Pirate Radio

Rhys Ifans, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy, January Jones

Directed by Richard Curtis
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 2.5
Community: star rating
5 2.5 0
November 12, 2009

Rock & roll history is being retraced in this appealingly ramshackle comedy from Love Actually writer-director Richard Curtis. Set in England circa 1966, the movie revels in the chaos that ensued when prudes at the BBC decided rock music was an evil that needed censorship and maybe banning. That's when a renegade band of merry-prankster DJs, collectively known as Radio Rock, took to the sea in an old tanker and started broadcasting the devil's music 24/7. The BBC, in the tight-assed person of Kenneth Branagh's government minister, declares war.

Leader of the pirates is Quentin (the sublime Bill Nighy), a man not adverse to drugs and hookers if they keep his DJs spinning. The boat is overloaded with eccentrics, including one American (Philip Seymour Hoffman having a rowdy good time of it) who calls himself the Count and works up a hot feud with DJ Gavin (a terrific Rhys Ifans).

The boat nearly sinks from character overload, and Curtis brakes when you most want him to gun it. But there's no denying the comic energy of the cast. Couple that with blasts of Brit rock from the Beatles and the Stones to Dusty Springfield and David Bowie, and the ship is unsinkable.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Bleeding Love”

    Leona Lewis | 2007

    In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

    More Song Stories entries »