The Devil-Ship Pirates

The Devil-Ship Pirates

UK theatrical poster
Directed by Don Sharp
Produced by Anthony Nelson Keys
Starring Christopher Lee
John Cairney
Barry Warren
Andrew Keir
Philip Latham
Music by Gary Hughes
Cinematography Michael Reed
Edited by James Needs
Distributed by Warner-Pathé Distributors (UK)
Columbia Pictures (US)
Release dates
May 1964
Running time
86 min
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Devil-Ship Pirates is a 1964 British-made pirate adventure film directed by Don Sharp.

It concerned pirates from a vessel from the defeated Spanish Armada terrorizing citizens on the English coast. All goes well until the villagers realize the Spaniards have been defeated and revolt. It had some spectacular swordplay but was a largely land-locked pirate movie.

Plot Summary

A pirate ship, fighting in 1588 on the side of the Spanish Armada, suffers extensive damage and must put into a village on the British coast for repairs. The village is small and isolated and the Spanish convince the villagers that the English fleet has been defeated and that they, the Spanish, are now their masters. This results in the villagers' sullen cooperation, but rumors and unrest begin to spread and soon the Spanish pirates find themselves facing a revolt.



The outdoor sets were previously utilised for Hammer's The Scarlet Blade, made the previous year. Ripper, Lamont and Farmer appeared in both films.

According to Christopher Lee, Hammer Studios had built a full-sized galleon in some sand pits on a steel structure under the water. Although warned not to have too many people on board at once, one day the tea boat was lifted onto a platform level with the water and too many people rushed over to get a cup of tea. The ship capsized, throwing most of the cast and crew in the water. Lee was on the poop deck and luckily managed to hold on to the rail. No one was drowned or seriously hurt.[1]


The Devil-Ship Pirates is a "lacklustre pirate yarn with not much action and some elements of Hammer horror" according to Halliwell's Film and Video Guide.[2] Richard Harland-Smith it is a "spirited romp", but notes that the film's "diet of floggings, hangings and swordplay pushed its 'U' certificate to the limits."[1]


  1. 1 2 Yoram Allon, et al (eds.) Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors, London: Wallflower, 2001, p.310
  2. John Walker (ed.) Halliwell's Film and Video Guide 2000, London: HarperCollins, 1999, p.222
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