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Still shot from the movie: Captain Phillips.

Captain Phillips

In 2009, pirates on the high seas seemed a romanticized thing of the past -- until a US cargo ship was hijacked by a group of armed men from Somali. This movie dramatized the real life events that Captain Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks) and his crew endured during the hostile takeover. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: B+
Violence: C-
Sexual Content: A
Language: C
Drugs/Alcohol: D+
Run Time: 134
Theater Release: 11 Oct 2013
Video Release: 21 Jan 2014
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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After watching a movie with your children or students, we encourage parents and teachers to look for education opportunities to teach with movies. Here are a few discussion topics that can help with lesson plans or teaching in the home.

Learn more about the 2009 pirate attack on the US cargo ship Maersk Alabama here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maersk_Alabama_hijacking

What is the duty of a captain when it comes to his responsibility to his crew and cargo? Does Captain Phillips fulfill that duty? As a hostage how does he interact with his captors? What challenges does the negotiator face when dealing with the young and scared hijackers? Why are the Navy personnel eager to keep the Somalis talking?

What signs of shock does Captain Phillips exhibit after he is rescued? Here are some symptoms and first aid treatments for shock.

The US Maritime Administration had issued pirate warnings for the Somalia Gulf of Aden advising ships to stay at least 600 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia before the attack on the Maersk Alabama. At the time it was boarded, the Maersk Alabama was only 240 nautical miles off the coast. As a result of the events some of the crew have filed a lawsuit against the company. Should someone be held responsible for disregarding the pirate advisory? Who has the final say as to where the ship will sail, the captain or the company who owns the ship? Is it fair to put resources and the lives of others at risk to rescue someone who has disregarded a warning such as severe weather or backcountry advisories? What about skiers who intentionally go into out of bounds areas?

The Maersk Alabama was attacked by Somali pirates again seven months later in November 2009. But a security team on board was able to repel the attack. How can companies protect their ships and cargo? Why do you think pirates have become more aggressive in their attacks?

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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