The Boat That Rocked (‘Pirate Radio’)

COMEDY; 2hr 15min

STARRING: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost

Shipshape: from left, Ifans and Nighy

The films of Richard Curtis (Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually et al) are a cynicism-free celebration of life and love — especially love. In The Boat That Rocked, Curtis zeroes fondly in on the free-spirit British phenom of 1966 pirate radio, and through it, the pulse beat of an irrepressible era.


Broadcasting from a rattletrap ship anchored in the North Sea, the Radio Rock DJs — a fictional bunch based on the way it was — transmit rock and roll 24/7 to an audience of 25 million riveted Brits. The stuffy old BBC is, meanwhile, playing just two hours of r’n’r a week and paper-shuffling powers-that-be are itching to shut the pirates’ shop.


The boys on board couldn’t care less: Hoffman, Nighy, Ifans and Co are too busy having a ball and a blast rolled into one. (Baby Boomers, stay tuned for the likes of the Stones, the Kinks, the Who, the Small Faces, the Hollies…) There are visiting girls as well, of course — boatloads of them, in fact. But nothing comes between the lads and their vinyl.