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Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me! note 

♫ This is the tale of Captain Jack Sparrow,
A pirate so brave on the seven seas!
A mystical quest to the isle of Tortuga,
Raven locks sway on the ocean's breeze! ♫

Pirates of the Caribbean is a Disney film franchise based on a theme park ride of the same name, centering around the adventures of pirate Captain Jack Sparrow on his quest for immortality and rum. The series is famous for originally being thought a terrible idea, only to surprise everyone with its huge success, in no small part due to Johnny Depp and his wild-eyed acting.

Here we present the rogues gallery (so far) of this epic series of yarns, me hearties!

A year after Dead Men Tell No Tales was released, the Pirates franchise was announced to be rebooted in the future without the involvement of Johnny Depp or the inclusion of any past characters. As of September 2023, Disney had been making progress on the project under the helm of Craig Mazin before it was paused due to the WGA strike that began that May.

List of works


Main seriesShort films


  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow, a young readers series about Jack Sparrow's teen years.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Price of Freedom, a prequel novel detailing how Jack Sparrow got the Black Pearl.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Legends of the Brethren Court, a prequel set thirteen years before the first movie, that focuses on Jack Sparrow's earliest days as Captain and his fight against the Shadow Lord.


Tabletop Games

Theme park attraction

Video games

Direct entries


  • Disney Infinity: Pirates of the Caribbean is one of the Play Sets included with the first version and includes Jack, Barbossa, and Davy Jones as playable characters.
  • Kingdom Hearts: The worlds Port Royal and The Caribbean are based on The Curse of the Black Pearl and At World's End, respectively.
  • Sea of Thieves: A crossover expansion titled A Pirate's Life, which focuses on an original adventure involving Jack Sparrow.
  • Disney Mirrorverse: Alternate versions of Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann are playable characters; with Jack cursed by the Black Spot but able to manipulate other curses to his advantage, while Elizabeth has become the new Keeper of the Code.
  • Disney Speedstorm: Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann are playable racers, and tracks set in a world based on the film series are also featured.

Tropes found in Pirates of the Caribbean:

