IMDb > The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)
The Devil-Ship Pirates
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The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964) More at IMDbPro »


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6.1/10   367 votes »
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Down 9% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)
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Release Date:
May 1964 (USA) See more »
A Hot-Blooded Crew of Cut-Throats!
A damaged privateer deserts the Spanish Armada and makes land for repairs near a village on the British coast, terrorizing the local inhabitants. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
The pirate version of Went the Day Well? See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Christopher Lee ... Captain Robeles
Andrew Keir ... Tom, Harry's father
John Cairney ... Harry
Duncan Lamont ... The Bosun
Michael Ripper ... Pepe, a pirate
Ernest Clark ... Sir Basil Smeeton
Barry Warren ... Don Manuel Rodriguez de Savilla

Suzan Farmer ... Angela Smeeton
Natasha Pyne ... Jane, Harry's sister
Annette Whiteley ... Meg
Charles Houston ... Pirate
Philip Latham ... Miller
Harry Locke ... Bragg
Leonard Fenton ... Pirate
Jack Rodney ... Mandrake
Barry Linehan ... Gustavo, a pirate
Bruce Beeby ... Pedro, a pirate
Michael Peake ... Grande, a pirate
Johnny Briggs ... Pablo, a pirate
Michael Newport ... 'Smiler', a boy
Peter Howell ... Vicar Brown
Jane Ellis ... Mrs. Blake
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bill Brandon ... Pirate (uncredited)
Joseph O'Conor ... Don Jose Margella (uncredited)

Directed by
Don Sharp 
Writing credits
Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)

Produced by
Anthony Nelson Keys .... producer
Original Music by
Gary Hughes 
Cinematography by
Michael Reed (director of photography)
Film Editing by
James Needs 
Production Design by
Bernard Robinson 
Art Direction by
Don Mingaye 
Makeup Department
Roy Ashton .... make-up artist
Frieda Steiger .... hair stylist
Production Management
Don Weeks .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Bert Batt .... assistant director
Sound Department
Roy Hyde .... sound editor
Ken Rawkins .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Les Bowie .... special effects
Peter Diamond .... fight arranger
Camera and Electrical Department
Alan Hall .... camera operator
Anthony B. Richmond .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Rosemary Burrows .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
James Needs .... supervising editor
Music Department
John Hollingsworth .... musical supervisor
Other crew
R.C.S. Garwood .... sailing master (as Capt. R.C.S. Garwood)
Pauline Harlow .... continuity (as Pauline Wise)

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
86 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Did You Know?

The film takes place in August 1588.See more »
Anachronisms: The naval battle depicted in the opening credits sequence, purported to be a battle involving the Spanish Armada in 1588, and which is obviously stock footage from some other film, includes wooden naval vessels and, more glaringly, naval attire from a much later period, late-18th Century at least.See more »
Harry:They're Spaniards! I know their stink!See more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
The pirate version of Went the Day Well?, 19 May 2012
Author: Spikeopath from United Kingdom

Or The Eagle Has Landed...

Out of Hammer Film Productions, The Devil-Ship Pirates is directed by Don Sharp and written by Jimmy Sangster. Filmed in Eastman Colour and Megascope, it stars Christopher Lee, John Cairney, Barry Warren, Suzanne Farmer, Natasha Pyne, Andrew Keir, Philip Latham and Michael Ripper. Music is by Gary Hughes and cinematography by Michael Reed.

July 1588. In the English Channel the British Fleet has been battling for two days against the mighty Spanish Armada.....

Badly damaged, with half their crews killed, the ships of Spain battle their way up the Channel. And in the thickest part of the fighting is one of the smallest Spanish ships – the licensed privateer Diablo.

OK, so it's practically a landlocked pirate film, with the water antics confined to the running a ground of the Diablo ship up some English estuary. Yet this should not detract from the good old swashbuckling fun available in this Hammer pirate adventure. Premise basically sees Christopher Lee's band of pirates take control of a remote English village by the sea, they achieve this by telling them that Spain has triumphed in the war and Blighty is under Spanish rule. With most of the village men out fighting the war, there are only a few English guys around and the village is mostly populated by ladies. Some of the village citizens are far from enamoured with the Spaniards being in control, others are a bit more compliant. Something's going to give if the truth will out.

With sets used from The Scarlet Blade the previous year, production value is hardly high. But as is often the case with Hammer, you can't really tell as the film is vibrant in colour and costuming. Great cast assembled as well. Lee hardly stretches himself but is most enjoyable to watch swishing a blade and generally being a miserable tyrant. Around Lee are a roll call of stoic Hammer performers, with Ripper (getting a meatier role than usual), Keir, Cairney, Warren and Farmer leaving telling marks. The script slips in some cynicism via a couple of weasel village elders, and there's class distinction in here as well, while much heroic interest is garnered by having Cairney's resistance leader as being lame in one arm on account of a previous scuffle with the Spanish. A true hero!

Much of the budget went on the construction of The Diablo ship. It was a ship that went down in Hammer folklore as a pain in the derrière. Such was the bad craftsmanship it often caused accidents, while it also capsized and cost the production a number of cameras and equipment. For the finale in the film the ship is seen ablaze, that's real, they gladly burnt it! But it's a great prop and is well used by Sharp. The director also handles his action sequences well enough, with three solid sword fights of note, one of which is played out in and around a marshy bog. But any expectation of Lee and co being Tyrone Power like will only lead to disappointment. Elsewhere, Reed's Eastman Colour photography is mostly rich and vibrant, though a bit lifeless around the water scenes and Hughes scores it plainly with standard Hammer strains.

It has many flaws, obviously for a low budgeted Hammer yarn; for one thing the Spanish invaders are more British than the villagers! But this is still very good genre film making, not a dull moment to be had in what is a classic Sunday afternoon adventure. 7/10

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