The Buccaneer

Watch The Buccaneer

"The greatest adventure romance in Cecil B De Mille's glorious gallery of screen triumphs!"
  • Approved
  • 1938
  • 2 hr 5 min
  • 6.6  (769)

The Buccaneer is a 1938 adventure film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and telling the story of Jean Lafitte, who was a pirate in the Gulf of Mexico during the War of 1812. The movie stars Fredric March as Lafitte, Franciska Gaal as Gretchen, Lafitte's love interest, and Akim Tamiroff as Dominique You, Lafitte's right-hand man. The story is set against the backdrop of the War of 1812, in which the United States is fighting against the British Empire. The main plot of the movie revolves around Jean Lafitte, a privateer and smuggler, who is solicited by the Americans to help defend New Orleans against the British invasion. However, Lafitte is hesitant to align himself with either side, as he has no loyalty to either the Americans or the British.

Despite this, Lafitte is drawn into the conflict when he crosses paths with Governor William Claiborne (played by Ian Keith) and General Andrew Jackson (played by Hugh Sothern), who are desperate for his help in the war effort. Lafitte initially refuses but sees an opportunity to gain amnesty for himself and his men by agreeing to help the Americans with their cause.

Meanwhile, Lafitte falls in love with Gretchen, a woman he saves from being raped by some of his own men. Gretchen is initially distrustful of Lafitte, but she eventually succumbs to his charms and they begin a romantic relationship.

As the movie progresses, Lafitte struggles with his divided loyalties while trying to help the Americans fend off the British. There are several battles and skirmishes, and the movie culminates in a dramatic showdown between the British and American forces, with Lafitte and his men playing a crucial role.

One of the standout features of The Buccaneer is its production value. As one would expect from a Cecil B. DeMille film, the costumes and sets are lavish and grandiose, with a great attention to detail. The movie was made in the pre-digital era, so all the special effects and action scenes were done practically, which gives the movie a certain charm and authenticity.

The performances in The Buccaneer are also noteworthy. Fredric March is excellent as the conflicted and charismatic Lafitte, and he delivers some very memorable lines. Franciska Gaal is also great as Gretchen, bringing a much-needed femininity and vulnerability to a movie that is otherwise dominated by male characters. Akim Tamiroff is another standout as Dominique You, providing some comic relief with his bumbling yet endearing character.

Overall, The Buccaneer is an enjoyable swashbuckling movie that delivers on its promise of adventure and romance. It may not be the most historically accurate portrayal of Jean Lafitte or the War of 1812, but it is an entertaining and well-made movie nonetheless.

The Buccaneer is a 1938 adventure movie with a runtime of 2 hours and 5 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6.

The Buccaneer
Where to Watch The Buccaneer
The Buccaneer is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Buccaneer for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 5 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (769)