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Pirate Radio Review

Movies.com Critics

2.5

Dave White Profile

Dramamine required. Read full review

2.5

Jen Yamato Profile

Sappy Brits play music on a boat. Read full review

Other Critics provided by Metacritic.com

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0
    58

    out of 100

    Metascore®
    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 60

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Ray Bennett

    The real pirate radio ships, whose days ended in 1967, wound up being towed away for salvage but the film avoids that fate -- like the best rock songs -- with a rousing finish and a pleasing climax.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    Pirate Radio is, in the end, about as rock-revolutionary as a tea break. But the choppy production floats on a great soundtrack (the real pirates are the Rolling Stones) and is buoyed by an inviting cast.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Richard Curtis's comedy is anchored only in exuberance, but that's more than you can say for most movies these days; it keeps you beaming with pleasure.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Classic rock enthusiasts will want to stick around through the end credit sequence, which features an array of album covers.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Pirate Radio reviews at Metacritic.com

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 16+

Good-natured rock 'n' roll comedy with some iffy behavior.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that, though Pirate Radio is about rebellion of every stripe, it's ultimately a good-natured film filled with good-hearted characters who will appeal to mature teens (as well as parents who cherish rock 'n' roll). The movie's events are seen through the eyes of a teenager who spends a lot of time with several free-spirited 1960s DJs ... and pursues losing his virginity in the process. It's all part of them urging him to "loosen up" and "have fun" -- which translates to plenty of rude, dangerous, and anti-authoritarian behavior, sex and sex talk, drinking, and other illicit activities, so be ready to talk to your teens about the real-life consequences of what they're seeing on screen. It's important to note that the only real female character in the movie is a lesbian (a fact that's repeated again and again, mostly with comedic intent).

  • Families can talk about why the English government wanted to ban rock 'n' roll in the 1960s. Were they acting in the public good by doing this?
  • The DJs are combating authority, but what justifies their iffy behavior in doing so? (This story is a story told with hindsight, so it's easy to see who was right and who was wrong in the end, but it may be tricky to apply this lesson to other scenarios.)
  • Could the female characters in the film have been stronger?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: The film's story is clearly a case of David vs. Goliath and creativity vs. the establishment, but there are a lot of gray areas. The heroes are technically obeying the law, and the government is acting out of personal bias rather than regard for the common good, but it's still a case of the law being deliberately ignored or bypassed. The main characters also raise a lot of eyebrows throughout most of the film, indulging in booze, casual sex, foul language, and socially unacceptable behavior. Most of them find a kind of redemption toward the end, but it's iffy whether any of them really learn anything important.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: For the first two-thirds of the film, there are no positive role models to speak of. Government officials act selfishly and snobbishly, and the rebellious heroes indulge in all kinds of debauchery in addition to their heroic deeds. But toward the end, the DJs' persistence becomes more about pleasing others and seems more heroic.

What to watch for
  • violence false1

    Violence: Characters threaten one another, and there's playful banter, but hardly any physical violence and no blood or gore. Police are armed.

  • sex false4

    Sex: No actual sex is shown, but sex talk and sexual innuendo are virtually constant, and there's an underlying theme of a teenager losing his virginity. Implication of sex between two women. In one scene, a man sends a younger man into a dark bedroom, hoping to fool his intended female sexual partner. Both men appear naked in the scene, but no genitalia are shown. The young teenage character obtains a condom for sex he hopes he's going to have. At least two girls have sex with more than one of the men. A boatload of women arrives at one point, with the goal of sex for (nearly) everyone on board. Some of the DJs use sexual innuendo on the air. Discussion of body parts and their respective sizes; passionate kissing.

  • language false4

    Language: Near-constant swearing, with frequent use of "f--k" and most other known curse words, including lots of body-part slang ("boobies," "knob," etc.) and many British slang words that some Americans may not know. "Oh my God" and "goddamn" used as exclamations. One character's last name is "Twatt," and he's called that often.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Plenty of drinking to the point of overindulgence, mainly by adults. No drugs are shown (though the're sometimes discussed) -- but for some characters, their after-effects are subtly suggested. Some era-accurate smoking (both cigarettes and pipes).

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