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Film / Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

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"When you marooned me on that god forsaken spit of land, you forgot one very important thing, mate: I'm Captain Jack Sparrow."

"You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!"
Hector Barbossa

The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) is the first movie in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

The movie begins when Will Turner, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, is found by a ship carrying his future love interest, Elizabeth Swann, the daughter of the royal governor, who takes a medallion from him. Eight years later, Will is a blacksmith in Port Royal. A pirate captain, Jack Sparrow, arrives in a crowning entrance high on the mast of a... sinking dinghy, only to be arrested after a couple fateful run-ins with Elizabeth and Will. That night, the town is attacked by more pirates, but Elizabeth persuades them to call off the attack in exchange for the medallion.

Unfortunately for her, the pirates, led by Captain Barbossa, sail off with Elizabeth, but Barbossa tells her the Backstory. They have been cursed for stealing Aztec gold, doomed to forever exist as undead creatures who can not gain satisfaction from eating, drinking, or even the simple pleasure of a warm breeze; even the final peace of death is denied to them. Now they must collect all the coins and return them, along with blood from each pirate. Since Elizabeth gave them her name as Elizabeth Turner, they think she is the daughter of a missing crewman and they need her blood. Jack likewise has ties to them, as before they were cursed, their ship, the Black Pearl, was under his command before Barbossa took it over. Now Jack is looking to get it back, and Will springs him from prison in exchange for Jack's promise to help rescue Elizabeth.

The Curse of the Black Pearl provides examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The battle between the Black Pearl and the Interceptor occurs after a chase in which the crew of the Interceptor, desperate for more speed, has thrown almost everything they had overboard ... including most of the cannon shot. They are reduced to loading up, in the words of Will Turner, "Anything! Everything! Anything we have left!", including cutlery, into the cannons as makeshift ammunition.
  • Accidental Pervert: Elizabeth Swann's corset is laced so tightly that she cannot breathe. As a result, she passes out and falls into the sea. Jack dives in to rescue her, and slices the corset open so she can breathe—an action which is misinterpreted by those around him as Jack having perverse intentions toward the unconscious Elizabeth.
  • Accordion to Most Sailors: During the "Moonlight Serenade" sequence where Elizabeth first sees the pirates for what they truly are, one of the pirates sitting on the capstan is playing a concertina. The instrument's bellows is as rotted and decrepit as the pirates are, raising the question of how it can still produce music.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Pintel and Ragetti, after recounting what happened to Bootstrap Bill to Will and the irony of how they only learned they needed his blood for the Curse Escape Clause after doing this, can't help but snicker about it to themselves. Barbossa, who gave that order in the first place, isn't nearly as amused.
  • An Aesop: Just because a man is an outlaw doesn't mean he isn't a good person in his own ways. Governor Swann lampshades this in the end when Norrington is unsure whether to go after Jack or not.
    Governor Swann: Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course?
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: When the curse is lifted, Pintel, who previously threatened to kill anyone attempting to invoke parlay, meekly says "Parlay?" when held at gunpoint on the Dauntless.
  • The Alcoholic: Will's boss Mr. Brown is a drunk who seldom does any work; he lets Will do the forging. He spends the heavy majority of his screentime passed out in a chair while Will fights Jack in his smithy, and according to Will, he was like that the whole day.
  • Alarm SOS: During the pirates' attack on the Dauntless, a British sailor manages to ring the ship's bell, alerting Norrington and the rest of the Marines to the chaos.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: All Barbossa ever wanted was to be mortal again and able to taste food. He does regain his mortality in the end, but only just as Jack Sparrow shoots him. Whereupon, Barbossa succumbs to his wound and dies before he even has the chance to relish the sweet taste of an apple that he was saving.
    Barbossa: For too long I've been parched with thirst, and unable to quench it! Too long I've been starvin' to death, and haven't died. I feel nothing — not the wind on my face or the spray of the sea, or the warmth of a woman's flesh.
  • All Myths Are True: The chest of gold is said to have been cursed by the Aztec gods as punishment for what the first Spanish settlers did.
  • All There in the Stinger: If you missed the stinger you'd wonder what the smeg was happening when Captain Sparrow shoots Jack the monkey, and he's later shot out of a 6-pounder as a screeching fireball, but later seen not dead.
  • And I Must Scream: It's revealed that Bootstrap Bill is somewhere at the bottom of the ocean, tied to a cannon but still alive and unable to die. To make matters worse, the second movie revealed that Will undoing the curse didn't free him.
  • Anthropic Principle: This exchange:
    Jack: It's the Pearl!
    Prisoner: The Black Pearl? I've heard stories. She's been preying on ships and settlements for near ten years. Never leaves any survivors.
    Jack: No survivors? Then where do the stories come from, I wonder?
  • Anti-Advice: Jack provides some sound tactical advice, but since it's from Jack, Norrington decides to set up the ambush in a different way.
    Murtogg: But why aren't we doing... what Mr. Sparrow said we should do? With the cannons and all?
    Norrington: Because it was Mr. Sparrow who said it.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: At one point Jack's numerous crimes are being read aloud including, among the many piracy related ones, "impersonating a cleric of the Church of England"; this solicits a brief, reminiscent smile from Jack.
  • Artifact of Attraction: The gold coins act like this to anyone cursed by them. They seem to give off an innate "signal" that the cursed can follow back to them at close-range. Across long distances, a coin's signal will only manifest if it comes into contact with the ocean, causing it to send out a pulse that drives the wind currents of the cursed person's ship towards it.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Barbossa states that because of the curse, he and his men are starving to death yet unable to die. Yet, both Barbossa and his crew do a lot of fighting throughout the film with no sign of them growing weak due to lack of sustenance. Justified in that the curse is likely keeping them strong.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Port Royal, on the coast of Jamaica, is almost nothing like its fictional counterpart depicted in the film. The real-life Port Royal was (and still is) situated at the end of a long, low sandy peninsula or spit (the Palisadoes), the composition of which is the primary reason why so much of the town subsided into the nearby bay when it was hit by a major earthquake. The town is also not ringed by high hills and cliffs as depicted, and the bay it fronts onto extends much further to Kingston, sheltered by said low-lying sand spit. The local fortification, Fort Charles, is internally similar to the fort shown in the film, but is only slightly higher than the rest of the town, rather than being in a commanding position at the top of a cliff facing the entire harbour.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • The legend about Hernán Cortés at the story's background, which has Cortés receiving a gold tribute by the Aztecs and still callously slaughtering them, seems to be rather inspired by the conquest of the Inca by Francisco Pizarro, who did gain an immense rescue in gold for capturing their emperor Atahualpa and still ended up going back on his word and executing the man.note  Cortés only conquered the Aztec Empire by allying with their ancestral enemies and their discontent imperial subjects, and by the point he was in position to attack the Aztec core, the conflict had devolved into total war and no diplomacy or tribute was possible anymore. Moreover, Cortés himself actually attempted to avoid any slaughter - it were rather his native allies who saw the chance to take revenge on their Aztec opressors and took it with massive gusto, never better said.
    • The Aztecs of the movie delivered Cortés a chest full of round gold coins, but real life Aztecs didn't use such coins until well after their Hispanicization. The closest to a native coin-like currency were small axe-shaped pieces named tajaderas, which were also made of raw copper, not artistically wrought gold. In fact, the whole association between gold and currency was also introduced by the Spaniards, as up to that point Amerindians mostly used their gold to make ornaments and decorations.
    • Elizabeth Swann is shown being torturously tied into an extremely tight corset, which restricts her breathing and causes her great pain. Corsets being a type of torture device is a modern myth. Properly fitted and made corsets (which must also be broken in and the wearer acclimatise herself to it, which films usually don't have time for), as opposed to costume replicas, do not overly constrict one's breathing or movement. Even tightlacing — which was first recorded in the 1840s, a century after the film's setting, nor was it even possible with the corsets of the 1730s-40s (metal eyelets were introduced in the 1840s) — doesn't cause the severe discomfort or restricted breathing and movement often depicted (and many of the health effects claimed are false, due to inaccurate medical knowledge of the time and a campaign by Moral Guardians of the late Victorian Era to make women stop wearing corsets).
