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The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,298 users  
Reviews: 50 user | 7 critic

This movie is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name, with parts of other of their operettas stirred in. Frederic has fallen in love with sweet innocent ... See full summary »

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Title: The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Ruth
Linda Ronstadt ...
Mabel
George Rose ...
...
Tony Azito ...
Sergeant
David Hatton ...
Samuel
Stephen Hanan ...
Samuel (singing) (voice)
Anthony Arundell ...
Pirate
John Asquith ...
Pirate
Mohamed Aazzi ...
Pirate
...
Pirate
Ross Davidson ...
Pirate
Mike Grady ...
Pirate
Simon Howe ...
Pirate
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Storyline

This movie is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name, with parts of other of their operettas stirred in. Frederic has fallen in love with sweet innocent Mabel. Yet his vocation is an impediment to their union. Perhaps the situation can be rectified by his old nurse, Ruth, who made a dreadful blunder years before. A highlight is the song/dance A Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The swashbuckling adventure. The fabulous fun. The rollicking romance. See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

18 February 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I pirati di Penzance  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's failure at the box office had nothing to do with the reviews, which were often quite positive. The real problem lay with Universal's decision to release the film simultaneously to SelectTV and to theaters. Theater owners were so angry that they boycotted the film; in the end, a grand total of 92 theaters agreed to show it, and it enjoyed a long run at only one of them (in Washington, DC, where it became a cult success and played several weeks). See more »

Goofs

As the Sergeant does a backbend while Mabel sings to him, the position of his hand on his chest keeps changing between shots (as opposed to the actual movement prescribed by the choreography). See more »

Quotes

Samuel: I can explain in two words: we propose to marry your daughters.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Jeopardy!: Episode #26.117 (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Take Heart .... Take Mine
27 September 2007 | by (Vulcan) – See all my reviews

I fell in love with Linda Ronstadt the first time I saw this film in 1983. I also fell in love with Angela Lansbury and, perhaps even Kevin Kline.

This fantastical, comedic, interpretation of the wonderful Gilbert and Sullivan musical updates the music, the humor, and performance, while actually enhancing the theatrical quality of the original play and leaving the plot, characters, and script largely intact.

The film feels like an exciting, quite silly, and very fun play seen from the best possible angles on an elaborate but very stagy set. The actors intentionally overact - as if their most subtle movements must be seen by an audience in a three story balcony. The music is also somewhat overblown, but absolutely wonderful. Did I mention Linda Ronstadt? Her vocal performance is frankly unbelievable! She might not be much of an actress, but acting talent was really not required for the role of Maybelle.

The story is about Frederick (Rex Smith), a young man who has just left his indenture under the flamboyant, somewhat unsuccessful and soft-hearted 'Pirate King' (Kline) and his band of fairly inoffensive ruffians. Vowing to slay his beloved friend to atone for the sins he probably did not commit during his indenture, Frederick leaves his doomed friends and comes ashore, only to fall immediately in love with Maybelle, but the pirates are only a few steps behind him.

The entire story is told with very minimal dialog and a lot of great music, slapstick, and camp. The voices are cast perfectly, and Kline's physical performance is nothing short of amazing.

What can I say? I've just watched 'Pirates' again after a hiatus of about 18 years, and the old magic came back immediately. I love this film, and heartily recommend it to all. Not everybody will feel as I do, but I can't even attempt objectivity in reviewing this film.

Enjoy!


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