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  • Abnormal Ammo: In the first movie, after tossing most of their cannonballs and excess weight overboard in a failed attempt to lighten the Interceptor and evade the Black Pearl in shallower waters, Will orders the crew to load their cannons with "everything ... anything we have left". This is known as "langridge", a real combat tactic utilizing whatever nails, screws, chunks of wood, broken glass, and other useless bits are left over after fixing and maintaining a ship. Mister Gibbs even uses the term. (Usually it's what you did when you wanted to take out the other guys but keep their ship). Ammunition specially designed to do this is called "grape shot", and consists of many, many tiny iron balls. Although using an undead monkey as ammo may have been pushing the trope beyond Truth in Television. And at several points throughout the films, two cannonballs chained together are. This is Truth in Television as well, as chain shot was designed to cripple a ship by doing a merry number on its rigging or even the mast. Barbossa grabs a set before making port in At World's End to use as a gavel calling the Brethren Court to order.
  • Accordion to Most Sailors: The orchestral score of the film series tends to feature accordions, fitting the pirate characters and setting. Notable examples include "Two Hornpipes (Tortuga)", "The Brethren Court", "Drink Up Me Hearties", and "Hoist the Colors Suite". When performed live on Hans Zimmer's tour, the Pirates of the Caribbean medley is the only time an accordion is brought out on stage.
  • Action Girl: Elizabeth Swann and Angelica. Played with in the first movie when Elizabeth tries to grab a sword to fight off Pintel and Ragetti and can't pull it out of the decoration it's built into. But by Dead Man's Chest, she's all about this trope.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Keith Richards, an inspiration for Johnny Depp's portrayal of Jack, as Jack's father.
    • There's more than a little Al Swearengen in Blackbeard, both of whom are played by Ian McShane.
    • Angelica's claim at the end that she is pregnant. Also doubles as a real life Shout-Out to Anne Bonney and Mary Read, two of the most famous female pirates who avoided the death sentence by (claiming at least) to being pregnant.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Based on a theme park ride that had no story or characters to speak of, albeit a theme park ride that's been popular since the '60s. It has since become a case of recursive adaptation: the ride now features Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Agent Peacock: Jack Sparrow.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: All the Big Bads meet their end with sympathetic last words.
    Barbossa: I feel... cold.
    Davy Jones: Calypso...
    Beckett: It's just... good business.
    • Less so with Blackbeard in the fourth film thanks mainly to his Karmic Death, but there is the sad music playing and him trying to reach the one person who cares about him as he withers away...
    • Completely averted with Salazar in the fifth film, as it's Barbossa's death at the same time that is treated as sad.
  • All Myths Are True: All pirate myths at least. Word of God says that the series is set in a sort of mythological Earth, where all of the sea's urban legends are real.
  • All Take and No Give: "Take what you can!" "Give nothing back!"
  • All There in the Manual: Lt. Groves was not named in canon until On Stranger Tides and either was confirmed to have that name either in the credits or by his actor. A lot of Magic A Is Magic A is explained All There In The Manual by the writers as well.
  • Anachronism Stew: Too many to list completely (every movie has its own subpage) but here's a quick rundown: the series is vaguely set in the 17th or 18th century, and features King George II (crowned 1727, died 1760), Blackbeard (1680-1718), and states the pirate code was set by the pirates Morgan and Bartholomew, referring to Henry Morgan (1635-1688) and Bartholomew Roberts (1682-1722). The series also prominently features the locations of Port Royal (destroyed in an earthquake in 1692 and natural disasters hampered reconstruction efforts through the 1700s), Tortuga (died out as a pirate haven in the late 17th century), Singapore (wasn't really notable until the 19th century), and the Bermuda Triangle (wasn't really talked about and well-known until the 20th century). Fashion, language, naval flags and customs, and so forth, are also all over the place.
  • Animal Theme Naming: Present in the leads- Jack Sparrow, Elizabeth Swann. "Will Turner" is a bit more obscure, but is also the name of a real-life English ornithologist, and a tern is a seabird. The missionary in the fourth film is named Philip Swift.
  • Arc Words:
    • "Pirate!"
    • "Leverage."
    • "Parley!"
    • "Bloody pirates."
    • "Hoist the colours."
    • "Part of the crew, part of the ship."
    • "The Dutchman must always have a captain."
    • "A touch...of destiny."
    • "Mermaids are tough."
    • "Stick to the code."
    • "Savvy?"
    • “Surrender to me now, and I’ll let you live.”
  • Arch-Enemy: Jack Sparrow had Hector Barbossa, who betrayed him and stole his ship. After both have died at least once, it becomes a more friendly rivalry.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    Jack: Shoot him, cut out his tongue, then shoot his tongue. And trim that scraggly beard.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Ragetti's false eye shouldn't be able to move along with his real one. On the other hand: magic.
  • Artistic License – History: No one would simply have hanged captured pirates without a semblance of a trial, such as at the beginning of the third filmnote .
  • Artistic License – Ships: The amount of this in the films could fill a small book. A quick rundown:
    • Jack Sparrow's rapidly sinking dinghy at the start of the first film is impossible. Even if a ship could be uniformly sunk like that, its momentum would certainly tip it forward.
    • The stunt with the upturned boat in the first film would not work. The issue is not that an air pocket couldn't be created; it's that such an air pocket creates a powerful buoyancy force liable to send the boat rocketing back to the surface. This could only be counteracted if the boat was extremely heavy (unlikely, since they easily carry it) or if the grip strength of Will and Jack was inhumanly strong.
    • Neither the Dauntless nor the Interceptor in the first film could be crewed by only two men in real life even once they are under sail. Lt Gillette even specifically mentions this in relation to the Dauntless when Jack and Will are trying to steal it, though it's still treated as if they'll be fine as long as someone does the work for them, when they most certainly would not.
    • The HMS Endeavour is shown as being overwhelmed by two frigates. In reality, a first-rate ship-of-the-line like the Endeavour could turn both into matchsticks with ease (aside from the fact that one of the frigates is an unsinkable Ghost Ship), even if they attacked at once. This example, however, is justified; the Endeavour did not shoot back because Beckett was too deep in his Villainous Breakdown to react and his underlings lacked the presence of mind to respond until the Endeavour was already finished.
    • Full-rigged sailing ships cannot be steered simply by spinning the wheel like a car. It takes a lot of trimming of sails, etc. for even a small course change. Though the memorable scene where Jack sweeps Will off the deck with the Interceptor's boom shows at least some awareness of how the helm actually works (The boom itself would have stayed in the same place- it's the rest of the ship that's turned. Allegedly.).
    • The Maelstrom Battle in its entirety, but at least the Dutchman has the excuse of being magic. The Pearl would have filled with water and sunk with its gunports open. Of course, given the Pearl itself was raised by the Dutchman and impossibly fast for its size, one could charitably use A Wizard Did It as an excuse for both.
  • Attention Whore: Jack.
  • Back from the Dead: Nearly every major character in the series has been killed at some point, but Barbossa, Jack, and Will are the ones who get to come back from their deaths under very specific circumstances. See Killed Off for Real below for the ones that didn't.
    Jack: Four of you've tried to kill me! One of you succeeded.
  • Bad Guy Bar: Tortuga and the Captain's Daughter. Inverted in that pirates are the guys in this world.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The crew of the Dutchman in the wake of Norrington's Heroic Sacrifice as Elizabeth's crew makes their getaway. And in On Stranger Tides by the Spanish navy with the intention to destroy the Fountain of Youth.
  • Bait-and-Switch Gunshot:
    • During the final battle in Curse of the Black Pearl.
    • In On Stranger Tides, when Captain Teague shoots the redcoat who had cornered Jack. Though this isn't quite played straight, as the smoke and flash from the actual shot is clearly visible in the background. It's only really a proper bait-and-switch from Jack's POV.
  • Balancing Death's Books: Jack tries this on Davy Jones in Dead Man's Chest. Doesn't exactly work out, but at least it buys him some time. In On Stranger Tides, this is how the Fountain of Youth works: to gain extra life from it, there must be a designated victim for the life to come from.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Jack through nearly all of Curse of the Black Pearl. Once he sees the medallion and is shown proof that the curse is real, his entire role in the film is hatching a plot to kill Barbossa and get his ship back. His initial idea backfires horribly when Will doesn't cooperate, but rather than give up, Jack just keeps adjusting his plans to fit new developments until he manages a successful execution without interference.
    • In the fourth movie, Angelica has Philip apparently killed in front of Syrena in an attempt to make her cry. She knows Syrena's "too tough" to do so under those circumstances, but crying tears of joy when she later finds out that the man she's fallen in love with is still alive, however...
    • Also in the fourth movie, Barbossa's entire convoluted plan counts: In order to get his revenge on Blackbeard for sinking the Pearl, he joins up with the King's navy as a privateer, uses his well-trained crew and the King's considerable resources to travel to the Fountain of Youth, then takes his revenge on Blackbeard, claims Blackbeard's ship and crew, and uses them to return to piracy.
    • Jack's Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo at the end of On Stranger Tides.
  • Battle Couple: Elizabeth and Will in the third film. Taken to ludicrous extremes when the two actually get married during a balls-out ship-boarding sword/gun fight.
    Will: Elizabeth! Marry me!
    Elizabeth: I don't think now's the best time!
    [a bit later]
    Elizabeth: Barbossa! Marry us!
    • Jack and Angelica in the fourth film. It doesn't end well.
  • Battle-Interrupting Shout: Frequently. For instance, in On Stranger Tides, Jack halts a row between Blackbeard's and Barbossa's crews to point out that none of them have any real quarrel with one another even if their leaders do. This sways exactly one pirate, while everyone else goes back to fighting.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Bootstrap seeing Will get stabbed by Davy Jones. He then proceeds to tackle Jones in a flying rage, allowing Captain Jack to use Will's hand to stab Davy's heart.
    • This seems to be Captain Teague's reaction to anyone who questions the Pirates' Code or proposes they ignore it for the sake of their own interests. An unfortunate Mook of one of the Pirate Lords learned this the hard way.
    • In the fourth film, Jack lunges for Barbossa's throat and has to be restrained when he learns that the Black Pearl has sunk while Barbossa was its captain.
    • Falling victim to any one of Jack's Indy Ploys, or plans, or Batman Gambits will be a surefire way to set the unwilling victim off.
  • Betty and Veronica: Or rather "Brian and Vincent", with Will as the Brian and Jack as the Vincent with Norrigton supplying the Third-Option Love Interest.
  • Big Bad: Davy Jones led the First Brethren Court to imprison Calypso, allowing man to take control of the seas. This opened the door to...
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: Nearly every naval battle throughout the first three films. Averted in On Stranger Tides, when a seemingly-pending engagement against the Spanish fleet fails to occur.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
    • Will and Elizabeth in At World's End, after their marriage at sea. Surrounded by an epic battle, trading blows while exchanging vows, and culminating in an Orbital Kiss a few minutes before Will is killed and comes back from the dead. EPIC.
    • In On Stranger Tides, the fateful kiss, at the end, between Philip and Syrena.
    • The Big Damn Kiss on the edge of the sea at the end of the first and third movie, while the camera goes up and out.
    • The Big Damn Kiss between Liz and Jack at the end of the second film.
    • Subverted at the end of On Stranger Tides, when one is about to happen between Jack and Angelica, until Jack turns and mutters "I need to go."
  • Big Scary Black Man: Captain Barbossa's Bo'sun in Curse Of The Black Pearl- he's even got ritual scars and terrible teeth. Also, one of Blackbeard's zombie officers in On Stranger Tides.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • Sao Feng and one member of Davy Jones's crew speak both English and Cantonese.
    • The French-speaking sailor who rows Will out to Pelegosto is telling Will he won't take him any further.
    • In On Stranger Tides, Angelica curses pretty colorfully at Jack in fluent Spanish.
    • The two guys who find Jack's hat in Dead Man's Chest are speaking Turkish, although it is hard to understand all of it from the accent that many non-Turkish people have when speaking it.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The first film started out as White and Gray vs. Black morality, since Jack was the only morally ambiguous character, but by the end of the third film, everyone has an angle and is willing to screw most anyone over for it. (With the possible exception of the monkey. He was apparently only in it because he missed Jack.) The most evil character, however, is Cutler Beckett, who Ted Elliott describes as "a guy who just wants to sell more cheeseburgers when you get right down to it. How evil is that?" The tradition of At World's End continues in On Stranger Tides. Blackbeard is pure evil, Philip is the Token Good Teammate, the Spaniard is a more ruthless version of Commodore Norrington, and everyone else is screwing everyone else over for the prize.
