With 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' hitting theaters today, what better way to kick off the occasion than a look back at the 10 best buccaneers ever to have graced the silver screen? From the unhinged to the undead, from the animated to the exemplary, they're a motley crew, all right, but we think anyone would be glad to have these guys scrubbin' the poopdeck and throwing back grog.

So, without further ado ...



10. Steve the Pirate, 'Dodgeball'

Probably wouldn't do so hot on the open seas, but, boy, can he dodge a wrench. Gotta love Alan Tudyk.

9. Captain Vallo, 'The Crimson Pirate'

Now here's a pirate who knows how to have some fun. Doesn't hurt to have the great Burt Lancaster in the starring role, but it takes a special breed of scurvy dog to appreciate the finer qualities of pirating, like cross-dressing and wearing red-striped spandex while bare-chested on a ship full of he-men. Nice to see a pirate who loots and shoots with a smile on his face like good old Captain Vallo for a change.

8. Long John Silver, 'Muppet Treasure Island'

We don't see anyone else here singing tunes about how great it is to be a pirate. Nor do we see any Muppet henchmen, like big, fat, ugly, bug-faced, baby-eating O'Brien. Tim Curry for the win.

7. Captain Ron, 'Captain Ron'

Call him a tour guide, call him a Navy vet, call him whatever -- we know a pirate when we see one. If there's anyone on this list who we'd want to have steering us over to Ted's Island for the vacation of a lifetime, we'd call up Ron and his Snake Plissken eye patch every time. Swabs, there are few actors who will ever be as awesome as Kurt Russell's always been and the cold truth is that no one else on this list knows how to party like Ron.

6. Peter Blood, 'Captain Blood'

Dude, it's Robin Hood as a pirate, only with a way better name. Geez, what else could you possibly do but pirateer with a name like that? "Peter Blood, Manager at Walgreens" just doesn't have the same ring. Anyway, old school cool doesn't get much better than Errol Flynn and here he is running train on anyone who stands in the way of his rapier, melting hearts left, right and center, and generally making a point to take zero crap at all times. Flynn was the archetype, he commanded the screen and it's no wonder why so many imitators followed suit.

5. Captain Harlock, 'Galaxy Express 999'

Unless you're really into anime or spend your weekends nose-deep in the manga section of Barnes and Noble, don't be surprised if this fella's name isn't ringing any bells. But believe you me, this here is the most hardcore space pirate on the block (thanks to Han Solo technically being a smuggler) and he's got the ship and the skills to prove it. A damn shame that he isn't more well-known, but some day he'll get his due from the masses because he is no. freakin'. joke.

4. One-Eyed Willy, 'The Goonies'

No, we never do get to see what Willy was like back in his glory days of being alive and whatnot, but judging by the epic amount of booty he left behind and the insano measures he took to ensure that only the craftiest of children and loathsome of grannies could make their way to the goods, we think it's safe to assume that One-Eyed Willy was the real deal. One more great reason not to take advantage of ghost pirates and one of the pirating world's finest testaments against all that "You can't take it with you" crap.

3. Dread Pirate Roberts, 'The Princess Bride'

Good ol' Westley as Dread Pirate Roberts might be the most effortlessly cool entry on this list, the best sword fighter to boot, and easily the most charming. Also may very well be the best role that Cary Elwes ever got, 'cause there ain't too many farmhands we know (and we know a lot) who can knock out Andre the Giant, consume enough poison over the years to grow physically immune to it and get a princess to fall in love with them just by saying "As you wish" over and over again. That's like Hulk Hogan, a snake handler and Black Dynamite all rolled into one. Inconceivable!

2. (TIE) Captain Hook & Smee, 'Hook'

Folks, pirates just don't get more iconic than Captain James Hook. He was a total jerk as a cartoon, but Dustin Hoffman took the character to a new level of heartless back in '91. The dude crosses dimensions to kidnap his rival's kids, killed a crocodile twenty times his height just because the thing ate his hand after Pan cut it off (totally not the crocodile's fault), and he killed Rufio who was probably, like, 15 at the time. Bonus evil points for successfully pulling off the surrogate father bit on Pan's oldest son. That's cold blooded, man. And where would Hook be without Smee by his side? In the Boo Box, yo. That's where.

1. Captain Jack Sparrow, 'Pirates of the Caribbean'

Come on, like you thought it'd be someone else? It's Johnny Depp doing Keith Richards in a badarse costume that must take him a good five hours to put on every morning, he's the poster boy for everything that's always been cool about the life of a pirate, and the guy even got an Oscar nod out of it. There's a reason the 'Pirates' franchise is now on its third sequel and continues to bring in a disgusting amount of money, and Captain Jack is it. Savvy?

And there ya have it, you yellow-bellied sea dogs. Now go ahead and AARRRRgue 'til you're blue in the peg leg over who got the short of end of the plank, but we think you'd be hard-pressed to find a more entertaining band of scallywags than this here 10.