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Pirates of the Caribbean (film series)

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Pirates of the Caribbean
Pirates of the Caribbean logo.svg
Directed by Gore Verbinski (13)
Rob Marshall (4)
Joachim Rønning (5)
Espen Sandberg (5)
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer
Screenplay by Ted Elliott (14)
Terry Rossio (14)
Jeff Nathanson (5)
Story by Ted Elliot (1, 4)
Terry Rossio (15)
Stuart Beattie (1)
Jay Wolpert (1)
Jeff Nathanson (5)
Based on Pirates of the Caribbean
by Walt Disney (15)
On Stranger Tides
by Tim Powers (4)
Starring Johnny Depp
Geoffrey Rush
Kevin McNally
Orlando Bloom (13, 5)
Keira Knightley (13, 5)
Jack Davenport (13)
Bill Nighy (23)
Stellan Skarsgård (23)
Tom Hollander (23)
Chow Yun-fat (3)
Penélope Cruz (4)
Ian McShane (4)
Javier Bardem (5)
Brenton Thwaites (5)
Kaya Scodelario (5)
(see below)
Music by Klaus Badelt (1)
Hans Zimmer (14)
Rodrigo y Gabriela (4)
Eric Whitacre (4)
Geoff Zanelli (5)
Walt Disney Pictures
Jerry Bruckheimer Films
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release date
The Curse of the Black Pearl:
July 9, 2003
Dead Man's Chest:
July 7, 2006
At World's End:
May 25, 2007
On Stranger Tides:
May 20, 2011
Dead Men Tell No Tales:
May 26, 2017
Running time
726 minutes (15)
Country United States
Language English
Budget Total (5 films):
$1.274 billion
Box office Total (5 films):

Pirates of the Caribbean is a series of fantasy swashbuckler films produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and based on Walt Disney's theme park ride of the same name.

Directors of the series include Gore Verbinski (13), Rob Marshall (4), and Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (5). The series was most notably written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (14); other writers include Stuart Beattie (1), Jay Wolpert (1), and Jeff Nathanson (5). The stories followed the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), and Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightley). Characters such as Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) and Joshamee Gibbs (Kevin McNally) follow Jack, Will, and Elizabeth in the course of the films. The fourth film featured Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and Angelica (Penélope Cruz), while the fifth film will feature Armando Salazar (Javier Bardem), Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) and Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario). The films take place in a fictional historical setting; a world ruled by the British Empire, the East India Trading Company (based on the real East India Company), and the Spanish Empire, with pirates representing freedom from the ruling powers.

The film series started with their first release on the big screen in 2003 with Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, which received positive reviews from the critics and grossed US$654 million worldwide.[1] After the first film's success, Walt Disney Pictures revealed that a trilogy was in the works. The franchise's second film, subtitled Dead Man's Chest, was released three years later in 2006; the sequel proved successful, breaking financial records worldwide the day of its premiere. Dead Man's Chest ended up being the number one film of the year upon earning almost $1.1 billion at the worldwide box office. The third film in the series, subtitled At World's End, followed in 2007, and Disney released a fourth film, subtitled On Stranger Tides, in 2011 in conventional 2D, Digital 3-D and IMAX 3D. On Stranger Tides succeeded in also grossing more than $1 billion,[1] becoming the second film in the franchise and only the eighth film in history to achieve this.

So far, the film franchise has grossed $3.73 billion worldwide;[1] it is the eleventh highest-grossing film series of all-time and it was the first franchise where more than one film grossed $1 billion worldwide. A fifth film, subtitled Dead Men Tell No Tales, was released on May 26, 2017.[2]


Film U.S. release date Director(s) Screenwriter(s) Story by Cinematographer Producer
The Curse of the Black Pearl July 9, 2003 (2003-07-09) Gore Verbinski Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio and Stuart Beattie and Jay Wolpert Dariusz Wolski Jerry Bruckheimer
Dead Man's Chest July 7, 2006 (2006-07-07) Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
At World's End May 25, 2007 (2007-05-25)
On Stranger Tides May 20, 2011 (2011-05-20) Rob Marshall Ted Elliott & Terry Rossio
Based on: On Stranger Tides by Tim Powers
Dead Men Tell No Tales May 26, 2017 (2017-05-26) Joachim Rønning & Espen Sandberg[3] Jeff Nathanson Jeff Nathanson and Terry Rossio Paul Cameron

The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Blacksmith Will Turner teams up with eccentric pirate Captain Jack Sparrow to save Turner's love, Elizabeth Swann, from cursed pirates led by Jack's mutinous former first mate, Captain Barbossa. Jack wants revenge against Barbossa, who left him stranded on an island before stealing his ship, the Black Pearl, along with 882 pieces of cursed Aztec Gold.

