Religion in Pirates of the Caribbean movies?

I was just watching the Pirates movies for the hundredth time:D, they are one of my favorite movie series!, but I was noticing just random parts of the movie that had religion symbolism in them. Just random little parts. I also noticed in the Pirates 4 movie A LOT of religious symbolism, Catholic symbolism in fact, which only makes it more amazing.

I was wondering if anyone has noticed this too? And do you know of any websites or books that explain the different symbolism’s throughout the movies?
I just find it interesting because it is one of my favorites and now I am noticing religion in them when before I had never noticed it at all!!


I do agree with your this fact , Me to find the movie interesting to some extent.

I have seen the first three movies and don’t consider them particularly Christian. Particularly with the character Davy Jones in the 2nd and 3rd the story line grows considerably more occultish in nature and departs from Catholic truth considerably. The first movie, Barbossa and his thugs are immortal because of the curse of the Aztec gold which they stole. The treasure must be returned(to the last coin…which Will Turner was given by his father during a pirate raid. Will’s blood does lift the curse at the end of the movie, in time for Barbossa to be shot with a gun and killed. Aside from the use of the words “blood” and “curse” there is little parallel to the gospel. In the second movie Barbossa, according to the wonders of Hollywood script writing, is resurrected to become one of the nine pirate lords. The new antagonist is Davy Jones, a man cursed by the pagan goddess Calypso. Jack Sparrow is back, as well as his unscrupulous lack of virtue. Will and Elizabeth are pirates now, so the movie basically has no good guys. Well, the pirates are the good guys…in other words, they do bad things and have little virtue but the story line is written in such a way as to create audience sympathy with them. It’s pretty much a free for all…the first scene shows random people getting lynched for being pirates, a young boy starts singing and the rest join in defiantly. It’s really the defiance of the pirates against the law which is heralded in the second film. The antagonist is a british guy in a bleached wig who could be a clone for a young George Washington. Talk about role reversal!
The third movie ends with a romance between Will and Elizabeth. Davy Jones keeps his heart in a box. Jack Sparrow steals the box. Only Will can stab the heart, kill Davy Jones, but his own heart must be removed, put in the box and he basically takes Davy Jone’s place. The last scene shows Will giving the box with his heart in it to Elizabeth…gruesome, yes, but the implication is romantic.
You really have to stretch things to see the Gospel in any of this. It’s an imaginative movie but the themes are all pagan mythology and very little of it is at all Catholic.

There was little to no Christian symbolism in the first three movies.

However in the fourth movie which I found as engaging as the first one (2 and 3 were mediocre) there is in fact Catholic influence in it through the Spanish. Normally I expected the cliche of the Spanish being incompetent and failing but the movie surprised me with an ending that just brought joy into me.


The Spanish find the Fountain of Youth and have it destroyed as a Pagan temple in the name of the Catholic Church. By then they had already proven that to use the Fountain required you to take the life of another person through a human sacrifice. Thus this makes the Spanish the winners of this quest, having destroyed this occult shrine as well as kept the British and pirates from gaining it.

Ah. Haven’t seen the fourth one, but your description is encouraging. I wonder were the script writers the same guys who did the first three?

There could be some Catholic influence in POTC 4: On Stranger Tides because it is partially based on a 1987 pirate fantasy novel (“On Stranger Tides”) by Tim Powers, a fantasy/SF/horror writer who is also a Catholic:

Here’s an interview with Tim about how his traditional Catholic faith informs his writing. He’s very prolific, check out some of his fantasy novels.

I was similarly surprised by the ending of the fourth one. The Spanish Catholics get the role of being the responsible ones who destroy the temple rather than using at the expensive of someone else’s life. Very interesting ending for a modern American film.

The Pirates franchise is one of my favourites too! I’m in the minority in that I loved the 2nd and 3rd ones-the 3rd is my favourite. I love the mythology of Davy Jones and the story of the Dutchman. But, it is just that-mythology. I have to say that I don’t see anything overtly Christian in the first 3 films. The only thing I remember is from “Dead Man’s Chest.” One doomed sailor was clutching his Rosary when Jones offered to “postpone death” for him. Jones asks “Do you fear death?”, and the man did not because he had faith.

Now, the fourth film (my least favourite) was filled throughout with Christian overtones. The motivation for several characters was the saving of the soul.


Blackbeard’s daughter was concerned with saving his soul, even to the point of bringing a Christian missionary on board the Queen Anne’s Revenge. There were many times in the film where Blackbeard and the missionary butted heads about Faith and God. Upon seeing the movie a second time, I really picked up these themes more and the Missionary character seemed even more well developed than I thought. I am hoping these themes are hinted at a larger story arc for the next film(s).

God Bless,

p.s. I don’t know of any hard sources for Davy Jones, but he is sailor lore from ages ago. Perhaps a google search would help.

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