Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
More swashbuckling + less violence = OK for older tweens.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 128 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 105 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Despite the fact that pirates are, by definition, thieves, the movie offers several positive messages about how parents should sacrifice for their children and how every being is worthy of being treated with kindness and respect.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Philip the missionary is very moral and helps keep Blackbeard from being sadistic whenever possible. He protects Syrena the mermaid and sacrifices his own safety for her. Angelica is a strong and fierce female character who can hold her own against male pirates. Jack and Barbossa, despite their past rivalries, are able to work together against Blackbeard.


Lots of sword fighting, some of which ends up in death but some of which stops just short of a kill. Also gun use and a brief explosion, and a pirate is punished by being sent on a longboat and then burned. A mermaid is captured and threatened with death; someone is poisoned, a man's throat is slit, and there are other scenes of swashbuckling and violence. But actual blood is minimal, and the body count isn't as high as in the other movies.


Captain Jack makes countless innuendos and jokes with double meanings. (A typical exchange: "What were you doing in a Spanish convent?"/"I thought it was a brothel -- honest mistake.") He whispers something presumably naughty to a woman who begins to swoon. Jack and Angelica dance and roll around on the floor, fighting and flirting. Random, rowdy pub patrons are briefly shown kissing (with one woman leading a man up the stairs), and two other couples kiss in more passionate exchanges


A couple of uses of "damn" and "my God," plus some pirate insults -- usually directed at Jack.


Nothing in the movie itself, but the Pirates franchise has loads of merchandising and toy deals, including LEGO sets, video and board games, costumes, and collectible figures.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Fewer drunk-pirate scenes than in the previous movies, but there's still a good bit of drinking (rum, wine) and alcohol-related humor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides -- the fourth installment in the Pirates of the Caribbean series -- is actually slightly less violent and creepy than the previous movies. But rum and wine do still flow in a couple of scenes, and there are loads of innuendo-laden comments (most thanks to Johnny Depp's iconic Captain Jack Sparrow) -- as well as all of the swordfighting, explosions, and felled pirates and soldiers that audiences are used to in this franchise. Though there are some deaths, none are bloody/graphic. And although this movie isn't an age-appropriate pick for young kids who might be frightened by some of the pirates and fighting, this shorter-and-simpler edition is fine for older tweens and up.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byChris_Feher May 22, 2020

Still Good, But Less Charm

The first three movies were great, and so is this one, but the series seems to be losing its charm. Otherwise, the effects are still good and so is the acting.... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byElizabeth Klingler May 13, 2020

Less Violence, Dark Plot.

I think it goes without saying that Pirates of the Caribbean is a violent franchise, but this one brought it down quite a bit.
Of course we have the usual cla... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written by123 456 April 21, 2020

AWESOME, swashbuckling movie, but too much sexy stuff!

Well, to start off, Jack Sparrow is too inappropriate. He and Angelica kiss and imply sexual content too much! The movie is also very violent, too much blood an... Continue reading

What's the story?

In PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES, Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) returns for another pirate adventure -- this time to find the Fountain of Youth. The fountain is also being sought by the Spanish and English crowns and by the infamous Blackbeard (Ian McShane) and his daughter, Angelica (Penelope Cruz). Of course, Jack and Angelica have a past, so he agrees to help them beat the English -- who are being led by a reformed Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), who fancies himself a gentleman -- and the Spanish. To perform the eternal-youth-providing ceremony at the fountain, Blackbeard's crew must capture a mermaid, much to the horror of Philip (Sam Claflin), a young missionary who's been kept alive at the request of the surprisingly devout Angelica. Philip grows fond of the lovely mermaid, Syrena (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), as the various groups make their way closer and closer to the fountain's location.

Is it any good?

Depp's rummy rogue is clever and lovable as ever, and that's a big reason audiences are always willing to yo, ho, ho. Director Rob Marshall has stripped away some of the overlong, puzzling plotlines and overdependence on CGI effects that marked Gore Verbinski's first three Pirates films, especially the second and third ones. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' race for the Fountain of Youth is a simple, easy-to-follow premise; there are fewer extraneous characters to keep track of (remember all of those pirates in At World's End?); and Cruz and Depp have an entertaining, charming chemistry with each other that sizzles when they're trading barbs and half-dueling, half-flirting.

With the notable absence of Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, whose star-crossed lovers Elizabeth and Will had closure to their story in the last installment, the good-looking-young-couple role is left to Claflin and Berges-Frisbey. But as sweet as they are, their forbidden-love subplot isn't nearly as moving as Elizabeth and Will's. McShane, on the other hand, has built an impressive career one villainous character at a time, so he's naturally fierce and frightening as Blackbeard. And music lovers will appreciate the flamenco-guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela's contributions to the soundtrack.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of the Pirates movies. What makes these stories so compelling? Why are even the youngest moviegoers so drawn to pirates? 

  • Even though pirates are technically thieves and "bad guys," it's hard not to root for characters like Captain Jack. Why is that? What would make him a villain?

  • Did you miss any of the characters from the earlier movies who weren't in this one? Why do you think the filmmakers decided not to bring them back?

Movie details

For kids who love pirates

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