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The Devil-Ship Pirates (1964)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Thriller | May 1964 (USA)
A damaged privateer deserts the Spanish Armada and makes land for repairs near a village on the British coast, terrorizing the local inhabitants.


Don Sharp


Jimmy Sangster (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Christopher Lee ... Captain Robeles
Andrew Keir ... Tom
John Cairney ... Harry
Duncan Lamont ... The Bosun
Michael Ripper ... Pepe
Ernest Clark ... Sir Basil
Barry Warren Barry Warren ... Manuel
Suzan Farmer ... Angela
Natasha Pyne Natasha Pyne ... Jane
Annette Whiteley Annette Whiteley ... Meg
Charles Houston ... Antonio
Philip Latham ... Miller
Harry Locke Harry Locke ... Bragg
Leonard Fenton Leonard Fenton ... Quintana
Jack Rodney Jack Rodney ... Mandrake


A pirate ship, fighting in 1588 on the side of the Spanish Armada, suffers damage and must put into a village on the British coast for repairs. The village is small and isolated and the Spanish convince the villagers that the English fleet has been defeated and that they, the Spanish, are now their masters. This results in the villagers' sullen cooperation, but rumors and unrest begin to spread and soon the Spanish pirates find themselves facing a revolt. Written by dinky-4 of Minneapolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Hot-Blooded Crew of Cut-Throats!


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The film takes place in August 1588. See more »


The naval battle depicted in the opening credits sequence, purported to be a battle involving the Spanish Armada in 1588, and which is obviously stock footage from some other film, includes wooden naval vessels and, more glaringly, naval attire from a much later period, late-18th Century at least. See more »


The Bosun: [Referring to the Spanish attache] He's still alive!
Captain Robeles: Throw him overboard!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: July 1588

In the English Channel the British Fleet has been battling for two days against the mighty Spanish Armada....

Badly damaged, with half their crews killed, the ships of Spain battle their way on up the Channel. And in the thickest part of the fighting is one of the smallest Spanish ships-the licensed privateer "Diablo". See more »

Alternate Versions

For its original UK cinema release the film was cut by the BBFC with edits to the fight in the tavern in order to receive a 'U' certificate. All later video releases were restored and uncut. See more »


Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Christopher Lee Performances (2015) See more »

User Reviews

Swashbuckling spin on Went the Day Well
7 May 2013 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

A great title, but THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES is not one of Hammer's best films - or, indeed, one of its best swashbuckler films. It's a singularly slow paced production that feels slightly lethargic, despite lots of incident in the plot and a storyline that works despite the absurdity of it all (think of it as a 16th century spin on WENT THE DAY WELL?). I think the main problem is that it all feels a bit genteel and twee, and never as genuinely menacing as it should be.

Still, even second-rate Hammer is still better than its rivals, and this is the kind of film to while away a rainy afternoon. It features typically lush and vibrant cinematography, that makes even the low budget sets look grand; some decent special effects, including a full-size ship; colourful costumes and a handful of good action scenes, too.

Towering over all is Christopher Lee as the chief pirate, a sinister Spaniard with a fine line in swordplay. Lee growls and barks his way through a pantomime performance as dastardly as Alan Rickman's in ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, and the film garners a lot of goodwill on the strength of his performance alone; he supplies at least half of the entertainment value.

As is usual with Hammer, part of the fun comes from spotting the familiar faces while watching. There are fairly meaty roles for Andrew Keir and Michael Ripper here, playing villager and pirate respectively, while Suzan Farmer (of Dracula, PRINCE OF DARKNESS and RASPUTIN, THE MAD MONK) once again finds herself menaced by Lee. THE DEVIL-SHIP PIRATES is no classic, but Hammer fans will enjoy it.

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Release Date:

May 1964 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Piratería diabólica See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)


Color (Eastman Color)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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