  • Boarding Party: Several boardings by means of swinging ropes, and one less conventional boarding: walking out to the ship in question. Also less conventional is Davy Jones and crew's ability to teleport between ships, which apparently has a fairly narrow minimum and maximum range.
  • Body Horror: From Black Pearl, we have Barbossa's crew's Dem Bones forms revealed by moonlight, from Dead Man's Chest and At World's End, Davy Jones's crewmen are gradually colonized by barnacles and coral, and fused with fish and/or crustaceans until they are barely recognizable as human, and from Dead Men Tell No Tales, Salazar's crew is in a horrific state of decay, such as missing jaws or in one case the entire top half of his skull.
  • Book Ends:
    • Barbossa gets the Pearl back at the end of the third movie, as Jack sails off in a dinghy.
    • Listen to the song Elizabeth sings (as a child) at the beginning of the first movie, and Jack singing at the end of the third. Seem familiar?
    • Even more applicable to what Elizabeth's son is singing in the third film's Stinger, as he's about the same age his mom was at the start.
    • The first time we meet piratical Mr. Gibbs, Jack is waking him with a bucket of water. At the close of At World's End, Mr. Gibbs is once again, passed out and Jack wakes him with a cup of... Grog?
    • In the first film, it's mentioned that Jack was marooned on a remote island by Barbossa with only a pistol with a single shot. In the fourth film, Jack does the exact same thing to Angelica.
    • In the first film, Elizabeth's first encounter has her giving Barbossa Will's surname as her own, to which he responds by excitedly repeating it to the whole crew: "Miss TURNER..." When they part company for the final time in At World's End, he respectfully (and a touch affectionately) greets her as " Mrs.Turner," after she has become Will's wife.
    • Similarly, in the first film the pirates ready a boat to take Elizabeth to Isla de Muerta, saying "your chariot awaits, Highness" as a sarcastic and condescending remark. By the time of the third film, Elizabeth is elected Pirate King, and Gibbs says this line quite earnestly as he presents a boat for her.
  • Breakout Character: Jack Sparrow. note  In the original film, Will is the supposed to be the star (he's The Hero of the Hero's Journey) and continues to be the access character throughout the next two, but Jack not only stole the show, he made off with the franchise! (Pirate.) They even added him (or at least animatronic duplicates) to the original Disneyland/ Disneyworld Pirates of the Caribbean rides.
  • Break the Cutie: several times, the films appear to be headed this way with regards to Elizabeth, only for the trope to be turned on its ear, especially in the third film.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the beginning of the first film, Will Turner is working on a sword to present to the governor, who remarks on its unique quality. In the third film, James Norrington stabs Davy Jones with the same weapon, who then calmly removes it and remarks, "mmm... nice sword." Later, Jones uses the exact same sword to stab its creator, Will Turner.
    • Former Commodore Norrington introduces his story to Gibbs in Dead Man's Chest as "Same as you, just a chapter behind." At the end of the scene, once he's been knocked out by Man!Elizabeth, he's heaved into the pigsty, where Gibbs woke up at the end of Curse of the Black Pearl, making him truly just a chapter behind Gibbs.
    • Captain Teague summons a dog to bring the key for the Pirate Codex book (the dog itself is a bit of a Brick Joke, showing up out of nowhere after appearances in the first two movies). When Pintel and Ragetti wonder aloud how the dog managed to get there, Teague responds, "Sea turtles, mate."
    • When Jack and Elizabeth are marooned on a desert island during the rising action of Curse of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth burns all the rum that smugglers have stored there to attract the Navy's attention, prompting Jack to ask "Why is the rum gone?" for the first time. In Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth (dressed as a man) and Norrington arrive at the dock where the Pearl is moored, and Jack and Gibbs begin to talk to Elizabeth without realizing who she is. When she reveals herself, the following happens:
    Jack: Elizabeth?! (aside, to Gibbs) Hide the rum.
    • Which quickly becomes a Brick Joke of its own when the crew meets up with Jack in At World's End, and Cotton's parrot cries "Hide the rum!"
  • Butt-Monkey: Pintel and Ragetti frequently are treated as such during the course of the first three movies.
  • Call-Back:
    • "Goodbye, Poppet." Perhaps the most tear-inducing callback ever.
    • First film: Elizabeth says she's Elizabeth Turner, because her maid convinced her the pirates wanted to kidnap the governor's daughter. They happen to be looking for Bootstrap Turner's child. The last thing Barbossa says to her in the third film is "Mrs. Turner", seeing as she's married Will.
    • On Stranger Tides is filled with these to the first movie, in different subtle sorts of ways that you have to have an eagle eye to spot.
      • In the first movie, Jack was charged with "impersonating an officer of the Royal navy" and "impersonating a cleric of the Church of England". On Stranger Tides opens with Jack impersonating a judge. A judge by the name of Smith. Perhaps he might go by 'Smithy' on occasion?
      • Jack gives his compass to Mr. Gibbs telling him it will lead him to freedom. In the first movie, Jack tells Elizabeth that what the Black Pearl really is is freedom. Cut to the end of On Stranger Tides and Mr Gibbs is sitting on a beach with the Black Pearl in a bottle, waiting for Jack.
      • The cut on Angelica's hand looks just like the cuts the characters in Curse of the Black Pearl get to bleed on the medallions.
    • In At World's End, one of the patrons of Sao Feng's bathhouse can be seen with barnacles littered across his face, neck, and across his arms, just like a Red Shirt crew member of the Flying Dutchman.
      • Likewise, the Sequel Hook at the end of the film is a Call-Back to the various accounts of Barbossa's mutiny prior to Curse of the Black Pearl.
    • While visiting Elizabeth in her jail cell in Dead Man's Chest, Governor Swann leans on one of the candelabras next to him. He then trips, proceeding to break a piece of said candelabra, in a similar fashion to Will's introductory scene in Curse of the Black Pearl, where he inspects one of the candelabras in Governor Swann's mansion, but accidentally breaks a piece of it.
  • Catchphrase: Several.
  • Caught in a Snare:
    • Will, early in the second movie.
    • Most of Blackbeard's crew when they attempt a mutiny in OST.
  • Character Development:
    • Elizabeth, who goes from this to this. From noble woman to pirate king in only a few short years!
    • Will goes from a blacksmith to full-on pirate and eventually captain of the Flying Dutchman.
    • Norrington started as a Stuffy Brit... until he changed somewhat.
  • Chekhov M.I.A.: Will's father, Bootstrap Bill Turner.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Subverted — when Elizabeth attempts to defend herself with one of the swords displayed above the mantle, she finds it is permanently attached to its decorative shield. Played straight with Elizabeth's bedwarmer; she uses it to dump hot coals on the pirates invading her room. Also Jack Sparrow's confiscated effects, including his one-shot pistol and curious compass, all serving a vital purpose. The compass gains even more importance in the second film. Used again in the second movie in Tia Dalma's shack (the locket and the boots). In the third movie, Raghetti's wooden eye turns out to be Barbossa's Piece Of Eight. Jack's own Piece of Eight is debatable, being present in the first two movies before the sequels were even written.
    • Subverted again with the jar of dirt. Jack ends up breaking it.
    • The knife Bootstrap Bill gives to Will is the same one that he uses to carve out Will's heart after Davy Jones is killed.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Near the beginning of Curse of the Black Pearl, Will shows Jack how to break out of a prison cell by applying the right leverage to the hinges, something which comes in handy in At World's End when Jack is imprisoned in the brig of the Flying Dutchman.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Elizabeth's childhood obsession with pirates comes in handy a few times. In The Curse of the Black Pearl, her knowledge of the Pirate Code allows her to negotiate a Parley with Barbossa and her knowledge of piracy and sailing in general inspires her last-second stunt while the Interceptor is being pursued by the Pearl. In At World's End she becomes a Pirate Lord, and then Pirate King. She also inspires the troops with a speech about the power of piracy.
  • Chevalier vs. Rogue: The film series fit this trope if they're paired with naval law enforcers/troops, i.e the navy. Pirates being rogue, Navy being chevalier.
  • Chewing the Scenery: It may be easier to list who isn't. Special mention has to go to Geoffery Rush, who looks like he's having an absolute blast in every scene.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Just about every character.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Anamaria. Although, for some reason, Jack is wearing her belt in the sequels.
  • Clingy Macguffin: Norrington's sword returns to its rightful owner. Doesn't do him much good in the long run, though...
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Mild and possibly unintentional. Elizabeth, Will, and Jack all have brown eyes, while Barbossa, Davy Jones, Cutler Beckett, and Blackbeard have blue or green eyes.
  • Combat by Champion:
    • Basically the climax of the third movie; the Black Pearl for the pirates, vs. the Flying Dutchman for the EITC.
    • Jack actually proposes that Barbossa and Blackbeard do this while the pirates and troops stand back and lay bets, in the fourth film. The suggestion doesn't go down so well.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Jack Sparrow, along with most of the more intelligent pirate characters. Perhaps best summed up by this exchange from the first film, when Jack uses a gun to win a sword fight:
    Will: You cheated!
    Jack: Pirate.
    • Lampshaded later on when Will points out he would win in a fair fight. Jack then comments that means he wouldn't have any incentive to fight fair.
    • Astonishingly, also Commodore Norrington, to some extent. He kicked Will in the chest, kicked sand in Will's face and tripped Jack during the fight over the key.
    • Barbossa is not above punching/kicking people during a sword fight.
    • And even Davy Jones pulls off a surprisingly graceful back roundhouse kick.
  • Combat Tentacles: The Kraken, obviously, and also the ones on Davy Jones's face and the rigging of Blackbeard's ship.
  • Comfort Food: According to the Word of God, the reason why Hector Barbossa is always eating apples in the four films is because they're a form of Comfort Food for him.
  • Continuity Creep: The second film contains a few fun nods to some throwaway lines and fan-favorite comedic scenes from the original. The third contains nods to what seems like all of them. See also Chekhov's Gun above.
  • Continuity Drift: In the first couple of films, the pirates running around are all a bunch of independent libertines running around without any concern for anyone else. The third film introduces plot points that amount to pirate government structure and diplomatic contractual obligations.
    • When the Code of Morgan and Bartholemew was mentioned in the first film, both Barbossa and Gibbs note it was more a set of guidelines. The third film brings in the Brethern Court and Captain Teague who enforce it.
  • Cool Boat:
    • The Black Pearl.
    • The Flying Dutchman.
    • The Endeavour.
    • The Interceptor.
    • Blackbeard's Queen Anne's Revenge from the fourth film.
    • The Silent Mary, even before she was destroyed and raised as a husk.
  • Cool Sword:
    • The small sword that Will Turner makes for Norrington. Everyone who comes into contact with it agrees that it is, indeed, nice. This gets one nameless British marine killed as he picks up the sword in the middle of a battle and spends the same requisite amount of time staring at it rapturously before Davy Jones shows up, kills him and retrieves the sword.
    • Blackbeard's sword, which controls the rigging of the Queen Anne's Revenge, and can apparently control the rigging of other ships as well. It also controlled the wind when pointed, as shown at the end when Barbossa lets down the sails with it, then throws the boat forward by the wind, catching everyone off guard, including Barbossa. Before duelling Blackbeard he claims the sword is nothing to fear away from the Revenge.
    • It seems as if the only redeeming quality of working on the Flying Dutchman under the command of Davy Jones is that you get a really kick-ass sword. Just look at Hadras's.
  • Corporate Warfare: The East India Company are the antagonists of the second and third films in their war on piracy.
  • Critical Staffing Shortage:
    • In the first film Jack Sparrow and Will Turner steal a ship by pretending to attempt to steal another ship, one larger and far more complicated, so that the Navy will come up with the smaller and easier to manage vessel already rigged for sailing. During a later argument Jack nearly flings Will into the ocean, but lets him live because just two people crewing the ship is cutting it close as it is.
    • In the second film it's inverted. The Black Pearl's crew is imprisoned in two halves, and one pirate blurts out that the ship can make do with a crew of just six, prompting a race by both halves to escape first. Later on Jack hires a ton of unqualified surplus sailors not because the ship needs them but because he needs 99 souls to give to Davy Jones in exchange for his own soul going free.
  • Cryptic Conversation: 90% of what Tia Dalma says is this.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Literally for Barbossa's crew, in the first movie. And Will in the finale of At World's End. Although Jack views it more as Blessed with Suck due to the absence of port... er, making port.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: The pirate lifestyle in general is depicted to be a romanticized badass madcap swash-buckling life of adventure where you get to wear awesome clothes, bed a different salty wench in every port, go through fortunes of doubloons like water, outwit mythical beings, stick it to the man, and most of all have the freedom to determine your life's course.
  • Darker and Edgier: The franchise took this turn from the second movie and onward.
  • Deal with the Devil: Will makes one with Jack in the first film. "Spring me from this cell and I will take you to the Black Pearl and your bonny lass."
    • In the second, Jack is revealed to have made one with Davy Jones to float the Black Pearl earlier. "You owe me a soul, and its time to pay up."