  • Artistic License – Physics: Jack and Will go undercover by dragging an upturned rowing boat down to the seabed and using the trapped pocket of air to keep breathing. The force required to achieve this would be well beyond the combined strength of two men unless the boat was very heavily ballasted, and even if it was, the oxygen would very quickly run out.
  • Asskicking Leads to Leadership: When the crew of the Black Pearl is seconds away from mutinying, Captain Barbossa draws his sword and asks which one of them would be willing to challenge him for the captaincy. Everyone backs down, even though they're all immortal.
  • Attack of the Monster Appendage: Gov. Swann and the pirate zombie's arm.
  • Audible Sharpness: Pretty much every time someone draws a sword, but some examples are particularly silly. When Will says his father was not a pirate, then draws his sword, it makes the metallic scraping sound, despite simply being tucked in his belt without any kind of sheath. Towards the end of the movie when Will is fighting two pirates in the treasure lair on the Isla de Muerta, they each get swords stuck in their chest. Yanking the swords out of their rotting rib cages makes the metallic zing.
  • Badass in Distress:
    • Jack gets briefly arrested after he saves Elizabeth. He rescues himself by taking her hostage and making off for the smithy.
    • Elizabeth manages to put up a brief fight with a coal pan against the pirates. When they have her cornered, she says "Parley" and manages to bargain with the captain to leave the town, in exchange for her coin. They still take her hostage because she gave the surname of Turner, assuming they wanted the governor's daughter Swann.
    • Will exchanges himself to Barbossa's crew in exchange for Elizabeth and Jack's lives, as well as the lives of their crews. Unfortunately, he didn't make specifications, so he's Bound and Gagged as he watches Barbossa make Elizabeth and Jack Walk the Plank.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: As Barbossa makes Elizabeth walk the plank, he makes this remark:
    Barbossa: [to the crew] It does seem a shame to lose somethin' so fine, don't it, lads? [Beat]; [to Elizabeth] So I'll be havin' that dress back before you go.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot: When Jack tosses his piece of Aztec treasure to Will during the climax, Barbossa draws his gun on Elizabeth. A gunshot rings out and Elizabeth flinches. When Barbossa turns, Jack has shot him.
  • Batman Gambit: Jack's plan to steal the Interceptor is two for the price of one. First, he and Will swim out to the Dauntless alone and proclaim they're capturing it. When the captain points out that the Dauntless is far too large to be crewed by two men, Jack bluffs him into surrendering simply by shoving a pistol in his face and saying, "I'm Captain Jack Sparrow." Next, when the Interceptor sails out to recapture it, the sailors swing over to the Dauntless, at which point Jack and Will swing back over to the crewless Interceptor and simply sail off with it.
    Jack: Thank you, Commodore, for getting us ready to make way!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • As a child Elizabeth is fascinated with pirates and dreams of meeting one. When she finally does meet some real pirates as an adult, well, they're not quite the romantic figures she imagined them to be.
    • In the climax, the Pearl's crew is finally free of the curse and regain their humanity like they've wanted for twelve years...right when they were in the middle of using their undead status to overwhelm Commodore Norrington's ship.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Elizabeth escapes this way when she's locked up before the climactic battle.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Jack briefly gives homage to this trope.
    Jack: Me? I'm dishonest, and a dishonest man you can always trust to be dishonest. Honestly. It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly... stupid.
  • Big Bad: Captain Hector Barbossa leads the undead pirate crew.
  • Bird-Poop Gag: Cotton's parrot appears at Jack's hanging, heralding the arrival of the Black Pearl, and lands on the banner being held by Mullroy. Mullroy tries to shoo the parrot away by shaking the banner pole, and it craps on his shoulder instead.
  • Bitch Slap: When Elizabeth is first brought aboard the Black Pearl and she attempts to begin negotiating for the pirates to stop their assault on Port Royal, Bo'sun slaps her. Captain Barbossa admonishes Bo'sun of striking Elizabeth who has invoked the right of parley.
    Elizabeth: I am here to negot— [is interrupted by Bo'sun's slap]
    Bo'sun: You will speak when spoken to.
    Captain Barbossa: [grabs Bo'sun's hand] And ye not lay a hand on those under the protection of parley.
    Bo'sun: Aye, sir.
    Captain Barbossa: Apologies, miss.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Usually justified as the ones receiving wounds are undead and can't bleed, though there's a particularly blatant unjustified case when the Governor's footman answers the door, gets a pistol blast to the face at point blank range, and keels over without any visible entry or exit wounds at all. Not a drop of blood is seen from the marines slain in the final battle either.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: When Barbossa maroons Jack on a desert island, even providing him with a loaded gun. Truth in Television, as pirates really did do this, largely as a means of suicide. Although after Jack escaped the first time, you'd have thought Barbossa would have learned not to do it again. Though at this point of the story, Barbossa is about less than a day getting what he wants. It took Jack months to escape the first time and it was years before he even saw Barbossa again.
  • Bookends:
    • The movie begins and ends with someone singing "A Pirate's Life for Me". More specifically, the first and last line sung is, "Drink up me hearties, yo ho!"
      Jack: [under his breath] And really bad eggs. [loudly] Drink up me 'earties, yo ho!
    • Jack and Elizabeth meet when she falls from the cliff; when they say goodbye at the end of the film, at the same place, Jack is the one who falls off the cliff.
    • In the film's opening scene, Elizabeth finds a piece of the Aztec gold around Will's neck and, shocked, says, "You're a pirate." At the end of the film, her father notes that Elizabeth is in love with a mere blacksmith, but Elizabeth tells him he's wrong, then proudly says, "He's a pirate."
  • Boring, but Practical: Jack reveals that he escaped marooning the first time because a rum ship happened to come every few months to the island, and he managed to signal for help after drinking the rum. Elizabeth then burns it all as a smoke signal.
  • Borrowed Without Permission: Captain Jack Sparrow states that he only borrowed Anna-Marie's ship, and had every intention of giving it back. It's heavily implied he sank it.
  • Bowdlerise: You can't have Sparrow say the actual phrase, "Rape, pillage, plunder", now could you? He substitutes "raid" instead.
  • Brick Joke: As Jack is about to be arrested by the British after arriving at the port at the beginning, Norrington comments on how he's the "worst pirate he's ever seen." Several scenes later, after Jack steals a British ship, Lt. Groves declares Jack to be "the best pirate he's ever seen," earning him a Death Glare and a muttered, "So it would seem," from Norrington.
  • "Bringer of War" Music: Holst-inspired music is heard as the pirates of the Black Pearl attack Port Royale.
  • Butt-Monkey: Ragetti, whenever his wooden eye gets lost or injured.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: When Elizabeth suspects Barbossa of trying to poison her with an apple, Barbossa tells her not to worry, as her blood will be needed later for breaking the curse.
  • Casting Gag: In the Japanese dub, Jack Sparrow is voiced by Hiroaki Hirata, whose most famous role was as the Straw Hat Pirates' cook Sanji in the One Piece franchise.
  • Catchphrase Interruptus: The only time Jack ever finishes his Catchphrase "You will always remember this as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!" is when he actually gets captured.
    Norrington: Well, I'm sure you will remember this as the day that Captain Jack Sparrow almost escaped.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Will's sword throwing is first used to stop Jack from escaping, but at the end he saves Jack from the gallows with it. Although this looks like it would be a Chekhov's Skill, Will's skill at throwing swords was part of the screenplay before the scene at the gallows was even created.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: The story of how Jack escaped that island (via sea-turtles). As it turns out, he didn't escape at all. The island was a stash for some rum-runners, who found him and gave him transport off.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Jack's pistol with only one shot in it, which was left to him by Barbossa when Jack was marooned by him many years ago.
    • Pintel and Ragetti accidentally open up a trunk full of dresses. They're forced to don said dresses later on as a distraction while the rest of the cursed crew attack the Dauntless.
  • Coin Walk Flexing: After it's been revealed that Jack Sparrow has become a cursed undead willingly, he takes the Aztec gold medallion that he used to curse himself, and rolls it across his knuckles to mock Barbossa.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Jack Sparrow, as illustrated in this exchange after winning a fight with Will by choking him in a cloud of dirt:
    Will: You didn't beat me, you ignored the rules of engagement. In a fair fight, I'd kill you.
