutchman, Will meets his father, and learns that the chest's key is in Jones' possession. After playing a game of liar's dice against Davy Jones, Bootstrap helps Will escape with the key, but Jones sends the Kraken after him, dragging the destroyed Edinburgh Trader to the depths.

In Tortuga, Jack hires a new crew, including Elizabeth, and Norrington, now a drunk. All parties arrive on Isla Cruces where the chest is buried but a three-way sword fight breaks out between Jack, Will, and Norrington who all want the heart for their respective goals: Jack wants to call off the Kraken, Will wants to rescue his father, and Norrington wants to regain his life as a Navy officer. In the chaos, Jack obtains Jones' heart and hides it in a jar of dirt, but Norrington secretly steals the heart and runs off pretending to lure away the Dutchman's crew. Jones attacks the Pearl with the Kraken, which devours most of the crew and destroys all but one of the Pearl's lifeboats, but Jack, who briefly flees the battle, returns and wounds it with a net full of explosives.

Jack orders the survivors to abandon ship, but Elizabeth tricks him by kissing him, in the process chaining him to the mast so that the crew can escape the Kraken. Jack manages to break free, but is dragged down to the bottom of the sea by the Kraken. Jones discovers his heart is missing and rages. In Port Royal, Norrington approaches Beckett and gives him the heart and Letters of Marque meant for Jack, allowing him back into the navy as well as allowing Beckett to gain control of Davy Jones and the seas. The Pearl’s crew take shelter with Tia Dalma, where they all agree to rescue Jack. Tia Dalma introduces the captain that will guide them: the resurrected Captain Barbossa.

In a post-credits scene, the cannibalistic tribe now worships a dog in replacement of Jack.

At World's End[edit]

To control the oceans, Lord Cutler Beckett executes anyone associated with piracy by ordering Davy Jones to destroy all pirate ships in the seas. Condemned prisoners sing "Hoist the Colours" to compel the nine Pirate Lords to convene at Shipwreck Cove to hold the Brethren Court. Because Captain Jack Sparrow, one of the Pirate Lords, never named a successor before being killed, Captain Barbossa, along with Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, Tia Dalma, and the crew of the Black Pearl, plot to rescue Jack from Davy Jones's Locker. Traveling to Singapore, the crew meet Captain Sao Feng, who owns navigational charts to the Locker and quickly gains an unpredictable interest in Elizabeth. Beckett's soldiers invade, but the crew escape. Feng and Turner make a deal to give Jack to Feng, so he in turn can use the Pearl to rescue his father Bootstrap Bill from the Flying Dutchman. The crew travels to the locker and rescues the marooned Jack. They find themselves trapped, encountering dead souls, including Elizabeth's father Governor Swann. They learn the Dutchman must always have a captain.

Returning to the living world, the Pearl is attacked by Sao Feng and Beckett's men. Through a complex series of deals, Elizabeth is handed over to Feng, who believes she is the goddess Calypso, while the rest of the crew make for Shipwreck Cove aboard the Pearl, though Jack later throws Will off the ship as part of the plan to seize control of the Dutchman. Sao Feng tells Elizabeth that the first Brethren Court bound Calypso in human form after she betrayed her lover, Davy Jones. He plans to release her to defeat Beckett. Davy Jones attacks Feng's ship, but Feng appoints Elizabeth his successor as Pirate Lord before dying. Admiral Norrington frees Elizabeth and her new crew from the Dutchman, but is killed by a crazed Bootstrap Bill.

The Black Pearl arrives at Shipwreck Cove where Barbossa attempts to persuade the Brethren Court to release Calypso. Jack's father Captain Teague and Keeper of the Pirate Code, informs the Court that only an elected Pirate King can decide. A vote is taken. To avoid a stalemate, Jack casts his vote for Elizabeth, making her King. Davy Jones visits Tia Dalma in the Pearl's brig, revealing she is Calypso, and they promise to be together again.

The Brethren Court and Beckett's fleets emerge for war. On a sandbank, Elizabeth, Jack, Barbossa, Beckett, Jones, and Will parley, trading Will for Jack, and Barbossa steals Jack's piece of eight, all of which are owned by the Pirate Lords and required to free Calypso. Barbossa frees Calypso, but when Will reveals it was Jones who made it possible for the first Court to imprison her, Calypso vanishes and summons an enormous maelstrom.