    • In the third, it's kinda hard to tell who's supposed to be the devil and who the mortal sucker.
  • Death Glare:
    • In the first movie, Jack delivered a formidable one when he shot and killed Barbossa. It's all the more effective since, up 'til that moment, the generally-cheerful pirate hadn't sported any expressions remotely like it.
    • Davy Jones has a killer stare when he snarls "Do you fear death?" Everybody takes him seriously.
    • The look one of Sao Feng's bath attendants gives Beckett's Dragon after he shoots the other (the insinuation being they were sisters) should've incinerated the man, by all rights.
    • Captain Teague has a mighty fearsome one that cows the entire Brethren Court when it's suggested in his presence that they won't keep to the Code.
  • Death is Cheap: In this franchise, there's a lot of supernatural forms of Only Mostly Dead and other ways to cheat death.
    • Jack (who was retrieved from Davy Jones's Locker)
    • Will (who was made captain of the Flying Dutchman after being killed by and then killing Jones)
    • Bootstrap (who was sent to the bottom of the ocean while undead)
    • Barbossa (whom Tia Dalma resurrected)
    • Salazar and the crew of the Silent Mary, who were cursed upon their deaths and later had the curse broken.
    • So common, in fact, that Tia Dalma has to justify the aversion with Governor Swann. "Him at peace."
    • Later defied by one of the above. Barbossa says that coming back is a very long gamble.
  • Decon-Recon Switch: Of the romanticized view of The Golden Age of Piracy. The first film has Elizabeth initially thinking it'd be exciting to meet a pirate, and she gets her wish: most of the pirates she meets are slobbish, treasonous crooks who turn tail and run at first sign of trouble and live by the creed of Rape, Pillage, and Burn. However, even among scoundrels there is still a code of honor and some of them do hold to a moral standard, and several characters comment that its possible to be a pirate and a good person. In the second and third films we see that those who enforce the laws of the seas can be just as bad as pirates if not worse, and "pirate" is a very broad term used for a diverse lot of people that have been declared outlaws by those in power, when sometimes they're just people trying to make an honest living and couldn't or didn't want to do it under the oppressive laws of the crown and merchant companies.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    • Dead Man's Chest:
    Will: You want me to find this?
    Jack: No. You want you to find this. Because the finding of this finds you incapacitorially finding and/or locating in your discovering the detecting of a way to save your dolly belle ol' what's-her-face. Savvy?
    • Also Dead Man's Chest:
    Jack: You want to do what you want to do because you want it.
    • On Stranger Tides:
    Jack: There is a girl. A female. Of the opposite sex.
  • Deserted Island: Jack is marooned on one, twice, the second time with Elizabeth. Fortunately, he escaped off-screen (subverted in that he explains how he did it). The titular Dead Man's Chest is housed on another.
  • Distracted by the Shiny: If he didn't take the time to rummage through every nook and cranny for things that could be of value, Jack would have made a lot more effective escape attempts. But he is a pirate...
  • Divine Date: Davy Jones's backstory involves him falling in love with the sea goddess Calypso when he was still a mortal man. She gave him the job of ferrying the souls of those who died at sea to the afterlife with the promise of seeing her once every 10 years, but since Calypso is as treacherous as the sea itself, she failed to show up. This prompted Jones to go rogue and caused his mutation into a squid-man.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
  • Doomed Fellow Prisoner: Inverted, in The Curse of the Black Pearl. When the Black Pearl attacks Port Royal, the pirates in the neighboring cell are freed by a cannonball knocking down the wall, but Jack is still stuck in his cell.
    "My sympathies, friend. You've no manner of luck at all."
  • Dressed to Plunder: They put their own spin on the costumes, but it still hits the major notes: parrot, beards, eyepatches, hats, bandanas, everything short of a hook. Barbossa even gets a peg leg in the fourth movie.
  • The Drunken Sailor: Virtually everyone, unless all the rum is gone. Though, in interviews, the scriptwriters revealed Jack's inebriation is usually an act; he fakes being tipsy to throw his (numerous) enemies off their guard.
  • Duel of Seduction:
    • Elizabeth and Jack.
    • Jack and Angelica in the fourth film.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome - Becket's death could be viewed as this. He calmly turns and walks down the stairs (AS THEY ARE EXPLODING BEHIND HIM, casually trailing his hand along the railing. Before coming to a stop, looking at the camera and accepting death. Most seem to see this as Becket being in denial over what has happened and is happening. Most deaths somewhat count in some shape: Jack dies going in a Mano-A-Mano with the Goddamn Kraken, Jones perishes in the middle of a massive whirpool battle while kicking dogs all around, etc
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Philip and Syrena in the 4th movie. And boy, did they earn it.
  • End of an Age: The films are set at the end of the golden age of piracy. Several times through all three films, characters make note of how difficult it's become to make a living as a pirate, with no sign of the change slowing down. Though possibly somewhat averted at the end of the third movie, with Calypso being returned to her proper place as goddess of the sea. And it's obvious in the fourth movie that if an end is coming to the age of piracy and sea magic, Blackbeard never got the memo.
  • Enemy Mine. When your protagonists and antagonists have the same goals and profession, good and bad are "a matter of perspective":
    • In Curse of The Black Pearl, Will and then Norrington both end up having to make deals with Jack (who they hate) to track down Barbossa, and Barbossa makes a deal with Jack (he hates Jack, too) after finding out Norrington is waiting off shore to ambush them.
    • A variation in Dead Man's Chest, where during a three-way sword-fight between Will, Jack and Norrington, as the latter is curb-stomping Jack for all of the misfortune he's endured since the last film, Jack points out that since Will freed Jack from jail, convinced Norrington to let him go, and got Elizabeth, that makes Will more responsible. Norrington pauses for a moment to consider this, turns and immediately begins attacking Will instead.
    Norrington: Unfortunately Mr Turner... he's right!
    • In At World's End, Barbossa feigns Enemy Mine at first to cover up his true motive, the fact that he needs to call to order the Brethren Court just to get their Pieces of Eight, which he needs to free Calypso, who brought him back, else she'll withdraw her power and let him die again. But by the end, Barbossa plays the trope straight.
      • Also, the Brethren Court seems to be made up of rival Lords who can't stand each other and will break out in a fist-fight at the slightest provocation. They're only united by a common enemy.
      • Also #2: Jack cooks up a plan with Will, who had betrayed Jack to Beckett earlier, because Will wants to stab Jones's heart to free Bootstrap and Jack wants to stab Jones's heart and become immortal.
    • In the fourth film, Jack and Barbossa briefly team up to screw over Blackbeard.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: The Kraken.
    • And in the fourth film, the entrance to the Fountain of Youth provides ample opportunity for characters to rise up ominously through the mist. Happened with both Barbossa, to Blackbeard and the Spanish, to everyone.
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Pintel and Ragetti vs. Mullroy and Murtogg in the first film.
    • Barbossa vs. Davy Jones and Jack vs. Beckett (his old nemesis) in the third.
    • Bosun, Maccus, Mercer and "Quartermaster" are Evil Counterparts to Gibbs.
    • In the first film's commentary, Barbossa is called "the dark side of Jack Sparrow" by Ted and Terry.
    • Also, in the fourth film, Blackbeard is arguably this to Barbossa.
  • Evil Plan: Each movie involves a villain seeking a treasure but the specifics vary widely.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The third movie especially. Jones hates working for Beckett and Mercer, rebelling at the earliest opportunity; Norrington does a Heel–Face Turn about midway through after realizing how evil Beckett really is. Not to mention Tia Dalma and Sao Feng's roles in the story.
  • Expanded Universe: The movies have spawned a number of novels, short films, comics, and games.
  • Expy: Many Monkey Island fans believe that Barbossa in the first film and Davy Jones in the sequels are based on LeChuck, Tia Dalma on the Voodoo Lady, and Will Turner may also derive from Guybrush Threepwood. It has been reported that Ted Elliott worked on a proposed Monkey Island film some time before becoming co-writer of the Pirates of the Caribbean series. It's also worth noting that Monkey Island derived inspiration from both the original Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and the original On Stranger Tides novel. As if hammering this home, Philip from On Stranger Tides has an ever closer resemblance to Guybrush.
  • Fantastic Romance: A lot. See also Interspecies Romance.
    • Davy Jones and the goddess Calypso in the second and the third movie.
    • Will after removing his heart and becoming the captain of the Flying Dutchman and Elizabeth at the end of the third movie.
    • Philip and Syrena in the fourth.
  • Film Adaptation (Live-Action): Adaptation of Pirates of the Caribbean, a ride in multiple Disney Theme Parks.
  • Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon:
    • The Flying Dutchman is equipped with a pair of forward facing gatling cannons. Not bad for a time when all firearms were still loaded manually through the muzzle one shot at a time.
    • The aforementioned flame throwers on the Queen Anne's Revenge.
  • Flanderization: The series, originally an Affectionate Parody and homage to the pirate genre, became a parody of itself after the first film, when all the character traits, quirks, and set-pieces that were more subtle in the first film were turned up to eleven, and subject to relentless self-referencing.
  • Flirting Under Fire: In At World's End, Elizabeth and Will get married under fire, and even share a kiss.
  • Flying Dutchman: Rather literally in the case of Davy Jones.
  • Flynning: Naturally, since every principle actor had to learn to use a sword.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • In Dead Man's chest, the sailor's mention of the long pork on the island of Peligostos, which we learn later on is home to a cannibal tribe.
    • Where we find Jack, believed to be a god by island natives who attempt to release him from his human form. Tia Dalma is later revealed to be the sea goddess Calypso, and released from her human form.
    • When discussing the story of Davy Jones's tragic love, the pirates can't agree on whether it was the sea he fell in love with or a woman tameless as the sea. Tia Dalma tells them that both versions are true, for they are one and the same. And during the same visit to Tia Dialma, you can see : Barbossa's boots and the heart medallion that forms a pair with Davy Jones's
    • Tia Dalma repeatedly looks at Will and says some variation of "A touch of destiny", usually in relation to stabbing the heart of Davy Jones or some part of the Davy Jones story. Will stabs the heart and becomes Captain of The Flying Dutchman
    • In Stranger Tides, the pub where not-Jack actually Anjelica is hiding is named The Captain's Daughter.
    • In the same film, Blackbeard describes Angelica as "a fitting last sight for a doomed soul".
  • Forgiveness:
    • Davy Jones and Tia Dalma can't; Will and Elizabeth manage to.
    • Evidently, Jack also forgave Elizabeth for abandoning him to be eaten by the Kraken. He could easily have treated her the same when the Flying Dutchman started to flounder; instead he unhesitatingly rescued her.
    • The last love scene between Syrena and Philip has him asking her forgiveness for him getting her captured.
  • Friendly Pirate: Played with. While to most of the world, pirates are considered to be murderous criminals and piracy is firmly outlawed. However many of the pirates focused on are depicted as Noble Demons with a code of honor. At first this only applies to Jack Sparrow in the first film, however in subsequent films the Black Pearl crew and Barbossa undergo Heel Face Turns and fall under this too. While they are far from saints, they are still considered the good guys and oppose the truly evil pirates.
  • Fountain of Youth: The original Fountain of Youth, purportedly discovered by Ponce de León, is mentioned as a Sequel Hook at the end of the third movie, and is a central plot elemental of the fourth. Unlike most depictions, its use involves Human Sacrifice.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Jack = Sanguine; Will = Choleric; Barbossa = Melancholic; Elizabeth = Phlegmatic. Although a case could be made that Will and Elizabeth switch places in the end — conveniently in Will's case, given his change of profession in the end: from one associated with fire (Choleric) to water (Phlegmatic). And Elizabeth's corresponding change of profession (more Choleric to say the least).
  • A Friend in Need: Jack, when it really matters. Before then, though, don't count on him for much. He readily sacrifices his chance at immortality to save Will's life. And then he does it again to save Angelica.
  • Friendly Enemies: All the main characters are this at various points in the series.
  • Gambit Pileup: At World's End in particular has multiple characters manipulating and backstabbing each other for their own ends throughout the story, though Dead Man's Chest also has several moments.
  • Gatling Good: The Triple Guns on the Flying Dutchman.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of the pirate/swashbuckler genre. None of the pirates are shown in a truly positive light. Sparrow may not be killing indiscriminately but that's because he would prefer to con and swindle people instead. When he's up against someone he truly hates (Barbossa), he doesn't hesitate to go for the kill. Related, At World's End's End of an Age theme means not even mythological figures like Davy Jones or the Kraken are immune to being subsumed by corporate power or discarded at a whim respectively.
  • Ghost Pirate:
    • The villains of the first movie.
    • Davy Jones and his crew are a Mix-and-Match Critters variety.
    • The fourth film contains several zombie (of the Voodoo variety) pirates.