Dead Man's Chest (2006)

Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company arrests Will and Elizabeth for aiding Captain Jack Sparrow in the previous film. Beckett offers clemency if Will agrees to search for Jack's compass in a bid to find the Dead Man's Chest – and inside, the heart of villainous Davy Jones – which would give Beckett control of the seas. However, Jack wants the Chest to escape from an unpaid debt with Jones, who made Jack captain of the Black Pearl for 13 years in exchange for 100 years of service aboard Jones' ship, the Flying Dutchman.

At World's End (2007)

Lord Beckett gains power over Davy Jones and, with the help of the Flying Dutchman, he is now executing his plans to extinguish piracy forever. To stand against the East India Trading Co., Will, Elizabeth, Barbossa, and the crew of the Black Pearl set out to rescue Captain Jack Sparrow from Davy Jones' Locker. As one of the Nine Pirate Lords, Jack is needed in order to summon an ancient goddess with the power to defeat Beckett's forces.

On Stranger Tides (2011)

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 (2017)

Ghost Spanish Royal Navy soldiers led by Jack Sparrow's old nemesis, Armando Salazar, escape from the Devil's Triangle, with the goal of killing every pirate at sea, including him. To survive, Jack seeks out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, a powerful artifact whose owner can control the seas.[4]


Shortly before the release of On Stranger Tides, it was reported that Disney was planning to shoot back-to-back the fifth and the sixth films,[5] although it was later revealed that only the fifth film was in development. With the release of the official trailer of Dead Men Tell No Tales, it was suggested that Dead Men will be the last film in the franchise.[6] However, on March 4, 2017, director Joachim Rønning stated that Dead Men was only the beginning of the final adventure,[7] implying that it would not be the last film of the franchise.

Short film

Tales of the Code: Wedlocked (2011)

Wenches Scarlett (Lauren Maher) and Giselle (Vanessa Branch) fix each other up for their wedding, in which they would each marry their groom. Upon realizing that both their grooms were the same man – Jack Sparrow – the two wenches find themselves in an auction led by the Auctioneer. The short film serves as a prequel to The Curse of the Black Pearl, explaining just why Jack Sparrow's boat, the Jolly Mon, was seen sinking at the beginning of the whole story, and explaining why wenches Scarlett and Giselle were so upset with him, and it also implies how Cotton lost his tongue. The plot took inspiration from the "Auction scene" from the original ride.

The short was directed by James Ward Byrkit,[8] and was only included as a special feature in the US 15 disc 3D Blu-ray/2D Blu-ray/DVD + Digital Copy box set that includes Pirates 1–4; and in the similar UK 5-disc set.


Johnny Depp in a film premiere.
Rush at a festival.
Bloom at a festival.
Knightley at a festival.
Top to bottom: Johnny Depp, Geoffrey Rush, Orlando Bloom, and Keira Knightley, who portrayed characters in the series. Initially, only Depp and Rush reprised their roles as Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Hector Barbossa, respectively. While Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann's stories concluded with a post-credit sequence in the third film, both will have cameo appearances in the fifth film.

First film

In the early 1990s[9] screenwriters Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio conceived a supernatural spin on the pirate genre after completing work on Aladdin, but there was no interest from any studio. Undeterred, the writing team refused to give up the dream, waiting for a studio to pick up their take on a pirate tale.[10] Disney had Jay Wolpert write a script based on the Pirates of the Caribbean, which producer Jerry Bruckheimer rejected, feeling it was "a straight pirate movie".[11] Bruckheimer brought Stuart Beattie in to rewrite the script in March 2002, due to his knowledge of piracy,[12] and later that month Elliott and Rossio were brought in.[11] Elliott and Rossio, inspired by the opening narration of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, decided to give the film a supernatural edge.[13] As the budget rose, Michael Eisner and Robert Iger threatened to cancel the film, though Bruckheimer changed their minds when he showed them concept art and animatics.[14]