    Jack: That's not much incentive for me to fight fair then, is it?
  • Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: While Pintel and Ragetti search for hiding Elizabeth inside her father's mansion, Pintel says "We know you're 'ere, poppet..."
  • Comically Missing the Point: As Norrington is saying that he intends to propose to Elizabeth, Elizabeth says she can't breathe (because of her corset). Norrington replies by saying he's a little nervous himself.
  • Contrived Coincidence: A lot of pieces had to fall into place for the main plot to kick off the way it does. First Elizabeth had a dream of when she first met Will and acquired the medallion, driving her to take it out of its hiding place for the first time in a long time (going from the thick layer of dust) and wear it. Then her father comes in before she can put it away, so she sticks it under her clothes in a panic. It just so happens that it's the day of Norrington's promotion, so she gets dressed in a corset laced so tight that she passes out and falls into the sea, where the medallion can call to the Black Pearl. And finally, Jack Sparrow just so happens to arrive at Port Royal that day and is in just the right location at just the right time to save Elizabeth from drowning. If a single one of these factors had been different, then the main plot wound't have happened, or would've played out very differently.
  • Cool Big Bro: When she was a child, Norrington was like this to Elizabeth. While she wanted to hear pirate stories, he would gently warn her that pirates are not heroes in adventure stories but wouldn't admonish her the way her father would. Obviously, he wanted to grow out of this role when she became of age to marry.
  • Crowd Hockey: Ragetti's wooden eye falls out during a battle on deck, and he scrambles to grab it. The battle ends about the same moment he finds it again.
  • Curse Escape Clause: Return all of the Aztec gold pieces to the chest, along with a blood sacrifice from each person who took a piece (or a blood relative of the person), and the curse is broken. The entire motivation of Barbossa and his crew is to find the last remaining piece of the treasure as well as the descendant of Bootstrap Bill Turner so that they can meet these conditions. Jack, being Jack, curses himself before the final battle, and then triggers the escape clause at the opportune moment.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Barbossa and his crew cannot die as long as they're affected by the curse. Sure, they don't feel anything and can't feel any pleasure anymore, but they're immortal.
  • Cutlery Escape Aid: Elizabeth Swann sneaks a knife from the table while she's dining with Barbossa on the Black Pearl. She does end up stabbing him with, but since he's undead, this doesn't do anything to him. He also lampshades the Fridge Logic by asking what she intended on doing after killing him, seeing as how she's trapped on a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean.
  • Dem Bones: Under the curse, the Black Pearl was really run by a "skeleton" crew under Barbossa.
  • Derelict Graveyard: Isla de Muerta is surrounded by one, implied to be all the other people who've gone looking for the treasure.
    Gibbs: Puts a chill in the bones, how many honest sailors have been claimed by this passage.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Elizabeth stabs her host/captor captain Barbossa with a knife when it seems he's going to attack her. It somehow slipped her mind that even if she'd succeeded, she would still be on a ship full of vicious pirates whose captain she just killed in the middle of the raging sea miles from land. Lampshaded by Barbossa:
  • Digital Destruction: 4K releases suffer from waxy textures, frozen grain, and edge enhancement.
  • Dining in the Buff: Subverted. Pintel and Ragetti tell Elizabeth that if she does not dine with Captain Barbossa, as she refuses to do, then she will be dining with the Black Pearl crew, naked. Elizabeth reluctantly changes her mind, much to Pintel and Ragetti's disappointment.
  • Disappeared Dad: William's father being missing from his life turns out to be an important plot point. He was one of the Black Pearl's crew, who objected to mutinying against Jack... until Barbossa got fed up, tied him to a cannon, and dropped him into the sea. And then the crew learned they needed his blood.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Barbossa explicitly claims the gold's curse is this in his big speech before taking Elizabeth's blood.
    Barbossa: Punished we were—the lot of us—disproportionate to our crime!
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Jack did NOT steal Anamaria's boat, he borrowed it without permission (but with every intention of bringing it back).
  • "Down Here!" Shot: The introduction of Tortuga's best and brightest features one such shot, with the camera stopping on a barrel seen behind two pirates, before tilting down to show the dwarf crewmember who's half their size.
  • Dual Wielding:
    • Will wields two swords in his fight with Jack in the smithy. He loses one of the swords when Jack wraps his handcuffs around it and Will sticks it in the ceiling in an attempt to trap him.
    • Will does it again when Jack is to be hanged, bringing one sword to throw to catch Jack before he is hanged and using the other to fight the executioner.
  • Due to the Dead: In his introductory scene, Jack passes by a few pirate skeletons hung outside the harbor, with a sign reading "Pirates: ye be warned" next to them. His response is to remove his hat and cover his heart, presumably out of respect for the dead.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Elizabeth as a child expresses interest in pirates, and even sings their tune until the sailors order her to stop. Then she helps rescue a shipwrecked boy, finds a pirate's coin on it, and hides it because she fears he will be hanged.
    • Jack Sparrow heroically sailing his sinking boat into port (physics be damned), and stepping onto the dock without breaking stride.
    • Ragetti happily polishing his wooden eye before casually shoving it back into his head. Not only does it give off the impression of him being rather carefree, but also sets up the pirates' immortality and dulled sense of feeling.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
  • Evil Plan: Hector Barbossa seeks to acquire an old, cursed treasure of his and sacrifice an innocent to break the curse.
  • Exact Words:
    • One of Will's conditions for not killing himself is for Barbossa to set Elizabeth free. Barbossa complies by having her walk the plank and marooning her on the island where he left Jack a decade ago.
    Barbossa: I agreed she go free, but it was you who failed to specify when or where.
    • Barbossa is a fan of this trope. When Elizabeth successfully convinces the pirates to cease their attack on Port Royal, he takes her captive because she never specified her own freedom as part of the bargain (and because he believes he needs her to lift the curse).
  • Failed Attempt at Scaring: When Elizabeth sneaks onto the Black Pearl to free the crew, she is surprised by Jack the monkey, but just gets annoyed and throws him overboard.
  • Fake Faint: Near the end of the film, Elizabeth pretends to faint in order to distract the guards and give Jack Sparrow a chance to escape hanging. It's particularly effective because she had earlier actually fainted and fallen into the bay from that exact spot due to an overly tight corset.
  • Fake-Hair Drama: Governor Swann is inspired to take action against the pirates after they almost steal his wig.
  • Fake Identity Baggage: Elizabeth Swann lies to Captain Barbossa about her identity, not wanting to reveal to him that the woman he's holding prisoner is actually the daughter of the Governor of Port Royal. Unfortunately, the name she chooses happens to belong to Barbossa's former crewmate, whose blood he needs to lift the curse on him and his crew, leading Barbossa to mistakenly believe he can use Elizabeth to break the curse.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: During the scene where the crew of the Pearl is kidnapping Elizabeth out of her father's mansion, the chandelier is dislodged by cannon fire. Elizabeth ducks under it as it falls so that it blocks the way of her pursuers.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Being cursed to sail the seas as an undead skeletal zombie by moonlight is clearly not much fun, as we learn from this little exchange when Kohler comes across Jack in the Port Royale jail:
    Kohler: His fortunes ain't improved much. [The pirates snigger]
    Jack: Worry about your own fortunes, gentlemen. The deepest circle of hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers.
    [Enraged, Kohler grabs Jack's throat through the cell bars. His arm becomes skeletal in the moonlight.]
    Jack: So, there is a curse? That's interesting.
    Kohler: You know nothing of hell.
  • Food Porn: Brief in-universe example: Barbossa can't taste, so he just watches Elizabeth eat with a very... interesting expression on his face.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Will is fighting the pirates in Port Royal, he starts by throwing an axe in the back of one, and another gets slammed through a window by a falling sign. They're later still shown up and about, showing there's something strange about them. The first even confronts Will again during the attack, confusing him for a moment since he clearly recognizes him as a man he thought he killed a few minutes ago.
    • The moon is prominently shown shining several times when the pirates are about, before the significance of the moon and its impact on their cursed forms is revealed.
