Pirates of the Caribbean Series in Order & Release Date

In 2003, moviegoers were introduced to one of the decade's most iconic characters: the Pirates of the Caribbean protagonist, Jack Sparrow. Brought to life by Johnny Depp, the quick-witted pirate of the seven seas and cheeky trickster of the Caribbean treads a narrow path of questionable morality and dubious sobriety. He’s his own biggest fan; he battles luck and coincidence on his adventures, and although things don't always go to plan, Captain Jack will be the last one to admit it.

For an ultimate, pirate-led adventure, you need to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in order, starting with The Curse of the Black Pearl. After you’ve finished that, embark on a journey across the sea towards the world’s end – but beware, stranger tides lie ahead and dead men tell no tales. Captain Jack Sparrow makes it known in the five-part Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that his first love is the sea but placing just shortly behind and grabbing the silver-medal spot, his second love is his treasured ship, the Black Pearl. This is where this swashbuckling saga begins.

But before we dive into this epic list of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and uncover how to watch them in order, we must tell you that spoilers lie ahead. Still reading? Well, you've been warned – here's everything you need to know about the daring Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Transporting film fans back to the 18th century’s Golden Age of Piracy, The Curse of the Black Pearl made its cinema debut in 2003. In this introductory tale, Johnny Depp is joined on screen by Orlando Bloom, who plays an accomplished blacksmith named Will Turner and Keira Knightly, who plays the classic damsel-in-distress, Elizabeth Swan. In the film directed by Gore Verbinski, a young Will is rescued from a shipwreck wearing a gold pirate medallion around his neck. The daughter of Turner’s saviours, Elizabeth, takes a liking to the medallion and decides to take it – a poor decision in hindsight – and just eight years later, she is kidnapped.

As the film continues, it is soon revealed that the golden medallion is linked to a curse that afflicts the crew of The Black Pearl, now led by the unruly Captain Barbossa, with tortuous immortality. After a tumultuous introduction, Will and Jack discover that they must set out on a mission to reach the Black Pearl – even if both have their own selfish reasons for the endeavour. The movie ends with the curse that tormented the crew being lifted, Elizabeth is rescued from the evil Barbossa, and Will can finally pursue his love and marriage to Elizabeth. However, despite Jack being reunited with his beloved ship, on returning to Port Royal, he is greeted with a warrant for his arrest for acts of piracy.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Jack, Will and Elizabeth return for another turbulent showdown with another supernatural enemy in the second film of this seafaring saga. Expanding the star-studded cast, the second film to watch in the Pirates of the Caribbean series introduces four new characters to the unravelling plot. Naomie Harris graces our screens as priestess Tia Dalma, Stellan Skarsgard joins the cast as Will's father Bill, Tom Hollander brings to life the ruthless Cutler Beckett, leader of the East India Trading Company, and Bill Nighy perfectly portrays Davy Jones, the captain of the ghostly Flying Dutchman.

As the story unfolds, Jack, Will and Elizabeth embark on a mission to find the Dead Man's Chest. With no surprise, each of the starting trio has their own motivations for wanting to discover the long-lost treasure. Yet, the mutually beneficial arrangement, just like the first movie, ensures success for all. Will and Elizabeth seek and gain freedom from the law, and Jack seeks to escape his debt to Davy Jones. Despite the heart of Davy Jones in tow and the Dead Man's Chest found, swashbuckling Captain Jack only escapes his impending fate for so long when the film ends with him being dragged to the depths of the sea by the Kraken.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)

In a twist that no one saw coming, the third Pirates of the Caribbean adventure pits the franchise’s heroic three against Davy Jones and the Flying Dutchman under the control of the cold-blooded general, Cutler Beckett. Picking up where the last movie finished, the starting scenes follow the hero's fight to rescue Jack and recover the Black Pearl.

In true pirate style, the actions that follow continue in the individual best interests of Will, Jack and Elizabeth, but thankfully once again, following the pursuit will offer all great success. There's plotting and backstabbing; true identities and revealed and long-lost relationships are rekindled. A cliffhanger ends this instalment of the series (as in the prior films) as a pregnant Elizabeth and Will heartbreakingly part ways, a revived Barbossa returns and Jack, alongside his rival, sets out on their own to find the Fountain of Youth.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

After four years of anticipation, Captain Jack Sparrow returned to the big screen with another wild voyage. Having parted ways in the movie prior, On Stranger Tides is the first film in the franchise without Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) and Elizabeth Swan (Keira Knightley). Instead, filling the boots of the vacant supporting roles, Ian McShane and Penelope Cruz join the cast as father and daughter Angelica and Blackbeard. A bittersweet reintroduction with an old flame, Jack navigates his journey to the Fountain of Youth with his ex-lover Angelica and her dad.

A run to the finish line, the film watches multiple parties, including Jack and his allies, race to the Fountain of Youth to unleash its mighty, life-giving powers. A long treasure hunt and exploration involving secret maps, hidden riddles and mermaid tears eventually lead everyone to the Fountain. And without avail, Jack uses the last of the Fountain's power to save a friend while Barbossa settles an old rivalry with Blackbeard.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

After another long wait between release dates, fans of the original trio will be delighted to know that Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightly return to their on-screen roles for cameo appearances in the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film. Released in 2017, in this film, we meet Elizabeth and Will’s grown son, Henry – time has flown by quite significantly since At World’s End’s third instalment.

In true pirate fashion, the final episode in the life of Jack Sparrow so far featured more treasure to be found and a wild race to get there. The artefact in question? The trident of Poseidon. Henry embarks on a journey to obtain the Greek God's weapon to free his father from a curse. A new antagonist provides a dangerous obstacle for Jack and his allies, but with a little teamwork – and even a little help from Barbossa – they overcome the mighty Salazar’s hostility. Heart-breaking and heart-warming simultaneously, the film ends with a family reunion. And it's not until the post-credit scene, where we get a hint of Davy Jones’ return, that another movie is on the cards.

Where can I watch Pirates of the Caribbean in order?

This cracking five-part film series had a positive reception from audiences and film critics, raking in a grand box office total of $4.5 billion worldwide. If you’re wondering where to watch the entire Pirates of the Caribbean franchise in order, you can stream Jack, Will and Elizabeth’s wicked adventures on Disney+ and Amazon Prime for a small subscription fee. And fans of the series will also be pleased to know that a 6th film in the series has been confirmed. Although there is no confirmed release date, the script is in development, so Captain Jack will likely be setting sail again very soon.