In June 2002 Gore Verbinski signed on to direct The Curse of the Black Pearl, and Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush signed on the following month to star.[12] Verbinski was attracted to the idea of using modern technology to resurrect a genre, one that had disappeared after the Golden Age of Hollywood, and recalled his childhood memories of the ride, feeling the film was an opportunity to pay tribute to the "scary and funny" tone of it. Depp was attracted to the story as he found it 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. 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.[15] Orlando Bloom read the script after Rush, with whom he was working on Ned Kelly, suggested it to him.[16] Keira Knightley came as a surprise to Verbinski: he had not seen her performance in Bend It Like Beckham and was impressed by her audition.[15] Tom Wilkinson was negotiated with to play Governor Swann,[12] but the role went to Jonathan Pryce, whom Depp idolized.[15]

Shooting for The Curse of the Black Pearl began on October 9, 2002 and wrapped by March 7, 2003.[12] Before its release, many executives and journalists had expected the film to flop, as the pirate genre had not been successful for years, the film was based on a theme-park ride, and Depp rarely made a big film.[17] However, The Curse of the Black Pearl became both a critical and commercial success.

Second and third films

After seeing how well the first film was made, the cast and crew signed for two sequels to be shot back-to-back,[18] a practical decision on Disney's part to allow more time with the same cast and crew.[19] Writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio knew that with an ensemble cast, they weren't free to invent totally different situations and characters, as with the Indiana Jones and James Bond series, and so had to retroactively turn The Curse of the Black Pearl into the first of a trilogy.[20] They wanted to explore the reality of what would happen after Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann's embrace at the end of the first film, and initially considered the Fountain of Youth as the plot device.[21] They settled on introducing Davy Jones, the Flying Dutchman and the Kraken, a mythology mentioned twice in the first film. They introduced the historical East India Trading Company (also mentioned in the first film), which for them represented a counterpoint to the themes of personal freedom represented by pirates.[22]

Filming for the sequels began on February 28, 2005,[23] with Dead Man's Chest finishing on March 1, 2006,[24] and At World's End on January 10, 2007.[25] The second film was also the first Disney theatrical feature film with the computer-generated Walt Disney Pictures logo.[26]

Fourth film

Rossio and Elliot discovered the novel On Stranger Tides during production of Dead Man's Chest and At World's End and decided to use it as the basis for a fourth film. As Gore Verbinski was unavailable, Bruckheimer invited Rob Marshall to direct the film.[27] Elliott and Rossio decided to do a stand-alone film,[28] with a story that would support new characters,[29] and incorporate elements from the novel, such as Blackbeard, the Fountain of Youth and mermaids—the latter two having been already alluded to in the previous films.[30] Depp, Rush, Greg Ellis and Kevin McNally returned to their roles,[31] and the cast saw the additions of Ian McShane as Blackbeard and Penélope Cruz as Angelica, Blackbeard's daughter and Jack Sparrow's love interest.[32] A further addition was Richard Griffiths as King George II of Great Britain. After the costly production of two simultaneous films, Disney tried to scale down the fourth installment, giving a lower budget,[33] which led to cheaper locations and fewer scenes with special effects.[34] It was also filmed in 3D, with cameras similar to the ones used in Avatar.[27]

Filming for On Stranger Tides began June 14, 2010 and ended on November 19, 2010.[34][35] It was released in the United States on May 20, 2011.[36] With a budget of $378.5 million, On Stranger Tides holds the record for most expensive film ever made.

Fifth film

On January 14, 2011, it was confirmed that Terry Rossio would write the screenplay for the fifth installment, without his co-writer Ted Elliott.[37] On January 11, 2013, Jeff Nathanson signed on to write the script for the film. On May 29, 2013, it was announced that Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg were selected to direct.[3] On August 22, 2013, the two revealed that the title of the fifth film would be Dead Men Tell No Tales, alluding to the line well-known from the Pirates of the Caribbean theme park attractions.[38][39][40] They also confirmed that they were working on the film, speaking highly of Jeff Nathanson's "funny and touching" script and that they are inspired by the first film, The Curse of the Black Pearl.[41][42] On September 10, 2013, Disney pushed back the film's initial 2015 release,[43] with sources indicating that a Summer 2016 release is likely.[44] Producer Jerry Bruckheimer revealed that script issues were behind the delay, and that Jeff Nathanson was at work on a second attempt based on a well-received outline.[45] While Disney originally announced a release on July 7, 2017,[46][47] Dead Men Tell No Tales is now set to be released on May 26, 2017.[2]