    • If you pay attention to Barbossa's reaction to Elizabeth's eating you can see that he is unusually focused on her act of not only eating but enjoying the food as well, not only offering her luxury food but also asking her to enjoy some wine and apples as well. As revealed a few minutes later Barbossa and his crew are unable to enjoy any sort of luxury due to the curse, their sensations are non-existant and are only left with a feeling of deep hunger. Barbossa was attempting to enjoy the food vicariously through Elizabeth.
    • Jack's first line to Will foreshadows a reveal twenty minutes later.
      You look somewhat familiar, have I threatened you before?
    • When Jack tries to steal the Interceptor, he gets into conversation with the guards and mentions that the Black Pearl could outrun it, and they scoff at the idea. Later, Jack's crew aboard the stolen Interceptor learn that unfortunately he was right.
    • The story of Jack's escape from the desert island relies entirely on Bellisario's Maxim to work. Once Will start picking apart the details of the story at the Isla de Muerta, the superstitious Gibbs is at a loss for words until Jack himself provides clarification. It's later revealed that the story was a complete fabrication, with Jack having simply left the island with smugglers that Barbossa was unaware of.
    • When describing the Aztec Gold, Barbossa states it was cursed by "heathen gods". This throaway bit of exposition establishes the presence of divine entities in the Pirates mythos. This will become very important over the course of the next two films (and in At World's End in particular).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • After Elizabeth passes out into the ocean and the Aztec coin pulses out its location to the Black Pearl, there's a second-long shot of the clouds forming a hand reaching out towards the island.
    • You can see the lobster trap Will stepped in tangled around the rudder of the HMS Dauntless minutes before its discovered Jack and Will jammed the rudder. Doubles as Five-Second Foreshadowing.
  • "Get Out of Jail Free" Card: Despite his role in the theft of the Interceptor and freeing Jack (twice), Will is granted clemency by Governor Swann. Ironically, it gets deconstructed and revoked in the next film.
  • Ghost Pirate: Aztec-cursed pirates that are "not alive, and so [they] cannot die, but neither are [they] dead." They cannot enjoy any sensations and become rotting skeletons in moonlight.
  • Gilligan Cut: Used with Elizabeth's would-be Rousing Speech. Immediately after she makes it, it cuts to her rowing back to Isla De Muerta alone.
    Elizabeth: Bloody pirates.
  • Go Through Me: Elizabeth and Will to Jack.
  • Gratuitous French: At least two times, and it's really gratuit :
    • When Jack arrives in Port Royal, and he leaves the dock after that bribing scene, one can hear a sailor : "Ce soir? Pas de problème!" note 
    • When he arrives in Tortuga with Will, one can hear another sailor : "Oh mais dis donc, arrête!" note 
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: Unless Jack's pistol was loaded with an over-sized patch and had the touch-hole sealed with wax, it's unlikely the powder would still be usable after ten years in the Caribbean humidity even without Barbossa throwing it in the sea.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Jack wins his duel against Will by catching him in a choking cloud of soot. Later on, Barbossa throws a handful of gold coins at Jack's face, causing him to reflexively try to shield his eyes.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • When Jack saves Elizabeth from drowning, the movie launches into a case study of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, as the act immediately outs him as a pirate, and Elizabeth unsuccessfully tries to defend him over the fact that he's just saved her life. Norrington doesn't even disagree with Jack even though he means that the good deed was merely the cause to be brought to justice for his previous crimes.
      Norrington: One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness.
      Jack: Though it seems enough to condemn him.
      Norrington: ...indeed.
    • Jack teaches Will that honour is not, in itself, a tool for accomplishing anything, particularly winning a real fight, especially against someone who cares more about winning than feeling good about fighting fairly.
  • Hat Damage: Pintel shoots off Lieutenant Gilette’s hat, which lands at the feet of one of the skeleton pirates.
  • Hats Off to the Dead: Jack Sparrow's Establishing Character Moment has him notice the skeletons of those who have been hanged for piracy, and (being a pirate himself) he holds his hat to his chest as a sign of respect.
  • He's Dead, Jim: Barbossa, as he is shot through the chest, says "I feel... cold." and collapses. The symbolic apple falls out of his opening hand.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Towards the end of the film, Jack and Will use the remnants of the hangman's knot to take down quite a few British soldiers.
  • Hot Blade: Will uses a sword that was resting in the fire during his duel with Jack in the blacksmith's shop, which makes the end of the blade red hot. He loses it when Jack uses his cuffs to snag the sword and wrench it out of Will's hand.
  • Humanity Ensues: After the curse is broken.
  • Idiot Ball: In the leadup to the final battle, Norrington has the bulk of his crew waiting outside of Isla de Muerta. As Pintel and Ragetti row by in their small ship, he apparently doesn't think it worth investigating why two random "women" in fine dresses and parasols are leaving a pirate hideout in the middle of the night, allowing Pintel and Ragetti to reach the Dauntless. Nor does Norrington notice the numerous shots fired (which are quite loud) aboard the Dauntless until after a bell is rung.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Norrington obliquely gives Will and Elizabeth his... conditional blessing by complimenting his sword, also acknowledging that he knows Will made the sword and not his drunkard master.
    Norrington: This is a beautiful sword. I expect the man who made it to show the same care and devotion in every aspect of his life.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: After the title curse is broken, rendering Barbossa and his men mortals again, Jack Sparrow shoots Barbossa and he says, "I feel... cold." (falls over) Bonus points on this one, because this is the very first thing Barbossa felt since he turned immortal and he actually sounds happy to be able to feel something.
  • Immortality Hurts: Barbossa tells Elizabeth exactly what it feels like to live forever while feeling no positive sensations whatsoever. The cursed pirates are constantly feeling the suffering that comes with dying of starvation and thirst, but they keep going on.
  • Improvised Zipline: Captain Jack Sparrow loops the chain on his handcuffs over a rope and slides away from his pursuers.
  • Insistent Terminology: They're not stealing the Dauntless, they're commandeering it.
    Jack: Nautical term.
  • Insult Backfire: When Norrington is having a good sneer at Jack's less-than-impressive nautical equipment:
    Norrington: You are without a doubt the worst pirate I have ever heard of.
    Jack: [Cocky] But you have heard of me.
  • In the Back: Will takes down one of the pirates in the raid on Port Royal by throwing an axe into his back. He’s fine, thanks to the curse.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • At the beginning of the film, Elizabeth lets out a shocked "You're a pirate," when she finds the "pirate medallion" around Will's neck. At the end, she proudly says "he's a pirate" to correct her father when he laments that she's falling in love with a blacksmith.
    • There is off course Jack Sparrow's catchphrase, "You will always remember this as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow!" After Jack is knocked out by the blacksmith, Norrington delights in turning it against him.
      Norrington: Well, I'm sure you will remember this as the day that Captain Jack Sparrow almost escaped.
    • How about this one?
      Norrington: You are without doubt the worst pirate I've ever heard of.
      Groves: He must be the best pirate I've ever seen!
      Norrington: So it would seem.
    • Subverted by Barbossa.
      Barbossa: [after Elizabeth tells him to leave] I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request.
      [later in the movie, when he sends Ragetti to request that she join Barbossa for dinner]
      Elizabeth: You may tell your Captain that I am disinclined to acquiesce to his request.
      Ragetti: He said you'd say that.
    • There's also this gem...
      Elizabeth: [after failing to convince to the other pirates to go back with her for Jack] Bloody pirates.
      [a little later on...]
      Ragetti: [seeing the Black Pearl sailing off] Is it supposed to be doing that?
      Pintel: They're stealing our ship!
      Ragetti: Bloody pirates!
    • "They're more like guidelines anyway!"
    • Also, the usage of the word "parley", and all involving Pintel. First, Elizabeth uses parley to spare her life when Pintel threatens her. Then, Jack tries it later on his old partners, to no avail...
      Pintel: Damn to the depths whatever man what thought of parley!
      Jack: That would be the French.
    • Later, Barbossa's crew having captured Jack's crew, Pintel warns them against invoking parley. Finally, when the curse is lifted, the pirates are held at gunpoint, as Pintel nervously tries to invoke parley.
  • Irony:
    • When the pirates raid Port Royal, one of Elizabeth's maids assumes they've come to kidnap her because she's the Governor's daughter, so Elizabeth lies to say her last name is Turner and that she's just a maid. Except unfortunately for her, they were actually looking for someone descended from one of their crew whose blood they need to remove their curse. The man in question's name? Turner, of course.
