Ever get confused trying to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in the right order? Yeah, we thought so. The timeline of events in the franchise can get pretty tangled, especially once you factor in post-credits scenes, flashbacks, and immortals who don’t seem to age. But never fear – we’ve got you covered. In this definitive chronology, we break down the correct order of events in the Pirates universe so you can rewatch the series with confidence. From The Curse of the Black Pearl all the way through Dead Men Tell No Tales, we unpack how each film connects so you’ll never again wonder why a character was suddenly resurrected or how a magical artifact ended up where it did. Grab your eye patches and tricorne hats, mateys – it’s time to set sail through the high seas of Pirates history.

Background on the Pirates of the Caribbean Franchise

The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise started as a Disney theme park ride, but grew into a multi-billion dollar film series. If you’re just now catching the pirate bug, you’ve got some catching up to do! The movies can be enjoyed in any order, but for the full experience, it’s best to watch them chronologically.

The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

introduces us to the swashbuckling Captain Jack Sparrow and blacksmith Will Turner. When Will’s love Elizabeth Swann is kidnapped, he teams up with Jack to save her from cursed pirates aboard the Black Pearl. This blockbuster hit reignited our love of pirates and cemented Johnny Depp as the perfect Captain Jack.

Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Picks up where the first movie left off. Will and Elizabeth are arrested for aiding Jack, but get a chance at freedom if Will can retrieve Jack’s compass. Meanwhile, the crew of the Pearl race to find the key to the Chest of Davy Jones before facing the legendary pirate’s wrath. More action, adventure, and mythology keep this sequel fresh.

At World’s End (2007)

Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa travel to the ends of the earth and beyond to rescue Jack from Davy Jones’ Locker. An epic final showdown decides the fate of the Brethren Court and pirates everywhere. Tying up loose ends, this movie gives a satisfying conclusion to the original trilogy.

And the adventure continues in later sequels, but you’ll want to watch these first three movies to fully appreciate where it all began. Hoist the colors, batten down the hatches, and enjoy the ride, mateys! The Pirates of the Caribbean will capture your heart.

Pirates of the Caribbean Movie Release Order

To fully immerse yourself in the pirate world of Jack Sparrow and the Black Pearl, you’ll want to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in chronological order.

The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

This is where it all began. Meet Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann as they hunt for treasure and try to break an ancient curse. Set in the 17th century, you’ll follow their seafaring adventures in the Caribbean filled with sword fighting, rum drinking, and outwitting enemies.

###Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

In this sequel, Jack’s debt to the legendary Davy Jones is called in, and he must find a way out of his bargain to avoid eternal damnation. Will and Elizabeth’s wedding plans are also interrupted by Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company.

###At World’s End (2007)

Will, Elizabeth, Barbossa, and crew journey to Davy Jones’ Locker and beyond to rescue Jack. Betrayals and alliances unfold in a final showdown where the pirates of the world make their last stand against the East India Trading Company.

On Stranger Tides (2011)

Jack’s back, but this time without Will and Elizabeth. He crosses paths with a woman from his past, Angelica, and her father, the pirate Blackbeard, in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth. Not officially part of the previous trilogy but still full of exciting pirate escapades on the high seas.

Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

The final installment (so far!) brings back fan favorites Jack, Barbossa, and Will and Elizabeth’s son, Henry. New villains, Salazar and Armando, are in pursuit of Jack as he searches for Poseidon’s trident to break yet another curse. More rollicking sea battles and witty Jack Sparrow quips wrap up this pirate’s life journey.

Pirates of the Caribbean Chronological Order by Events

The Pirates of the Caribbean film series can be enjoyed in chronological order based on the events and time periods depicted in the films. This helps provide context for characters and storylines, even though the films were not released in chronological order.

The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Set in the early 1700s, this film introduces the main characters of Captain Jack Sparrow, Will Turner, and Elizabeth Swann. Will and Elizabeth are in love but face obstacles due to their different social classes. They become involved in Jack’s quest to break an ancient curse placed on his pirate crew.

Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Occurring shortly after the events of The Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man’s Chest sees Will and Elizabeth arrested for helping Jack escape. To gain their freedom, Will must obtain Jack’s compass for Lord Cutler Beckett of the East India Trading Company. Jack meanwhile is searching for the key to the Dead Man’s Chest to settle an old debt.

