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Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

In director Gore Verbinski's hugely popular comedy, and fantasy-adventure swashbuckler, the first of a successful film franchise, and based upon a Disney theme-park ride:

  • the prologue: the HMS Dauntless, on its way to Port Royal, Jamaica, discovered a shipwreck (after a pirate attack) and recovered its sole survivor, young Will Turner (Dylan Smith as child) from the ocean; Governor Swann's young 11 year-old daughter Elizabeth (Lucinda Dryzek as child) found a golden pirate medallion around his neck, secretly kept it, and then had an ominous, ghostly glimpse of the Black Pearl pirate ship (and its flag) appearing in the fog; the scene morphed to eight years later - and 19 year-old Elizabeth (Keira Knightley as adult) awakened wide-eyed
The Prologue
Young Elizabeth Discovered a Gold Medallion Around Young Will Turner's Neck
Elizabeth Glimpsed the Black Pearl, now Captained by Mutinous Barbossa
Elizabeth Eight Years Later
  • the memorable introduction of Black Pearl pirate Captain Jack Sparrow (Oscar-nominated Johnny Depp) as he sailed into Port Royal, Jamaica while standing and balancing himself on the crow's nest of a small ship in a seemingly dramatic, heroic entrance to a swelling score, but quickly revealed to be in a sinking dinghy - when he reached the wooden pier, only the very tip of the mast was showing above water, and then, in a perfectly-timed move, he gracefully stepped onto dry land from the submerged boat; his own ship, the Black Pearl, had been seized during a mutiny by First Mate Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who made himself Captain
Captain Jack Sparrow's Entrance Scene
  • during a marriage proposal by Admiral James Norrington (Jack Davenport) to Elizabeth (although she was secretly in love with lowly blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom as adult)), her tightened corset caused her to faint, tumble backwards and fall into the bay, where she was daringly rescued by Captain Sparrow - he noticed the gold pirate medallion around Elizabeth's neck - it was the last piece of stolen Aztec treasure (a total of 882 gold pieces) that could reverse the curse upon Barbossa's pirates; Jack was forced to flee when pursued by the British officers
  • the long, exciting, acrobatic and chatty swordfight between Captain Jack, considered a pirate, and straight-laced swordsman and blacksmith Will Turner in the shop, culminating in Jack's imprisonment
  • the portrayal of the beautiful, spunky, Governor's daughter Elizabeth Swann, who was kidnapped and taken captive by wily 'undead' cursed pirate Captain Barbossa on his pirate ship the Black Pearl (summoned by the medallion's pulse); he told her about his theft of the Aztec gold coins/treasure taken on Isla de Muerta that turned them into cursed men, and then explained how the effects of the curse could be reversed if the gold was returned, along with the bloody sacrifice of each pirate: "We are cursed men, Miss Turner. Compelled by greed, we were, but now we are consumed by it. There is one way we can end our curse. All the scattered pieces of the Aztec gold must be restored and the blood repaid. Thanks to ye, we have the final piece. (Elizabeth: "And the blood to be repaid?") That's why there's no sense to be killin' ya, yet"
  • during an escape attempt, Elizabeth Swann unsuccessfully tried to stab Captain Barbossa in the heart and flee from the ship, but she was seized and forced to look at the skeletal forms of the Captain's crew of 'undead' pirates in the moonlight; when first revealed, they turned from normal humans to ghoulish, anatomically-detailed living skeletons: "Look! The moonlight shows us for what we really are! We are not among the living, and so we cannot die. But neither are we dead! For too long, I've been parched of thirst and unable to quench it. Too long I've been starvin' to death and haven't died. I feel nothin'. Not the wind on my face nor the spray of the sea, nor the warmth of a woman's flesh. (He reached for her, his hand turning skeletal) You best start believin' in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!"
  • in the film's conclusion during a moonlit night, the 'undead' pirates snuck up on the British Royal Navy and the HMS Dauntless (during a rescue attempt to free Elizabeth) by walking across the ocean floor in skeleton form, and then crawling up the ropes on the sides of the ship undetected
  • the monumental swordfight duel on Isla de Muerta between the two immortal pirates: Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa; as the fight concluded, the last two stolen and bloodied Aztec treasure gold coins (pieces of eight) were dropped into a stone chest by rightful heir Will Turner; temporarily 'undead' Captain Jack had thrown his own secretly-stolen coin to Will, to deposit for him in the chest, to lift the curse and return himself to being mortal
  • Barbossa pulled a gun on Elizabeth, but before he pulled the trigger, Sparrow shot 'undead' Barbossa (who thought he was still invincible) in the heart. He told Jack: "Ten years you carry that pistol, and now you waste your shot"; but he was wrong, as Will affirmed while dropping the two coins in the chest: "He didn't waste it"
Barbossa's Death - He Was Mortally Shot in the Chest
After the Curse Was Lifted: "I Feel Cold"
  • the black-hearted pirate's wound - normally harmless, was now fatal since he had just turned mortal when the curse ended; Barbossa ripped open his coat and glanced down at his bloody chest wound - he uttered: "I feel - cold"; as he fell backwards onto the pile of treasures, a green apple rolled from his hand
  • in the epilogue, Capt. Sparrow was about to be hanged, but was momentarily rescued and then was able to escape by falling into the water, restoring himself onto the deck of the Black Pearl (with his crew ready to sail again), where he ordered everyone: "On deck, you scabrous dogs! Hands to braces! Let go and haul to run free! Now bring me that horizon. (He hummed the tune to: "Ho Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)") And really bad eggs. Drink up, me hearties. Yo ho!"

A Glimpse of The Black Pearl's Flag

Rescue of Elizabeth by Capt. Sparrow

Sparrow's Sighting of Elizabeth's Medallion: "Where did you get that?"

Swordfight Between Jack Sparrow and Will Turner

The Gold Pirate Medallion

Kidnapped Elizabeth Confronted by Capt. Barbossa

Captain Barbossa's 'Undead' Cursed Pirates

Will's Toss of the Last Bloodied Coins into Chest to Break the Curse

Jack's Aborted Hanging and Escape to His Ship

Back Aboard the Black Pearl: "Drink up, me hearties. Yo ho!"


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