  • Good Is Boring: More a case of Lawful Good Is Boring; the stoic Norrington has the most to offer as a potential suitor (high-ranking naval officer, good breeding, stability), but Elizabeth is drawn to the more hot-headed Will, who is an orphaned blacksmith of a lower social order.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Since the movies revolve around pirates, there isn't much of this flavor, but if you pay attention, the movies include a surprisingly great amount of pimped out dresses. Elizabeth dresses like this in the first two movies, before she became a Pirate Girl. While we're on the subject, Norrington's uniform got pimped when he got promoted to admiral between the second and third movies. A bit more of this in the fourth film, which includes some scenes of British and Spanish court officials and dress-uniformed officers.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Done subtly throughout the series; very rarely is a fatal blow from a sword or other melee weapon shown explicitly on-screen, with the blows often concealed by quick cuts or done just off-camera, letting the series remain PG-13 when paired with the Bloodless Carnage throughout the series.
  • Gotta Catch Them All:
    • The Curse Of The Black Pearl required the crew of The Black Pearl to track down 882 pieces of Aztec gold to break their curse. As the film starts, though, they've already found them all but one, and they get that one inside the first hour.
    • The Nine Pieces of Eight are needed to assemble the Pirate Lords and complete the spell in At World's End. This actually becomes a plot point as a reason not to kill Jack.
    • The keys to the Fountain of Youth in On Stranger Tides.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress:
    • In Dead Man's Chest, Jack freefalls what looks like several hundred feet down a canyon and lands little more than dazed at the bottom. We're expected to believe that falling through a few flimsy rope bridges on the way down slowed him up enough.
    • In the fourth film, Jack is exceptionally leery of jumping off a cliff in order to get the silver chalices. It takes Blackbeard threatening to shoot Angelica and one of the zombies throwing the Jack voodoo doll over the ledge to get him to jump.
  • Graying Morality: The first film had the evil-aligned Hector Barbossa and the cursed crew of the Black Pearl pitted against Commodore James Norrington and the Royal Navy. Will and Elizabeth are more neutral, with Capt. Jack Sparrow as the Wild Card. The second film brings in the ruthless Cutler Becket and the East India Trading Company who are out to end piracy and control the seas. By the third film, Barbossa is now an ally against the EITC and even the most heroic characters like Will Turner and James Noringtonhave committed dubious acts.
  • Grin of Audacity: "Now bring me that horizon!". Captain Jack Sparrow is very excited he got his ship back. Of course there's a lot more of those throughout the trilogy: it's a swashbuckling action show about pirates, what did you expect?
  • Gunpowder Fantasy: While no specific year is given for any of the films, they are said to take place in the British West Indies sometime between the 1720s-1750s note . The films involve Aztec curses, ghost ships, witch doctors, mermaids, the Fountain of Youth, and a literal sea goddess, alongside gunslinging pirates and British sailors.
  • Hanging Around: A staple for the genre and shows up in several films:
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Any time any of the following are onscreen at the same time: Barbossa, Jack Sparrow, Captain Teague, Davy Jones, Elizabeth (in the third movie), Angelica and Blackbeard (in the fourth).
  • Handwave: In-universe example. Whenever something improbable happens, the character insists Sea Turtles were involved.
    • Jack claimed to escape the island Barbossa marooned him on by creating a raft made of sea turtles. He actually bartered his way onto a smuggler's vessel when they landed to pick up their rum cache.
    • When Will arrives on the island where Davy Jones stashed his heart and Jack asked how he got there, he replied, "Sea Turtles! I strapped a pair of them to my feet!" He was hiding on the Flying Dutchman.
    • The dog that carries the keys to the written version of the Pirate Code, who was apparently the same one from the previous two movies. Pintel and Ragetti ask where it came from and Teague says, "Sea turtles, mate." Word of God is that the Dog really did escape the island with sea turtles.
  • Hat of Authority: Generally, a pirate's hat size indicates his or her authority among the crew (with regional variations for the international pirates, such as Sri Sumbaji's turban). In Curse of the Black Pearl, Sparrow offers to buy Barbossa a "big floppy hat" as part of the deal to be 'commodore' of a pirate fleet. That same movie has Will getting a Swashbuckler hat to signify he's now a certified adventurer, prompting Jack to declare, "Will... nice hat!" as his parting adieu.
  • Heel–Face Return:
    • Pintel and Ragetti (the paired comic relief pirates) go from members of Barbossa's cursed crew to devoted crewmates of Jack (albeit after going through a Chronic Backstabbing Disorder phase in Dead Man's Chest).
    • Barbossa
  • Held Gaze: Will and Elizabeth of have this quite regularly between them in the first movie and the sequel as their romance blossoms. Philip and Syrena have a lot of gaze-holding going on in On Stranger Tides.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Norrington is already in one when the protagonists first meet up with him again in Tortuga in the second movie.
    • Elizabeth has one at the end of the second movie due to her heavy guilt of leaving Jack to die at the hands of the Kraken.
    • Barbossa briefly has one in the third movie after his plan to save the pirates by releasing Calypso backfires on them. Elizabeth manages to snap him out of it.
    • Jack gets a couple of brief ones:
      • When he's in prison in the first movie, before Will frees him
      • After Davy Jones fatally stabs Will in the third movie, before Jack could stab his heart to gain immortality. Jack ultimately breaks out of it by sacrificing said immortality to save Will's life.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Both played straight and subverted: Norrington as a straight example in the third film and Jack as a subversion in the second (as Elizabeth rightly doubts his courage and "helps him" act appropriately), as well as Norrington also subverting it - or at least playing with it - by taking the empty Dead Man's Chest and running off, commanding the others to abandon him while never letting on that he has the heart of Davy Jones. As a result, he does legitimately save them from danger, but he also gains an excellent excuse to escape with his ill-gotten gains.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Gibbs are a classic example. Pintel and Ragetti. Word of Dante says that Ragetti is Pintel's nephew.
  • High-Dive Escape: Jack. Repeatedly.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: The first four movies have their Bloopers of the Caribbean on their DVDs.
  • Hollywood Natives: The Cannibal Tribe from the second movie.
  • Hollywood Voodoo: Tia Dalma and Blackbeard
  • Home Field Advantage: Davy Jones can move through the Flying Dutchman at will, while Blackbeard or rather, whoever has his sword can manipulate the Queen Anne's Revenge and, if Barbossa's exposition is to be believed, any other ships they encounter, at will.
  • Honey Trap:
    • In the second movie, Elizabeth lures Jack into kissing her, but this is to allow her plans of chaining Jack against a nearby mast, so the Kraken kills only him, and not all the crew.
    • In the fourth film's London Chase Scene, Jack takes cover inside a wealthy older lady's carriage, and immediately leans over to smooch her behind the ear before resuming his escape. She's apparently not displeased by this event... until she realizes that he's just fled with her jewelled earring in his mouth!
  • Honor Among Thieves: Toyed with constantly. The pirates' code is supposed to enforce this notion, but it's viewed as only "guidelines" when it suits them.
  • Honor Before Reason: At first, just Will is doing stupidly honest and honorable things (although this does make him unpredictable to selfish pirates) and to a lesser extent Norrington with his Mercy Lead for a Worthy Opponent. Later on, even Jack fits this trope by allowing Will to become Davy Jones' successor in order to save Will's life. In Jack's case, though, it's hard to tell where (and whether) he's using reason in the first place.
    Will: So that's the reason for the... you know.
    Gibbs: Reason's got nothin' to do with it.
  • Hostage MacGuffin:
    • When Elizabeth Swann is chased after in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, she thinks it's because she's the governor's daughter... but it turns out the men were just being 'called' by a magical amulet she was wearing. She tries to avert this trope by claiming to be her own maid (she was in her undistinguished nightclothes, and the place is full of maids), using the family name of her crush — this leads them to take her for Bill Turner's child, the person they were looking for.
    • In the sequels, she comes into her own and is no longer fought over... until being mistaken for a god in At World's End, when a bargaining session is held on who gets to kidnap her. She manages to negotiate her way into being declared Pirate King as a result.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Pintel and Ragetti's introductory exchange in Dead Man's Chest. Summarized, and properly dashed, when Ragetti says "It's the Bible. You get points for trying."
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Isla De La Muerta (The island of the dead); Shipwreck Cove.
    Gibbs: Not for naught it's called Shipwreck Island, where lies Shipwreck Cove and the town of Shipwreck!
    Jack: You know, for all that pirates are clever clogs, we are a terribly unimaginative lot when it comes to naming things.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Elizabeth gets this from all over, or is at least threatened with it, most prominently in the third movie.
  • Immortality Seeker: Jack, and Blackbeard. Which is the plot of the fourth movie. Subverted with Barbossa and the crew of the Black Pearl before the first movie; they didn't want immortality, but oh boy did they get it.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The British Royal Navy sailors are kind of useless at their jobs in the films. They become a little competent in At World's End but become useless again in the fourth film.
  • Improv: Half of Depp's lines, in the first film at least.
  • Improvised Weapon: It wouldn't be a swashbuckling pirate series without them. See also the Abnormal Ammo entry, above.
    • Jack uses the wrist irons that the soldiers put him in ("Finally!") to take Elizabeth hostage and make his escape.
    • Will uses a red-hot poker as an impromptu sword midway through his duel with Jack in the first film.
    • Elizabeth uses a bed-warming pan to drop hot coals on a pirate.
    • A rowboat is used to knock several undead Black Pearl crewmembers to pieces.
    • Elizabeth gets a staff scene using an ornate pole against pirates at Isla de Muerta.
    • When escaping from cannibalistic natives, Jack tries (mostly unsuccessfully to use the wooden roasting spit he's tied to as a weapon.
    • The Dead Man's chest gets used at least once to wonk somebody in the face.
    • In the fourth, Jack knocks down several Spanish soldiers, while armed only with a coconut on the end of a rope.
  • Incoming Ham:
    "Let no joyful voice be heard! Let no man look up at the sky with hope! And let this day be cursed by we who ready to wake... the KRAKEN!"
    • While he starts out a little understated, you know Blackbeard's about to unleash when he first enters.
  • Indy Ploy: Most of Jack's plans, though he maintains a certain Gambit Roulette mystique about them just to keep people on their toes.
  • In Name Only: Despite buying the rights to the Tim Powers novel, On Stranger Tides has almost nothing in common with it aside from a few very general (and very public domain) similarities, such as Blackbeard and the Fountain of Youth. Owing to the movie's savage critical reception, Disney probably could've stood to lift a lot more from the book.
    • The 2003 video game Pirates of the Caribbean released by Akella and Bethesda barely has anything to do with the franchise other than having Keira Knightley as the narrator and featuring the Black Pearl as the final boss. Though this can be excused since it was a converted Sea Dogs sequel that Disney slapped the Pirates of the Caribbean name on at the last minute.
  • Insistent Terminology:
    • "Mr. Sparrow." "Captain Jack Sparrow!"
    • Davy Jones lampshades this in the second movie:
    Jones: You've been captain of the Black Pearl for thirteen years. That was our agreement.
    Sparrow: Technically I was only captain for two years before I was viciously mutinied upon.
    Jones: Then you were a poor captain, but a captain nonetheless. Or have you not introduced yourself all these years as "Captain Jack Sparrow"?
    • Also, in the first movie:
    Will: We're going to steal that ship?
    Jack Sparrow: Commandeer. We're going to commandeer that ship; nautical term.
    • And in the 4th movie:
    "You are Jack Sparrow?"
    Beat "There should be a Captain in there somewhere."
    • When Cutler Beckett mentions Jack Sparrow (sans "Captain") in front of Will and Elizabeth, they both spontaneously blurt out "Captain".
  • Interesting Situation Duel: Several.
    • In Curse of the Black Pearl, Sparrow and Turner's first-meeting fight in the blacksmith's shop. Also Jack and Barbossa's clash in the treasure cave, with the tactical use of immortality.
    • In DMC, Jack, Will and Norrington's three-way swordfight on Isla Cruces, which moves from beach to bell-tower to runaway mill-wheel.
    • In AWE, Jack and Davy Jones's battle in the rigging.
    • In OST, Jack fighting a duplicate of himself, which turns out to be Angelica in disguise.
  • Interspecies Romance: A lot. See also Fantastic Romance.
    • Davy Jones and the goddess Calypso in the second and the third movie.
    • Philip (human) and Syrena (mermaid) from On Stranger Tides.
  • Ironic Echo: Several, especially in the third film. "The Dutchman must have a captain."
    • One is even twisted into a Brick Joke when Pintel asks "Why is all but the rum gone?" , only to be told by Gibbs that the rum was gone.
    • Another one worth mentioning is Mr. Mercer's introductory line, "Evening, Guv'nor." A common British colloquialism, when uttered with snarky, stoic pride, that masks a Slasher Smile, is made even more ironic at the fact that he just caught Governor Swann attempting to flee Port Royal in the middle of the night.
    • An early one from the first film: Elizabeth's "You may tell the captain that I am disinclined to acquiesce to his request."