A spokesman for the Australian Arts Minister confirmed that the fifth installment was set to shoot in Australia after the government agreed to repurpose $20 million of tax incentives originally intended for the remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.[48] According to Australian film industry sources, pre-production started in late September 2014 with filming expected to commence in February 2015.[49] This was officially confirmed by Disney and Ian Walker the Queensland Arts Minister on October 2, 2014, stating that filming will take place exclusively in Australia, being the largest production to ever shoot in the country. Village Roadshow Studios and Port Douglas were officially confirmed as filming locations.[50] Production began in Australia on February 17, 2015 and wrapped on July 9, 2015.[51]

Principal cast

Character Films
The Curse of the Black Pearl
Dead Man's Chest
At World's End
On Stranger Tides
Dead Men Tell No Tales
Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp[52][53][54][55]
Hector Barbossa Geoffrey Rush
Joshamee Gibbs Kevin McNally
Will Turner Orlando Bloom[56][53]   Orlando Bloom[57]
Elizabeth Swann Keira Knightley[58][53]   Keira Knightley[59]
James Norrington Jack Davenport  
Weatherby Swann Jonathan Pryce  
Pintel Lee Arenberg  
Ragetti Mackenzie Crook  
Mullroy Angus Barnett   Angus Barnett   Angus Barnett[60]
Murtogg Giles New   Giles New   Giles New[60]
Anamaria Zoe Saldana  
Davy Jones   Bill Nighy   Appeared
Bootstrap Bill Turner   Stellan Skarsgård  
Cutler Beckett   Tom Hollander  
Tia Dalma
  Naomie Harris  
Sao Feng   Chow Yun-fat  
Captain Teague   Keith Richards  
Henry Turner[61]   Dominic Scott Kay   Brenton Thwaites
Lewis McGowan (young)
Angelica   Penélope Cruz  
Edward "Blackbeard" Teach   Ian McShane  
Philip Swift   Sam Claflin  
Syrena   Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey  
Scrum   Stephen Graham
Armando Salazar   Javier Bardem
Carina Smyth   Kaya Scodelario


Film soundtracks

Title U.S. release date Length Composer(s) Label
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (Original Soundtrack) July 22, 2003 (2003-07-22) 43:50 Klaus Badelt and Hans Zimmer Walt Disney Records
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) July 4, 2006 (2006-07-04) 58:32 Hans Zimmer
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) May 22, 2007 (2007-05-22) 55:50
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) May 17, 2011 (2011-05-17) 77:11 Hans Zimmer and Rodrigo y Gabriela
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) May 25, 2017 (2017-05-25) Geoff Zanelli


Box office performance

Film U.S. release date Box office gross All-time Ranking Budget Ref(s)
North America Other territories Worldwide North America Worldwide
The Curse of the Black Pearl July 9, 2003 $305,413,918 $348,850,097 $654,264,015 62 102 $140
Dead Man's Chest July 7, 2006 $423,315,812 $642,863,913 $1,066,179,725 17 19 $225
At World's End May 25, 2007 $309,420,425 $654,000,000 $963,420,425 59 34 $300
On Stranger Tides May 20, 2011 $241,071,802 $804,642,000 $1,045,713,802 117 22 $378.5
Dead Men Tell No Tales May 26, 2017 $34,500,000 $34,500,000 $230
Total $1,279,221,957 $2,484,856,010 $3,764,077,967 16 11 $1.274 billion [68]

The Pirates of the Caribbean film series was successful at the box office, with each film grossing over $600 million, and all at some point ranking among the fifty highest-grossing films of all time. It became the first ever series to have multiple billion-dollar films, being Dead Man's Chest and On Stranger Tides,[69] with other series having followed (the Batman series, the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Transformers).

