|For other uses, see Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (disambiguation)|
143 minutes (2 hours 23 minutes)
- "Prepare to be blown out of the water."
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the first installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean film series, released as a pirate adventure film, by Walt Disney Pictures on July 9, 2003. The film stars Johnny Depp (Captain Jack Sparrow), Geoffrey Rush (Barbossa), Orlando Bloom (Will Turner) and Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Swann). It was directed by Gore Verbinski, produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and written by Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert.
The film was inspired by and partly based on the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions, first unveiled at Disneyland in 1967. The film itself is set in a loose, floating period of time somewhere around the 1740s, although a number of concessions are made concerning historical accuracy. It was the first Walt Disney Pictures release to earn a PG-13 rating by the MPAA (all previous Disney releases were rated G or PG).
As of March 16 2004, Pirates had grossed at the box office more than $653 million worldwide—the 21st highest grossing movie ever. The Curse of the Black Pearl proved to be a success for Walt Disney Pictures and, within weeks of its release, the studio announced that a sequel, Dead Man's Chest was in development and was released on July 6, 2006. It was soon followed by At World's End on May 24, 2007. A fourth installment, On Stranger Tides, was released May 20, 2011.
The film was also well-received by critics. Johnny Depp received a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance as Jack Sparrow as well as being nominated for a Golden Globe. At the Academy Awards, The Curse of the Black Pearl was nominated in four different categories.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the thrilling high-seas adventure with a mysterious twist that started it all. The roguish yet charming Captain Jack Sparrow's (Johnny Depp) idyllic pirate life capsizes after his nemesis, the wily Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), steals his ship, the Black Pearl, and later attacks the town of Port Royal—kidnapping the Governor's beautiful daughter, Elizabeth (Keira Knightley). In a gallant attempt to rescue her and recapture the Black Pearl, Elizabeth's childhood friend Will Turner joins forces with Jack. What Will doesn't know is that a cursed treasure has doomed Barbossa and his crew to live forever as the undead.
A massive ship emerges from the grey and unnatural fog. The HMS Dauntless, the pride of the British Royal Navy, sailing on a voyage from England to the British settlement of Port Royal. While the Dauntless sailed through the Caribbean Sea, young Elizabeth Swann (Lucinda Dryzek) stands at the bow rail, gazing at the sea while singing a pirate shanty. One of the sailors, Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally), warned her about "cursed pirates" and, after Lieutenant Norrington (Jack Davenport) intervened, stated his superstition about singing about pirates in the unnatural fog. Although Elizabeth expressed her fascination for the subject of piracy, both Norrington and her father, Governor Swann (Jonathan Pryce), showed their concern, with Norrington stating that he intended to see all pirates get "a short drop and a sudden stop".
The Dauntless then happened upon the wreck of a merchant vessel, which Gibbs took to be the work of pirates. Prior to this, Elizabeth spotted a lone survivor: young Will Turner (Dylan Smith), lying unconscious on a piece of driftwood. After being brought aboard the Dauntless, Will roused in time for he and Elizabeth to introduce themselves before he lapsed back into unconsciousness. Elizabeth then noticed a gold medallion about his neck, which, after seeing a skull, gave her the thought that Will was a pirate. Fearing that Norrington would have Will hanged, Elizabeth takes the medallion from Will before he was taken below decks. As Elizabeth stood on the bow of the Dauntless, looking at the medallion, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Looking up, she saw a tall ship with black sails moving silently through the thick fog. At the top of the highest mast flew a flag—a flag that had the same skull as on the medallion. As the ship slipped quickly into the fog, Elizabeth widen her gaze upon realizing it was a pirate ship. Fearing the black-and-white flag billowing in the wind, Elizabeth shuts her eyes.
Eight Years Later
We rejoin Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) eight years later, as she wakes from her dream of that fateful day. She still has the medallion, kept in a hidden compartment in a chest of drawers, and puts it on. Her father, Governor Swann, knocks on the door, startling her. He then enters with a gift for her: a dress from London he hopes Elizabeth will wear to Captain Norrington's promotion ceremony. She agrees to wear it, though finds the corset highly restricting and uncomfortable. The Governor receives a visitor, in the form of Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), who has forged a sword for the soon-to-be Commodore. It is clear he has developed romantic feelings for Elizabeth, but they part on less-than friendly terms, owing to her station as the Governor's Daughter and his, a lowly blacksmith's "apprentice".