    • "Parley?"
  • It May Help You on Your Quest:
    • Jack's jar of dirt.
    Jack: Is the... jar of dirt going to help?
    Tia Dalma: If you don' want it... give it back.
    Jack: (tentatively) No...
    Tia Dalma: Then it helps.
    • The Nine Pieces of Eight. The Pirate Lords were, to a man, skint broke.
    Pintel: Those are nine pieces of junk!
    • Bootstrap's grungy knife as well. It seems an odd gift, but Bootstrap gives it to Will as if he knows he will need it and may never see him again. Will assumes he needs it to stab the heart. Ironic in hindsight.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Discussed and paraphrased in every movie.
  • It Was a Gift: Commodore Norrington's sword; Bootstrap's knife.
  • I Want Them Alive!:
    • Will is one of the few characters to use this trope to his advantage. Though in his case, Barbossa didn't know it was specifically Will he needed alive until he told him.
    • Lord Beckett's motive for reining in Davy Jones, in the first part of At World's End. Jones had been exterminating the crews of the pirate ships he attacked; Beckett couldn't have that. "I need prisoners to interrogate. This tends to work better if they're alive."
  • Jolly Roger: various pirate crews have their own flags, the most frequently seen being that of the Black Pearl, which consists of a skull over crossed cutlasses, identical to a historical jolly roger except for the addition of an eyepatch.
  • Kangaroo Court: The trials in the third and fourth movies are hinted to be this.
  • Karma Houdini: Barbossa in the fourth movie. Not so much in the first.
  • Karmic Transformation: Davy Jones, prior to the events of the movies.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Cutler Beckett earns the ignominious honor of being the first Disney villain to successfully kill a child onscreen. In the first scene of the third movie, no less.
    • Davy Jones kills dozens of innocent people in attempting to track down Will and Jack, though which one hits as most insidious - the innocent foreigners who merely chance upon Jack's hat or the trading crew with the stern captain we actually come to know somewhat - is impossible to say.
    • For specific moments, there is also him ordering the defiant crewman who spurned his offer of crewmanship killed immediately and, in a rage, having the survivors of the aforementioned trading ship slaughtered wholesale without even offering them the chance to take his wretched bargain.
    • There's another example from Beckett later. To ensure Jones's loyalty (and to make sure he wouldn't turn against them), Beckett forced and ordered him to kill The Kraken. Judging from his reaction, Jones was quite attached to the giant ship-eating monster, with Beckett even referring to it as his "pet".
    • Blackbeard. Gleefully so. Subverted when he appears to kill Philip, but only uses poison to knock him out. Said subversion is the justified by his using Philip to get Syrena's tear.
    • Barbossa in the fourth film. When his ship and crew are being swarmed by mermaids, he refuses to help or even recognize their plight, passing it off as "seagulls nesting" when the officers point out their crew's screams of terror. Admittedly, it's not like he could have actually saved them, but it was still pretty cold.
    • "Someone make a note of that man's bravery."
  • Killed Off for Real: Norrington, Beckett, Governor Swann, Sao Feng, Davy Jonesnote , and the poor Kraken all die premanently; no resurrection for them. It's debatable whether or not Tia Dalma fits the bill. Many assume that Tia Dalma was killed, but that Calypso ascended. Then there's Blackbeard in the fourth movie, and Salazar in the fifth - possibly Barbossa too, although given that he was resurrected once before, it could theoretically happen again.
  • Killed Offscreen: This is the fate of a number of characters. The Kraken dies before the events of At World's End. Pintel, Ragetti, and Cotton are killed in the battle with Blackbeard before On Stranger Tides.
  • Kiss of Death: Elizabeth has been delivering these throughout the series: first to Jack in Dead Man's Chest; then later to Sao Feng, Norrington, and Will (exactly in that order, though on different circumstances) in At World's End. Also to note is that all of the men she kissed died by Davy Jones's hands (directly or indirectly).
  • Knight, Knave, and Squire: In the first movie, Jack is the Knave, Will is the Knight and Elizabeth is the Squire. A defining moment of both Jack and Will's characters is during the sword fight between the two. By the second movie, the dynamic is more or less dropped and they all become Knaves, especially in the third.
  • Large Ham: Many.
    • Jack Sparrow himself.
    • Barbossa all the way, who looks like he's having an absolute blast whenever he shows up.
    • Davy Jones, helped by the weird accent and enunciation.
    • Elizabeth alternates between understated and quite loud (mostly in the second and the third movies).
    • Blackbeard, usually of the Cold Ham variety.
  • Leave Behind a Pistol: Barbossa inflicts this on Jack twice, only for him to escape both times. Flipped around in the fourth movie when Jack leaves Angelica on an island, although he leaves them an easier way out.
    "Besides, this is a well-traveled trade route. You can signal a passing ship - or you can just bite the proverbial bullet, as it were."
  • Licensed Pinball Tables: In addition to an arcade table by Stern Pinball, there was also a smaller home table designed by John Popadiuk and released by Zizzle Toys.
  • Living Forever Is Awesome:
    • Jack the Monkey steals Aztec Gold at the end of Curse of the Black Pearl and is still cursed in the following films. Evidentially, he finds the immortality worth the drawbacks. It's interesting to note that the Aztecs themselves try to defy this trope by making those cursed with it unable to enjoy anything (food, drink, pleasant weather, "pleasurable company" etc.) that would come with it.
    • Davy Jones invokes the corollary of this trope ("Do you fear death?") when doing a recruit drive.
  • Love Redeems:
    • In a slightly roundabout way; it's a given that Will's love for Elizabeth is what leads him to accept his new duties of ferrying the souls of the dead on the Flying Dutchman. This frees the crew from the corruption that Jones had caused with his actions and they also seem to lose their mindless bloodlust.
    • Angelica attempts to do this for Blackbeard in a more father-daughter sense but he's a bad man.
  • Love Triangle: Love Quadrangle between Will, Jack, Norrington and Elizabeth.
  • Lunatic Loophole: Jack rides a wave of them throughout the series.
  • MacGuffin: Several in each movie, usually with Jack's compass or the Black Pearl coming into play at some point.
    • Curse of the Black Pearl had the last piece of Aztec gold and the blood of William Turner.
    • Dead Man's Chest had the Chest and the key to unlock it, and ultimately the Heart of Davy Jones inside.
    • At World's End had Calypso and the Nine Pieces of Eight.
    • On Stranger Tides had the chalices of Ponce de León and a mermaid's tear.
    • Dead Men Tell No Tales had the Trident of Poseidon.
    • Jack also becomes one between Dead Man's Chest and the first portion of At World's End, and then again in the beginning of Dead Men Tell No Tales.
  • Madness Mantra: "Part of the ship, part of the crew." Repeated by Davy Jones's crew near the end of the third film and, earlier, by Bill Turner when he fully joined Jones's crew.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The entire series is built around this trope, in accordance with pirate superstition and lore. Or rather, the writers made a concordance out of pirate superstition and lore.
  • Magic Compass: Jack's compass points to whatever the one holding it wants.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Zig-Zagged across the series:
    • In the second film, Isla de Muerta is wiped off the proverbial map by a hurricane. Invoked by Lord Beckett, who believes in the supernatural, but sees progress and expansion as the overriding force in the world.
    • Further invoked by Beckett in At World's End as he doesn't bat an eye to anything on the Flying Dutchman and forces Davy Jones to dispose of the Kraken. Defied by the pirates, who release Calypso specifically so expansion and progress by man across the seas will be more difficult.
    Cutler Beckett: This is no longer your world, Jones. The immaterial has become... immaterial.
    • In On Stranger Tides, defied by Blackbeard, but invoked by the Spanish, whose actual goal is to destroy the Fountain of Youth, not use it.
    • In Dead Men Tell No Tales, destroying the Trident of Poseidon broke the curse of the Flying Dutchman along with all other curses of the sea... potentially including the one binding Davy Jones.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: Cutler Beckett and the East India Trading Company. The company is more-or-less mentioned in passing in the first film, before becoming much more of a threat in the following two films. By the time At World's End rolls around, the combined threat of Beckett and Jones was enough to ultimately unite the world's pirate forces, who up until then were crossing and betraying each other on a regular basis.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You are different. Are you not?" Said first by Syrena to Philip when she explains why she saved him during the mermaid attack; later said by Philip to Syrena when he explains why he came to save her after Blackbeard had tied her up in an attempt to get one of her tears.
    • Pintel saying "Goodbye, Poppet", and Barbossa saying "Farewell, Mrs. Turner" as Elizabeth walked away from the crew of the Black Pearl for the final time in At World's End definitely counts.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • All three of the main characters have names related to birds: Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth Swann being the most obvious. Will Turner, on the other hand, shares the exact same name as a British scientist who studied birds, much like James Bond. There's also a seabird called a tern. The missionary in the fourth film also counts- his full name is Philip Swift, and a swift is a songbird.
    • Tia Dalma's name is an anagram for Dalmatia, a famous haven for pirates.
    • Barbossa's name is rather close to Barbarossa, another famous pirate, and is a mangled version of the Latin for "Beard of Bones".
    • 'Norrington' may be (consciously or otherwise) more or less a compound name of Nelson and Wellington (both commanders were a little young for this period, but it's close; the character- at least in his first appearance- has had a career more like Admiral Nelson's, but is more like General Wellington in personality.)
    • Syrena is Greek for "siren" and, in the movie, is pronounced as the Spanish word for mermaid, "sirena." (Could count as a Bilingual Bonus). Which made the Spanish dub sound like "The mermaid's name will be... Mermaid".
  • Membership Token: In the first film, the cursed gold coins, in the third film, the nine Pieces of Eight.
  • Memento MacGuffin:
  • Men of Sherwood: Jack's pirate crew in the first movie is largely made up of silent, unnamed characters who are outclassed by the immortal villains and are reluctant to push their luck. However, they do a good job of crewing the ship, only lose one man to the villains, and help rescue Jack at the end in a Changed My Mind, Kid fashion. Averted in the sequel though, where most of those same characters end up dead in a Red Shirt Army fashion, as do the men Jack hires to replace them.
  • Mexican Standoff:
    • After rescuing Jack in At World's End, the crew quickly devolves into one of these over who gets the Pearl and who gets the map. Just about every main character starts pointing a pair of pistols at different characters, Pintel and Ragetti join in because everyone else is, and pistols change targets about a dozen times over the course of the standoff. Then finally, someone fires... only for it to fail. Cue everyone pulling their triggers and failing. Turns out that all the guns had gotten waterlogged after the fall off the Inevitable Waterfall. That defuses the situation pretty quickly.
    • Will, Norrington, and Jack over the Dead Man's Chest.
    • Jack, Angelica, and Scrum over the mermaid's tear.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Davy Jones's fishy crew.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: One rather successful instance with a canoe, and another much less successful one with a potted plant.
  • More Dakka: The Dauntless and the Endeavour bristle with around 100 guns. After all, they are classed as first-rate ships-of-the-line - the navy's most powerful warship class.
    • In the final scene where Beckett commands an attack against the Black Pearl, see the Endeavour's massive array of guns (as the ship sails by) and be scared. Too bad its commander didn't return fire even when he knew he had the upper hand in armament.
    • The Flying Dutchman has a very heavy armament for a standard Fluyt (the ship it's based on), mounting 36 pounders (very few warships carried guns that big). Of course, her triple guns add to this trope.
  • The Mountains of Illinois:
    • Port Royal was not built on a cliff. Jamaica has plenty of cliffs, but not anywhere near the site of Port Royal.
    • Singapore isn't mountainous.
    • My the waterfalls and mountains of the Florida Everglades are beautiful. Here's what the place really looks like.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Pretty much the entire male cast, excepting perhaps some of the minor characters.
  • The Mutiny:
    • Several instances, most importantly the pre-Curse of the Black Pearl one which cost Sparrow his Black Pearl.
    • In On Stranger Tides, Jack attempts to incite a mutiny aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge. After this insurrection fails spectacularly, Jack claimed he did it just to gain an audience with the until-then-unseen Blackbeard.
  • Mythology Gag: When Jack and Barbossa find Ponce, he's a skeleton lying on a bed surrounded by treasure examining a jewel with a magnifying glass, reminiscent of the Captain's Quarters in the introduction segment of the original ride.
    • In the first film, when Jack is captured by the Port Royal guards and is undergoing his Heroic BSoD in his jail cell, a group of recently-detained pirates are trying to coax the guard dog into giving them the keys. Jack, in a gloriously snarky allusion to the original ride, tries to convince the pirates to give up. In the following exchange, however, we can see that it has no effect whatsoever:
    Jack: You can keep doing that forever, that dog is never going to move.
    Red Shirt Pirate #1: Well, excuse me if we haven't resigned ourselves to the gallows just yet.
    (Jack leans his head back, smirking from ear to ear)