    • Further irony — the Turner the pirates were actually looking for is in love with Elizabeth, and when the pirates kidnap her he sets out to try and rescue her, not knowing he's the one they're looking for. And another bit — he didn't need a plan to rescue Elizabeth. He could have just walked into the Isla de Muerta, told them who he was, and offered his own blood in exchange for Elizabeth's safety (provided he invoked parley as well).
    • Pointed out by Pintel and Ragetti about the story of Bootstrap Bill. Barbossa dropped him into the sea for sticking up for Jack, after which they learned they needed his blood to end the curse in the first place. They have a little chuckle over this, though Barbossa overhearing them isn't nearly as amused.
    • And Jack points out another one; having betrayed, mutinied and abandoned Jack before finding and plundering the gold in order to steal his share, when it turned out that the gold was cursed they actually ended up sparing him from having a stake in their hellish fate. Barbossa, who is not best pleased at this one, can only seethe quietly on being reminded of it.
    • Also, it's repeatedly pointed out that Jack is untrustworthy and duplicitous. But he ends up keeping his side of every bargain we see him he make (albeit often in a roundabout fashion), while everyone he makes a bargain with either ends up betraying him or exploits it to try and kill him. Who's the untrustworthy one again...?
    • Consider the fate of the Black Pearl's crew. Their unquenchable greed and lust for gold drove them to take all the Aztec gold ... so they were cursed to be greedy and lustful forever. The only way to break the curse was to stop being greedy, and return all the stolen gold to the chest.
    • Finally, Barbossa, who earlier in the film complained that under the curse he could feel nothing, is freed of the curse just in time to feel his own death.
  • Island of Mystery: The Isla de Muerta where the cursed Aztec gold is hidden, a place shrouded in fog that can only be found by those who already knew where it is. Following the events of the movie, it is reclaimed by the sea.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Will doesn't deign to use personal pronouns when he and Jack first meet—and immediately start fighting in Will's smithy.
    Will: I practice [swordfighting] three hours a day so that when I meet a pirate, I can kill it!
  • It Only Works Once: A variation with Jack's escape from Rum-runner's Isle. The first time, he got off within 3 days thanks to the bootleggers dropping off their cargo. By the time Barbossa maroons Jack and Elizabeth, the isle's been long-abandoned. Jack speculates the rum-runners went out of business at some point in the last decade.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Norrington and Elizabeth would have been content if not happy had they married, as Norrington intended. He does love her, and she sees him as an older brother and family friend. Eventually, however, it's revealed that Norrington loves Elizabeth too much to marry her when she has eyes for someone else, Will; he stands aside and warns Will to take care of her.
  • Kansas City Shuffle: Jack and Will steal a huge ship early on which they can't properly take care of by just the two of them or with a moderate crew they later gather. They then get chased by the Navy who arrive in a smaller ship called the "Interceptor" and board the big ship to arrest the two. However, they secretly go on the smaller ship and commandeer it without anyone noticing for a few moments. When the Navy does notice, they can't build up enough speed to catch up to it nor even shoot it down because Jack cut the rudder chain.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Elizabeth stabs Barbossa and breaks another cursed pirate's neck by smacking him with the ship's wheel while dressed in the crimson dress she's been forced to wear. Later subverted with Pintel and Ragetti, zombified, fighting British sailors while still wearing the tattered remnants of their pretty dresses.
  • Kid Amid the Chaos: During the Black Pearl's assault on Port Royal a toddler boy is seen screaming and crying in the chaos. Luckily a woman grabs him and pulls him out of the way before some debris falls on him.
  • Killing for a Tissue Sample: Averted initially, then played straight.
    • The pirates avert the trope with Elizabeth. They let her believe she'll be sacrificed to free them, but all they need is a few drops of her blood on the gold.
      Elizabeth: That's it?
      Barbossa: Waste not.
    • When it becomes William's turn, they are by this point rather frustrated and decide to spill it all just to make sure. And provide greater dramatic emphasis for the effort to rescue him, of course.
  • Killed Off for Real: Several of the crew of the Black Pearl are given mortal injuries after the curse is lifted, or before the curse is lifted and cannot heal in time.
    • Grapple and Mallot: Smashed into pieces by a longboat and fall into the water.
    • Jacoby, Clubba and Monk: Will takes one of Jacoby's grenades, lodges it into his skeleton, then Will and Elizabeth push the three pirates out of the moonlight.
    • Barbossa: Shot by Jack just before Will lifts the curse. Though this is ultimately subverted by Dead Man's Chest.
    • Koehler: Stabbed by Norrington just after the curse is lifted.
  • Knights and Knaves: Jack, going by the alias "Mr. Smith", manages to put one of these past Mullroy and Murtogg:
    Mullroy: What's your purpose in Port Royal, Mr. Smith?
    Murtogg: Yeah, and no lies.
    Jack Sparrow: Well then, I confess, it is my intention to commandeer one of these ships, pick up a crew in Tortuga, raid, pillage, plunder and otherwise pilfer my weasely black guts out.
    Murtogg: I said no lies!
    Mullroy: I think he's telling the truth.
    Murtogg: If he were telling the truth, he wouldn't have told us.
    Jack Sparrow: Unless, of course, he knew you wouldn't believe the truth even if he told it to you.
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: Norrington is the Knight, the honourable, experienced naval officer. Jack is the Knave, the roguish Combat Pragmatist pirate, and Will is the Squire, the Skilled, but Naive Master Swordsman.
  • Like Brother and Sister: While Norrington loves Elizabeth, she sees him as a Cool Big Bro who would warn her about pirates and seeking adventure when she was a child. It's obvious that Norrington wants to save Elizabeth when she's captured and is bound by duty to not trust Jack Sparrow.
  • List of Transgressions: An abbreviated but still long one is read at Jack's execution.
  • Lodged Blade Removal:
    • Elizabeth stabs Barbossa in the neck with a kitchen knife. However, since the man has been cursed to be immortal, he simply pulls the knife out and taunts her.
    • In the final battle, two of the cursed pirates end up stabbing each other with their swords while fighting Will. They pause and look down at the swords, then each of them pulls out the one in his own ribcage and they go after Will again.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • As Barbossa's crew captures Jack's crew and Will, Barbossa agrees, as per Will's demands, to set Elizabeth free and not harm Jack's crew. Barbossa, however, adds a loophole, marooning Elizabeth and Jack on the island Jack was marooned on years earlier. When Will calls Barbossa out on his actions, Barbossa retorts thus:
      Barbossa: Don't dare impugn me honor, boy! I agreed she'd go free, but it was you who failed to specify when or where.
    • He also does it when agreeing to spare Port Royal in exchange for the final piece of Aztec gold; Elizabeth didn't say anything about being returned to port, so Barbossa decides to keep her for her blood.
      Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement, so I must do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the Pirate's Code to apply, and you're not. And thirdly—the Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner!
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: When Will rescues Elizabeth in the cave of treasure, she's wearing shoes and stockings. When she and Will make it back to the Interceptor, a brief shot shows that she's now barefoot, and remains s from then until the beginning of the third act. The possible cause could be from the process of swimming back, or she possibly removed them to swim easier while wearing her dress.
  • Map Stabbing: Will stabs a map in front of Norrington, to show how determined he is to rescue Elizabeth.
  • Mayincatec: The cursed Aztec gold, supposedly from modern day México, comes in a stone chest engraved with the Staff God of Tiwanaku, an artwork piece found in modern day Bolivia. The story given about Hernán Cortés also resembles more that of Francisco Pizarro.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Jack says to Will "you can accept that your father was a pirate, and a good man, or you can't." At the end of the film this exchange occurs about Jack.
    Governor Swann: He's a pirate.
    Will: And a good man.
    • Jack tells Will that according to the Pirates' Code "Any man who falls behind, is left behind." Which leads to this exchange after Will abandons Jack to Barbossa:
    Gibbs: Where's Jack?
    Will: He fell behind.
  • Mercy Lead: At the end of the film, Norrington grants Jack a day's head start after Will saves him from the gallows. Ironically, this gets deconstructed and comes back to bite him in the ass in the next film.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts with Elizabeth meeting a shipwrecked Will, during their childhood.
