Summertime is where our thoughts drift to cool tropical breezes, bone-white sandy beaches, buried treasure, palm trees, and swashbuckling pirate movies starring the notorious Johnny Depp as the flamboyant scalawag Captain Jack Sparrow!
The sword-clanking, rum-drinking, barnacled bunch at the heart of Disney's billion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise has made quite a name for itself after being loosely adapted from the beloved E-Ticket attraction housed at Disney theme parks.
Following five highly successful feature films and helping to greatly advance the art of digital special effects, the legacy of these historical fantasy films remains steadfast, all stemming back to the original 2003 tentpole shackled with a mouthful of a title, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
The flagship property has had some of the wind knocked out of its box-office sails over the past few entries, but the brand is still strong across the seven seas. Pirates is truly an international institution, and here the fan film community reflects its undiminished love for Jack Sparrow and his motley crew of buccaneers with a wealth of tribute shorts from America, Italy, France, Chile, England, and the Czech Republic.
Set sail into this Sparrow-filled flock of Pirates of the Caribbean fan films and tell us which ones represent the skull-and-crossbones best.
Drink up me hearties, yo ho!
Pirates of the Caribbean: Bring Me That Horizon 
This homemade short was delivered by a YouTuber named Dull1 and represents a fun project made with the amateur filmmaker's kids. Shot and crafted with love and attention to detail using some footage from a tall ship regatta or historical reenactment in Portland and on vacation in Hawaii, it looks like the family had a blast putting this no-budget fan film together and we toast its rollicking spirit and creative approach to the material.
Stand Up! 
Another creation from France, Stand Up! sees Jack Sparrow adrift amid arid plains under a broiling sun and alone with his wild hallucinatory imagination. With suicide on his mind and one last shot in his pistol, the notorious captain is saved by a seductive vision of a lost love, enabling him to leave his depression behind and forge on. Keeps the conflict simple and carries an enlightening message.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Hide The Rum 
Jack's active imagination is set loose in this short written, directed, and starring Stephen Haydon, as the rowdy captain contemplates suicide after the mutiny of his crew. Set ten years before Curse of the Black Pearl, we find Jack marooned on a deserted island and unfortunately all out of his precious rum, leading to a strange conversation with his better self. Short and sweet, concentrating on many of the themes present in the film series.
Pirates of the Caribbean: An Unexpected Destiny 
Witness the magic of this amateur POTC fan film from Chile showcasing a spot-on Jack Sparrow as he sneaks into a stone fortress and discovers a wooden chest containing an odd assortment of valuables. Exceptional use of costuming and props delivers an entertaining romp with some nice comdeic touches. Just ignore the background traffic noise!
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Sword of Jack Sparrow 
Check out this fantastic offering from New Zealand, driected by Kolbe Morgan and starring Indy Magnoli of Magnoli Clothiers, a prop and costume company supplying essential for the film community. Here Jack Sparrow directs a pair of lackeys to help him hunt for buried treasure. Presents an uncanny impersonation of Depp's drunken pirate and an amusing lecture on the details of Sparrow's iconic outfit and accessories.
Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Animated Trailer 
We love this brief animated trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and only wish it were longer! But hand-drawn animation is a delicate and time-consuming endeavor and this fan film takes elements from the 5th film's teaser to create a killer one-minute cartoon. Bravo to JannerBros, who took over two weeks to draw the evocative frames!
The Adventures of Young Jack Sparrow 
Check out this outstanding entry from director Julian Higgins, depicting a young Jack Sparrow directing a mutiny of his own and being tossed onto a remote island with a pair of fellow mutineers. Contains rousing music, dashing female pirates, thrilling sword fights, and even a singing mermaid flopping around on the sand. Excellent impersonation of Johnny Depp's classic character in full regalia makes this a top entry.
Jack Sparrow Castle Chase 
An excellent short crafted by some clever Czech filmmakers, this fan film keeps the brisk action quarantined to the Governor's mansion and surrounding grounds. Jack interrupts a regal tea party and goes sprinting through the opulent rooms of the castle evading guards to find his heart's desire. No, not a chestful of valuable coins, but an inviting jug of golden rum. This little gem keeps the sequence moving and even fires off a real cannon!
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Compass of the Seven Seas 
Directed by Italian filmmaker Riccardo Badolato, this treasure is one of the most ambitious productions of the bunch and the longest at 17 minutes. The locations, sets, costumes, props, editing, and music all blend together into a professional-looking tribute to the original concept of Pirates of the Caribbean. Jack ventures to Port Canaveral circa the year 1700 to seek out a coveted map leading to untold riches. Cracks our top three!
Pirates of the Caribbean: On the Edge of Oblivion 
If you like your fan films with a French flair, here's an entry by Tirak Line and Jordan Inconstant in what's meant to be a prequel to The Curse of the Black Pearl. Jack Sparrow, sly and soused captain of the Black Pearl, is hunting down a legendary treasure on the island of La Muerta. But Barbosa instigates a mutiny against and Sparrow is marooned on a deserted island to die, where he clashes with a crew of phantom captains that look mighty familiar. This is the English-dubbed version with a convincing cast and beautiful white sand setting that captures the perfect tone and takes home the gold doubloons!