At World’s End (2007)

Picking up after Dead Man’s Chest, At World’s End has Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa traveling to Davy Jones’ Locker to rescue Jack. The Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court join forces in a final battle against Beckett and the East India Trading Company to determine the fate of piracy.

On Stranger Tides (2011)

Set years after At World’s End, On Stranger Tides follows Jack on a quest for the Fountain of Youth. Jack crosses paths with old flames Angelica and Blackbeard, encountering dangerous mermaids and zombie pirates along the way.

Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

The latest film is set years after On Stranger Tides. Will and Elizabeth’s son Henry joins forces with Jack to find Poseidon’s trident, while an old enemy of Jack’s seeks revenge. The trident can break all sea curses, presenting the opportunity to finally undo some of the long-lasting effects of previous films.

Should You Watch the Movies in Release Order or Chronological Order?

So you want to watch the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, but don’t know whether to go in release order or chronological order. This can be a tricky decision, as the timelines in the films jump around quite a bit. Here are some things to consider to help you decide:

Release Order

Watching the movies in the order they were released in theaters allows you to experience them as audiences did at the time. The story unfolds gradually, with increasing layers of depth, mystery and plot twists added with each new installment. However, the chronology can be confusing, as the films jump backwards and forwards in time. If you prefer to follow the progression of filmmaking techniques and special effects, release order is a great option.

Chronological Order

Viewing the films in chronological order by the timeline of events in the story helps everything make more sense plot-wise. You get to see how Jack Sparrow and other characters met and became the legends they are. The downside is the quality of special effects and cinematography will seem uneven, as you’re jumping between films made over a 14-year span. The chronological order is:

  1. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
  2. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006)
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007)
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
  5. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

In the end, there are good arguments to be made for either approach. As a first-time viewer, release order may feel most natural, allowing you to appreciate each film on its own. For repeat viewing, chronological order lets you pick up on all the interconnecting plot points and relish how far the franchise has come. Whichever you choose, just sit back and enjoy the adventure—yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!

Recap of the Pirates of the Caribbean Movies in Chronological Order

Once you’ve watched all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, it can be hard to keep the chronology straight in your head. Let’s recap the order of events to clarify the timeline.

The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Introduces Captain Jack Sparrow and Will Turner as they team up to rescue Elizabeth Swann from Captain Barbossa and his cursed pirate crew. This film is set in the early 1700s and shows how Jack regains the Black Pearl, Will lifts the curse, and Elizabeth chooses a life of adventure.

Dead Man’s Chest (2006)

Picks up shortly after the first film. Will and Elizabeth are arrested for helping Jack escape, but they propose a deal to track down Jack and his compass to regain their freedom. This leads them on an adventure to find the Dead Man’s Chest and key to escape the wrath of Davy Jones. In the end, Jack is captured by Davy Jones’ crew.

At World’s End (2007)

Follows Will, Elizabeth, and Barbossa as they voyage to World’s End to rescue Jack from Davy Jones’ Locker. They join forces with pirates around the world to fight against the East India Trading Company. After many twists and turns, Will becomes the new captain of The Flying Dutchman to ferry souls to the next world.

On Stranger Tides (2011)

Chronicles Jack’s adventure as he sets out to find the Fountain of Youth. He crosses paths with old flame Angelica and her father, the pirate Blackbeard, who is also searching for the Fountain’s magical waters. After a series of double-crosses, Jack destroys the Fountain of Youth to prevent anyone from using it.

Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

The final film in the series takes place years after the previous installment. Jack’s old nemesis Captain Salazar escapes the Devil’s Triangle and is hunting for Jack to kill every pirate at sea. Jack teams up with Will and Elizabeth’s son Henry to find Poseidon’s Trident, the only thing that can defeat Salazar and his ghostly crew. After many close calls, Jack and Henry break the Trident to vanquish Salazar once and for all.

Hope this helps provide some clarity on the chronology and events of the Pirates of the Caribbean saga! Let me know if you have any other questions.


So there you have it, the Pirates of the Caribbean timeline laid out in chronological order from the first movie released to the most recent. While the films may jump around in the overall timeline, this guide puts all the events in order so you can follow the epic story of Captain Jack Sparrow and the other memorable characters. Knowing how it all pieces together will make your next viewing of the Pirates films even more enjoyable. You’ll catch little references and understand backstories that enrich the experience. Set sail on the open seas and embark on a swashbuckling adventure through the Golden Age of Piracy. Just watch out for any cursed Aztec gold – you never know where it might turn up!

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