Our Flag Means Death and 9 Other Best TV Shows and Movies About Pirates

Our Flag Means Death and 9 Other Best TV Shows and Movies About Pirates
Image credit: Hallmark Channel, Max

Yes, we've all seen Pirates of the Caribbean, but it's far from the only explosive mix about the adventures of the sea wolves.

The projects about adventures of the pirates are rightly considered the most exciting roller coaster you will ever see on screen.

In this list you will find the most maneuverable ships, black sails, treasures and adventures – sometimes quite scary, because not all pirates are as hilarious as Jack Sparrow. Sorry, Captain Jack Sparrow.

1. Сrossbones, 2014

The series is set in the 18th century on the pirate island, a mini-state created by sea wolves. It is controlled by the legendary Captain Blackbeard, whom the British Empire has been trying to kill for many years. For this purpose, the assassin Tom Lowe is sent to the island.

He must ingratiate himself with the pirate leader and kill him. But the better the killer gets to know his victim, the more sympathy he develops for him. The main advantage of the show is undoubtedly the charismatic John Malkovich, who played Blackbeard.

2. Captain Phillips, 2013

This movie is not about mythical treasure hunters, but about real Somali pirates who attacked a container ship off the coast of Africa in 2009. The crew managed to fight them off, but the pirates took the ship's captain, Richard Phillips, hostage.

The project is based on real events, and although it is not a documentary, the simulation of documentary filmmaking makes it easy for viewers to fully immerse themselves in the horrific events. Some critics and viewers believe that the role of Richard Phillips is Tom Hanks' best in his entire acting career.

3. Cutthroat Island, 1995

Morgan is the daughter of a pirate who was treacherously killed by his own brother. On his deathbed, the father asked the girl to shave his head. It turned out that part of the map of Cutthroat Island was tattooed on his scalp.

Morgan sets out with former doctor and thief William Shaw in search of the lost treasure. On their trail is her uncle, who also received a fragment of the map.

This unfairly underrated 1995 blockbuster is notable not only for the fact that its main character is a woman. It has humor, action, exciting scenes on land and sea – everything we later fell in love with in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Unfortunately, it was the box office failure of this movie due to a poor advertising campaign that led to the fact that we did not see pirates on the big screen for almost a decade.

4. Our Flag Means Death, 2022-2023

Aristocrat Stede Bonnet has it all – wealth, plantations, a wife and two children. And he is completely unhappy. Because his dream is to become a pirate.

In secret, he builds a ship – with secret rooms and a figurehead in the shape of a unicorn's head. One night he decides to make his dream come true and thus begins the story of the Gentleman Pirate.

The viewer is immediately thrown onto an emotional rollercoaster and taken on a dizzying journey across the waves of the sea. The unpredictability of the plot, bright humor, witty dialogue, monstrous cruelty and incredible tenderness – all this is combined in one show.

And although the third season was (completely unfairly) canceled, the series is worth watching for two seasons of unforgettable adventures.

5. The Pirates, 2014

Yes, it's not just Hollywood that's into pirates.

The South Korean movie tells about Jang Sa-jung, who has gathered a band of robbers and decided to embark on a desperate sea voyage – somewhere in the depths of the ocean lives a giant whale that has swallowed a ship full of treasure. But first, he must face no less desperate rivals who are also hunting the monster.

The movie could be described as a Korean version of Pirates of the Caribbean. From its Western counterpart, the movie inherits a dynamic plot, ironic tone and large scale, while the unique Korean vision allows you to see pirates as you have definitely never seen them before.

6. Captain Blood, 1935

And let's go back to the roots. In the 17th century, Peter Blood is mistakenly sent into slavery on a Jamaican plantation.

On the island, he meets the governor's niece, who, having fallen in love with Blood, helps him escape. Peter seizes the ship and embarks on pirate adventures. But the angry governor of Jamaica will not let Blood escape so easily.

This pirate movie is almost a century old, but it still holds up – in dynamics, atmosphere of adventure and charisma, Captain Blood is not inferior to modern films.

7. Hook, 1991

Peter Pan grew up, changed his name, got a serious job, and started a family. Now he has a son and a daughter, and there is nothing in him that tells you that he once could fly and was friends with fairies.

But one day he will have to remember his superpowers and fight Captain Hook. After all, the pirate kidnapped his children.

This children's movie is suitable for all ages – the brilliant Robin Williams perfectly conveys the transformation of his character from a workaholic to a boy who enjoys life and is able to dream.

8. The Goonies, 1985

Four teenagers accidentally find an old treasure map that leads to the long-lost fortune of One-Eyed Willy, the legendary 17th-century pirate. The friends go on a treasure hunt, solving puzzles, avoiding traps and, of course, running from other treasure hunters.

The adventure comedy is based on a script by two filmmakers whose names make any viewer enthusiastic – Chris Columbus and Steven Spielberg. As we know, Columbus is good at making exciting and at the same time cozy family movies. Therefore, The Goonies is imbued with the spirit of adventure and nostalgia for a mischievous childhood.

9. Black Sails, 2014-2017

In this case, you are in for a real adrenaline rush, because this is a show from the king of action himself, Michael Bay. The action takes place on the legendary island of New Providence, which has been taken over by pirates.

England dreams of regaining power on this land and sends a fleet to its shores, but brute force is not enough – the pirates must learn not only to fight, but also to weave cunning intrigues.

It shows the pirate life without childish naivety. The level of sexual tension and violence sometimes goes off the scale, and it is difficult to tear yourself away from the screen until the very last episode.

10. Blackbeard, 2006

Once again, the superstar of the pirate world, Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, is in the spotlight. He cold-bloodedly kills anyone who boards his ship, fueling his image as the most fearsome pirate.

Lieutenant Robert Maynard sneaks onto his ship disguised as an ordinary sailor to gather information about the pirates' plans and report back to his superiors.

The miniseries presents a classic take on the story of Blackbeard – here he is a brutal pirate with a beard to match his nickname. It's also an explosive mix of epic battles and touching romance that will keep you glued to the screen.