  • Missing Mom: Elizabeth's mother is absent and unmentioned, and Will's mother raised him herself and died before the events of the film.
  • Misplaced-Names Poster: This poster for the first movie. None of the names line up with the faces below them.
  • Mortality Ensues: This happens to Barbossa at the worst possible time; Will drops the final gold piece into the cursed treasure chest just after Sparrow blows a fatal hole in Barbossa's chest with a pistol, removing the curse and causing Barbossa to bleed out. Meanwhile, the rest of the Black Pearl's crew are in the middle of a pitched battle aboard the Dauntless when the curse is lifted, and immediately surrender when they realize they can be killed again.
  • Mortality Grey Area: As the result of plundering the cursed treasure chest of Hernán Cortés, Barbossa and his crew's desires cannot be sated; their hunger cannot be sated, their thirst cannot be quenched, their lust cannot be slaked. Under direct moonlight, they transform into rotting skeletons. And on top of all of this, they cannot die, no matter the state they are innote , not until each piece of Aztec gold is returned to the chest it came from, along with a blood price from the one who took it.
  • Mr. Smith: Used when Jack arrives at Port Royal:
    Harbormaster: It's a schilling to tie up your boat at the dock, and I shall need to know your name.
    Jack: What say you to three schillings, and we forget the name?
    Harbormaster: Welcome to Port Royal, Mr. Smith.
  • Mugging the Monster: When Jack seeks out a blacksmith's shop to remove his irons, he has the bad luck of walking into the shop where Will Turner — Master Swordsman of Port Royal, and secret love of the woman Jack just used as a Human Shield — is employed. If Jack were any less of a Combat Pragmatist, the movie would have ended right there.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: Near the end of the film, Jack grabs a bit of the cursed treasure before his fight with Barbossa, briefly becoming cursed with undeath as well.
  • Mythology Gag: There are numerous nods to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland. Most notably is the use of the theme song "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, a Pirate's Life for Me", which is partially sung a good three times in the film.
    • Port Royal stands in for the Spanish fort attacked by pirates on the ride, while Isla de Muerta represents the pirate caverns at the start of the ride.
    • The prison scene where captured pirates try to lure the guard dog over with a bone. Jack points out the dog will never move, and then tries to lure it over with the bone himself later on.
    • Tortuga features a lot of nods to the "burning town" scenes from the ride—the iconic redheaded woman named Scarlett appears as a prostitute, a pirate lies under a barrel of rum drinking from the tap, Gibbs sleeps with pigs, a woman chases a thief pirate around a balcony, and there is a musical band of pirates. In a deleted scene, the mayor can be seen being dunked in a well.
    • During the Black Pearl's assault on Port Royal, pirates chase women around.
    • Cotton's talking parrot is a nod to the ride's animatronic parrot mascot, and squawks, "Dead men tell no tales!"
    • When Jack and Will are rowing through Isla de Muerta's caverns, there is a skeleton lying nearby with a crab next to it.
    • The skeletal Barbossa "drinks" a bottle of wine, and its contents trickle through his ribcage.
    • The film's plot of cursed treasure and greedy pirates may come from the ride's line, "Who knows when that evil curse will strike the greedy beholders of this bewitched treasure."
    • The storm scene is a nod to a similar one in the ride.
    • Barbossa calls his crew "bloomin' cockroaches!"
  • Myopic Architecture: Will uses his blacksmithing experience to spring Jack from jail, realizing that the cell door can be simply lifted off its hinges with a proper lever. And that, my friends, is why one shouldn't build prison cells with half-pin barrel hinges.
  • Nautical Knockout: Jack Sparrow does this intentionally when Will Turner is holding him at sword point. Jack suddenly turns the wheel so that the boom comes too fast for Will to avoid it, sending him overboard.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: While they're in disguise, Pintel starts beating up Ragetti, which accidentally knocks aside the parasols that keep them hidden from the moonlight, revealing that Elizabeth was telling the truth about the curse. To add insult to injury, Pintel tries to shoot one of Norrington's men, and only succeeds in knocking his hat off, which in turn accidentally reveals the pirates' sneak attack when the man turns to see where it went. Of course it wouldn’t have mattered much since the crew was immortal and could ignore whatever injuries they receive... until the curse is lifted.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Elizabeth, believing the pirates want to kidnap the governor's daughter, gives her last name as Turner instead of Swann. Unfortunately, the pirates weren't interested in the governor's daughter — but the offspring of a man whose blood could end their curse...?
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Jack saves Elizabeth from drowning, which gives Norrington the chance to find him and order him hanged, something Elizabeth and Jack object to.
    Elizabeth: Pirate or not, this man saved my life.
    Norrington: One good deed is not enough to redeem a man of a lifetime of wickedness.
    Jack: Though it seems enough to condemn him.
    Norrington: Indeed.
  • Noodle Incident: Many of Jack's previous misadventures are briefly alluded to here.
    • At some point in the past Jack impersonated a cleric of the Church of England.
    • As Elizabeth falls off the docks, Jack can be heard telling the two sailors he's with "and then they made me their chief."
    • When Jack rips Elizabeth's corset off to save her life, one of the sailors says that he "never would've thought of that." Jack's reply is a rather blase "Clearly you've never been to Singapore." One has to wonder just what happened at Singapore...
  • No-Respect Guy: Will is the one doing all the work at the town smithy, while his master spends all day either drunk or unconscious, yet the man gets all the credit while Will is overlooked completely. After all, he's just an apprentice. Averted at the end of the film when Norrington acknowledges Will as the maker of his sword.
  • No-Sell: Will cuts down some pirates on the attack on Port Royal, but they're perfectly fine thanks to the curse.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: The scene where Elizabeth is forced to dine either with Barbossa (wearing a fancy dress) or with the crew (naked) and she reluctantly decides to dine with Barbossa.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: At first, the curse alarms Elizabeth. By the time of the climax though, Jack trying to give her a jump scare only momentarily startles her. Then she bludgeons him over the side of the ship.
  • Of Corset Hurts: Elizabeth complains mightily when trussed up in a corset for Norrington's ceremony, especially since it causes her to faint, and fall off a cliff... This is most likely because Elizabeth's dress and corset are brand new and she's wearing them for the first time, when both would need to be broken in to be comfortable (clothing made of natural materials are usually made undersized to allow for stretching as the fibers relax), she's not experienced in wearing a corset, it's not fitted specifically for her and the maid tying it doesn't know how to tie it properly and is just reefing on it. Corsets in general were not as uncomfortable as films tend to make them look, and the tight-lacing methods were impossible to achieve before the late 1880s (and relatively rare even after that).
    Elizabeth: You like pain? Try wearing a corset.
  • Of Corsets Sexy: One can't deny that the corset gives Elizabeth some excellent cleavage. Although in the audio commentary Keira Knightley jokes that her cleavage was painted on.
  • Off-into-the-Distance Ending: The film ends with Captain Jack Sparrow sailing off into the distance in search of a new adventure.
    Jack: Now, bring me that horizon. [beat] Drink up, me hearties, yo-ho.
  • Ominous Fog: Follows the cursed Black Pearl around.
  • Organ Dodge: Ragetti takes a fork to the eye after the opposing ship fires a round of shrapnel after running out of cannonballs. Fortunately, the eye that gets hit is wooden.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Will's pirate coin, which Elizabeth finds when they're both children. She tucks it into her dress so that he won't be caught and hanged as a pirate. Later on, when Will sees it, he's relieved since he thought he had lost it ages ago.
  • Orphaned Punchline: We leave Jack Sparrow stringing Murtogg and Mullroy along aboard the Interceptor, and we return to catch the line "...And then they made me their chief."
  • Palm Bloodletting: The preferred way to shed the blood required to end the curse, once it's established that only a little bit of blood is needed.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Ragetti carries one in the final act when he is pretending to be a woman as a distraction.
  • Pet Gets the Keys: The iconic dog-with-the-key outside the Port Royal jail cell, a scene lifted directly from the ride. Captain Jack mocks the other prisoners for trying to coax the mangy mutt over, before a cannon ball opens up part of their cell, allowing them to escape. Once they leave, Sparrow starts whistling for the dog himself, but when the cursed pirates appear, the dog runs away with the keys, leaving him completely trapped.
