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Pirate Radio (2009)

The Boat That Rocked (original title)
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A band of rogue DJs that captivated Britain, playing the music that defined a generation and standing up to a government that wanted classical music, and nothing else, on the airwaves.



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1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Hadley ...
Mr. Roberts
Mrs. Roberts
Transfer Boatman
Will Adamsdale ...
Ike Hamilton ...
Stephen Moore ...
Prime Minister


"The Boat That Rocked" is an ensemble comedy in which the romance takes place between the young people of the '60s and pop music. It's about a band of rogue DJs that captivated Britain, playing the music that defined a generation and standing up to a government that wanted classical music, and nothing else, on the airwaves. The Count, a big, brash, American god of the airwaves; Quentin, the boss of Radio Rock -- a pirate radio station in the middle of the North Sea that's populated by an eclectic crew of rock and roll DJs; Gavin, the greatest DJ in Britain who has just returned from his drug tour of America to reclaim his rightful position; Dave, an ironic, intelligent and cruelly funny co-broadcaster; and a fearsome British government official out for blood against the drug takers and lawbreakers of a once-great nation. Written by Production office

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They rocked. They rolled. Then they sank. See more »


Comedy | Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, and some sexual content including brief nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

13 November 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pirate Radio  »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,804,773 (United Kingdom), 5 April 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,904,380, 15 November 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,994,115, 1 January 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (as dts)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Davenport was also in Pirates of the Caribbean See more »


When the police motor out to the ship, the Avon rigid-hulled inflatables they use were not developed until much later. See more »


Quentin: Gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. Which would you prefer?
Thick Kevin: Good news.
Quentin: Okay. The good news is the engine has exploded and we're all going to die.
Dave: Hello, Dr Dave, Radio Rock. How is that good news?
Quentin: I haven't yet told you how we're going to die. That's the bad news.
Simon: How are we gonna die?
Quentin: We're going to drown in the freezing waters of the North Sea.
Felicity: Dearie me.
Quentin: There is a huge hole in the side of the boat and in an unfortunate development, it transpires that the lifeboats are ...
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Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to all who worked and broadcast on the pirate stations - all those wonderful years, all day and all of the night. See more »


Featured in Great Movie Mistakes 2: The Sequel (2011) See more »


With a Girl Like You
Written by Reg Presley
Performed by The Troggs
Courtesy of Mercury Records Limited
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Good, honest fun.
14 April 2009 | by See all my reviews

Richard Curtis' first 'non romantic comedy film' is really another romantic comedy film- it's just that the romantic bit gets swamped within 20 other sub-plots so you try and not notice.

The Boat That Rocked sees Carl ( Tom Surridge ) go aboard Radio Rock- a pirate radio station owned by Quentin ( Bill Nighy ) whose DJ's (Phillip Semour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Chris O' Dowd, Rhys Darby, etc. ) broadcast 24-hour rock and roll music to the UK. They are adored by the populace but hated by the government, including the Minister of Communications ( Kenneth Branagh ) and his chief subordinate ( Jack Davenport ) who aim to shut them down.

If that was the extent of the plot then it would probably be a 100 mins film. However the Boat That Rocked has so many little sub-plots- many seeming like excuses to put in another montage or cameo cast appearance that the time has ballooned out to 154mins and it does tell at times. Furthermore, while Richard Curtis is entitled to look back on these days with an air of nostalgia, he sometimes seems to get a little too weepy eyed with the story.

But these faults are more than made up for in the performances; all of which are good- and some are outstanding. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Count is a lovable character who approaches everything with great gusto, while Chris O' Dowd's Simple Simon has a wonderful part in the middle section of the movie which brings a little bit of emotion to what is a pretty emotionally vacant movie. Nick Frost is cheeky as Dr Dave and finally Rhys Darby- fresh from Flight of the Conchords- simply shines in his role as the unpopular and daggy Angus who nonetheless gets arguably the best line in the whole movie.

Overall the Boat That Rocked is silly and entertaining fun. It does get overweight by a looong script, but the soundtrack and the cast are good enough to carry it through.

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