Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) is a pirate adventure film set in the Caribbean somewhere in the early-to-mid 18th century. It was inspired by the Pirates of the Caribbean attractions at Disney theme parks around the world, developed by Walt Disney himself. Pirates was directed by Gore Verbinski and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, and became the first Walt Disney Pictures release to earn a PG-13 rating by the MPAA (all previous WDP releases were rated G or PG).
Pirates grossed almost $654 million worldwide, becoming the 22nd highest grossing film in the United States. It proved to be a success for Walt Disney Pictures and, within weeks of its release, the studio announced that a sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was in development (it was released in the United States on July 7, 2006). Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, the third film in the series was released on May 25, 2007. Four years later Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' was released, as a standalone film, on May 20, 2011.
When production for the film was first announced in early 2002, movie fans and critics were skeptical of its chances of success; the concept of Disney basing a movie upon one of its own theme-park rides seemed to many a crass marketing ploy. Additionally, the genre of pirate-themed movies had seen a string of big-budget flops (Cutthroat Island, and Treasure Planet, among others).
The lead character is pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Johnny Depp. Among the actors also considered for the role were Jim Carrey, Christopher Walken and Michael Keaton; professional wrestler Kurt Angle auditioned for the role.
In the film he befriends Will Turner, played by Orlando Bloom. Actors considered for the role include Jude Law, Ewan McGregor, Tobey Maguire, Christopher Masterson and Christian Bale.
When new governor Weatherby Swann (Jonathan Pryce) and his 12-year-old daughter, Elizabeth sail to Port Royal, Jamaica, their ship, the HMS Dauntless happen upon a shipwreck, the apparent victim of a pirate attack. A survivor, Will Turner, is found among the debris. Elizabeth discovers a gold medallion around the unconscious boy's neck and hides it, fearing he will be arrested as a pirate. She sees a mysterious mist-shrouded ship as it slips away.
Eight years later, Captain James Norrington (Jack Davenport) of the British Royal Navy is promoted to Commodore. At his ceremony, he proposes to Elizabeth (Keira Knightley), but before she can answer, she faints and tumbles off the rampart and into the bay. The skull medallion she is wearing emits a mysterious pulse through the water.
Meanwhile, pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) has arrived in Port Royal in a small, leaking fishing vessel that sinks as it reaches the dock. While attempting to commandeer the HMS Interceptor, he sees Elizabeth falling into the water and rescues her. He is recognized and arrested by Norrington. Sparrow escapes and ducks into a blacksmith shop where he encounters Will Turner (Orlando Bloom), now a blacksmith's apprentice and self-taught expert swordsman. Following a swordfight with Turner, Sparrow is knocked unconscious by the blacksmith and jailed.
That night, Port Royal is besieged by the Black Pearl — a pirate ghost ship. The pirates abduct Elizabeth who invokes parley—an agreement ensuring one's safety until meeting and negotiating with the opposing side. To protect her identity, Elizabeth says her last name is "Turner". She persuades Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) to cease the attack on Port Royal in exchange for the pirate medallion, but he employs several loopholes in their negotiation and keeps Elizabeth prisoner.
Will, who is in love with Elizabeth, is dissatisfied with Commodore Norrington's rescue plan. He seeks assistance from Jack Sparrow. The imprisoned pirate agrees to help if Will frees him. They hijack the HMS Interceptor and recruit a crew in Tortuga with help from Jack's friend, Gibbs. They set sail for Isla de Muerta where the pirates have gone to break the curse.
En route, Will learns the Black Pearl was formerly commanded by Captain Jack Sparrow. When Jack shared the bearings to a hidden chest of Aztec gold coins, First Mate Barbossa instigated a mutiny and marooned Jack on a small island. Jack escaped three days later.
The pirates found and quickly spent the treasure but soon learned it was cursed—leaving them as immortal skeletal beings whose true forms are only revealed in moonlight. The curse can only be lifted when every coin and some of each pirate's blood is returned to the chest. "Bootstrap Bill" Turner opposed the mutiny and sent one coin to his son, William, believing the crew should remain cursed for what they did to Jack. Barbossa then ordered Bootstrap tied to a cannon and thrown overboard only to realize later his blood was needed to break the curse; a Turner kin must now take his place. Believing Elizabeth is Bootstrap's child, Barbossa poises her over the Aztec chest, anoints the last coin with her blood and drops it into the chest—the curse remains in effect. Barbossa demands to know if Elizabeth is the offspring of William Turner, to which she replies no. Barbossa hits her, and then has a heated argument with the crew as Will rescues her quietly. Jack is knocked out by Will, upon figuring out that Jack wishes to use him as "leverage" to get his ship back. Barbossa finds Jack, stunned that he escaped the island, and is about to have him killed when Jack reveals he knows whose blood they need.
Jack attempts to trade the name of Will for his ship, but his efforts soon turn moot when Barbossa and his crew catch up with the Interceptor, kidnapping the crew and Elizabeth, and blasting it to smithereens. Will, believed to have been killed along with it, surfaces and threatens to commit suicide if Barbossa does not agree with his terms. Will explains, much to Jack's dismay, his heritage. Will's terms are the crew are not to be harmed and Elizabeth goes free. Of course, Barbossa crafts another loophole and strands Elizabeth and Jack on an island (the same one he marooned Jack on), giving them a chance to get to know each other. Elizabeth burns the rum, to Jack's frustration, to form a signal that is noticed by the Royal Navy, and Commodore Norrington. Elizabeth, desperate to rescue Will, persuades Norrington to do so as a wedding gift. Jack Sparrow accompanies them, knowing full well that his execution awaits after the rescue. Meanwhile, Will is taken to Isla de Muerta to be sacrificed.
Arriving at the island, Norrington sets an ambush outside the cave. Jack goes inside and persuades Barbossa to form an alliance, telling him to delay breaking the curse until after they have taken the Dauntless and killed the crew. Jack then sneaks a coin from the chest, rendering himself immortal. But whatever Jack's actual intent is, his plan goes awry when Barbossa orders his crew to infiltrate the Dauntless from underwater. Jack's true allegiance is revealed when he suddenly attacks and then shoots Barbossa. Jack tosses his bloodied coin to Will who returns the last two medallions to the chest, breaking the curse. No longer immortal, the fatally wounded Barbossa falls dead. Realizing they are no longer cursed, the now-mortal pirates surrender to the navy.
Back in Port Royal, Jack is about to be executed. Believing Jack does not deserve death, Will rescues him. Both are quickly captured, but Elizabeth lends her support and declares her love for Will. Norrington releases her from their engagement, and Will is pardoned; meanwhile, Jack escapes by falling into the ocean. His crew, who escaped with the Black Pearl, rescue him. Norrington is impressed enough to allow him one day's head start before giving pursuit.
Following the end credits, in a final scene on Isla de Muerta, Barbossa's pet monkey takes a piece of the treasure and is cursed once again, explaining its immortality in Dead Man's Chest.
|Johnny Depp||Captain Jack Sparrow|
|Geoffrey Rush||Captain Hector Barbossa|
|Orlando Bloom||Will Turner|
|Keira Knightley||Elizabeth Swann|
|Jack Davenport||James Norrington|
|Kevin McNally||Joshamee Gibbs|
|Jonathan Pryce||Governor Weatherby Swann|