  • Nautical Knockout: Jack intentionally does this to Will in the first movie to reinforce the point that he is not a person that fights fair.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Jack is recaptured because he enlisted the Navy's help to save Will. And in a karmic turnabout, Norrington decides that this is unjust, gives him a Mercy Lead after the first movie's over, and loses his ship and his commission because of it. Man.
    • Philip the Missionary, the only unambiguously good and decent human being in the entire fourth movie, is basically the plot's punching bag, firmly setting the deeply-cynical tone of the film and the (supposed) new trilogy.
  • No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine:
    • Barbossa's hospitality to his captive, Elizabeth, in the first movie.
    • Barbossa to Jack in the first movie.
    Barbossa: "Gents, you all remember Captain Jack Sparrow! ... Kill him."
    • At World's End features Beckett and Will having tea together to discuss alliances, with Davy Jones spoiling the mood.
    • Played with during Jack Sparrow's audience with the king in the fourth movie.
  • Noodle Implements:
    • To get the ship out from the bottle in On Stranger Tides, Jack will need: "a crossbow, an hourglass, three goats, and one of us will need to learn to play the trumpet, and the other will need to do this (wiggles fingers)".
  • Noodle Incident:
    • "Clearly you have never been to Singapore."
    • Just what sort of run-in are Beckett and Jack referring to, when they talk about "each leaving his mark on the other"? We do know how Beckett marked Jack; Cutler made the above statement whilst displaying the metal 'P' he used to brand Jack as a pirate. Sparrow's mark on Beckett, however, was never explained - the look on Beckett's face when Will asked about it suggests it's a touchy subject. (See the WMG list for a couple fan theories.)
    • The "trick we perfected in New Guinea" Gibbs uses to take care of the guards on board the Queen Anne's Revenge in On Stranger Tides.
    • Jack has a conspicuous new scar in On Stranger Tides; a small red X on his right cheekbone. Such a distinct shape suggests a deliberate infliction, but no explanation is given for it.
    • "What were you doing in a Spanish convent?"
      • He mistook it for a brothel. It was a usual practice for some Spanish kings (namely Philip III and Philip IV) to send their former lovers to convents once they got them pregnant. So, it was not so strange to find some hot women in convents.
      • Not just royal mistresses - it was a valid way of getting rid of any unmarried woman who had somehow disgraced herself. They also sometimes incorporated girls' schools.
    • "... And then they made me their chief."
    • "... impersonating a clergyman of the Church of England..."
  • Not-So-Safe Harbor: It's a series based on pirates, so three ports rife with them are shown in Port Royal, Tortuga and Shipwreck Cove.
  • Ocean of Adventure: The franchise relies heavily on Nautical Folklore, and thus a lot of the real-world seven seas (and the oceans surrounding them) are full of supernatural humdrum encountered by the protagonists, including gods, Psychopomps, sea-monsters, mermaids, cursed Aztec gold, the Fountain of Youth, the Flying Dutchman, the original Prongs of Poseidon and too many cursed pirate crews and pirate-hunters to count.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In Curse of the Black Pearl, Barbossa's expression upon realising he's about to die is pretty comical, if you're in a cruel mood ("I feel... cold.")
    • When Jack finds himself surrounded by hungry natives in Dead Man's Chest, he gives a dry, "Oh, bugger."
    • Likewise, Bootstrap's realizing that he was fighting over control of the mooring line with his son upon the Flying Dutchman.
    • Jack's reaction upon seeing the Flying Dutchman's guns:
    Jack: ... Hardtostarboard...
    Elizabeth: HARD TO STARBOARD!!
    • A minor example, but just watch Jack's expression change during At World's End when Barbossa calls for Captain Teague.
    • In On Stranger Tides, the mutineers when Blackbeard makes his appearance.
    • When Jack Sparrow looks out at the water to see a massive swarm of mermaids swimming towards everyone.
    • Blackbeard upon being told he drank from the wrong chalice.
  • Once an Episode: Every movie has a stinger and mentions parley.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten:
    • Jack Sparrow makes the suggestion once in the first film that Will Turner may be a eunuch due to the fact he hasn't got a girlfriend (again Jack's speculation). Will is thus repeatedly referred to as a eunuch (mostly by Jack himself).
    • While it could be argued that "sea turtles" became more of an in-movie meme, the fact that it was Jack who seemed to have begun it seems to indicate its mention by other characters is more or less just their way to poke at Jack.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Towards the end of the first movie when Jack shoots Barbossa and Barbossa thinks that Jack wasted his shot. Clever viewers can tell from Jack's cold, steely glare that this is not the case; it's the one time in the entire movie that he's not doing something eccentric.
    • Speaking of Jack acting OOC; it can be hard to tell what is and isn't out of character for a guy whose methods are so mercurial. The only certainty is that anything he does is (virtually) always with the ultimate goal of furthering his own interests.
    Elizabeth: Whose side is Jack on?
    Will: At the moment?
    • Jack gets one at the climax of At World's End when Jones stabs Will through the heart and Jack, who has has his self-serving objective literally in the palm of his hand, goes from cruelly gloating over his imminent victory to looking mind-screwed by despair, almost HBSODing. It's brief, but is big enough to make his sacrifice afterward make perfect sense without hefty foreshadowing.
  • Order Versus Chaos: In the first movie, there is no particular moral component to the sides — the three major players are the ruthless Barbossa, the largely self-interested Jack and Norrington, while Will and Elizabeth are mostly neutral. The second and third movie side more fully with Chaos, as all the protagonists become fairly chaotic, while the role as main villain is taken over by Cutler Becket.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: The Aztec gold piece and Bootstrap's carving knife are both taken from Will who kept them as mementos from his left-for-(un)dead father. Their ultimate purpose becomes Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Outlaw Town: Shipwreck and Dry Tortugas
  • Phrase Catcher: "Sea Turtles".
  • Pimped-Out Dress:
    • Elizabeth ends up in a few in the first couple films, given her position. (What a shame that so many of those pretty frocks met untimely ends.)
    • In On Stranger Tides, Judi Dench's gown. With cleavage. She's 75, the cleavage is still lovely.
  • Pinball Protagonist: Jack Sparrow falls into this in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. Whereas in the previous three movies he had been a proactive character whose agenda helped drive the plot, here he's unwillingly dragged along on adventures that mostly center around other people, with there being nothing for him to gain in the end.
  • Pirate King: Who actually rules over all the pirates on all the seas in the world. The position itself is chosen by vote (and being pirates, all of them vote for themselves...), and Elizabeth Swann was voted by Sparrow and herself, breaking the tie and becoming the Pirate King in the third movie.
  • Pirate Parrot: and monkey too. Then they join forces to defeat evil using explosives.
  • Pirate Song: Yo Ho "(A Pirate's Life For Me)", is the leitmotif of the series.
  • Pirates: Take a wild guess.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Zig-zagged but mostly played straight. The first movie portrays the crew of the Black Pearl as villainous, with the Royal Navy and Jack's rag-tag group out to stop them (albeit for their own selfish reasons). After the first movie however, the pirates are mostly portrayed as fighting either the Royal Navy (whose characterization switched from Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist to the Empire), supernatural creatures, or each other. They are never depicted doing what pirates are known for: robbing defenseless people of their money and goods. By the third movie the series basically just gives up and mostly portrays pirates as some kind of romantic La Résistance fighting for freedom, with "pirating" equated to rum, wenches, and harmless fun.
  • The Plan
  • Plot Armor:
    • Barbossa is killed, but by the next movie is Back from the Dead.
    • Of course when Jack is killed off and the sequel was inevitable, they had no intention of killing off their fan favorite character.
  • Plot Coupon: You need the map... To get the key... to open the chest... to stab the heart... with the knife your old man gave you (you hope).
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Pintel and Ragetti.
  • Polly Wants a Microphone: Mr. Cotton's pet parrot (actually a macaw) doesn't just talk; it speaks on behalf of its owner. See Voice for the Voiceless.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: What happened to Davey Jones and his crew aboard the Dutchman for neglecting their duties.
  • Primary-Color Champion: Although he's more of a Anti-Hero, Jack wears a blue waistcoat and a red bandana, while his arch-nemesis Barbossa wears an orange-brown waistcoat and a green bandana.
  • Privateer:
    • In Dead Man's Chest, Cutler Beckett sends Will to offer Jack Sparrow a Letter of Marque in exchange for his compass.
    • Barbossa becomes one in On Stranger Tides, after encountering Blackbeard, who deprives him of both the Black Pearl and his leg. He "sold out" to the Crown only to get a chance to make even with his nemesis, and he tears his letter of marque at the end.
  • Psychopomp: the role of the Flying Dutchman and her crew is to be The Ferryman to whose who have died at sea.
  • Public Execution:
    • What Will rescues Jack from at the end of the first movie.
    • The third film starts out with a mass public hanging of citizens thought to be involved with pirates, notably including a young boy amongst the victims. He has to stand on a barrel to be tall enough for the noose.
    • Bunches of people show up for the trial and (presumed) subsequent hanging of one Captain Jack Sparrow in the opening of On Stranger Tides.
  • Rage Judo: Captain Jack Sparrow, naturally.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: The pillage and burn parts, at least; no raping takes place — these are Disney movies, after all.
  • Recurring Riff: The melody that Davy Jones plays on his organ, and that his and Tia Dalma's music boxes' plays, returns as the melody to "Hoist the Colours".
  • Red Shirts: Incredibly Lame Puns aside, you can write off nearly every English sailor and soldier that appears, even officers and characters with speaking parts. In fact, starting from Dead Man's Chest near any seafaring character who isn't one of the main eight or nine major characters is liable to be dead by the end of whatever movie they're in.
  • Red Shirt Army: The crew of the Back Pearl - especially in "Dead Man's Chest" (where the entire crew is killed except for the same handful of people twice), but continued onward in "At World's End." At least twice (the ends of the third and fourth movies) these two trends coincide and the surviving British join the surviving pirates, but towards the ends of every movie the pirate crews are usually so diminished they should be unable to sail their vessels. This is lampshaded in "Dead Man's Chest" while Will is leading the crew to escape a deadly situation.
    Will: "Come on! We'll need all hands to man the Pearl!"
    Crewman: "Actually, you won't need everyone! About six will do." (immediately after, the crewman and everyone but six of the crew is killed all at once).
  • Riddle for the Ages: Mr. Cotton's parrot.
    Jack: Answer, man!
    Gibbs: He's a mute, sir. Poor devil had his tongue cut out. So he's trained the parrot to talk for him. No one's yet figured how.
  • Roll Your Arrrrs-ah:
    • Davy Jones.
    • Captain Barbossa does this as well especially in his Hamoff against Jack Sparrow.
    Barbossa: What ARRR you doing?
    Sparrow: What are you doing?
    Barbossa: No, what AAAHHRRR you doing!?
  • Running Gag:
    • "Sea turtles, mate."
    • *slap* "Not sure I deserved that."/"I probably deserved that."note 
    • "You will always remember this as the day you..."
    • Eunuch.
    • The rum.
    • The dog with the keys.
    • "Parley"
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Tons of examples, but mostly because the real legends behind the series' plotlines are tossed aside in favor of the Rule of Cool.
    • Calypso is a figure from Greek mythology; rather than a sea goddess, she was a nypmh who figured into The Odyssey by trying to force Odysseus to remain with her on her island forever.
    • Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman are distinct myths, neither having any great relation to the other.
  • Sailor's Ponytail: Most sailors and pirates sports a ponytail that is often worn by swashbucklers.
