No adventure set on the high seas is complete without a pirate ship, and no ship is complete without its captain. Viper’s own captain, Captain Adler, is a cruel and violent man, but not all pirates are bad. Here are some of my favourite pirate captains in films.

5. One Eyed Willy – The Goonies.
OK, I have to confess, I’m not a huge fan of The Goonies, despite my husband’s best efforts, but hear me out on this one. The most interesting part of the film was the mystery surrounding One Eyed Willy. Yes, he’s very dead, but the pirate captain of the ‘Inferno’ clearly should have a movie of his own telling his backstory.

4. Elizabeth Swann – Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.

Though this is far from my favourite of the Pirates movies (it’s the first one obviously, in case anyone’s wondering), At World’s End did at least give us a woman pirate captain, and goodness knows they’re few and far between! Not only is she made Captain, but is also Pirate Lord of the South China Sea…and then is elected Pirate King. Not bad for the daughter of a Governor!

3. Morgan Adams – Cutthroat Island.

While this film wasn’t exactly a commercial success, I remember as a girl watching this strong, capable, intelligent woman who held her own against all the men and it was a revelation. From that moment on, I wanted all the women to be the protagonists of their lives, not the romantic interest relegated to the sidelines.

2. Captain Shakespeare – Stardust.

One of my all-time favourite characters ever, Captain Shakespeare can do no wrong. He’s kind, loyal, educated, wonderfully eccentric, and has carved a fearsome reputation that keeps him and his crew safe, all whilst having the most marvellous wardrobe! If Neil Gaiman wanted to write a spin-off about his adventures, I wouldn’t argue.

1. The Dread Pirate Roberts – The Princess Bride.

I adore this film so very much, and can be found quoting from it most days. Is there really a better character than the man in black, who wears a mask, can dual right and left handed, has an immunity to iocaine powder, and will do anything for his true love? Though Wesley of course makes a fantastic Dread Pirate Roberts, what I really love is the very idea of the legendary title. That the role can be passed from man to man, because it’s not the person who’s feared, but the name itself that carries all the power. Reputation is everything in the pirate world, as Captain Adler knows only too well.

This article was originally published on Tale Out Loud blog in April 2019: