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Captain Blood (1935)

7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 8,471 users  
Reviews: 90 user | 53 critic

An enslaved doctor and his comrades in chains escape and become pirates of the Robin Hood variety.

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Title: Captain Blood (1935)

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Nominated for 5 Oscars. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
Guy Kibbee ...
Henry Stephenson ...
Robert Barrat ...
Hobart Cavanaugh ...
Dr. Bronson
...
Dr. Whacker
Jessie Ralph ...
Mrs. Barlow
Forrester Harvey ...
Honesty Nuttall
Frank McGlynn Sr. ...
Rev. Ogle
Holmes Herbert ...
Capt. Gardner
David Torrence ...
Andrew Baynes
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Storyline

Arrested during the Monmouth Rebellion and falsely convicted of treason, Dr. Peter Blood is banished to the West Indies and sold into slavery. In Port Royal, Jamaica the Governor's daughter Arabella Bishop buys him for £10 to spite her uncle, Col. Bishop who owns a major plantation. Life is hard for the men and for Blood as well. By chance he treats the Governor's gout and is soon part of the medical service. He dreams of freedom and when the opportunity strikes, he and his friends rebel taking over a Spanish ship that has attacked the city. Soon, they are the most feared pirates on the seas, men without a country attacking all ships. When Arabella is prisoner, Blood decides to return her to Port Royal only to find that it is under the control of England's new enemy, France. All of them must decide if they are to fight for their new King. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

governor | slavery | pirate | escape | friend | See more »

Taglines:

THE MOST MAGNIFICENT & THRILLING SEA ADVENTURE EVER FILMED (original print ad - all caps) See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

28 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Capitaine Blood  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,200,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on February 27, 1937 with Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone and Henry Stephenson reprising their film roles. See more »

Goofs

The Spanish pirate ship is shown flying a flag similar to the modern Spanish flag. The earliest use of this flag was 1783 for naval purposes, well over one hundred before the time shown. The correct flag at the time of the movie would be the Cross of Burgundy. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Jeremy Pitt: Doctor Blood! Doctor Blood!
Mrs. Barlow: Who, who is it?
Dr. Peter Blood: That we'll know better when you've opened the door.
Mrs. Barlow: Me?
Dr. Peter Blood: My mistake, after I've opened the door.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Down Periscope (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Fugal Episode from Prometheus
(1850, revised 1855) (uncredited)
Composed by Franz Liszt
Adapted and Re-orchestrated by Hugo Friedhofer and Erich Wolfgang Korngold
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Greatest Pirate Film to Date
27 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

'Captain Blood' is not easily understood by a lot of viewers. Although far from a "love or hate" film, it is frequently characterized as "boring" and "unconvincing" by people who do not understand its subject matter---buccaneers of the Caribbean.

For a lot of people,"pirate" translates as "gruff bearded man with a wooden leg, a parrot on his shoulder, and a vocabulary consisting mostly of four words--"shiver me timbers" and "Aaaarrrrrrrgh!"

In other words their definition of pirate derives from fictional pirate Long John Silver. Captain Blood is a more romanticized figure, and tends to leave fans of buffoonish pirates flat. Peter Blood, the protagonist, is much more influenced by the dashing exploits of Captain Henry Morgan---with a physician's mantle thrown in, formulaically speaking, to give him added genteel qualities.

'Blood' is, for the most part, however, the most realistic of pirate films made to date. Substantially more so than, say, 'Pirates of the Caribbean'--which dazzles with special effects, but displays little understanding of the historical period.

The Jerry Bruckheimer film appears visually influenced by Barbara Cartland novels, and, like most pirate films, depicts Port Royal unrealistically. I cannot vouch for exactly what Port Royal looked like a few centuries ago--considering that it was destroyed once by an earthquake in 1692, and burned a decade later---but it's doubtful that it resembled a quaint cliff side tourist retreat in the Grenadines. In Captain Blood, Port Royal is seen as flat and sandy, with colonial Spanish buildings. This is more authentic; the real-life city was a captured Spanish colony built on a sandpit.

Similarly, in most respects Captain Blood is carefully constructed, and does not resort to the hackneyed and often silly stunts seen in most pirate films.....such as exploding buildings with gunpowder (for no particular reason), searching for buried treasure, Twentieth Century-style fistfights (and karate-kicks), female pirates in every ship's crew, anorexic women in ruffled skirts who kick ass, etc.

In terms of characterization, Captain Blood is a tour-de-force, depicting the practice of white slavery (quite common in the colonial era) and the escape of Blood's slave band to become a crew of buccaneers. He is pursued by his former slave owner, an insolent, hateful man named Bishop, as a matter of personal grudge. As opposed to the usual cops-and-robbers chase scenes with British soldiers we see in most pirate shows. (In real-life Caribbean colonies, privateers and pirates were often ignored by the authorities..if not,in fact,quietly encouraged behind the scenes.)

The ships in Captain Blood also move like real ships (slowly, and by wind power only), and the final battle sequence between Blood's galleon and a French Frigate is extraordinarily vivid, especially considering the special effects used when the original film was made (1935).

As with many pictures from the 1930s, the film is chock-filled with corny characters who provide "color", but in so doing, still leave a more lasting impression than modern-day characters who do nothing but grunt, sweat, and bleed.

This is a stunning and very likable action film--and head and shoulders above all other Hollywood pirate movies.

Perhaps the next Johnny Depp film will get it right, and surpass Captain Blood..but I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen.


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