Pirate Radio

( 7 )


In mid- to late-'60s Britain, an unusual yet colorful subculture sprang up and thrived as a product of the upswing in British pop music, only to meet its doom within a few short years. Though the BBC functioned as the country's main source of news and music, its programmers offered very little airtime to rock & roll -- which left an overwhelming need unfulfilled. In response, small bands of "pirate" radio enthusiasts set up broadcasting towers on boats just outside of English boundary waters, and transmitted ...
See more details below
Blu-ray (Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed)
BN.com price
(Save 16%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Blu-ray)
  • All (13) from $5.35   
  • New (10) from $5.35   
  • Used (3) from $16.49   


In mid- to late-'60s Britain, an unusual yet colorful subculture sprang up and thrived as a product of the upswing in British pop music, only to meet its doom within a few short years. Though the BBC functioned as the country's main source of news and music, its programmers offered very little airtime to rock & roll -- which left an overwhelming need unfulfilled. In response, small bands of "pirate" radio enthusiasts set up broadcasting towers on boats just outside of English boundary waters, and transmitted signals to an estimated 25 million listeners, 24 hours a day and seven days per week. Unsurprisingly, the DJs who took charge of these broadcasts could rival just about anyone in terms of flamboyance and outsized personalities. With Pirate Radio released as The Boat That Rocked in the U.K., writer-director Richard Curtis Love Actually travels back to the Swinging Sixties and takes a headfirst plunge into this colorful realm. The story opens in 1966, aboard a rusty fishing trawler christened Radio Rock and equipped with pirate broadcasting equipment. Here, the slightly daft elitist Quentin Bill Nighy presides over a motley crew of joint-toking, sex-hungry disc jockeys including Dave Nick Frost, a heavyset boob who nevertheless considers himself a hot property with women and loves to chase skirts; "The Count" Philip Seymour Hoffman, an American DJ who aspires to be the first person to drop an F-bomb over the British airwaves; the gloom-laden Irishman Simon Chris O'Dowd; bonked-out hipster Thick Kevin Tom Brooke; womanizer Mark Tom Wisdom; Angus Rhys Darby, a New Zealander whom nobody likes; and the only female member of the group, lesbian cook Felicity Katherine Parkinson. These misfits pull off quite a show -- enough of one that they attain the status of national idols for the youth culture -- but the super-conservative government minister Dormandy Kenneth Branagh detests the whole business and will do almost anything in his power to shut them down.
Read More Show Less

Special Features

Deleted scenes; Featurettes; Feature commentary with director Richard Curtis, producer Hilary Bevan Jones and actors Nick Frost and Chris O'Dowd
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
In the mid-'60s, the BBC more or less refused to play rock & roll over the airwaves, and since they controlled all of British radio at the time, that meant the teenagers and hip adults couldn't hear tracks by such soon-to-be-legendary bands as the Rolling Stones, the Who, and the Kinks. In response, a number of enterprising businesspeople anchored boats just a few miles off the British coast, and broadcast the banned music 24 hours a day back to the mainland. These became known as "pirate radio" stations, and such a colorful piece of history would seem to provide a wealth of rich material for a British writer and director as talented as Richard Curtis. The movie opens with the recently expelled Carl Tom Sturridge arriving at Radio Rock, one of the most popular pirate radio stations in all of London. Carl's godfather, Quentin Bill Nighy, who owns the boat and the station, gives the young man a job and shy Carl soon meets the outlandish DJs who make Radio Rock a must-listen for kids on shore. Among the motley crew members are "The Count" Philip Seymour Hoffman, the lone American on the ship and a true believer in the power and glory of the music; the horny, chunky Dave Nick Frost; the quiet, impossibly handsome Mark Tom Wisdom; and the drugged-out proto-hippie Bob Ralph Brown. The group keeps things lively with lots of shenanigans, including the Count's efforts to say the F-word on the air, their intricate schemes to get Carl laid, and the creative ways in which the crew fights back against the sustained efforts of a repressed government bureaucrat Kenneth Branagh to wipe out all the pirate stations. In his previous films, Curtis has shown a masterful ability to juggle large ensembles. Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love Actually burst with three-dimensional characters that have distinct arcs -- they grow and change no matter how little screen time they might get. And that's what's missing entirely from Pirate Radio. With the exception of Carl -- who, it turns out, got on the ship because he believes the father he never met works there -- everybody in the film is a personality rather than a person. Of course, Curtis is too talented to not serve up some funny moments with each of them -- the remarkable stupidity of Carl's roommate is a first-rate recurring gag, as is the simmering feud between the Count and Gavin Rhys Ifans, a once-legendary DJ who makes an unexpected return to Radio Rock. Unfortunately, because these characters never become three-dimensional, the movie turns out to be a series of incidents rather than an actual story. To put it in rock terms, Pirate Radio is a collection of songs rather than a coherent album -- and while there are a couple of good tracks, the majority of them are unremarkable.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/13/2010
  • UPC: 025195052351
  • Original Release: 2009
  • Rating:

