The Boat That Rocked

  • Directors: Richard Curtis
  • Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Hilary Bevan Jones
  • Writers: Richard Curtis
  • Genres: Comedy, Drama, Music, Romance
  • Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Rhys Ifans, Nick Frost, Kenneth Branagh

Carl (Tom Sturridge) arrives on the pirate radio ship, Radio Rock, after being sent to stay with the ship’s Captain, his godfather, Quentin (Bill Nighy), to hopefully set his life on a different track after being expelled from school. Here he meets Radio Rock’s crew of ramshackle disc jockeys, led by The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), a buoyant rock-loving American, along with the suave and bawdy Dave (Nick Frost) and the naive but good hearted Simon (Chris O’Dowd). Also filling the airwaves is self proclaimed New Zealand “nut,” Angus (Rhys Darby), the mysterious Midnight Mark (Tom Wisdom) and the even more mysterious, reclusive and downright disillusioned late-night DJ Smooth Bob (Ralph Brown). Serving as the ship’s crew are the shy lesbian cook Felicity (Katherine Parkinson) and radio assistants, Harold (Ike Hamilton) and the appropriately nicknamed Thick Kevin (Tom Brooke).

Dave wastes no time in introducing Carl to women, only for both of Carl’s attempts to be foiled by Dave himself, including Carl’s first crush, Quentin’s niece, Marianne (Talulah Riley), although, by the end of the film, Carl and Marianne make up and get together. Simon also is unlucky in love, meeting and marrying the too-good-to-be-true Elenore (January Jones) only to find her affections are really placed with the returning “king of the airwaves”, Gavin (Rhys Ifans). The Count objects to Gavin’s antics with Elenore, leading to a clash of egos that ends in a truce after both suffer physical injuries jumping from the top of the ship’s radio mast in a contest of courage.

The film concludes with captions stating that, despite the end of “the golden age of pirate radio”, the dream lives on, with 299 music radio stations across the UK playing rock and pop music 24 hours a day, and that, forty years on, rock and roll is still going strong, ending with a montage of successful music albums covering the entire forty year period.

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