The Pearl and the Dutchman battle in the maelstrom. Elizabeth and Will are wed by Barbossa before swinging over to the Dutchman to aid Jack. On board the Dutchman, Jones and Jack engage in a duel, with Jones gaining the upper hand. Jones stabs Will with a sword, but Jack and Elizabeth have Will stab Jones' heart. Jones dies and falls in the maelstrom, while Will succumbs to his injuries. Jack and Elizabeth escape the Dutchman as it is sucked into the maelstrom. As Beckett's ship, the Endeavour, approaches to destroy the Pearl, the Dutchman rises, now captained by Will, and the crew free of Jones' curse. Ironically a twist of events, Squidward died and Will became the new owner of the Frying Dutchman. Conviently, all the crewmates including his father were eunuchs. He renamed the ship, the Frying Eunuchmen. Together, the two pirate ships destroy the Endeavour, with a stunned Beckett going down with the ship while his navy retreats, demoralized by the loss of both the Endeavor and their commander in Beckett. With Will now bound to escort souls lost at sea to the next world for ten years, Will and Elizabeth consummate their marriage before he departs on the Dutchman.

Jack and Joshamee Gibbs discover Barbossa has stolen the Black Pearl again, but Jack planned ahead and cut out Sao Feng's navigational charts, departing from Tortuga alone to track down the mythical Fountain of Youth to become immortal.

In a post-credits scene, set ten years later, Elizabeth and her son watch from a sea cliff as Will returns aboard the Dutchman. Elizabeth, after the whirpool battle in the third film, got married to Will and they somehow had sex, despite the fact Will is a eunuch. Ten years on, Will returned from escorting Chinese tourists across the ocean to Disneyland. He found Elizabeth and their son waiting for him. Will then killed Elizabeth with a plank of wood with nail in it and took his son away to travels the seas as a eunuch.

On Stranger Tides[edit]

Captain Jack Sparrow is on a quest to find the fabled Fountain of Youth and crosses paths with a former lover, Angelica. She forces Jack aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, a ship captained by the infamous pirate Blackbeard, Angelica's father. Both are also in search of the Fountain; Angelica to save her father's soul, Blackbeard to escape a prophecy of his demise at the hands of a one-legged man. Joining the hunt is former pirate captain Barbossa, now a privateer in King George II's Navy, who is in a race against the Spanish for the Fountain of Youth.

Dead Men Tell No Tales[edit]

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) finds the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost pirates led by his old nemesis, the terrifying Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil's Triangle, determined to kill every pirate at sea, including him. Captain Jack's only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact that bestows upon its possessor total control over the seas."



  • Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) – The star of the show is Jack Sparrow (or Captain Jack Sparrow to the purists and fangirls), a drunken, charming, cunning pirate with nice dreadlocks and a goatee to match. He is capable of getting his way out of any given situation, which is surprising, since he spends more time acting silly and spouting one-liners than he does actually trying to escape. He has some wacky weapons with him, including several pistols, a cool sword, and a drunk compass that can apparently point to anything. Sparrow was originally captain of the infamous Black Pearl pirate ship, but after he won the pirate lottery and did share any of the winnings with his crew, he was thrown overboard and left on an island full of pygmies. He escaped by roping some sea turtles and jetskiing his way into the first film.
  • Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) – A eunuch and blacksmith's apprentice working in Port Royal, Jamaica, who is at search for his father Buffalo Bootstrap Bill. During the cross from England to the port, the crew of the Fabulous HMS Interceptor came across a dashing young lad adrift at sea, and took him aboard their crew. The daughter of Governor Swann, Elizabeth, took Will down to the hull of the ship and seduced him into giving her his priceless bottle cap, which was rather hard to do considering he felt no attraction to her. Later, Will makes a bargain with Jack to help him save Elizabeth from the cursed crew of the Black Pearl, in return releasing Jack from prison. After that, he does little for the rest of the trilogy except stand around conveniently to move the story along.
  • Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley) – No story is complete without a token "girl power" lead to annoy people — meet Elizabeth. Although may seem sweet, beneath her exterior lies a spawn of Satan; one touch from her lips and you are a goner! Every man she smooches has died, including Sao Feng, Jack, James Norrington, Will, and even her own father. Using this technique, Elizabeth was able to become captain of Sao Feng's ships and later Pirate King of the Brethren Court. Not to mention she dislikes wearing her father's corsets, has no clue about being a pirate, and thinks she can get anything she wants through the use of Parley.
  • Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) – The sometimes-captain of the Black Pearl who laughs a lot, pronounces "are" as "aarggghhh", has great taste in fashion, and has a pet monkey named Jack. In the first film, Barbossa appears as the undead captain of the Black Pearl, who kidnaps Elizabeth as she has the gold coin that can reverse the curse. Jack (not the monkey) saved Elizabeth and shot Barbossa dead, but he was later revived by a voodoo lady and hid in her shack for the entire second film, before reappearing in the third film to do some more laughing. Now a good guy, Barbossa reluctantly teamed up with Eunuch and Death-Kisser to save Jack (not the monkey) from Davy Jones' Locker. He argued a lot with Jack (not the monkey) and helped fight in the final battle against Davy Jones and Cutler Beckett, then stole the Black Pearl back from Jack (not the monkey) and did some more laughing.
  • James Norrington (Jack Davenport) – The local law goody-goody, Norrington is a strict by-the-books man with a deep voice, no sense of humor, and a tendency to walk around glaring at everybody. He constantly jumps back and forth between the pirates' side and the Royal Navy's side, until the third film where he finally settles on the pirates' side and frees Elizabeth and some Chinese tourists from the brig of the Frying Dutchman. Unfortunately, after being smooched by Elizabeth in exchange for rescuing her, Norrington is cornered by Bootstrap Bill and stabbed to death.
  • Governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce) – The governor of the port, Swann is the father of Elizabeth, although he regretted having her at first when her mother died at childbirth. He likes wearing a judge's wig to keep his head warm, and also likes torturing his daughter by making her wear suffocating corsets and locking her in ship cabins. He becomes the slave of Cutler Beckett and later is killed by Mercer after being pushed off a longboat.
  • Pintel and Ragetti (Mackenzie Crook and Lee Arenberg) – Two bumbling pirates who used to star in The Office alongside Ricky Gervais. Also known as Pinhead and Raegae, these two worked with Barbossa, then Jack Sparrow, then Barbossa again. The two are Blingmeisters and rule the world. Pintel likes snarling a lot and displays his teeth. The chap could use a good dentist. Ragetti has a wooden eye which is later replaced by an eyepatch to at least reference to some pirate cliche things.


