7.4/10
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223 user 188 critic

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.

Director:

Richard Curtis

Writer:

Richard Curtis
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Popularity
2,025 ( 19)
1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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 Ike Hamilton ... Harold
Stephen Moore Stephen Moore ... Prime Minister
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Storyline

This movie 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

Taglines:

On air. Off shore. Out of control. See more »

Genres:

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 »
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Details

Country:

UK | Germany | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 November 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pirate Radio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,804,773 (United Kingdom), 5 April 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,904,380, 15 November 2009, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$7,994,115, 1 January 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS | DTS (as dts)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene with Midnight Mark and all of his naked groupies (cut from the U.S. release) is an homage to the U.K. album cover of Jimi Hendrix's album "Electric Ladyland", even down to the placement of the girls. See more »

Goofs

Right after the boat starts to sink, Felicity is shown putting her hand down twice right after everyone is told to be honest as to whether they love Angus or not. See more »

Quotes

Angus: The way I look at it, the world couldn't survive without my comedy, and who's going to have the moral backbone to play the Seekers when the mood is right?
Dave: They've split up.
Angus: I intend to celebrate the back catalogue.
Dave: I intend to stop you doing so.
Mark: [silently stands up and lights a cigarette]
Simon: As some of you know, my wife left me after 17 hours of marriage, but I survived that because I live for music. And now, with nothing else to live for, I'm willing to die for it as well.
'On-The-Hour' John: I've always lived for ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film is dedicated to all who worked and broadcast on the pirate stations - all those wonderful years, all day and all of the night. 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 »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

I Feel Free
(1966) (uncredited)
Music by Jack Bruce
Lyrics by Pete Brown
Performed by Cream
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Good, honest fun.
14 April 2009 | by Baldrick44See all my reviews

Richard Curtis' first 'non romantic comedy film' is really another romantic comedy film- it's just that the romantic bit gets swamped within 20 other sub-plots so you try and not notice.

The Boat That Rocked sees Carl ( Tom Surridge ) go aboard Radio Rock- a pirate radio station owned by Quentin ( Bill Nighy ) whose DJ's (Phillip Semour Hoffman, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Chris O' Dowd, Rhys Darby, etc. ) broadcast 24-hour rock and roll music to the UK. They are adored by the populace but hated by the government, including the Minister of Communications ( Kenneth Branagh ) and his chief subordinate ( Jack Davenport ) who aim to shut them down.

If that was the extent of the plot then it would probably be a 100 mins film. However the Boat That Rocked has so many little sub-plots- many seeming like excuses to put in another montage or cameo cast appearance that the time has ballooned out to 154mins and it does tell at times. Furthermore, while Richard Curtis is entitled to look back on these days with an air of nostalgia, he sometimes seems to get a little too weepy eyed with the story.

But these faults are more than made up for in the performances; all of which are good- and some are outstanding. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's Count is a lovable character who approaches everything with great gusto, while Chris O' Dowd's Simple Simon has a wonderful part in the middle section of the movie which brings a little bit of emotion to what is a pretty emotionally vacant movie. Nick Frost is cheeky as Dr Dave and finally Rhys Darby- fresh from Flight of the Conchords- simply shines in his role as the unpopular and daggy Angus who nonetheless gets arguably the best line in the whole movie.

Overall the Boat That Rocked is silly and entertaining fun. It does get overweight by a looong script, but the soundtrack and the cast are good enough to carry it through.


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