The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are one of the great modern movie classics of the action genre. They have everything an epic adventure story needs: a great score, witty banter, wonderful special effects, and a philosophical dialogue on the stifling nature of wearing a corset. It is one of those historical fantasy series that understands where history ends and fantasy begins, unapologetically weaving a narrative around the mercantilism of the East India Trading Company and the desperate high seas adventures during the Age of Sail that can still indulge in cursed Aztec gold, zombie monkeys, and summoning a kraken!
This series has spawned five films to date and generated a loyal fan base of swashbuckling audiences ready to board ship and ride along with the cast to see what adventures await on distant shores. Of course, no two fans can ever agree on any point. Is Captain Jack the better pirate or is Barbossa? Just how strict is the Code of the Brethren? Is Elizabeth Swann’s true love really Jack? Why is the you-know-what gone? While disagreement among fans might cause them to cross cutlasses and ready the cannons, there is a much easier solution to find the right answers. Just answer these questions, and based on what answers are given, we can pick the perfect film to be cast in with all the best moments of high seas adventure!
1Choose the best Captain.
Every crew needs a captain, and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has some fantastic captains to choose from. There’s the mad and incorrigible Jack Sparrow, the apple-loving Barbossa with his wide-brimmed hat, the cursed tentacle-faced Davy Jones, and the evil unliving Blackbeard. Choose the best captain to lead a crew over the high seas.
2Choose the preferred weapon: Swords or pistols?
The life of a pirate is full of daring adventure and countless perils. Whether a pirate is fighting off the merchant crews who insist on holding onto the treasure in their holds or clashing with a town’s garrison while pillaging along the shore, combat seems inevitable. Pick the best weapon for such work.
3How does Jack Sparrow live up to his reputation?
Jack Sparrow’s reputation follows him from port to port, not unlike the various crews of angry people seeking vengeance on him for various wrongs. When he first appeared in the films, he sailed into port standing atop the crow’s nest of an otherwise underwater vessel. He gets by on luck, wits, charm, and improvisation. How can his reputation best be summed up?
4Pick a cursed ship to sail
Curses abound upon the seas, and cursed ships traverse the briny tides. Two such bedevilled boats stand out in the series. First is the Black Pearl, a ship with black sails whose crew have been condemned to live forever after stealing Aztec gold. Then there’s the Flying Dutchman, whose crew live in terror of Davy Jones as they serve him for eons, transforming into immortal fish-people. Which cursed ship is preferable?
5Choose the more engaging of these swashbuckling characters.
The hero of the first film in the series is the young blacksmith Will Turner, who forges exquisite swords with which he practices three times a day. Then there’s Jack Sparrow, who stole the show so much that the rest of the series is really about his dreadlocked good lucks, madcap antics, and incredible adventures. Who is the more engaging character?
6What’s the most hospitable port of call?
The high seas make for great adventure, but one must make port every now and again to trade and resupply. Of the various port towns shown in the films, there is quite a bit of diversity from the rowdy crowds of Tortuga to the refined town of Port Royal, and from the judicial halls of London to the rich harbor of Singapore. Where’s the best place to make port?
7Who would win in a duel: Jack Sparrow or Barbossa?
Jack Sparrow is one the luckiest scallywags to ever hoist the colors or honor the code. He’s survived walking the plank—twice—and crossed sabers with some of the most experienced swordsmen to ever take to sea. Barbossa is a more refined fellow, but also more devious, and his blade has tasted the life of more victims than he count. Who’d win in a duel?
8How should pirates greet each other?
Pirates speak a tongue all their own, a mix of nautical slang, superstitious oaths, and scurrilous curses. Just as pirates stick to the Code that was set down by the Brethren Court, so too do they honor one another by the nature of their speech. Which of the following phrases is the best greeting for pirates to use with one another?
9Pick the best treasure.
There be plenty of treasure just waiting to be plundered by those brave enough to seek it. Of course, some of it is cursed, such as the Aztec gold that brought vengeance upon Cortes. Other items have almost no downside, such as Jack’s compass. Still others have far more complicated magics, like the Heart of Davy Jones and Trident of Poseidon. Choose the best of these rare treasures.
10Are Mermaids exotic beauties or horrible monsters?
Mermaids were first introduced into the pirates franchise in the fourth film, On Stranger Tides. These fish-tailed maids were lured to a small boat where one of the sailors had a beautiful singing voice. One of them surfaced from the water and offered a song of her own, which brought even more mermaids. Are mermaids beauties of the deep or are they something menacing?
11How many Pieces of 8 should be gathered?
The representatives of the different crews of the Brethren Court all came together during the movie At World’s End and produced one of their pieces of eight. Each captain presents a piece of eight—except that as the original Brethren Court were all broke when they met—the captains use symbolic items instead. How many pieces of eight should be presented at the Brethren Court?
12How should a pirate captain decorate his cabin?