The Curse of the Black Pearl was the third highest-grossing 2003 film in North America (behind The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Finding Nemo) and fourth worldwide (behind The Return of the King, Finding Nemo and The Matrix Reloaded).[70] Dead Man's Chest was the most successful film of 2006 worldwide,[71] and At World's End led the worldwide grosses in 2007, though being only fourth in North America (behind Spider-Man 3, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Shrek the Third).[72] On Stranger Tides was the third highest-grossing film of 2011 worldwide (behind Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon) and the fifth in North America.[73] All of the sequels broke box office records upon release, of which the most notable are the opening-weekend record in North America (Dead Man's Chest),[74] the Memorial-Day weekend record in North America (At World's End)[75] and the opening-weekend record outside North America (On Stranger Tides).[76]

Critical and public response

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
The Curse of the Black Pearl 79% (210 reviews)[77] 63 (40 reviews)[78] A[79]
Dead Man's Chest 54% (220 reviews)[80] 53 (37 reviews)[81] A−[79]
At World's End 45% (220 reviews)[82] 50 (36 reviews)[83] A−[79]
On Stranger Tides 32% (260 reviews)[84] 45 (39 reviews)[85] B+[79]
Dead Men Tell No Tales 32% (173 reviews)[86] 38 (43 reviews)[87] A−[79]
Average 48% 50 A–

The series is noted for its high quality of acting talent, and is one of the aspects of the films that is always praised.[88][89][90][91][92][93] The visual and practical effects are considered some of the best ever done on film,[92][93][94][95] so much so that audiences believed certain CGI elements of the films were real and done practically.[96][97][98][99][100] The plot and story to the first three sequels received mixed reviews, with the general consensus that they were too bloated and convoluted to follow.[101][102][103][104][105] Pirates of the Caribbean is noted for reinvigorating the pirate genre of film after decades of either no pirate films or failed pirate films.[106] The success of the series saw Disney and Jerry Bruckheimer try to replicate the franchise's success by launching films such as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Lone Ranger, the latter of which directed by Gore Verbinski. Both movies failed critically and commercially.


Academy Awards

Together, all the first three films were nominated for a total of 11 Academy Awards, of which a single award was won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides Dead Men Tell No Tales
Actor in a Leading Role Nominated (Johnny Depp)
Art Direction Nominated
Makeup Nominated Nominated
Sound Editing Nominated Nominated
Sound Mixing Nominated Nominated
Visual Effects Nominated Won Nominated

Golden Globe Awards

Together, all the four films were nominated for a total of 2 Golden Globe Awards, of which neither were won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides Dead Men Tell No Tales
Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical Nominated
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)

MTV Movie Awards

Together, all the first three films were nominated for a total of 13 MTV Movie Awards, of which 4 were won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides Dead Men Tell No Tales
Best Movie Nominated Won Nominated
Best Male Performance Won
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)
Best Female Performance Nominated
(Keira Knightley)
(Keira Knightley)
Best Breakthrough Female Performance Nominated
(Keira Knightley)
Best On-Screen Team Nominated
(Johnny Depp & Orlando Bloom)
Best Villain Nominated
(Geoffrey Rush)
(Bill Nighy)
Best Comedic Performance Nominated
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)

Teen Choice Awards

Together, all the four films were nominated for a total of 25 Teen Choice Awards, of which 16 were won.

Award Film
The Curse of the Black Pearl Dead Man's Chest At World's End On Stranger Tides Dead Men Tell No Tales
Choice Movie: Chemistry Won
(Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie: Fight/Action Sequence Won
(Johnny Depp vs Geoffrey Rush)
Choice Movie: Liar Won
(Johnny Depp)
Choice Movie: Liplock Won
(Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightley)
(Orlando Bloom & Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie: Female Breakout Star Nominated
(Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie Actor Won
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)
(Johnny Depp)
(Orlando Bloom)
(Orlando Bloom)
Choice Summer Movie Won
Choice Movie: Scream Won
(Keira Knightley)
Choice Movie Won Won Nominated
Choice Movie: Rumble Won
(Orlando Bloom & Jack Davenport)
(Orlando Bloom)
Choice Movie: Hissy Fit Won
(Keira Knightley)
Choice Male Hottie Nominated
(Orlando Bloom)
Choice Movie Actress Nominated
(Keira Knightley)
(Keira Knightley)
(Penélope Cruz)
Choice Movie: Villain Won
(Bill Nighy)
(Bill Nighy)
(Ian McShane)


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External links