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The Pirates of Penzance Details


Joseph Papp's notion of staging one of Gilbert and Sullivan's best-loved operettas with two pop singers (Linda Ronstadt and Rex Smith) in the leads paid off as a surprise Broadway smash in the early 1980s, and this film faithfully reproduces Papp's production, featuring most of the original cast and the original director. Frederic (Smith) has been taught since childhood to be a sea-going bandit by the Pirate King (Kevin Kline), but with his 21st birthday imminent, Frederic wants to leave pirating behind, especially after he becomes infatuated with innocent Mabel (Ronstadt). But the Pirate King informs Frederic that since he was born on the last day of February on a Leap Year, his 21st birthday won't roll around for some time yet, and he still owes the King some raiding on the high seas. To Frederic's embarrassment, the Pirate King's next target turns out to be Major General Stanley (George Rose), Mabel's father! The Pirates of Penzance also features Angela Lansbury as Ruth (the sole major casting change from the Broadway production -- Estelle Parsons played the role on stage). ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

  • Release date:February 18, 1983


Kevin Kline
as The Pirate King
Angela Lansbury
as Ruth
George Rose
as Maj.-Gen. Stanley
Rex Smith
as Frederic
Tony Azito
as Sergeant
Preston Lockwood
as Conductor
Louise Gold
as Edith
Tilly Vosburgh
as Daughter
Tim Bentinck
as Pirate
John Bett
Clare McIntyre
as Daughter
Zulema Dene
Carol Macready
Mike Grady
as Pirate
Maurice Lane
as Policeman
Peppi Borza
as Policeman
Teresa Codling
as Kate
Romolo Bruni
as Captain
Linda Spurrier


Wilford Leach
Edward R. Pressman
Wilford Leach
Douglas Slocombe
Anne V. Coates
Ernest Archer
Art Director
Timothy Burrill
Edward R. Pressman
Executive Producer
Peter Howitt
Set Designer
Tom Rand
Costume Designer
David Hildyard
Sound/Sound Designer
Barry Langley
First Assistant Director
Graciela Daniele