  • Powder Trail: The cursed Black Pearl crew destroys the Interceptor with powder, setting off its entire remaining powder magazine.
  • The Power of Blood: The blood of those who took coins from the Chest of Cortés (or that of their children) is required in order to end the curse.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Will isn't happy that Barbossa's idea of "setting free" equals "Walk the Plank".
      Will: Barbossa, you lying bastard!
    • Props for slipping that into a Disney movie. Oh, and also using the word "strumpet". And "eunuch". And... just the way that Jack is, feels like it shouldn't be in a Disney movie.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner:
    • Pintel's first line is one of these before shooting Governor Swann's butler.
      Pintel: Hello, chum. [shoots the butler]
    • Will to Barbossa before lifting the curse.
      Will: He [Jack] didn't waste it.
  • The Punishment: Steal the Aztec Gold and you'll become immortal and impossible to kill (downside: but you won't enjoy a moment of it).
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn:
    • The pillaging and burning occurs during the Black Pearl's attack on Port Harbor. This being a Disney movie, no raping is shown.
    • Earlier, Jack declares his intentions to "raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer my weaselly black guts out."
    • Although, there is the scene where Barbossa tosses a recaptured Elizabeth into the hands of his crew, who start pawing at her and pulling on her dress and hair as she starts screaming. Will shows up, everyone is distracted, and nothing further happens to Elizabeth, but this still reads as a near-Attempted Rape.
    • Also, Barbossa's ultimatum to Elizabeth — that she dine with him in a fancy dress, or with the crew naked — reeks of this.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Jack is disgusted that Murtogg and Malloy can't swim - "Pride of the King's Navy, you are!" - but in fact very few members of the Royal Navy (or really anyone who worked on or around ships during this period of history) knew how to swim. Should a ship be sunk during a battle or in a wreck and you couldn't get into a lifeboat, your chances of being rescued were very slim to none, and it was considered better to drown quickly rather than spend hours or days paddling until you succumbed to exhaustion. In addition, higher-ups in the navy didn't want to risk dissatisfied sailors jumping ship and swimming to port to escape.
  • The Reveal: Didn't Will toss an axe into that pirate's back? How is he alive? And hold on, Elizabeth just stabbed Barbossa in the chest and all he did was pull the knife out. What's going on? Cue horror.
    Barbossa: Look! The moonlight shows us for what we truly are. We are not among the living and so we cannot die, but neither are we dead...Ye'd best start believin' in ghost stories, Miss Turner. Ye're in one!
  • Rewatch Bonus: On a second viewing, Jack's mannerisms read differently once he sees that the curse is true. Rather than just seem confused and intrigued, you can tell that he's realizing that he'll need to break the curse if he is to get his revenge on Barbossa and reclaim the Black Pearl, thus explaining why he jumps at the opportunity to work with Will upon learning his name.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Just how did the mute Mr. Cotton teach his parrot to talk for him?
  • A Rotten Time to Revert: During the Final Battle, Will manages to end the curse by returning the last of the Aztec gold with the necessary blood sacrifice, restoring the crew of the Black Pear to full humanity, just as they were hoping for... right when they're in the middle of a battle with Commodore Norrington's forces. As a result, at least one of them ends up being killed before the rest belatedly realize that they're no longer invincible undead, and hastily surrender to Norrington. Captain Barbossa is fresh from having been shot by Jack, so he dies almost instantly.
  • Rule of Three: Leverage, parley, and thinking of the pirates' code as guidelines are all mentioned thrice over the course of the movie:
    • Will first brings up leverage in a literal sense when he lifts Jack's cell door off its hinges. Jack later refers to Will as "leverage"—a bargaining chip he can use to get the Black Pearl back. Will overhears this and knocks Jack out before he can put this plan into action, refusing to be Jack's leverage.
    • Elizabeth uses parley to spare her life, Jack tries it later on his old partners to no avail, and Pintel warns Jack's captured crew not to think of playing the parley card.
    • In this case, it could be "Rule of Four": after the curse is lifted and Barbossa's crew are no longer immortal, they are held at gunpoint by the soldiers. As this happens, Pintel nervously says, "Parley?"
    • Barbossa informs Elizabeth that he finds the pirates' code to be more like guidelines than actual rules, something she repeats to Jack's crew, and which they tell Jack at the end of the film. Though it's not likely something either would repeat to Captain Teague.
    • In Tortuga, Jack encounters a woman who slaps him without speaking a word, and he defiantly tells Will, "Not sure I deserved that." Another woman steps up, says one line, and then she slaps Jack. "I might have deserved that." A few scenes later, his newly assembled crew contains one woman, who slaps Jack the moment he removes her hat.
      Will: I suppose you didn't deserve that one, either.
      Jack: No, that one I deserved.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jack calling people (Will, mostly) a "eunuch".
    • Ragetti's fake eye falling out or otherwise taking damage.
    • "Pirates." / "Pirate."
  • Sacred Hospitality: Downplayed. The pirates do have their fun scaring Elizabeth with the curse, and she is technically their prisoner and hostage, but they do offer a decent meal and a dress since she went up to the ship in her nightgown. Of course, when they realize Will is the one they need, they just lock him up in the brig.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Jack thoroughly confuses Murtogg and Mullroy when he tells them the honest truth about why he's come to Port Royal.
    Jack: Well, then, I confess. It is my intention to commandeer one of these ships, pick up a crew in Tortuga, raid, pillage, plunder, and otherwise pilfer my weaselly black guts out.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!:
    • The fight between Will Turner and Jack Sparrow in the smithy starts as a swordfight but quickly devolves into escalating degrees of Combat Pragmatist. This culminates in Jack throwing sand in Will's face, blinding him long enough to get him at pistol-point.
      Will: You cheated!
      Jack: Pirate!
    • One of the Running Gags is the relative merits of obeying the Pirates' Code. Captain Barbossa adheres to the exact letter of parley and agreements made thereunder, but feels no qualms about first kidnapping, and later marooning, Elizabeth Swann, on the grounds that respectively she and Will Turner did not explicitly negotiate not to be dealt with in such manner.
      Elizabeth: Wait! You have to take me to shore. According to the Code of the Order of the Brethren—
      Barbossa: First, your return to shore was not part of our negotiations nor our agreement so I "must" do nothing. And secondly, you must be a pirate for the Pirate's Code to apply and you're not. And thirdly, the code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules. Welcome aboard the Black Pearl, Miss Turner!
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: Subverted, but Barbossa does raise the possibility, since he knows he and Jack are closely matched as swordsmen and as cursed beings can't be killed.
    Barbossa: So what now, Jack Sparrow? Are we to be two immortals locked in an epic battle until Judgment Day and trumpets sound?
    Jack: Or you could surrender.
  • Sense Loss Sadness: Barbossa's motivation to undo the curse. He and his crew seem to still be able to feel unpleasant sensations, but cannot derive any enjoyment from such things as food or sea breezes.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: "I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request. (Beat) Means 'no'."
  • Shipwreck Start: The film begins with 10-year-old Elizabeth Swann, sailing with her father, Norrington, and Gibbs, coming across a burning shipwreck caused by pirates, spotting one of its victims, young Will Turner, in the water.
  • Shoot the Dog: Suggested by Captain Barbossa as what Jack should do after he and Elizabeth are stranded (in lieu of Jack's offer of giving him two shots).
    Barbossa: It'll be one pistol as before, and you can be the gentleman and shoot the lady; and starve to death yourself.
  • Shout-Out: Several very nice ones to pirate films, and to Disney movies as well:
    • Using a capsized skiff as an improvised "submarine" was done first in The Crimson Pirate.
    • Peter Pan: In the very first scene, Governor Swann's costume looks exactly like Captain Hook's. Also, in the final fight, Jack cuts off some of the feathers on Barbossa's hat, just like Peter does to Hook.
    • Snow White: When Elizabeth refuses Barbossa's apple, believing it's poisoned.
    • The Little Mermaid: When the Royal Navy plans to attack the Black Pearl's crew, Lt. Gillette jokingly dismisses Elizabeth's warning:
      Elizabeth: No, wait, stop! The pirates are undead! They'll all be killed! This is Jack Sparrow's doing!
