Mixed or average reviews - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 74 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Broadcasting live 24/7 from an old tanker anchored in the middle of the North Sea (just beyond British jurisdiction), Radio Rock sends out a vibrant and unifying signal to millions across the nation, ranging in age from wide-eyed pre-teens secretly tuning in long past their bedtimes to everyday people in need of a musical pick-me-up. The Radio Rock roster, overseen by unflappable station owner (and ship’s captain) Quentin, includes a risk-prone American known only as The Count; mystic deejay royalty Gavin; slyly amorous Dave; idiosyncratic New Zealander Angus; the rarely seen Bob; the aptly named Thick Kevin; lovelorn Simon; ladies’ magnet Mark; shy Harold; reporter News John; and lesbian ship’s cook Felicity. One night in 1966, Quentin’s teenaged godson Carl comes aboard. While Carl harbors romantic aspirations that he hopes will be fulfilled during one of the biweekly visits by Radio Rock’s prettiest fans, he also hopes to find out more about his long-absent father. (Focus Features)

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 31
  2. Negative: 2 out of 31
  1. The best of it has the comradely, free-swinging bawdiness of Robert Altman's "M*A*S*H."
  2. A tale so raucous, raunchy and punch-drunk with love for the rebellious spirit of rawk -- and so disdainful of those who have tried to squelch it -- that it pretty much negates any claims to objectivity, let alone factuality. In other words, it's not a documentary.
  3. 75
    For its wicked innocence, this is the finest rock movie since "Almost Famous."
  4. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Writer-director Richard Curtis (“Love Actually’’) has made a party, not a movie, and if the party goes on much too long, at least the guests are great company and the host’s taste in music is impeccable.
  5. The real pirate radio ships, whose days ended in 1967, wound up being towed away for salvage but the film avoids that fate -- like the best rock songs -- with a rousing finish and a pleasing climax.
  6. Giggles, not belly laughs, come frequently, and it’ll help if viewers love U.K. comics.
  7. Witless, tasteless, toothless, pointless, garish, repetitive, obvious, and painfully dull, Pirate Radio is that exceedingly rare film that never, but never puts a foot right.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 37
  2. Negative: 10 out of 37
  1. Oct 30, 2010
    Excellent film!!! I usually don't give a 10, but a 9 is not enough for this one. Great story, awesome cast, Phillip Seymour Hoffman is great, as usual. Interesting how England didn't have Rock and Roll playing on the radio and these lovers of Rock and were rebels got the music out there and changed a whole country. The music is perfect, the comedy is so real, not over the top or stupid. I enjoyed the reaction of the English people who listened to the radio station, makes you want to dance and sing! I loved this film, and recommend this as a must see!!!! Expand
  2. Sep 20, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Great movie, really enjoyed it ! Yes it could have been a better movie, the characters could have been more developed , however it is a great film. Very entertaining and funny. It also has a fantastic soundtrack. Expand
  3. Oct 18, 2010
    Awesome music, great cast, excellent storyline, and loads of fun! I love this "Rock and Roll will never die" movie!! Own this movie as you will watch it over and over again. Expand
  4. Oct 1, 2010

    I decided to review Pirate Radio after an RA in my dorm had a movie night last
    night and played this movie. I didn't go to it as I saw it a while back but it reminded me of it I guess. Well, in case you don't know Pirate Radio is pretty much about the radio censorship in Britain I guess in the 60s or 70s. It of course puts a comedic spin on it. For what it is I really liked this movie actually. Found it very hilarious, the music score was a great collection of classic rock songs and the overall story line wasn't too bad. Also I like the decade portrayed, which always helps. Based on my personal, sheer entertainment on this movie I rate it a 4.5 out of 5. And I must suggest it to anyone who likes the 60s, classic rock, british rock or music in general actually. Expand
  5. Feb 16, 2011
    This movie is fun. Listen, no one should go in expecting some kind of brilliant masterpiece, its just a fun little tale with a great soundtrack and a lot of funny moments. It makes me long for the 60s (the time i am most familiar with without having actually lived in it). Great cast too, PSH, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Rhys Darby (glad to see him getting more exposure) and without a doubt the clincher, Kenneth Brannagh, as the assassin set out to destroy radio rock. I laughed every single time he called upon **** (Jack Davenport) despite it being somewhat juvenile humor. The soundtrack is obviously phenomenal... HOWEVER

    The soundtrack is also a bit inconsistent with history. Being a huge 60s/70s music buff, plenty of songs written and released after 1966 (the date of the film) were used. Songs like Jumpin Jack Flash or Elenore (The Turtles) were written and released in 1968. One scene refers to a new track by The Grateful Dead who didn't come out with their debut album till 1967. The complete absence of The Beatles (except for a little mention in the beginning) is a bit disconcerting, considering they were bigger than jesus at the time. But I accept the fact that there was probably not an awful lot of consideration put into the soundtrack. I mean, a sound track from the 60s is going to be good no matter what, but it seems like they just kind of threw in all kinds of random rock songs from any period of the 60s whether before or after the moment the movie takes place.

    Overall though, it is enjoyable
  6. Mar 22, 2011
    Great soundtrack! The movie that came with it was a little distracting though. But in all seriousness, Pirate Radio is a fun-but-flawed period piece of when Rock and Roll on the radio was all but illegal in 1960's Britain. The cast gives out mixed performances with a borderline-mediocre job from the protagonist and a pretty poorly-developed baddie. However, the pros outweigh the cons in this case, being more of a guilty pleasure than anything. Expand
  7. Sep 8, 2011
    This film purports to recreate, as it says in the opening scenes, 1966, a heyday of British rock'n'roll. Pirate radio was shut down in late 1967. So it is baffling that the movie is loaded with references to the late 60s and even the early 70s--in its characters, clothes, and songs, esp. (one Dj is an ancient, apparently 55-year old hippie, as though he teleported in from some 1990 film). Two songs associated with American top-40 radio in 1969 (released in late '68) are used as signatures of British Pirate Radio--the Turtles' "Elenore" and Tommy James' "Crimson and Clover." Yeh, when I think 1966 English rock, I think of the Turtles and Tommy James. Uh, no. These weird anachronisms are potentially forgivable, but the script is too full of other inanities to list: it scarcely has a plot, but is a sort of collage of idiotic, disconnected scenes and jokes. The film's real downfall is its script: 80% of the humor--I am not overstating the dumbness here--is a kind of reality-show, babbling toilet/ sex humor that would probably be abjectly eliminated from a Jackass movie. The often sundrenched, high contrast photography is nice and poignantly suggestive of what the film might have been, so I give this two stars. But the script is a no-star, frozen-dog-in-the-night "woof." I have no idea how Philip Seymour Hoffman ended up in this thing. This movie is beyond disappointing: it is rock-solid stupid. Expand

See all 37 User Reviews