  • Lord Cutler Beckett (Tom Hollander) – The main antagonist of the series and head of the evil organization known as the East India Trading Company. He is a psychopathic, bisexual tyrant with sadistic and narcissistic tendencies. His goal over the course of the films is to gain control of the Flying Dutchmen and rid the seas of pirates so that he can conquer the world. He intends to seduce Elizabeth to make his ex-lover, Jack, jealous; unfortunately, when Beckett kills Elizabeth's father, it puts a bit of a strain on their relationship. Among Beckett's many evil deeds are crashing Will and Elizabeth's wedding, mentally and physically scarring Jack, and giving up rum in favor of sherry.
  • Davy Jones (himself) – An evil, sadistic control freak with a beard of tentacles, no redeeming social graces, and worst of all, a Scottish accent. He is the main antagonist of the second film, but in the third, he is demoted to the role of Beckett's bitch. Jones is the captain of the hellish mythical ship known as the Flying Dutchman, a nightclub for brainless and psychotic sea creatures. Jones descended into depression after Calypso, the Goddess of the Sea, stood him up on their first date. He took it quite hard, cutting out his heart and dedicating the rest of his immortal life to wreaking pain and suffering. Jones has a habit of tempting mortals into making Faustian deals with him and promising eternal life in exchange for their souls; Satan reportedly complained that Jones was threatening to put him out of business, and was allegedly delighted when Jones met his death after being stabbed through the heart and falling into a swirling abyss.


Much of the series takes place on Port Royal, a dull and kind of boring harbor in the middle of the Caribbean. Founded in 1492, the port is under the very watchful eyes of Governor Weatherby Swann, who likes to wear a wig just to keep his head warm. The port is protected by a ridiculously weak fort (built from reinforced cardboard, by the looks of it), with an army of even more ridiculously useless and queer foot soldiers who just stand around wielding rubbish guns. They don't do much, besides look stoned, and dying. The head of the army is Commodore James Noddingofftodreamland, who has a deep voice, no sense of humor, and a cool sword made by the eunuch blacksmith.

Ships also play an important role in the series. The Black Pearl is Barbosa's Jack Sparrow's Barbosa's ship, which has gone through more owners than you can count. The Flying Dutchman is the kickass ship that belongs to Davy Jones and his crew of freaky fish guys, which despite its name, does not fly and was actually not made by the Dutch. Thanks to Calypso ditching Davy Jones, he got angry and cursed his ship, turning it into a nightclub for brainless sea creatures.


Originally based on a theme park ride, the first film's initial script, written in 2001, was rejected by Disney. Then, in 2002, it was heavily re-edited, splashed with rum, set alight, and then flushed down a toilet. Once the script was pieced back together, it was rewritten into a romp about a bunch of drunkard, gun-toting jolly rogers who were following a ship full of undead gangsters to find a chest full of cheap bottle caps painted to look like cursed dubloons. Disney loved the idea, and it was released the next year.

After the unexpected success of the first film, the cast and crew signed for another two adventures. Because as we know, everything nowadays has to have a sequel or two. With a set cast, the writers knew they would not be able to create totally new characters and situations, so they settled on continuing on the story that the first movie left off. They wanted to explore some of the possible complications that would arise from the previous film's various sub-plots, as well introducing some new elements to the story. In the end, they settled on replacing the undead pirates with squid pirates, made the battles from the last movie even more outlandish, and left it at that.

In a surprise move, Disney released a fourth film in the franchise, in 2011. It deviated from the earlier movies in that it stood as its own movie, introduced a skew of new characters, and didn't have any originality at all. An upcoming fifth film is set to be released in 2017 (they're really milking this for all it's worth, aren't they?).