Meanwhile, a strange figure is approaching Port Royal onboard a sinking dory: Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is in the market for a new ship, and, after bribing the harbormaster (Guy Siner), he heads into the docks, high above at Fort Charles, Norrington's promotion ceremony gets underway. Sparrow is accosted by two marines, Mullroy (Angus Barnett) and Murtogg (Giles New), but distracts them with mention of the legendary ghost ship, the Black Pearl. Mullroy and Murtogg then argue among themselves on if the Black Pearl was a real ship. After distracting them with that conversation Jack Sparrow attempts to commandeer the ship.
On the battlements of the fort, Commodore Norrington offers Elizabeth a proposition: his new status has made clear to him he has not yet taken a wife, and sees Elizabeth as a "fine woman". Elizabeth faints—though less through shock at James' words, and more because of the tightness of her corset—and plummets into the sea far below. Sparrow, having engaged the marines in idle conversation, dives in and rescues her from the seabed, from where her medallion sends out a mysterious pulse, a signal sent across the waters. Back on the harbor, Jack's interest is piqued by the medallion, but his questions are forestalled by Norrington, who arrives with marines to arrest the pirate, having recognized a brand on his forearm as the mark used by the East India Trading Company to identify pirates. Jack, however, holds Elizabeth hostage long enough to have his effects returned before making his swashbuckling escape into the port.
As he tries to escape, Sparrow meets Will Turner, who is now John Brown's blacksmith apprentice, inside of the blacksmith shop, and a swordfight ensues. Eventually, Sparrow is knocked unconscious by Will's employer (who had slept through the entire swordfight) and arrested by the Royal Navy officers who have just broken into the blacksmith shop.
Raid of Port Royal
That night, Port Royal is besieged by the infamous ghost ship known as the Black Pearl — a black vessel crewed by a vicious, bloodthirsty crew, and captained by a man reputed to be "so evil that Hell itself spat him back out". The mysterious pulse which emanated from Elizabeth's medallion seems to have "called" the Black Pearl somehow. Crew members from the Pearl find Elizabeth (who hides her true identity as the governor's daughter by using Turner as a last name) in possession of the medallion, and take her back to their ship. She invokes the rule of parley ("parlai" in Middle English, "parley" in modern American English—a negotiation or discussion between two parties, particularly in military situations, during which no harm can befall the adversary) in order to be taken to the captain of the Black Pearl, Hector Barbossa, to ask that he cease his attack on Port Royal in exchange for the medallion. Barbossa agrees but, employing a loophole in their agreements, abducts Elizabeth. Later, Elizabeth is asked to dine with Barbossa and to wear a red dress. When she refuses, she is told that the captain said she'd say that, in which case she'd be dining with the crew and she'd be naked, Elizabeth decides to wear the dress and dine with the captain much to Pintel's and Ragetti's disappointment. The next day, Will (having seen Elizabeth taken by the Pearl's crew) fails in his passionate efforts to convince Commodore James Norrington and the Royal Navy to pursue the culprits immediately (despite the Commodore's own feelings towards Elizabeth). While the Commodore puts his faith in strategy, Will takes up an offer by Jack Sparrow to rescue Elizabeth in exchange for breaking him out of jail.
Stranded with no apparent way to pursue Barbossa, Jack and Will Turner have no choice but to "borrow" a vessel. So they jump aboard the Interceptor, the Royal Navy's fastest ship, and made way for open water. After assembling a crew to man the Interceptor on the lawless island of Tortuga (Spanish for turtle), Jack and Will set off to find Barbossa and the Black Pearl, which is heading towards Isla de Muerta — a mysterious island that's supposedly undiscoverable, save for "those who already know where it is."
- "For too long I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I've been starving to death and haven't died. I feel nothing. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea, nor the warmth of a woman's flesh. You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!"
- ―Hector Barbossa to Elizabeth Swann
Here, we learn the true story and intentions of Barbossa and his crew. The ship and its crew were once under the command of Jack Sparrow until they mutinied a decade ago, stealing the bearings for Isla de Muerta from him, and then marooning him with a pistol containing only one shot. The island contained a cursed Aztec treasure that the crew of the Black Pearl discovered — but believing the curse to be a myth, they took the Aztec treasure for themselves. Shocked by this action, Will's father, "Bootstrap Bill" Turner, the only pirate who protested against the mutiny, sent one of the cursed gold pieces away to his son in order to ensure a fitting punishment for the crew's betrayal. In retaliation, Barbossa ordered Bootstrap to be tied to a cannonball and thrown overboard. Too late, the crew discovered that the curse was indeed real; in order to break it, they were required to return all the pieces of the treasure to its chest and give a blood sacrifice from everyone who removed them. As part of the curse, the crew's gluttony, greed, and lust for worldly possessions can never be satisfied, and
they became undead, forced to never die or rest in their covetousness (moonlight reveals this fact, showing the pirates in its glare to be living, rotting skeletons). After a decade, they have succeeded in fulfilling almost all of the requirements to end the curse — save for obtaining the blood of Bootstrap Bill and the gold piece he stole. With the medallion (in reality, the last piece of the treasure) and Elizabeth "Turner" (who they believe is the child of Bootstrap) in their custody, Barbossa believes he finally has what he needs to lift the curse.
