241 user 192 critic

Pirate Radio (2009)

The Boat That Rocked (original title)
2:20 | Trailer
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.


Richard Curtis


Richard Curtis
4,153 ( 190)
2 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Hadley Michael Hadley ... Mr. Roberts
Charlie Rowe ... James
Lucy Fleming ... Mrs. Roberts
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... The Count
Tom Sturridge ... Carl
Ian Mercer ... Transfer Boatman
Bill Nighy ... Quentin
Will Adamsdale ... News John
Tom Brooke ... Thick Kevin
Rhys Darby ... Angus Nutsford
Nick Frost ... Dave
Katherine Parkinson ... Felicity
Chris O'Dowd ... Simon
Ike Hamilton ... Harold
Stephen Moore ... Prime Minister


This movie is an ensemble comedy in which the romance takes place between the young people of the 1960s 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 (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a big, brash, American god of the airwaves; Quentin (Bill Nighy), 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 (Rhys Ifans), the greatest DJ in Britain who has just returned from his drug tour of America to reclaim his rightful position; Dave (Nick Frost), 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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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


The dartboard used by characters in the film is shown as branded 'Winmau'. Winmau branded dartboards were not manufactured until 1973, some years after the period in which the film is set. See more »


Dave: Walk this way.
Simon: Don't walk that way!
'Young' Carl: I'm just gonna...
Simon: Walk woodpecker way.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

US distributor, Universal have chosen to re-title the film as "Pirate Radio" and release it under Focus Features in US territories. This new version will be edited for length by director Richard Curtis after some European reviewers cited its 135 minute running time as a factor in its diminished success. See more »


References Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006) See more »


For Your Love
Written by Graham Gouldman
Performed by The Yardbirds
Courtesy of Giorgio Gomelsky
Under license from Licensemusic.com ApS
See more »

User Reviews

Uplifting, above all else
17 July 2015 | by LieneMikSee all my reviews

Entertaining. Hilarious. Cheesy at moments and not always historically accurate, but so uplifting! A solid feel-good film. That's how I would describe „The Boat that Rocked". The film is set in the late 60s and its story follows young Carl, who is sentenced by his mom to go live on a ship, where his uncle works. As he steps on board, he takes a spin on a carousel ride that will flip his life upside down. The ship shelters an illegal radio station, its eccentric DJs and a few other, but, just as important, characters. As Richard Curtis is a well known director, he's managed to gather one of the most exceptional casts I've seen for a while. Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Nick Frost add another great performance to their list of already impeccable work. Tom Sturridge, supposedly the main character of the film, is a new discovery. You can see that the cast had great fun filming this movie. The one thing that makes this ride truly rock is the music. If you haven't fallen in love with the 60s music, you will after this film. The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, Leonard Cohen, The Who and Jimi Hendrix, these are just a few of the artists which form its amazing soundtrack. Many diss this film for its historical inaccuracies, for the partly anachronistic music that is used. This film is flawed, no doubt. There is no revolutionary message hidden in it or a strong plot. And it weirdly consists of mainly subplots. Despite all that, the film makes you want to join the cast dancing on board. It is a film of friendship and love. It is lighthearted and makes you smile like a dork even at the cheesiest moments. Even its very predictable ending doesn't take away much of that. I dare to say that this film will give energy to both the young and the old. Do not watch it for the plot or in search for accurate facts. Watch it for the characters and the emotions. Just lay back and enjoy the party.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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UK | France | Germany



Release Date:

13 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pirate Radio See more »


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,904,380, 15 November 2009

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS (as dts)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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