Pirate Radio

November 13th, 2009

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Pirate Radio

Still of Kenneth Branagh, Jack Davenport and Sinead Matthews in Pirate RadioStill of Will Adamsdale and Bill Nighy in Pirate RadioRhys Ifans at event of Pirate RadioPirate RadioStill of Richard Curtis in Pirate RadioStill of Philip Seymour Hoffman in Pirate Radio

A period comedy about an illegal radio station in the North Sea in the 1960s.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 7.4/10 (44,776 voted)

Critic's Score: 58/100

Director: Richard Curtis

Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost

"The Boat That Rocked" is an ensemble comedy in which the romance takes place between the young people of the '60s and pop music. It's about a band of rogue DJs that captivated Britain, playing the music that defined a generation and standing up to a government that wanted classical music, and nothing else, on the airwaves. The Count, a big, brash, American god of the airwaves; Quentin, the boss of Radio Rock -- a pirate radio station in the middle of the North Sea that's populated by an eclectic crew of rock and roll DJs; Gavin, the greatest DJ in Britain who has just returned from his drug tour of America to reclaim his rightful position; Dave, an ironic, intelligent and cruelly funny co-broadcaster; and a fearsome British government official out for blood against the drug takers and lawbreakers of a once-great nation.

Michael Hadley - Mr. Roberts
Charlie Rowe - James
Lucy Fleming - Mrs. Roberts
Philip Seymour Hoffman - The Count
Tom Sturridge - Carl
Ian Mercer - Transfer Boatman
Bill Nighy - Quentin
Will Adamsdale - News John
Tom Brooke - Thick Kevin
Rhys Darby - Angus
Nick Frost - Dave
Katherine Parkinson - Felicity
Chris O'Dowd - Simon
Ike Hamilton - Harold
Stephen Moore - Prime Minister

Taglines: 1 Boat. 8 DJs. No Morals.


Official Website: Official site | Official site [France] |

Release Date: 13 November 2009

Filming Locations: Gambardella's Cafe, Blackheath Standard, London, England, UK

Opening Weekend: $2,904,380 (USA) (15 November 2009) (882 Screens)

Gross: $7,994,115 (USA) (3 January 2009)

Technical Specs

Runtime:  | (original version)

Did You Know?

The scene in which Young Carl sulks about Marianne was originally supposed to be about eight seconds long and contain nothing but Tom Sturridge sitting on a bench and looking sad. Will Adamsdale and Ike Hamilton happened to be there, so Richard Curtis told them to have a go at what they would have done if their friend was in the same situation. He put on 'So Long, Marianne' and they came up with everything that remains in the scene.

Continuity: In one scene Quentin goes to young Karl's cabin to tell him his (Karl's) mother is coming on board to visit. It's apparent in the shots of Quentin the ship is rocking, but in the shots of young Karl you can see the horizon through the porthole behind him, and it's not moving. This should be noticeable if the ship's rocking as obviously as it is in the shots of Quentin.

[repeated line]
Minister Dormandy: Arse!

User Review

A toe-tappingly good movie well worth paying to see

Rating: 9/10

I watch a lot of films but have never felt as compelled to review one on IMDb as this. If only because most of the reviews already out there either contain groundless slatings or are badly written.

Yes the soundtrack is amazing and will be a huge success. With artists such as The Kinks, The Turtles, Procol Harum, Cat Stevens, The Hollies, The Who, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix and Cream it'd be almost impossible not to produce a top quality double-CD album. The right music also seems to come on at all the right times complimenting the movie perfectly.

But I've heard people say the acting was weak and wooden, which is completely unfounded. Admitedly there is a fairly large cast which does mean the plot can never focus on one character for too long and perhaps, in theory, one or two of them should have been cut out. However in practise I can't think of a single character that I wouldn't have missed.

It's only very loosely based on fact but does still manage to educate in the sense that many young people wouldn't even have been aware of the existence of pirate radio before watching. It's a refreshingly original film too, unlike anything out at the moment.

The humour can be childish at times (rude character names, a falling-out-of-bed joke) but only adds to the "this is meant to be fun" tone of the movie and is easily overlooked should it be a pet hate of yours.

Don't let the critics put you off going to see The Boat That Rocked - if you don't have kids and don't live near a 3D Cinema this will be the best film out in theatres and available to see until it stops showing. Certainly worth your time and money.

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