Rescue at Isla de Muerta
- "You know, for having such a bleak outlook on pirates, you are well on your way to becoming one: sprung a man from jail, commandeered a ship of the fleet, sailed with a buccaneer crew out of Tortuga, and you're completely obsessed with treasure."
"That's not true! I am not obsessed with treasure."
"...Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate."
- ―Jack Sparrow and Will Turner
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. When the crew questions if the curse was lifted, Barbossa shoots Pintel, which has no effect on him— the curse remains unbroken. Confused, Barbossa asks Elizabeth if her father was William Turner, to which Elizabeth says no. Barbossa then asks if she knows where his child is that sailed from England, eight years ago, and Elizabeth does not answer. Enraged, Barbossa knocks out Elizabeth. Reaching the island, Will suspects Sparrow may betray him and knocks him out. He rescues Elizabeth, who takes the medallion, and they escape to the Interceptor. The crew of the Black Pearl discover Jack, wandering around, and Jack is then taken to Barbossa, as Jack invoked the right of Parley. Barbossa is shocked by seeing Jack alive and well and orders the crew to kill their old captain. Jack then asked if Elizabeth's blood didn't work, which caused questioning if Jack himself knew whose blood would work.
Destruction of the Interceptor
The crew of the Interceptor is imprisoned, and Barbossa watches in anticipation as the Interceptor is blown up and sunk. Will then reveals that he is Bootstrap Bill's son and demands that Elizabeth and the crew be freed, and not to be harmed, or he will shoot himself and fall overboard. Barbossa agrees, but applies another loophole: marooning Elizabeth and Jack on an island. Will is then taken to Isla de Muerta, where Barbossa plans to kill him to break the curse.
Rescue at Black Sam's Spit
Elizabeth and Jack are stranded on Black Sam's Spit, the same island on which Jack was marooned a decade ago. Elizabeth asks Jack about how he escaped the island last time, to which he answered that with the help of the rum runners, he bartered passage off the island. But seeing that the rum runners are long out of business, Jack has no plan of escaping. Then, Elizabeth took matters in her own hands by burning all their supplies (Jack's hidden cache of rum), as well as some of the small island's palm trees, to create a signal fire to alert anyone from the Royal Navy of her location. Elizabeth and Jack are eventually rescued by Norrington, but Elizabeth is unable to convince him to go back and rescue Will until Elizabeth promises to marry him.
Battle of the Isla de Muerta
Upon arriving at the cursed island, Jack convinces Norrington's forces to lie in ambush for Barbossa's crew while he goes in and convinces them to come out. He convinces Barbossa to delay spilling Will's blood to break the curse until after they have killed the crew of the Royal Navy ship Dauntless and taken the ship. This proves to all be part of Jack's plan; however, he was not expecting the undead crew to walk along the ocean floor to the ship, which allows them to escape the planned ambush. As the Black Pearl crew engages the Royal Navy in hand-to-hand combat aboard the Dauntless, Jack steals one of the cursed coins, unseen by Barbossa, and engages in his own swordfight with his former first mate. Because of the coin he stole, Jack now has a share of the loot, so he too is cursed and thus can't be killed until the curse is lifted. Moreover, in order for the curse to be lifted, his blood must now also be given.
During their fight, he distracts Barbossa long enough until both he and Will can give their blood and return their respective coins (Will has the medallion from the start of the film, Jack the coin he recently stole). Before Will drops the coins into the chest, Jack shoots Barbossa with his pistol, containing the one shot he was given when marooned after Barbossa's mutiny. When Barbossa claims, "Ten years you carry that pistol, and now, you waste your shot." Will claims, "He didn't waste it!" and drops the coins into the chest breaking the curse. After the curse ends and all the Black Pearlcrew becomes mortal again. Barbossa falls to the treasure-covered ground and drops his sour, green apple. Once they realize they're no longer cursed — and no longer immortal — Barbossa's crew surrenders to the Royal Navy.
The Hanging and the Escape
- "So, this is the path you've chosen, is it? After all, he is a blacksmith."
"No. He's a pirate."
