529 user 491 critic

Captain Phillips (2013)

2:02 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.



(screenplay), (based upon the book "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea" by) | 1 more credit »
1,066 ( 137)
Nominated for 6 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 138 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Cast Away (2000)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A FedEx executive must transform himself physically and emotionally to survive a crash landing on a deserted island.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Paul Sanchez
The Terminal (2004)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An eastern immigrant finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chi McBride
Apollo 13 (1995)
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

NASA must devise a strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft undergoes massive internal damage putting the lives of the three astronauts on board in jeopardy.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon
Action | Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Navy S.E.A.L. sniper Chris Kyle's pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield and turns him into a legend. Back home to his wife and kids after four tours of duty, however, Chris finds that it is the war he can't leave behind.

Director: Clint Eastwood
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Kyle Gallner
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A murder inside the Louvre and clues in Da Vinci paintings lead to the discovery of a religious mystery protected by a secret society for two thousand years -- which could shake the foundations of Christianity.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Audrey Tautou, Jean Reno
Gravity (2013)
Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Ed Harris
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Author P.L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.

Director: John Lee Hancock
Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Annie Rose Buckley
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A struggling salesman takes custody of his son as he's poised to begin a life-changing professional endeavor.

Director: Gabriele Muccino
Stars: Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith
Blood Diamond (2006)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The true story of Frank Abagnale Jr. who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned millions of dollars' worth of checks as a Pan Am pilot, doctor, and legal prosecutor.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works to solve a murder and prevent a terrorist act against the Vatican.

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Tom Hanks, Ewan McGregor, Ayelet Zurer
Philadelphia (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When a man with AIDS is fired by his law firm because of his condition, he hires a homophobic small time lawyer as the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit.

Director: Jonathan Demme
Stars: Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Roberta Maxwell


Cast overview, first billed only:
SEAL Commander
Mohamed Ali ...
Issak Farah Samatar ...


Captain Phillips is a multi-layered examination of the 2009 hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a crew of Somali pirates. It is - through director Paul Greengrass's distinctive lens - simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller, and a complex portrait of the myriad effects of globalization. The film focuses on the relationship between the Alabama's commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips (two time Academy Award®-winner Tom Hanks), and the Somali pirate captain, Muse (Barkhad Abdi), who takes him hostage. Phillips and Muse are set on an unstoppable collision course when Muse and his crew target Phillips' unarmed ship; in the ensuing standoff, 145 miles off the Somali coast, both men will find themselves at the mercy of forces beyond their control. Written by Sony Pictures Entertainment

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Out here survival is everything

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sustained intense sequences of menace, some violence with bloody images, and for substance use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »




Release Date:

11 October 2013 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Captain's Duty  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$55,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$25,718,314 (USA) (11 October 2013)


$107,100,855 (USA) (28 February 2014)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Acting debut for all four of the main Somali Pirates. See more »


Captain Phillips unberths and leaves port all by himself. In reality, there would be a local pilot on board giving steering and engine commands which the captain then repeats to his bridge crew. See more »


[first lines]
Andrea Phillips: Okay.
[Andrea and Richard get in car and start driving]
Andrea Phillips: You all right?
Captain Richard Phillips: Yeah.
Andrea Phillips: You'd think these trips would get easier, but it's just the opposite.
Captain Richard Phillips: Well, I feel the same way, Ange.
Andrea Phillips: I know this is what we do. This is our life. But it just seems like... the world is moving so fast... right now things are changing so much.
Captain Richard Phillips: They sure are. I'll tell you something. It's not gonna be easy for our kids. They'll be going into a different world than the one you and I came into.
See more »


Featured in Film 2016: Episode dated 26 February 2014 (2014) See more »


Up in Here
Written by Kovas (as Kovasciar Myvette)
Performed by Kovas (as KOVAS)
Courtesy of Downtown Music Services
By arrangement with Infinite Rhythm
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Near the top of the Hanks ladder
10 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on true events, Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips is the rarest of thrillers, the kind that relies on neither distracting special effects nor circumspect character development. Driven by a powerful, soul-baring performance by the inimitable Tom Hanks, the movie never lags, never oversells the plight of its characters, never reduces anyone or anything to mere caricature.

Hanks is the titular captain of the United States container ship MV Maersk Alabama, cruising along the coast of Somalia with a full load and heading toward the horn of Africa. Two skiffloads of armed Somalis close in, ready to board the vessel. They're pirates, working for a warlord in their impoverished country, and they smell opportunity.

If this were a standard action flick, we might see the heroism of Phillips and his motley crew as they fight the evil pirates and save the world. It's not so here. There are nuances afoot; for once, we get the perspective of the lead pirate (Barkhad Abdi) without falling into the easy trap of feeling empathy toward him.

The pirates board the giant ship, clearly pleased with their find. Muse (Abdi) quickly proves himself to be a strong, humanistic leader; he's single minded (where's the crew? where's the goods?) but not sinister. His gang includes a strong man with a quick temper and Muse's own relative, who'd begged to come along on the mission - a mission that, when successful, would go a long way to improving their lives.

The movie is told in two distinct halves: the time spent by the pirates on the Maersk as they search in vain for treasure and crew, and the time spent in the ship's lifeboat as they make their way to Somalia. The villains are conflicted and desperate. And armed. But they're quickly immersed in an impossible situation.

This is one of the toughest, most naked performances of Hanks' stellar career. It's sometimes painful and heart wrenching to watch. He's an Everyman, per usual, but he's not also a savior or a hero. He doesn't suddenly develop super strength and overpower the bad guys. He's just a guy in charge of a boat and its passengers.

Matching him wit for wit while frantically trying to keep his own wits about him is Abdi as the skinny, intelligent Muse, seemingly a veteran of high piracy (though not against huge container ships). Abdi is a wonder to watch; unpredictable and cunning but a little greedy and rapidly running out of viable options. Truly a talent to look out for, Abdi nails this role.

The ending is predictable only in the most general sense. Bill Ray's screenplay does not duck some plausible consequences to the actions of each main player and leaves us with a scene that is as emotionally overpowering as anything in Hanks' previous Philadelphia.

It seems that every time Tom Hanks makes a good movie, people begin to label it as "Oscar bait," as if the movie were created just as a vehicle to earn an award. Captain Phillips delivers a tight, action-packed story fraught with none of the usual missteps of the genre, and if it is indeed rewarded with the highest of honors, it will be well deserved.

234 of 294 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why the hell.... lisalake17-918-459492
All about american superiority.... Wiserommer
Captain Phillips is reponsible for what happened to him SevyGee
Up to how many kidnappers are we ok to kill, to save one innocent life? LetoMoon
Very Touching moment by Navy Medic imdbmovie
Has Hanks done a bad movie? no54
Discuss Captain Phillips (2013) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: