The Pirate Movie (1982)

the pirate movie

“Pirates! You mean like walking the plank? Buried treasure? Hack, slash, off with his head, and the Jolly Richard, and everything?”

The Scoop: 1982 Rated R, directed by Ken Annakin and starring Kristy McNichol, Christopher Atkins, and Ted Hamilton.

Tagline: Buckle Your Swash and Jolly Your Roger for the Funniest Rock ‘N Rollickin’ Adventure Ever!

Summary Capsule: Pirates do what pirates do best: prance around and sing like pansies.

Andie’s rating: As soon as I take the sticks out of my eyes, I’ll tell you.

Andie’s review: Okay, so The Pirate Movie is arguably one of the worst movies ever put on screen. Basically it is an updated version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, which was a horrible movie in and of itself (Linda Rondstat singing opera, ‘nuf said), so whoever decided to update it with some of the original songs plus some new cheesy 80s songs should be stabbed repeatedly with a spoon. (Why a spoon? It’s dull, it’ll hurt more)

That being said, this movie is so bad it’s delightful to watch. It helps if you’re familiar with Pirates of Penzance. So real quick: all these daughters of Major General Stanley get found by pirates and the eldest daughter Mabel falls in love with Frederic who just left the pirates but then there’s a problem and he has to go back with the pirates, but Mabel fights the pirates and they all end up together in the end. Oh and the pirates are all orphans, so they have soft spots for guys who claim to be orphans and are often taken advantage of because of this.

So that’s the plot, except in The Pirate Movie, Mabel is Kristy McNichol and Frederic is some dopey blonde guy and it turns out to be a dream. The highlights include this awesome fast wordy song sung by the Major General called “I am the very model of a modern Major General” and the sexually frustrated Pirate King. So if you’re a musical fan or just a glutton for punishment, definitely go rent this horribly wonderful movie.

Yes, that’s right. This entire movie is performed in the nude.


  • The song “I am the very Model of a modern Major General” is one of the fastest, wordiest songs ever put in a musical. Some of the English expressions had to be changed for Pirates of Penzance and The Pirate Movie. For instance, when the Major General ends a phrase with “strategy” he ends the next phrase with “sat a gee” (which rhymes) but in the US versions he uses “rode a horse” (which doesn’t).

Groovy Quotes

Mabel: You poor thing. Pirates! You mean like walking the plank? Buried treasure? Hack, slash, off with his head, and the Jolly Richard, and everything?
Frederic: Roger.
Mabel: Oh, Roger I love it.
Frederic: No, Frederic without a “k.”
Mabel: Mabel, also without a “k.” God, we have so much in common.

Mabel: You’ll be hung!
Pirate King: Oh I am, I am, and very well thank you.

Pirate King: Ooh, a nymph….nymphette?
Mabel: Nympho.

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