Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 40
  2. Negative: 3 out of 40

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Critic Reviews

  1. 90
    Verbinski knows when to break out the stunning action sequences and when to let his characters dominate the film, and he handles both modes expertly.
  2. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    This is an original work in an antique mood. The actors and authors all have fun with the genre without making fun of it. Rather, they revive it.
  3. The New Yorker
    Reviewed by: David Denby
    All in all, Pirates of the Caribbean is the best spectacle of the summer: the absence of pomp is a relief, the warmth of the comedy a pleasure. [28 July 2003, p.94]
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Finally, there's a big-budget popcorn movie that delivers what moviegoers hunger for: humor, action, thrills and charismatic characters. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the summer blockbuster we've been waiting for.
  5. A first-rate sail into Adventureland.
  6. 83
    Flawed though it may be, it's frequently an unaffected pleasure, in no small part because of Depp but also because of a raffish air that's a welcome respite from the heavy going of "The Matrix Reloaded," "The Hulk" and other behemoths.
  7. 80
    An exciting time at the movies, where you don’t smell something burning and realize it’s your brain cells dying off. During the summer movie season, that’s rather hard to avoid. But this movie has avoided it and it’s time well spent.
  8. The law of commerce worked this time around: One terrific thrill ride has begotten another.
  9. 80
    Pirates of the Caribbean moves easily from sunny 18th-century seafaring adventure to creepy zombie flick and back again.
  10. Bruckheimer -– always eager to egg on the public’s thirst for bigger, louder, stupider –- has done a scandalous amount of damage to contemporary cinema, but for once, his dubious talent for big-buck bombast is exploited for good rather than evil.
  11. A film that dares to be smart, reasonably complicated and scary while swashing its buckles.
  12. Verbinski puts a Jackie Chan flourish of high energy and gymnastic action on the swashbuckling stunts and swordplay and keeps this lark sailing along.
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Pirates offers something for everyone: Bloom and Depp for the ladies, big action and Knightley for the men, self-aware gags for the postmodern crowd, Depp and Rush for fans of top-rank scenery chewing.
  14. Letting any other actor run wild like this could have been a disaster, but Depp's peculiar buccaneer is an instant classic of actorly charisma.
  15. 75
    Oozes atmosphere. The humor keeps it from becoming too creepy, but there are still a few chills to be had.
  16. An improbably entertaining, if overlong, adventure that brings new meaning to the term "summer camp." Doubloons! Ripped bodices! Unbuckled swash! Rum galore!
  17. 75
    A rollicking, jumbo-sized swashbuckler, awash in sword fights, cursed treasures, plank walkings and hurtling cannonballs. This stylish, rousing movie has been directed with refreshing levity and wit.
  18. 75
    It's a good thing that Geoffrey Rush and Johnny Depp are on hand to jack up the acting department. Their characters, two world-class goofballs, keep us interested even during entirely pointless swordfights.
  19. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    Convoluted but diverting.
  20. 70
    When Pirates of the Caribbean is good, it's certainly something to behold.
  21. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Fortunately, whenever the movie starts to sag, Depp flies to the rescue. It’s a truly piratical performance: with his flamboyantly fluttering fingers he steals every scene in the movie.
  22. 70
    The dazzling, high-flying silliness is quite an achievement. The movie is better than it deserves to be, given its origins: a ride at Disneyland and Disney World.
  23. I love it, but much in the way I managed to love "The Phantom Menace" -- in spite of its bloat, swaggering self-importance and largely neutered characters.
  24. Reviewed by: Scott Warren
    Children of all ages: Brace yourselves for a helluva ride.
  25. At least the movie Pirates of the Caribbean is fun -- but only as long as you don't expect much. Take it from me: The ride is better.
  26. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Pirates is OK, in patches even better.
  27. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    The picture's constant forward movement and breezy sense of amusement about itself provide a certain mild sort of diversion.
  28. The large cast, costumed and made up as filthy scalawags and sinister buccaneers, gives tremendous energy to every scene.
  29. 50
    Trimming half an hour from this bloated, 143-minute blockbuster would have highlighted the film's treasures, not the least of which is Johnny Depp's endearingly eccentric performance as Captain Jack Sparrow.
  30. 50
    Director Gore Verbiniski delivers the best one can hope for: a cleverly nostalgic, high-tech copy of the real deal.
  31. 50
    Depp swans through this swashbuckler with a scene-stealing gusto unseen since Marlon Brando in "Mutiny on the Bounty." He's comic dynamite, but this plodding, repetitive bore should walk the plank for timidly refusing to light his fuse.
  32. The movie blows, me hearties, but don't you dare miss it...Why? Johnny Depp, that's why...This has gotta rank among the weirdest performances in the zany annals of the silver screen.
  33. 50
    This typically bloated production from Jerry Bruckheimer is good swashbuckling fun for the first few reels but eventually slows to a halt under the weight of too many doubloons.
  34. Wall Street Journal
    Reviewed by: Collin Levey
    Without Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, who play two rival pirate captains, "Pirates" might have gone straight to video. The two are a pleasure to watch, rescuing an otherwise forgettable film.
  35. My main complaint -- there's too much emphasis on action -- will strike the film's young target audience as a see-worthy virtue rather than a fault.
  36. Eventually the concept buckles under the heavy blockbuster treatment, becoming a monotonous, repetitive spectacle of endless shipboard sword fights and pirate ghosts in the moonlight.
  37. There may be nothing more fun for actors than experimental exaggeration, especially when filming on a Caribbean island. But there’s nothing that makes an audience feel less welcome than not being in on the joke.
  38. This noisy retread, a secondhand facsimile of a movie, is, except for the headache its boisterous sound level leaves you with, as forgettable as a bad day in the Disneyland parking lot.
  39. Not enough to keep this celluloid ship from sinking under the weight of its own stupidity.
  40. 20
    The booty here is 100 percent fool's gold.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 799 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 17 out of 326
  1. Oct 17, 2010
    I think it is a very great movie. The atmosphere with the characters, especially Sparrow, the music and the settings are great. I can watchI think it is a very great movie. The atmosphere with the characters, especially Sparrow, the music and the settings are great. I can watch this movie over and over again and I can recommend this movie to anyone who likes this adventure-type of action movies. Full Review »
  2. May 26, 2011
    They say the first is always the best and it certainly applies here. Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the start toThey say the first is always the best and it certainly applies here. Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the start to arguably one of the best film franchises to date. If you like comedy, action, drama, romance- actually, if you like watching movies in general, you have got to see this one. I don't usually give films a solid ten (I think this is the first) but I can find no flaws here. It has a great plot, great performance by the cast, great visual effects and very memorable music. Just watch it already. Full Review »
  3. Sep 24, 2011
    "The Curse of the Black Pearl" is a movie that focuses too much on preposterous humor. It kills the movie, but Johnny Depp's performance is"The Curse of the Black Pearl" is a movie that focuses too much on preposterous humor. It kills the movie, but Johnny Depp's performance is the sole thing that saves the messy film. Full Review »