In the UK in the mid 60s, the only radio station was the BBC who refused to play popular music, so a group of DJs setup a radio station on a boat, moored just outside of British waters to provide the public with what they wanted, rock and roll.
Pirate Radio is actually a true story based on a station named Radio Caroline. During the 60s it was the only place where the British youth could hear popular music. As to be expected, the soundtrack to the movie is littered with classic tracks from the 60s. The bands heard include The Kinks, Jeff Beck, The Easybeats, Them, The Hollies, Lulu, The Supremes, The Rolling Stones, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, The Yardbirds, The Box Tops, Otis Redding, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, The Isley Brothers, The Troggs, Tommy James and The Shondells, Martha & The Vandellas (as Martha Reeves & The Vandellas), The Beach Boys, Darlene Love, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, and The Small Faces. Anyone with an appreciation of good music, or who want to discover it will instantly fall in love with the soundtrack and movie.
The ensemble cast include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Nick Frost, Chris O’Dowd, and Kenneth Branagh as well as a host of lesser known actors. The motley crew of the ship and radio station, Radio Rock, are diverse and memorable but with Seymour Hoffman shining as the Count.
The plot is basically the stiff upper lipped British government attempting to shut down this radio station that is a purveyor of filth, in their opinions, but clips throughout the movie show just how out of touch they really are with the everyday radio listener in Britain. While those onboard act with almost bohemian abandonment, those who stalk the corridors of Whitehall are shown to be stiff backed and solely without humour.
Pirate Radio deserves to be listed with the other great music movies, The Blues Brothers, The Commitments, A Hard Days Night, High Fidelity, This is Spinal Tap and Still Crazy.
Pirate Radio is on Netflix at the moment so if you are a subscriber, cue it up and try not to dance too much. It does contain a fair amount of cursing so perhaps not for the younger music fan but for those a little older, their ears might be opened by the quality of music in the 60s as compared to the over produced pop of today!