A captain’s cabin should reflect his personality and the philosophy by which he rules. A captain who values riches might decorate his cabin with golden treasure and silk finery. On the other hook, one who has a reputation as a fearsome scourge of the seas might decorate their cabin with the skulls of fallen foes. What are the best cabin decorations?
13Thoughts on corsets?
One of the plot points in the first Pirates of the Caribbean film revolves around Elizabeth Swann wearing a corset for the special occasion of Norrington being made a Commodore. While she is assured it is the pinnacle of fashion in London, Elizabeth describes it best when she says “Women in London must have learnt not to breathe.” Which best describes corsets?
14What’s the preferable type of pirate prosthetic?
Pirates are known for their striking looks. Of course, someone who looks striking isn’t necessarily good looking. Eye patches, tattoos, and bad teeth are the least of their disfiguring marks. Many a pirate has lost their hand or leg when crossing blades with a foe. If given a choice, is it better to have a pegged leg or hooked hand?
15Is it better to serve on the Flying Dutchman or sink to Davy Jones' Locker?
Those sailors who come close to drowning at sea are given a choice: they can sink to a water underworld at the bottom of the deep known as Davy Jones' Locker, or else the cursed immortal captain Davy Jones can come for them and put these unfortunate souls to work as crew aboard his ship, the Flying Dutchman. Beware, for Jones is a cruel taskmaster. Which fate is preferable?
16Which judicial body is the more narrow-minded?
There are a number of courts and groups overseeing the different factions on the Seven Seas. Two of the most notable are His Majesty George’s set of laws based out of England, and the rulership of the Brethren Court, a confederacy of allied pirate captains from different corners of the globe. Neither organization is known for being the most understanding or fair in their justice. Which is the more narrow-minded group?
17Who is the more dangerous of these half-human villains?
Calypso and Davy Jones may both be villains, but each is a tragic character. When the two could not become lovers due to Jones’ curse and Calypso’s nature as a wanderer, they each became lost to one another in the midst of black magics. Which is the crueler of these villains who each lost their humanity?
18Which place would be most exciting to visit?
There are wondrous locales waiting to be discovered beyond the next horizon. Two of the most breath-taking places in the series were the Isla de Muerta seen in The Curse of the Black Pearl where Barbossa’s crew housed their heaps of treasure and the World’s End which was seen in the film of that name, where the world literally came to a sharp end. Which would be the more exciting place to visit?
19Who is the REAL hero in Curse of the Black Pearl?
The first film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise was The Curse of the Black Pearl. Despite Jack Sparrow being a smashing (and smashed) hit, he was actually a secondary character. The two protagonists were the young blacksmith Will Turner and the pirate-obsessed governor’s daughter, Elizabeth Swann. Which is the more interesting character?
20Who’s the better pirate?
In Curse of the Black Pearl, Jack and Will sail to Tortuga, where they pick up a new crew of Jack’s old acquaintances. Among them was Gibbs, a close friend of Jack’s who formerly served in the English Navy, and the capable female sailor Anamaria, who slaps Jack for having stolen her ship. Which is the better pirate?
21What should sailors fear the most?
The life of a pirate is a life of constant perils. Beyond weather and rival pirates crashing down in a fury of sea spray, there are horrible beasts lurking deep beneath the brine as well as the infamous cursed captain Davy Jones, who takes the doomed for his crew and condemns them to a life of eternal servitude. Which of these is the most fearsome threat?
22What’s the best way to fight on the high seas?
When sails are spotted on the waves, hoisting the colors of the Jolly Roger, it is inevitable that ships will engage in combat, clashing for spoils and for survival. There are two ways one can engage in a naval battle: either firing cannons at each other from a distance or else swinging on ropes to board a rival ship. Which is the better way to wage naval warfare?
23Who is the best female character in the Pirates franchise?
There are a number of great female leads throughout films, all femmes skilled in creating fatalities and damsels who can cause quite a bit of distress to their enemies. From Elizabeth Swann, the governor’s daughter turned pirate monarch, to Carina Smyth, the astute astrologer and horologist who is constantly mistaken for a witch and a wanton, there is no end to the number of capable female leads. Which of these makes for the best character?
24Choose the best piratical insult.
To talk like a pirate is not merely a matter of keeping portside separate from starboard and saying “Avast, matery.” A true pirate needs to swear like a sailor and keelhaul proper grammar so that it shreds against the barnacles of nautical slang. Which of these is the best pirate insult?
25Who’s the better steersman?
A ship’s coxswain might be the primary steersman, but every captain needs to be able to plot a bearing through calm seas or raging storms. The Caribbean islands are filled with many skilled sailors who can steer a vessel, but these two are particularly gifted behind the ship’s wheel. Which captain is the better at the wheel?
26Who’s funnier: bald-topped Pintel or one-eyed Ragetti?
These two comic characters debuted in the first Pirates film, serving on Barbossa’s crew. They have been in four of the five films so far, constantly bickering with each other. Pintel is a tad shorter with long hair and a bald top, while Ragetti is taller, lankier, and has a glass eye that doesn’t fit so keeps popping out of his face. Who is funnier?
