Old Ironsides (1926)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 105 users  
Reviews: 4 user | 1 critic

An American fighting ship battles Barbary pirates in the Mediterranean in the 18th century.



(story), (suggested and adapted by), 4 more credits »
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Cast overview:
Charles Hill Mailes ...
Commodore Preble
Johnnie Walker ...
Lt. Stephen Decatur
Eddie Fetherston ...
Lt. Richard Somers
Guy Oliver ...
First Mate
George Godfrey ...
The Cook
William Conklin ...
Esther's Father
Effie Ellsler ...
Esther's Mother
Arthur Ludwig ...
Second Mate


Early in the 19th century, the USS Constitution is launched as part of an effort to stop piracy in the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, a young man determined to go to sea is befriended by the bos'n of the merchant ship Esther, and he joins her crew. When the Esther reaches the Mediterranean, she too, along with the Constitution, becomes involved in the battle against the pirates. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sea | epic | See All (2) »


WHAT A YARN! (original print ad - all caps) See more »


Drama | History




Release Date:

6 December 1926 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Fragata Invicta  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was the first film to be shown using the Magnascope system. See more »


Referenced in Hollywood's Magical Island: Catalina (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Good Action, With Atmosphere and Some History As Well
13 April 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

With plenty of action, an interesting story, and a cast headed by Wallace Beery and George Bancroft, this works well as an adventure movie. It adds good shipboard atmosphere, and it also includes the re-enactment of some of the history that is used as background to the story. Although the historical setting is stylized to some degree, it seems to give a pretty good feel for what it was like in the days when ships from the young USA did battle with the coastal pirates of the Mediterranean.

Beery and Bancroft work quite well together, and they are entertaining, too. Beery's boisterous style can work particularly well in silent movies, since the personality of a character is more prominent than the dialogue. Charles Farrell, as the young man who sails with Beery and Bancroft, is usually rather bland, but then again his innocent, reserved character serves as a contrast to the other two. Esther Ralston is an appealing heroine, and a few of the other characters also get some good moments.

The story is interesting, with most of it following characters on "Old Ironsides" and other ships as they sail, maneuver, and battle. The shipboard atmosphere is convincing, showing the crews both in tense times and in lighter moments. It's enjoyable to see the recreation of the old sailing ships and the ways they worked. Between the details of the ships, and the interesting crew members, there are times when you almost feel as if you're aboard with them.

"Old Ironsides" is one of the many silent movies that deserve to be better known and remembered. It's worthwhile both for the story and for its recreation of the age of the great sailing ships.

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