- ―Weatherby Swann and Elizabeth Swann
Meanwhile, Barbossa's pet monkey, Jack, climbs out of the water and onto the Aztec chest, where he takes a piece of the treasure. Jack's skin sloughs off and he looks at the camera for a moment before pouncing forward, the scene disappearing into his mouth.
- Johnny Depp ... Jack Sparrow
- Geoffrey Rush ... Barbossa
- Orlando Bloom ... Will Turner
- Keira Knightley ... Elizabeth Swann
- Jack Davenport ... Norrington
- Jonathan Pryce ... Governor Weatherby Swann
- Lee Arenberg ... Pintel
- Mackenzie Crook ... Ragetti
- Damian O'Hare ... Lt. Gillette
- Giles New ... Murtogg
- Angus Barnett ... Mullroy
- David Bailie ... Cotton
- Michael Berry Jr. ... Twigg
- Isaac C. Singleton Jr. ... Bo'sun
- Kevin R. McNally ... Joshamee Gibbs
- Treva Etienne ... Koehler
- Zoe Saldana ... Anamaria
- Guy Siner ... Harbormaster
- Ralph P. Martin ... Mr. Brown
- Paula J. Newman ... Estrella
- Paul Keith ... Butler
- Dylan Smith ... Young Will
- Lucinda Dryzek ... Young Elizabeth
- Michael Sean Tighe ... Seedy Looking Prisoner
- Greg Ellis ... Officer
- Dustin Seavey ... Sentry
- Christian Martin ... Steersman
- Trevor Goddard ... Grapple
- Vince Lozano ... Jacoby
- Ben Wilson ... Seedy Prisoner #2
- Antonio Valentino ... Seedy Prisoner #3
- Lauren Maher ... Scarlett
- Brye Cooper ... Mallot
- Mike Babcock ... Seedy Prisoner #4
- Owen Finnegan ... Town Clerk
- Ian McIntyre ... Sailor Dauntless
- Vanessa Branch ... Giselle
- Sam Roberts ... Crying Boy
- Ben Roberts ...
- Martin Klebba ... Marty
- Félix Castro ... Moises
- Mike Haberecht ... Kursar
- Rudolph McCollum ... Matelot
- Gerard J. Reyes ... Tearlach
- M. Scott Shields ... Duncan
- Christopher Sullivan ... Ladbroc
- Craig Thompson ... Crimp
- Fred Toft ... Quartetto
- D.P. FitzGerald ... Weatherby
- Jerry Gauny ... Ketchum
- Maxie J. Santillan Jr . ... Maximo
- Michael Earl Lane ... Monk
- Tobias McKinney ... Dog Ear
- David Patykewich ... Clubba
- Tommy Schooler ... Scarus
- Michael A. Thompson ... Simbakka
- Michael W. Williams ... Hawksmoor
- Jose Zelaya ... Katracho
- Finneus Egan ... Scratch
- Don LaDaga ... Nipperkin
As The Curse of the Black Pearl was the first film-related material revolving the Pirates of the Caribbean universe, all appearances are considered first appearances.
For character appearances with known portrayers see the "Cast" section.
- Jack Sparrow
- Hector Barbossa
- William Turner
- Elizabeth Swann
- James Norrington
- Weatherby Swann
- Joshamee Gibbs
- John Brown
- Theodore Groves
- Henry Morgan (Mentioned only)
- Bartholomew (Mentioned only)
- Bootstrap Bill Turner (Mentioned only)
- Hernán Cortés (Mentioned only)
- Davy Jones (Mentioned only)
- Port Royal
- Isla de Muerta
- Black Sam's Spit
- England (Mentioned only)
- London (Mentioned only)
- Davy Jones' Locker (Mentioned only)
- British Empire
- Crew of the Black Pearl
- Seedy prisoners
- East India Trading Company (Mentioned only)
- Heathen God (Mentioned only)
- Spanish Royal Navy (Mentioned only)
Behind the Scenes
- "It's a fantasy, so we weren't married to any specific period, but we did want to be true to the overall feel of the era. We paid particular attention to the years between 1720 and 1750 in an effort to find an approximation."
- ―Jerry Bruckheimer
As of the making of this film, no specific date was given. Although on the DVD commentary, the scriptwriters reveal they placed the story in a thirty-year environment set loosely between 1720 and 1750. It should be noted also that the writers state they did not intend the film to be entirely historically accurate. However, several historical events can be used as markers to further pin-point the date:
- The use of "Rule, Britannia!" at Norrington's promotion ceremony indicates the film could be set after 1740, the year in which the piece was composed.