27How strict is the Pirate’s Code?
The Pirate’s Code is the set of laws by which Pirates live, a code of honor for the honorless thieves and brigands that would drive one another to the briny bottom of Davy Jones Locker if not for these rules. Not everyone obeys the rules equally. Just how strict is the Pirate’s Code?
28Pick the worst piratical punishment.
There are few virtues to be found aboard a pirate ship and mercy is not one of them. Throughout the series, we bear witness to a series of cruel punishments. Some are inflicted by the pirates themselves. Others are magical in nature. Which of these punitive actions is the cruelest?
29Which character made the best leader?
Throughout the series, different people vie for power. Fortunes rise and fall. Captains become boatless vagabonds. Commodores become reduced to the status of commoners. Others rise to lead crews of their own. Elizabeth becomes the leader of the Brethren Court, while both Jack Sparrow and Barbossa captain the Pearl. And then there’s Davy Jones, who is in charge of the Flying Dutchman. Who is the best leader?
30Which career did Will Turner most excel at?
In the first Pirates of the Caribbean film, The Curse of the Black Pearl, Will Turner is skilled blacksmith who makes masterful perfectly balanced swords. After he and Jack Sparrow run away to rescue Elizabeth from Barbossa’s crew, he steals a ship, hires a crew in Tortuga, engages in swashbuckling sword fights, and quickly becomes a Pirate. Which career was he better at?
31Where are the greatest adventures found?
Many of the adventures in the series are encountered aback the roaring waves. Others can only be experienced after landing on some distant shore to come aboard an island or new continent, where everything from cannibal tribes to the Fountain of Youth might await those brave enough to look. Where are the best adventures found?
32Which sea monster is the most perilous?
Every sailor has heard rumors of monsters lurking in the depths. After the first film, each subsequent movie in The Pirates of the Caribbean series contains some manner of sea monster. There is the massive ship-swallowing kraken, the sea witch Calypso, carnivorous man-eating mermaids, and Salazar’s necromantic sharks. Which of these is the most dangerous?
33What is being a pirate all about?
The pirate’s life is full of hardships. Scurvy and seasickness and a longing for home are just some of the milder hardships that sailors face while at sea. The navy’s ships hunt pirates while every piece of treasure has a chance of bearing some ill curse. Yet still people continue to take to the sea as pirates. What is so enticing about the pirate’s life?
34Which is the more tragic couple?
Romance always seems to involve unnecessary hardship in this series. First audiences met Will and Elizabeth, a couple who were taken from one another on their wedding day and who were separated by a curse even after they finally married. Then there’s Davy Jones and Calypso, who also were separated by a curse as well as by their own tragic natures. Which is the more tragic couple?
35Pick the more memorable sea shanty.
The Pirates of the Caribbean has one of the most exciting and recognizable film scores around, thanks to the composer Hans Zimmer (who also wrote the scores for Gladiator and The Dark Knight Trilogy). But there are also quite a few sea shanties in the series, notably “Hoist the Colors” from At World’s End and “Johnny sailor bold” from On Stranger Tides. Which sea shanty is more memorable?
36Who is the more competent naval officer?
Commodore Norrington was introduced in The Curse of the Black Pearl as a strict naval officer with a gift for strategic thinking who managed to defeat Barbossa’s crew. Cutler Beckett debuted in the second film where he was heralding in a new era of adherence to the law, even as he made backroom deals for his own profit. Who’s the more competent officer?
37Who’s the better swashbuckler?
When it comes to buckling swash, these two both exceeded expectations. Elizabeth Swann was the daughter of the governor of Port Royal, and so being born to privilege never had a need to learn her way around a cutlass, yet nevertheless proved quite an excellent sword fighter. Her son, Henry Turner, was the new young face introduced in the fifth film, but still managed to outfight a whole crew of supernatural enemies. Who’s the more skillful sword fighter?
38Which is the more profitable organization in the series?
Treasure. It seems to be the thing that motivates every character in this series. A number of organizations in the films also exist for the sole reason of making a profit. The East India Company controls trade as one of the world’s first corporations while the Brethren Court money from pillaging merchant ships and coastal towns. Which is the more profitable organization?
39Who is the best dressed character?
One of the coolest parts of the Pirates franchise is the costumes. From the sharp-dressed naval officers to roguish rag-clad buccaneers, the costuming is amazing! But some characters look better than others. If looks could slay, these characters wield fine garments like cutlasses. From their tri-pointed hats to their leather bootstraps, these people’s costumes are richer than any golden treasure. Who is the best dressed of these four?
40Why’s the you-know-what gone?
In one of the most quoted (and most repeated) lines in the series, Jack Sparrow asks why his favorite beverage is gone. Depending on the particular time this question is asked, there could be a number of answers. Sometimes, it’s all been drunk. But at least twice, the substance was torched. Why is it gone?