      Lt. Gillette: Don't worry, Miss, he's already been informed of that, a little mermaid flopped up on deck and told him the whole story!
    • The Divine Comedy: A subtle one, but when confronted in the jail cell by Kohler, Jack retorts that the deepest circle of Hell is reserved for traitors, true to Dante's Inferno.
  • Signature Line: "You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner. You're in one!"
  • Spiteful Spit: Koehler does this toward Jack Sparrow when he discovers him in the jail.
  • Squick: In-universe example when Jack finds out that Cotton has no tongue.
  • Stealth Pun: Barbossa leaves 2 cursed crewmen to watch the Black Pearl while the others go ashore. In effect, he leaves behind a skeleton crew.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: Will throws a sword under Jack's feet to save him from a hanging.
  • The Stinger: Jack (the monkey) recovering one of the cursed coins after everything's over, and becoming undead.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Will puts a gun to his own throat while standing next to the ship's edge, in order to get Elizabeth released from Barbossa's crew. Initially, however, it only really leaves the pirates confused as to why they should care; Barbossa's initial reply is a confused "Who are you?"
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist:
    • Norrington. He's definitely not the bad guy, and is pursuing Jack out of duty and orders. Jack is, after all a pirate, and piracy was a huge threat to settlements.
    • Several of the deleted scenes feature Pet the Dog moments for Norrington. Notably, he tells Governor Swann that whatever his personal feelings towards Will, he's duty-bound to try and rescue him from Barbossa. He also has a moving heart-to-heart talk with Elizabeth after she "accepts" his proposal. Even Jack admits that he respects Norrington as "a man who knows what he's after."
  • Tactful Translation: Played for laughs when Barbossa "translates" his comments for Elizabeth. It can be argued that Elizabeth's look of confusion is merely the result of Barbossa speaking so eloquently seconds after asking her to use smaller words that the "humble pirates" can understand, and his translation is not for her, but his own crew, who also seem confused.
  • Tap on the Head: Both Will and Jack are knocked out by a blow to the head. First the blacksmith breaks a rum bottle on Jack's from behind while he's distracted by Will. Will then gets smacked by a candlestick-wielding passing pirate during the Port Royal assault, and later belts Jack across the face with an oar.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Will. He notes on breaking Jack out that the man recognizes his name, but doesn't press the matter until they're out at sea. He doesn't like what he hears.
  • This Is Reality: Norrington tells Elizabeth this when she is a kid. While pirates seem great in storybooks, in real life they are dangerous criminals. She finds out as an adult that he is very right.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Will does this twice.
    • Once at the latch to the smithy to stop Jack from escaping.
    • The other time is at the end of the movie, to save Jack from being hanged by providing him a Stepping-Stone Sword.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: At the end of the movie, Will and Elizabeth intervene to stop Jack's execution, and Governor Swann hesitates on pursuing Jack.
    Governor Swann: Perhaps on the rare occasion pursuing the right course demands an act of piracy, piracy itself can be the right course?
  • Too Hungry to Be Polite: While dining with Barbossa, Elizabeth starts out picking at her meal. Barbossa, knowing she must be hungry, points out she hardly needs to stand on ceremony on a pirate ship. She promptly tears into the food.
  • Treasure Room: In middle of Isla de Muerta, there's a cave filled with booty that the cursed crew of the Black Pearl has amassed over the years.
  • The Triple: "I think we've all arrived at a very special place, eh? Spiritually. Ecumenically. Grammatically."
  • Truce Trickery: A Running Gag. The pirates all adhere rigidly to the letter of "parley", being part of the Pirates' Code, but Captain Barbossa has zero qualms about first kidnapping, then marooning Elizabeth Swann after parley is completed on grounds that respectively she and Will Turner did not specifically negotiate not to be dealt with in such manner.
  • Undead Author: The cursed Black Pearl has been marauding in search of the missing gold pieces for nearly ten years, and is rumored to never leave any survivors.
    Jack: No survivors? Then where do the stories come from, I wonder?
  • Unknowingly Possessing Stolen Goods: Implied. It's fairly safe to assume the people buying the medallions from the pirates weren't aware they were actually stolen, cursed Aztec gold.
  • Using You All Along:
    • As Jack is bargaining with Barbossa for Will's life, and to destroy the men of the Dauntless (more or less), plus getting to sail the Pearl again as captain, Will bursts out "You've been planning this from the beginning!"
      Jack: [Beat] Yeah.
    • The novelization subverts this by spelling out that Will noticed that Jack kept a medallion and pieced together what Jack was really planning, so he played along.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Where Elizabeth stores the Aztec gold piece.
  • Villains Out Shopping: When Elizabeth is sneaking on board the Black Pearl, she sees two pirates who are preparing to have a feast when the curse is lifted. In a deleted portion of that scene, they both decide to have cake.
  • Visual Pun: The moonlight reveals Barbossa and the Black Pearl's cursed crew of the undead to be little more than zombified flesh and bones; in other words, a skeleton crew.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: Mr. Cotton had his tongue cut out, so he trained his parrot to talk for him. No one's yet figured out how.
    Parrot: [squawk] Wind in the sails! Wind in the sails!
    Mr. Gibbs: Mostly, we figure, that means "yes."
  • Walk, Don't Swim: The strategy used by the undead pirates to reach Norrington's ship undetected.
    Barbossa: Gents... take a walk!
  • Walk the Plank: To be marooned on a Desert Island... twice.
  • We Named the Monkey "Jack": Trope Namer. Barbossa reveals they named their undead pet monkey Jack as a joke on the real Jack.
    Barbossa: [takes medallion from the monkey] Why thank you, Jack.
    Jack Sparrow: You're welcome.
    Barbossa: Not you, we named the monkey "Jack".
  • Wham Shot: When the two pirates stumble upon Jack in the cells, they talk, Jack accuses them of being damned to hell for mutiny. And then the Scary Black Man reaches through the bars to grab his throat... and his hand turns to bone.
  • Who Are You?: From Barbossa to Will Turner. It features a mild subversion, with Jack trying very hard to keep Will from answering, since it will derail his plans.
    Barbossa: Who are you?
    Jack: No one! He's no one! Distant cousin of my aunt's nephew, twice removed. Lovely singing voice, though. Eunuch.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The pirates would probably be quite happy to live forever, except that the curse prevents them from deriving any enjoyment from their endless life. They're eternally hungry, eternally thirsty, have no physical sensation at all (no "pleasurable company"), and reveal their monstrous, undead forms in the moonlight. Even though the curse removes all the risk from their occupation, a group of hedonistic pirates like Barbossa's crew are made absolutely miserable from it.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The donkey in the smithy has a fear of hot metal, as shown when Jack uses a hot poker to start the mechanism. When Will finds a Hot Blade, the donkey gets frightened again and starts it up.
  • Worthy Opponent: Naval officer Lt. Groves seems to hold this view of Captain Sparrow. At the least, he openly admires the pirate's ingenuity. "That's got to be the best pirate I've ever seen!"
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Elizabeth thinks pirates are dashing, Lovable Rogues, but the pirates she encounters are nothing like her expectation. And an even bigger one later as she did not expect that magical curses are absolutely real in this world.
    Barbossa: You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner.... you're in one!
  • "Yes"/"No" Answer Interpretation: Mr. Cotton's bird mostly says Pirate Parrot stuff like "Ready the sails!"
    Mr. Gibbs: Mostly we figure that means "yes".
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Jack and Will take shots at each other while trying to cut each other's heads off.
  • You Need to Get Laid: Jack's initial impression of Will, when they fight amongst Will's swords.
    Jack: Who makes all these?
    Will: I do! And I practice with them three hours a day!
    Jack: You need to find yourself a girl, mate.
  • "You!" Exclamation: Minus the exclamation when Will first meets Jack. He's never met Captain Jack Sparrow but he heard the British military had been hunting him.
    Will: You're the one they're hunting... the pirate.

"...Drink up me hearties, yo-ho."


Dog With the Keys

Prisoners try to coax a dog to bring them the keys to their cell.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PetGetsTheKeys

Media sources: