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Tales of the Black Freighter (2009)

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A mariner survives an attack from the dreaded pirates of the Black Freighter, but his struggle to return home to warn it has a horrific cost.


(screenplay), (screenplay)





Credited cast:
The Sea Captain (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Money Lender (voice)
Ridley (voice)
Lori Tritel ...


A mariner survives an attack from the dreaded pirates of the Black Freighter, but his struggle to return home to warn it has a horrific cost.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent and grisly images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

24 March 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter and Under the Hood  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally intended to be featured within the Watchmen (2009) film, but removed once the time span of the film began pushing 3 hours. See more »


The Sea Captain: I'd had swallowed too much sea water. I had swallowed too much horror.
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Edited into Watchmen (2009) See more »


Pirate Jenny
Written by Marc Blitzstein, Bertolt Brecht (as Berthold Brecht), and Kurt Weill
Performed by Nina Simone
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"At death's approach, all creatures discover an aptitude for violence."
1 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anybody who's familiar with the Watchmen graphic novel will recognize the significance of the Tales of the Black Freighter. This was originally the comic-within-the-comic, having nothing much to do with the events of Watchmen, but offering a stark thematic parallel.

This animated feature translates that segment of the comic to accompany the Watchmen film (and if you watch the film's Ultimate Cut, this cartoon will be spliced into the main feature). On its own, the cartoon is short, bleak, and pretty gnarly. It runs pretty fast and it tells a heck of a story.

Following the Watchmen comic closely, this feature tells a very dark and violent story full of hideously ironic twists. The story is simple, but highly effective. It offers the bare minimum characterizations, but it digs deeply into the main character's psyche and madness to dig up strong themes of humanity's savagery; themes that are effectively echoed in the Watchmen film.

This feature uses pretty decent animation quality: movements are a little stiff and cheap, but it looks sharp, clean, and well-rendered. Voice-acting is not bad, and the writing is good. Designs for the characters and settings are good, and some scenes show good imagination. Music is alright.

Recommended for anybody interested in the Watchmen film.

4/5 (Entertainment: Good | Story: Good | Film: Good)

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