- The costumes used by the Royal Navy are in keeping with the 18th Century timeframe. In particular, the buttons on the Navy uniforms are engraved with markings that indicate they are products of the rime of the George Hanoverians of 1714 to 1830.
- The 18th Century setting conflicts with the history of Port Royal, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1692. Rebuilding efforts were hampered by a second earthquake in 1704. After this, Port Royal's prominence fell greatly, and its former role was largely taken over Kingston Harbor.
For more promotional images and videos, go to the Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl/Gallery.
- Audio commentaries
- "Outtakes of the Caribbean" blooper reel
- An Epic At Sea: The Making of "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse Of The Black Pearl"
- 19 Deleted and Alternate Scenes
- "Moonlight" Scene Progression
- "Below Deck" - An Interactive History Of Pirates
- "Fly on the Set" Featurette
- "Diary of a Pirate" - Behind-the-Scenes look with cast member Lee Arenberg
- "Diary of a Ship" Video Journal
- "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color" - Archival TV Program
- Producer's Diary Featurette With Jerry Bruckheimer
- Image Gallery
- DVD-ROM Features: "Moonlight Becomes Ye" Effects Studio, History of the Ride Featurette, Virtual Reality Viewer, Scriptscanner & Storyboard Viewing Modes
- Five hidden Easter Egg features
- "Becoming Captain Jack" - Johnny Depp featurette (7:45)
- "Becoming Barbossa" - Geoffrey Rush featurette (5:29)
- "Thar She Blows!" - The film's ship Interceptor, from building it to blowing it up (6:15)
- "The Monkey’s Name Is Jack" - Meet Levi and Tara, the film's monkeys (4:33)
- More "Fly on the Set" featurettes (15:31)
- "Pirates Around the World" - international release comparison (4:09)
- "Spirit of the Ride" - Johnny Depp, director Gore Verbinski and others reflect on their earliest memories of the attraction (7:09)
- "Dead Men Tell No Tales" the History of the Attraction - documentary previously available only as a PC feature (13:41)
- "Sneak Attack Animatic" (4:14)
- One hidden Easter Egg bonus feature
The high-definition Blu-ray Disc version of the film was released on May 22, 2007.. This two-disc edition included all special features of the three-disc DVD release as well as the new scoundrels of the sea - build your own view of pirate history game.
Release on iTunes
The movie was also among the first to be sold at the iTunes music store. 
- The Curse of the Black Pearl makes numerous references to the Disneyland ride on which it was based. These include:
- The song "Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life for Me)" by X. Atencio and George Bruns, which is sung partially three times in the movie: by Elizabeth in the opening scene; by Jack and Elizabeth on the desert island; and by Jack in the final scene.
- The jail scene, including Jack's line, "That dog is never going to move", and his trying to tempt it with a bone later on.
- The "burning town" sequence in Tortuga, and within it, the redheaded prostitute (Scarlett), the man being dunked in a well, a pirate drinking rum atop two wobbling barrels, and the "stuffed pirate" drinking the rum spurting out of a barrel. Also, Jack's initial discovery of Gibbs sleeping with the pigs.
- The line "Dead men tell no tales", said by Cotton's Parrot, repeated throughout the ride's narration.
- A quick shot of a skeleton sprawled on the beach of the Isla de Muerta, with a crab nearby.
- A skeletal Barbossa drinking wine, which trickles through his exposed ribcage.
- During the battle scene between the Black Pearl and the Interceptor, Barbossa yells "bloomin cockroaches".
- There are references to cursed treasure in the ride: old pirates speak of cursed treasure and how you probably don't believe in it, and the line "Who knows when that evil curse will strike the greedy beholders of this bewitched treasure."
- Part of the Caribbean Beach Resort at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is called "Port Royal".
- Due to the success of the film, animatronic characters of Jack Sparrow and Hector Barbossa were added to the Disney ride, along with a tweaked storyline. The new attraction opened on July 7, 2006, the day of the release of Dead Man's Chest.
- Originally, the film was supposed to be animated. Gavin Dell has some concept art on display.
- In the early 1990s screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio wrote the very first draft of the movie (which in it, the role of Will Turner was the lead role), somehow Steven Spielberg (whose all time favorite ride at Disneyland, and in the world, is the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) got hold of the script and greatly wanted to do the film, his three choices for the role of Jack Sparrow were Bill Murray, Steve Martin or Robin Williams. However Disney did not give permission for the film to be made. In 2000, the film was greenlighted however a different script had to be written because Spielberg's company, Amblin, owned the rights to it.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (soundtrack)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Easy Piano Solo
- Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (video game)