A group of ruthless pirates attack a seventeenth century Huguenot settlement on the Isle of Devon in search of treasure and will stop at nothing to obtain it.


John Gilling


John Hunter (screenplay by), John Gilling (screenplay by) | 1 more credit »





Complete credited cast:
Kerwin Mathews ... Jonathon Standing
Glenn Corbett ... Henry
Christopher Lee ... Capt. LaRoche
Peter Arne ... Hench - a Pirate
Marla Landi ... Bess Standing
Oliver Reed ... Brocaire - a Pirate
Andrew Keir ... Jason Standing
Michael Ripper ... Mack - a Pirate
David Lodge ... Smith
Dennis Waterman ... Timothy Blackthorne
Jack Stewart Jack Stewart ... Godfrey Mason
Lorraine Clewes Lorraine Clewes ... Martha Blackthorne
Jerold Wells ... Penal Colony Master


In a village of Huguenot refugees, Jonathon Standing is exiled by his father to a nearby penal colony for his improper relationship with a married woman. This penal colony is then invaded by pirates who force Jonathan to lead them back to his village, convinced that it contains a great treasure. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Ransacking a lost tropic island... for a fabulous idol of gold!


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Did You Know?


This movie was originally given an "X" certificate for its cinema release by U.K. censor John Trevelyan. "Hammer" then decided they wanted an "A" certificate, so it was trimmed of violence with heavy cuts to the killing of Maggie by piranhas. After reconsidering again, "Hammer" decided to settle for a "U" certificate, so further cuts were made which edited all of the piranha scenes, the blindfolded sword-fight, the attack on the farm, a shot of a hanged man's legs, and the overdubbing of words such as "harlot" and "adulterer". See more »


Piranha fish do not behave as depicted (instantly approaching and quickly devouring any large creatures which enter water near them). That is a myth. See more »


Jonathon Standing: This was going to e a peaceful mission!
Captain LaRoche: Indeed, it was. Unfortunately, human nature is apt to determine where peace ends and strife begins.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: At the end of the seventeenth century, men, women and children voyaged far from their mother country, seeking some haven from persecution.

They were known as the Huguenots. They found their haven and called it the Isle of Devon, and gave thanks to God for their deliverance.

But in years to come, the just laws of the Colony began to yield to greed and tyranny.

Happiness became an echo of the past. Freedom-just a memory. See more »


Referenced in Matinee (1993) See more »

User Reviews

A Ship! My kingdom for a ship!
14 January 2016 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

"Pirates of Blood River" starts out quite promising and exhilarating, to say the least… On a strictly Protestant island community, a young man and an adulterous woman are caught in the act by the woman's husband and the isle's ruler (who's also the young man's father). The petrified girl flees and jumps into a river where she instantly gets devoured by thousands of piranhas, while the man – Jonathan Standing – is exiled to a neighboring prison island for hard labor. He quickly escapes from there but then literally bumps into the eye-patched captain La Roche (Hammer deity Christopher Lee) and his motley pirate crew. They force Standing to lead them to his native island, as La Roche is obsessed with stealing the huge golden treasure that is allegedly hidden somewhere there. As many of my fellow reviewers already righteously pointed out, the most remarkable thing about these "pirates" of Blood River is that they don't have a ship! Sure there are some vague stock footage images of random ships in the distance and a couple of scenes with constructed cabin sets near the beginning of the film, but apart from that everything takes place on land! I can't really fathom why, as the film got produced in the early sixties and thus after a period when Hammer Studios booked some tremendous successes already with grisly horror movies like "Curse of Frankenstein", "Horrors of Dracula" and "The Mummy". In other words, I reckon that Hammer should have had some budget to spend on building a ship, but clearly they didn't think it was absolutely necessary. Don't allow for this to spoil the fun, though, as there are definitely several memorable sequences to enjoy. Any film that features bloodthirsty piranhas receives an additional point in my personal book, and there are more cool scenes, for example the sword duel between two blindfolded pirates (one of them being the almighty Oliver Reed in one of his early Hammer roles) and nasty traps hidden all over the island. There's also a fun scene in which the pirates march through soiled water. Fun to watch, at least, because reportedly many of the actors – including Reed and Lee – suffered from unpleasant little injuries after filming this. "Pirates of Blood River" is by no means a mandatory Hammer must-see, but I warmly recommend it to fans of entertaining low-budget action flicks, pirate lovers and admirers of Christopher Lee.

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Release Date:

August 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die Piraten am Todesfluss See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (photographed in) (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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