“Pirates! Band of Misfits” and the Scurviest Movie Pirates of All TIme

In honor of "Pirates! Band of Misfits," take a trip across the cinematic seven seas to look at the scurviest pirates of the silver screen!

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This weekend "<a href="/video/#!/blogs/popcornbiz/trailers/The-Pirate!-Band-of-Misfits/145808055" target="_blank">Pirates! A Band of Misfits</a>" boards theaters nationwide, with Hugh Grant's Captain Pirate at the helm. In honor of the animated film--a triumph of visual whimsy and unbridled imagination--we strap on an eye patch, change out our workday peg leg for a nice mahogany model, and take a trip across the cinematic seven seas to look at the scurviest pirates of the silver screen!
Largely remembered for being a costly flop (formerly holding the Guinness World Record for biggest bomb), "Cutthroat Island" has one redeeming quality: Frank Langella's mad dog turn as snarling pirate Dawg Brown. When a shipmate complains of a shortage of food, Langella growls, "We need less mouths," and shoots him dead. Way to handle it, Frank!
While everyone swoons over Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, it's Geoffrey Rush's Hector Barbossa in "Pirates of the Caribbean” who is more deliciously pirate-y. Rush chews through scenery like it's so many Ritz crackers, has a perfectly gnarled pirate voice, genuine chemistry with his monkey costar, and turns into a skeleton in the moonlight, for a bonus layer of nautical menace.
Perhaps Steven Spielberg's most forgettable film (this side of "The Terminal"), "Hook"'s bizarre Peter Pan-grows-up premise should have been a delight, but instead felt leaden and overcooked. Reports flew that Dustin Hoffman, as the villainous Captain Hook, overrode the entire production and locked Spielberg off set. The results are a performance larger than life but not particularly good.
Warner Bros.
A 2006 poll found Errol Flynn's "Captain Blood" to be a more fearsome seafarer than Johnny Depp's Jack Sparrow, and the voters were right! Flynn, just 26 at the time, became a matinee heartthrob after playing Blood, a doctor who's captured, put into slavery, and reemerges as the scourge of the high seas.
Paramount Pictures
In Matthew Vaughn's gloriously gonzo fantasy epic "Stardust" (based on the novel by Neil Gaiman) Robert De Niro plays Captain Shakespeare, a pirate that steals lightning instead of booty, flies a steampunk zeppelin instead of a ship, and, oh yeah, is a cross-dressing homosexual.
Paramount Pictures
It's pirates vs. presidents in "The Buccaneer", a remake of the 1938 Cecil B. DeMille film. Yul Brynner starred as pirate Jean Lafitte, who played a pivotal role in the Battle of New Orleans, with Charlton Heston playing president Andrew Jackson (it was the second time the actor portrayed the president). While based in actual history, the film is highly fanciful – and just as entertaining.
From president to pirate, the co-star of "The Buccaneer" would find himself, decades later, slipping into the iconic pirate hat of Long John Silver for an above-average cable remake of "Treasure Island" (directed by his son, Fraser Clarke Heston). Astoundingly faithful to Robert Louis Stevenson's novel, Heston's pirate captain is sly and cunning, one you'd like to hang out with just as much as you'd run away from.
Warner Bros.
Burt Lancaster was the original pirate of the Caribbean in "The Crimson Pirate," a tongue-in-cheek take on high seas villainy, playing Captain Vallo, the terror of the fictional islands Cobra and San Pero. This film was said to have inspired the original Disneyland ride, so without the Crimson Pirate, there would have been no Captain Jack.
Touchstone Pictures
Kurt Russell, the only actor to look cool rocking an eye patch (as he had done previously in "Escape from New York"), plays “Captain Ron,” a morally nebulous sea captain tasked with piloting a yuppie family (led by Martin Short) through the stranger tides of the Caribbean. Russell, an underrated comedic talent, makes contracting scurvy seem positively sexy.
Walt Disney Pictures
There was a time when Disney's just shoved the Muppets into preexisting properties and had them play famous literary characters--"Muppet Treasure Island" was the pinnacle of this approach, an almost surreal (not in a good way) voyage that had Kermit playing Captain Smollett against Tim Curry's Long John Silver. There was no treasure at the end of this quest.
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