  • Savage Piercings: The tribe that captures Jack in Dead Man's Chest and Blackbeard's zombies in On Stranger Tides.
  • Scoundrel Code: The Pirates' Code (Or Pirata Codex) is one that governs the relations of pirates. For instance, if someone says "parley" you have to take them to your captain alive. However, there are a number of caveats to this code.
  • Screw the Rules, They're Not Real!:
  • Sequel Escalation: The second and particularly the third movie featured more and more insanely over-the-top CGI and action sequences, epic plotlines and $300-million budgets. The fourth movie, however, was intentionally scaled back, returning to the more modest and character-driven style of the first film.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Played with in Jack's/Barbossa's crew; all of them speak like this, including the captains themselves, but it doesn't always indicate intelligence.
    Barbossa: I am disinclined to acquiesce to your request. (Beat) Means no.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • Shrouded in Myth:
    • Barbossa in the first film.
    • Davy Jones in the second film.
    • Calypso in the third film.
    • Blackbeard in the fourth film.
    • Jack Sparrow's past. Including the sea turtles... his past relationships with Beckett and Tia Dalma... and raising the Black Pearl from a watery grave.
    • At times, this is subverted:
    Imprisoned Pirate: The Black Pearl has been stalking these waters for nearly ten years. Leaves no survivors!
    Jack: No survivors? Then where do the stories come from, I wonder?
  • Sliding Scale of Antagonist Vileness: Barbossa is Affably Evil, Davy Jones is Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds, Beckett, Blackbeard and Salazar are monsters (two for extremism, one just for cruelty).
  • So Long, Suckers!: Jack's famous line "You will always remember this as the day you almost caught Captain Jack Sparrow", and nicely lampshaded in the end.
    • Toyed with near the beginning of the second movie.
    Jack: (hanging from the side of his ship) "You will always remember this as the day that you almost-" *gets drenched by an unusually high wave* "...Cap'n Jack Sparrow."
  • Sorting Algorithm Of Villain Threat: Barbossa < Jones < Beckett.
    • Broken with Blackbeard.
  • Spinoff Babies: Disney has been publishing a line of pre-teen-orientated novels about Jack's teenage years since 2006.
  • Spit Shine: Ragetti does this with his wooden eye a couple times. Later on, Barbossa gives the thing a really good slurp and shoves it back into Ragetti's empty socket. The poor man looks terrified.
  • Stealth Pun: Davy Jones's heart was locked in a locker... which can also be called a chest—his chest.
  • The Stinger: All five films feature an extra scene after the final credits.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Lord Cutler Beckett's death scene in the third movie was very much the serious version. He's walking down the stairs, which are blowing up behind him with chunks of wood flying around, when he finally dies.
    • Jack does this in the second movie. After the fight starts, the man starts wandering aimlessly through the pub, randomly trying on people's hats to replace the one he lost at the beginning of the movie. He narrowly avoids getting injured in some spectacularly funny ways (such as ducking to get a dropped hat off the floor and avoiding a flying bottle that smashes on the wall above him).
  • Summer Blockbuster: The whole franchise, with the 2nd and 4th becoming two of only a handful of films to cross the Billion-dollar mark, making this franchise the first to have more than one movie to have earned a Billion worldwide.
  • Superstitious Sailors: Gibbs notes at the beginning of the first film that bringing a woman on board, "even a miniature one," is bad luck when young Elizabeth is on the ship. Throughout the series, he frequently tells stories about sailor superstitions and lore, though the world of Pirates being what it is, these usually serve to make him Mr. Exposition.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: When Jack grudgingly allows Anamaria on the ship (after promising that after the mission is over he'll give it to her in payment for the ship he stole and sunk), Gibbs reminds Jack that it's bad luck to have a woman on board. Jack points out that trying to leave her behind would be far worse.
    • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest: Elizabeth takes advantage of superstitions to pretend to be a ghost while stowing away on a ship.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The first film ends with Will Turner making a daring broad-daylight rescue of Jack Sparrow as he's about to be hanged. The second film opens with Will Turner being arrested for it.
    • Early in the third film, Will tries to make a secret deal with Sao Feng. Knowing that Will would be double-crossing both Barbossa and Jack by doing so, Sao Feng's immediate response is to ask why he shouldn't expect to be betrayed as well.
  • Talking Your Way Out: What can't Jack bribe, negotiate, trick or otherwise "parley" his way out of? Thanks to Elizabeth, a kraken's lunch menu, apparently.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Barbossa and Blackbeard in particular.
  • Team Power Walk:
    • A particularly badass one occurs in the third movie, as Jack, Elizabeth and Barbossa approach the Parlay.
    • Barbossa's crew manages an even more badass one in the first movie, when they walk along the bottom of the sea to ambush the Dauntless.
  • Those Two Guys: In two flavors: Pirate and Navy!
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Barbossa and apples.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Given the setting, it's no surprise that any islands they land on will be tropical in nature, where treasure, sword fights, supernatural creatures and danger await. And rum. Don't forget the rum.
    (Captain!) Jack Sparrow: Welcome to the Caribbean, love.
  • Unrequited Love: Norrington = Stuffy Brit. Will = Orlando Bloom. Hmm... time to grow a beard.
  • Uptown Girl: The first three films have Elizabeth Swann (the Governor's daughter) and Will Turner (blacksmith's apprentice).
  • Villainous BSoD:
    • Davey Jones tried to avoid this by removing his heart.
    • Beckett has a brilliantly-executed villainous BSOD in the third movie, walking down from the quarterdeck in slow motion while his ship is being shot to pieces around him, saying his Catchphrase: "It's just...good business..."
    • Barbossa's in the first movie is nicely understated. The apple may be a bit much, though.
    • Blackbeard when Jack reveals that he gave the chalice with the mermaid's tear to Angelica instead of him.
  • Villain Decay: Davy Jones, the most feared being of the seven seas, is (somewhat awkwardly for him, at least) demoted to The Dragon to the stuffed-shirt East India Trading Comapny in the third film by their possession of his heart, who unaccountably maintain their insistence in the triumph of reason over superstition while ordering Jones around. He gets his thunder back at the climax though- a fair bit of the final battle is him Kicking Dogs, being badass, or a combination thereof.
    • Barbossa, sort of. Very intentional in the fourth movie, although undone by the end of the film, which sees him return to his proper badassery.
  • Visual Pun: In the first movie, Jack is attempting to pick a lock with a bone. It's a skeleton key.
    • And in the third, Davy Jones's Locker is filled with crustaceans that normally appear as stones, or in other words, "Rock Crabs".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Jack Sparrow and Will Turner.
    • Jack and Barbossa begin to show shades of this in On Stranger Tides.
  • Voice for the Voiceless: The pirate Cotton had his tongue cut out, so he taught his parrot to speak for him. It speaks entirely in nautical Stock Phrases, though, so the pirates then have to interpret what the parrot says. Gibbs mentions that "nobody's yet figured how" he taught the parrot to do that in the first place.
  • 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".
  • Weapon Stomp: In Dead Man's Chest, Elizabeth goes for the rifle, only for Jack to stomp on it. He then kicks it up so he could be the one to fire it. Norrington also did this with one of Davy Jones's Mooks.
    • Also done in On Stranger Tides during Jack's attempted mutiny, which fails regardless.
  • Wham Line:
    • From Curse Of The Black Pearl: "You'd best start believin' in ghost stories, Miss Turner. Yer in one!"
    • Elizabeth: (after kissing Jack) "It's you (the Kraken) wants, don't you see?" She then proceeds to chain him to ship so he can't run away.
    • A rare example of a closing Wham Line: "So tell me, what's become of my ship?"
    • When called upon to cast his vote for the Pirate King, after all the others have voted for themselves, as expected, Jack hesitates for a moment and answers: "Elizabeth Swann." Elizabeth is shocked, and the other Pirate Lords are not very happy with Jack.
    • "The Dutchman must have a captain."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Zoe Saldana (Anamaria) was unable to resume her role in the second film, but her character's disappearance was never explained to ever-wondering viewers. See the WMG list for a couple theories.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?:
    • Stabbing Davy Jones's heart will make the person who did it become immortal. Will wants to do this, which is bad in his father's eyes as he will choose his fiancée over his father. Not to mention the whole step on land once every 10 years, and having to ferry souls to the afterlife or be turned into a fishman. Teague knows his son well enough to realize this is part of what Jack's planning, and gives him hell about it.
      It's not just about living forever, Jackie. The trick is living with yourself forever.
    • In the fourth film it turns out that Blackbeard is the only character who honestly wants the Fountain's promised immortality for himself. Angelica wants it for him to prolong her time with her father; the Spanish want to destroy the Fountain, to protect God's exclusive right to dispense eternal life; King George's men, not realizing this, want to stop the Spanish king from claiming immortality; and Barbossa really only wants revenge on Blackbeard. Even Jack decides he'd really rather be remembered forever than actually live that long.
      Jack: Oh, it's a pirate's life for me. Savvy?
    • Barbossa and his men had this in spades in the first film. Justified because their cursed state made them live forever, but prevented them from experiencing any of the pleasures of being alive. (They couldn't eat, drink, feel the breeze, etc.) That'd be a pretty lousy way to spend eternity.
    • In deleted scenes from the first, Jack is the last immortal pirate cursed by the Aztec gold, but unlike Barbossa and his mutinous crew, actually starts to enjoy the gods' curse. It's only after contemplating that his immortality would make life utterly mundane and have no challenge, that he reluctantly undoes his curse.
  • Woman Scorned:
    • Calypso in At World's End.
    • Angelica in On Stranger Tides, whom Jack seduced in the past and then left behind. Things don't get any better when Jack uses the chalices to give a dying Angelica immortality rather than her father Blackbeard—whose life is sacrificed for hers—and then maroons her on an island with nothing but a pistol with a single bullet.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: At least as far as visual aesthetics go.
  • World of Ham: Aside from Orlando Bloom and Blackbeard, everyone is hamming up accordingly to such a project. (And even those two have their moments)
  • World of Snark: The dialogue is often people throwing cruel zings at each other.
  • Wretched Hive: Tortuga.
  • Xanatos Gambit: two straight examples: Jack Sparrow allowed himself to be shackled in the first movie so he could use them to take Elizabeth hostage: Either they let him escape or she becomes a distraction for his escape. Then taking one of the Azetc coins: Barbossa can no longer win because he himself cannot be killed, but once Will dispells the curse, he can finish Barbossa off with his pistol.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: Jack. Although, how much of it he actually plans is up to personal interpretation.
    • In the first film, the second he learns Will's full name, he takes about five seconds to make the plan to kill Barbossa. And throughout the entire film, he has to constantly adjust, re-adjust, and re-re-adjust his plans to account for Will screwing things up.
    • The Brethren Court meeting is a game of Gambit Speed Chess between Barbossa and Jack using whatever resources they have, culminating in the climax of the film.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Almost every fight scene. "You're not a eunuch, are you?"


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Pirates Of The Caribbean, Pirates Of The Caribbean 2003, Pirates Of The Caribbean Isles Of War


"Hoist the Colours"

As a line of condemned pirates are awaiting their execution, they defiantly start singing about how their way of life will never end.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / PirateSong

Media sources: