7.1/10
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The Pirates of Penzance (1983)

After a young man leaves a band of pirates, hilarity ensues.

Director:

Wilford Leach

Writers:

W.S. Gilbert (operetta) (as Sir William Schwenck Gilbert), Wilford Leach (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kevin Kline ... The Pirate King
Angela Lansbury ... Ruth
Linda Ronstadt ... Mabel Stanley
George Rose ... Maj. Gen. Stanley
Rex Smith ... Frederic
Tony Azito Tony Azito ... Sergeant
David Hatton ... Samuel
Stephen Hanan Stephen Hanan ... Samuel (singing voice)
Anthony Arundell Anthony Arundell ... Pirate
John Asquith John Asquith ... Pirate
Mohamed Aazzi Mohamed Aazzi ... Pirate
Tim Bentinck ... Pirate
Ross Davidson Ross Davidson ... Pirate
Mike Grady ... Pirate
Simon Howe Simon Howe ... Pirate
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Storyline

This movie is an adaptation of Gilbert and Sullivan's comic operetta of the same name, with parts of other of their operettas stirred in. Frederic has fallen in love with sweet innocent Mabel. Yet his vocation is an impediment to their union. Perhaps the situation can be rectified by his old nurse, Ruth, who made a dreadful blunder years before. A highlight is the song/dance A Policeman's Lot is Not a Happy One. Written by Reid Gagle

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Broadway's smash hit is now the movie! See more »


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 1983 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Pirates See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$255,496, 21 February 1983

Gross USA:

$694,497
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film's source stage production, according to the IBDb (Internet Broadway Database), gives the following details: "Category: Musical, Operetta, Revival, Broadway" ; "Description: A comic operetta in two acts" ; and "Setting: A rocky seashore on the coast of Cornwall. A ruined chapel by moonlight". See more »

Goofs

The lip-synching is often off (or ceases altogether), especially in choral numbers like "When the Foeman Bares His Steel". See more »

Quotes

Pirate King: Left, right, left, right.
[shouts]
Pirate King: Stop dinghy!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Despicable Me 3 (2017) See more »

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User Reviews

Worthy staging of G&S's best operetta
11 January 2004 | by backseat-2See all my reviews

I recently had the task, for a organization's class, to assemble various performances of the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta "The Pirates of Penzance". This has always been my favorite G&S work, and I have heard many live performances, plus I have played the Pirate King in a revue type staging of the work.

I recall seeing the Kevin Kline version many years ago, and did not recall the details. Obtaining a copy to view for my project, I was very impressed with the wit and overall quality of the performances. There are a few small issues, such as the fudging of Linda Ronstadt's and Rex Smith's vocal parts (It is clear, whenever Smith sings, that lots of electronic enhancement is being used to bring his voice into the same universe with the other more capable singers, but still he has right delivery and it works well; for Ronstadt, she does very well, but for "Poor Wandering One" her part has been transposed down a bit, probably so that she can manage the highest notes), and the overdubbing of a couple other performer's singing by better singers, but overall the dancing and singing is as good as any I have seen.

The staging is deliberately campy, somewhere between traditional stagecraft and a movie set, and it adds extra charm to the proceedings. There has been some carping about Angela Lansbury's singing, but what she does is in line with the requirements of the role, and is in fact typical of other performances of Ruth's character (I recall the director, during casting of the performance I was in, saying of Ruth, "we don't need a GOOD singer, only a FUNNY singer).

A quick review of the offerings of Pirates on Amazon reveals that the only DVD version of this cast is taken from an outdoor staging in New York (and without Lansbury). It is one of the mysteries of DVD releases that the film version does not exist on on DVD; it certainly one of the best.


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