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Piracy in popular culture and fiction

Jack.jpgPirates are a frequent topic in fiction and are associated with certain stereotypical manners of speaking and dress, some of them wholly fictional: "nearly all our notions of their behavior come from the golden age of fictional piracy, which reached its zenith in 1881 [sic] with the appearance of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island." Some inventions of pirate culture such as "walking the plank" were popularized by J. M. Barrie's novel, Peter Pan, where Captain Hook's pirates helped define the fictional pirate archetype. Robert Newton's portrayal of Long John Silver in Disney's 1950 film adaptation of Treasure Island also helped define the modern rendition of a pirate. The recent Pirates of the Caribbean films have helped kindle modern interest in piracy and have succeeded quite handsomely in box office grosses. Due to modern piracy's status as basically robbery mixed with violence, filmmakers do not commonly depict modern pirates in movies (with Piraty XX veka, Six Days Seven Nights, and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou being rare exceptions).
 
  • The classic Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance focuses on The Pirate King and his hopeless band of pirates on the South coast of England. The Pirate King is often believed to be inspiration for Jack Sparrow.
  • Running Wild a long running Speed Metal/Power Metal act from Germany have utilized a piracy gimmick since the late 1980s, releasing albums and songs with names such as "Under Jolly Roger", "Port Royal", "Treasure Island", "Calico Jack", "Jennings' Revenge" (about the hugely successful 1715 pirate raid by Henry Jennings) and "Rogues en Vogue".
  • "Pirate Master" is a CBS reality show which premiered on May 31, 2007. "Pirate Master" is about a modern day pirate crew searching for lost treasure. The National Geographic Channel is airing a documentary about Samuel Bellamy on January 7, 2008 called "Pirate Treasure Hunters." This features footage of the exploration of the wreck of the Whydah Gally by excavation expert Barry Clifford.
  • "Long John Silver" is portrayed as an anti-hero in the 2008 novel "SILVER--My Own Tale As Told By Me With A Goodly Amount Of Murder" by Edward Chupack.
  • Various variants on the pirate idea exist, notably "space pirates" in science fiction, such as the TV series "Firefly," that imagine future space shipping subject to similar pressures as shipping in the Age of Exploration. Pirates are also common mascots and names of sports teams.