  • Source: Focus Features
  • Presentation: Wide Screen / Subtitled / Dubbed
  • Sound: DTS 5.1-Channel Surround Sound, Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound
  • Time: 1:57:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 6,657

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Philip Seymour Hoffman The Count
Bill Nighy Quentin
Rhys Ifans Gavin
Nick Frost Dave
Kenneth Branagh Minister Dormandy
January Jones Elenore, Eleonore
Tom Sturridge Carl
Jack Davenport Twatt
Ralph Brown Bob
Chris O'Dowd Simon
Tom Brooke Thick Kevin
Rhys Darby Angus
Will Adamsdale John
Katherine Parkinson Felicity
Emma Thompson Charlotte
Tom Wisdom Mark
Talulah Riley Marianne
Gemma Arterton Desiree
Ike Hamilton Harold
Olivia Llewellyn Margaret
Michael Hadley Mr. Roberts
Lucy Fleming Mrs. Roberts
Amanda Fairbank-Hynes Jemima Dormandy
Francesca Longrigg Mrs. Domrandy
Charlie Rowe James
Sinead Matthews Miss C
Stephen Moore Prime Minister
Olegar Fedorov Rock Boat Captain
David Sterne Marianne's Captain
Bo Poraj Fredericks
Michael Thomas Sandford
William Ilkley Commanding Officer
Ian Mercer Transfer Boatman
Gudmundur Audunsson Swedish Crewman
Tomas Andrisiunas Swedish Crewman
Kris Gummerus Swedish Crewman
Duncan Foster Swedish Crewman
Katie Lyons Angus' Boat Girl
Kirsty Mather John's Boat Girl
Lana Davidson Simon's T-Shirt Girl
Edward Hancock Policeman
Sarah Forster Model
Poppy Delevingne Model
Ocean Moon Model
Tuuli Shipster Model
Technical Credits
Richard Curtis Director, Executive Producer, Producer, Screenwriter
Nick Angel Musical Direction/Supervision
Tim Bevan Producer
Christine Blundell Makeup
Thomas Brown Art Director
Liza Chasin Executive Producer
Danny Cohen Cinematographer
Eric Fellner Producer
Emma Freud Associate Producer
Debra Hayward Executive Producer
Emma E. Hickox Editor
Ben Howarth Asst. Director
Joanna Johnston Costumes/Costume Designer
Hilary Bevan Jones Producer
Mark Tildesley Production Designer
Ronaldo Vasconcellos Co-producer
Ian Voigt Sound Mixer
Fiona Weir Casting
Hans Zimmer Score Composer
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    What a great, quirky movie!!! I had never heard of Pirate Radio and a friend recommended it.It is absolutely one of the best movies I have seen in years!

    The soundtrack is fantastic. I bought it on ITunes right after I saw the movie. The performances are wonderful...Philip Seymore Hoffman and the rest of the cast don't disappoint. The movie storyline is based on fact. Apparently, rock and roll was banned by British radio in the 60's. So a ship parked itself right outside British waters and broadcast rock and roll 24 hours a day as an "underground" radio station. The script is offbeat and hysterically funny. I loved the movie so much that I bought it for a friend and she loved it just as much as I did. This movie is a MUST SEE!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Slice of Time

    This movie relates a little known time in British history. I think the notion that the government might try to control the type of music to which people have access is one that most U.S. audiences will find strange. There certainly were "culture wars" over rock and roll music in the U.S. in the 1950's and 1960's, but the radio stations that played rock were not often censored by the government. Thus, the basic "conflict" in the story is difficult for U.S. audiences to relate to.

    Nevertheless, the soundtrack is amazing and the performances (especially Phillip Seymour Hoffmans's) are first rate.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 1, 2010


    I saw this in the theater and could not wait to get in on blue ray dvd. This movie is just so much fun to watch. It has a great sound track, the music is really awesome. You want to just get up and dance - at least at home you can do that. It's also hysterical! I love Phillip Seymore Hoffmam, Bill Nighy and Rhys Ifans. They all do a terrific job in this movie. This movie was made by the same people who made Love Actually, another favorite of mine. The British make some of the best comedies. This may not win any awards, but if you want to listen to some good music and enjoy yourself for 2 hours, this is the right movie for you.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews