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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.



2,741 ( 231)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Roberts
Mrs. Roberts
Will Adamsdale ...
Ike Hamilton ...
Stephen Moore ...


"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


1 Boat. 8 DJs. No Morals. 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:




| |


Release Date:

13 November 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pirate Radio  »

Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,804,773 (UK) (3 April 2009)


$7,994,115 (USA) (1 January 2010)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| | (as dts)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This film is very loosely based on Radio Caroline, a popular pirate radio ship with a similar history and style. It was director Richard Curtis's intention to weave a fictional story around the many pirate stations of that era, rather than base the story on a factual story. See more »


In one scene, some of the DJs are clinging to the rail on the deck of the sinking ship to keep from sliding down the deck. In a later scene, three of the DJs are standing upright in the studio and not leaning like they would be if the ship were sinking at a 45 degree angle. Also, the water in the studio is level as if the ship were sinking levelly. See more »


Quentin: So... expelled?
'Young' Carl: That's right.
Quentin: What for?
'Young' Carl: I suppose smoking was the clincher.
Quentin: Drugs or cigarettes?
'Young' Carl: Well, both.
Quentin: Well done! Proud of you. So your mum sent you here in the hope that a little bracing sea air would sort you out?
'Young' Carl: Something like that.
Quentin: Spectacular mistake.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is an additional scene after the credits have ended. See more »


Referenced in The Kevin Bishop Show: Episode #2.4 (2009) See more »


The Wind Cries Mary
Written by Jimi Hendrix
Performed by Jimi Hendrix
Courtesy of Experience Hendrix LLC/MCA Records Inc
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A good-humoured and moving British comedy as a tribute to pop-rock
18 June 2009 | by (Italy) – See all my reviews

If you think of "Four weddings and a Funeral" or "Notting Hill", you will be a little disappointed, being here the overall tone not so brilliant, dialogues not so sparkling, however, the both humorous and moving atmosphere of Richard Curtis's comedies is still recognizable.

I think the real protagonist in "The boat that rocked" is music, that sound pop-rock that in the 60's began to move the world, and to be opposed by the establishment as a dangerous weapon in the hands of the multitudes, as a threat to a well consolidated but no longer valid system. Among unreal situations, a totally-lacking plot, among odd and eccentric characters, what only matters is that power of music to revive one's spirits, to give voice to the most uncontrolled, animal, ancestral instincts of man. And thus becomes, in my opinion, the most vivid scene that of those hundreds of records floating on the water, the symbol of a generation, of an era that was then ready to explode, and that no strict establishment could have wiped away, even once illegal radio stations were shut down.

No revolutionary message is conveyed: it's a good-humoured and at intervals melancholic tribute to a generation who, maybe ingenuously, but deeply, and truly believed in out of time-values, friendship, respect, love, and believed that music was a strong, and powerfully effective means to convey them. Even if you don't belong to that generation, each of us has experienced, one or more times in one's life, the communion of a piece of music with the most sensitive chords of our soul: it's about something emotional, but also physical and that's what the director just wants to celebrate.

If you are fond of music, or simply you have once in your life been moved by a song, you will like this movie, or at least enjoy it for what it is, without the necessity of too much criticism.

56 of 88 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Recent Posts
Where are the Beatles? practicalhope
I really enjoyed this movie...until... onepimptiger
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Stuff taken out for US release JimF29
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What album does Carl's Dad Save? jaytosh522
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