Roman Polanski, director of such films as Chinatown, Macbeth, Frantic and Rosemary's Baby (to name just a few), released a little gem of a motion picture that has quietly slipped into obscurity.
After the success of Chinatown in 1974, Polanski began writing a swashbuckling adventure that would star Jack Nicholson as Captain Thomas Bartholomew Red, a down on his luck pirate captain. The story progressed and production was delayed for many years as Polanski was forced to leave the United States in 1977. Paramount Pictures pulled out of the production, but Pirates was finally completed with Walter Matthau in 1986. Unfortunately, audiences weren't ready for a pirate movie. This oddity would repeat itself in 1995 with Cutthroat Island, but that's another story... Pirates is quite the entertaining picture that Pirates of the Caribbean owes at least a little of its success to.
I don't remember Roman Polanski's Pirates ever making it to the cinema near my town growing up and saw it for the first time when my father purchased it on Betamax. In fact, the only time the movie was released in the U.S. (aside from its theatrical run) was on VHS and Betamax by the U.S.A. Home Video label. Where's the blu-ray release??? In France. The French market did get a blu-ray of Pirates, uncut, in the correct aspect ratio and a steelbook! Who owns the distribution rights in the U.S. and why haven't you released it yet?
For those that are wondering, the French blu-ray is Region B locked so you will need a region free player to watch the movie. While the disc does offer an English audio track, forced French subtitles are displayed.