Captain Phillips
Captain Phillips poster
Directed by Paul Greengrass
Produced by Michael De Luca
Dana Brunetti
Scott Rudin
Written by Billy Ray
Starring Tom Hanks
Barkhad Abdi
Music by Henry Jackman
Cinematography Barry Ackroyd
Editing by Christopher Rouse
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release October 11, 2013
Running time 133 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $55 million
Gross revenue $177,005,834

Captain Phillips is a 2013 American action thriller directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The film tells how merchant mariner Captain Richard Phillips was taken hostage by Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean during the Maersk Alabama hijacking in 2009 led by Abduwali Muse.

The screenplay by Billy Ray is based upon the book, A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea (2010), by Richard Phillips with Stephan Talty. The film was produced by Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, and Michael De Luca. The premiere was at the 2013 New York Film Festival. It was released on October 11, 2013.


Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) takes command of the MV Maersk Alabama from Port of Salalah in Oman, with orders to sail through the Gulf of Aden to Mombasa. Wary of pirate activity off the coast of Somalia, he orders security precautions on the vessel. During one training exercise, Phillips is aware they might be hijacked by Somali pirates in two skiffs but he succeeds in outrunning the pirates. Four pirates return the next day led by Abduwali Muse (Barkhad Abdi) in a faster skiff, carrying a ladder they had hastily welded. Despite Phillips' and his crew's best efforts, the pirates are able to board and take control of the Maersk Alabama, capturing the captain while most of his crew hides in the ship's engine room. Muse, under orders from a local faction leader, hopes to ransom the ship and crew in exchange for insurance money from the shipping company.

The crew manages to evade Muse and cut both engine power and the ship's emergency power, and capture the pirate leader. Negotiating with the remaining pirates, the crewmen arrange a trade of Phillips for Muse aboard the ship's lifeboat, only to have the pirates launch the boat with Phillips still aboard, hoping to exchange the captain for a ransom. As the lifeboat heads for the shore, tensions flare between the pirates as they run low on khat, lose contact with their mother ship, and are later intercepted by the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge. Once additional U.S. Navy ships arrive, Phillips tries to negotiate with Muse, who asserts that he has come too far and will not surrender. In the meantime, the Bainbridge's captain Frank Castellano (Yul Vazquez) is ordered to prevent the pirates from reaching the mainland by whatever means necessary.

That night, Phillips is able to escape and swims towards the ships. The navy cannot identify the swimmer as Phillips and therefore takes no action. The pirates catch up to him quickly and fire shots at him, scaring him into surrendering. The further agitated pirates are also unaware that a SEAL Team has arrived nearby to take control of the situation. While three SEAL marksmen get into positions to find a near impossible shot at each of the pirates, Castellano and the SEALs continue to try to negotiate with the pirates, eventually taking the lifeboat under tow. Eventually, Muse agrees to board the Bainbridge, believing he will join his clan elders in negotiating Phillips's ransom. In the lifeboat, one of the more agitated pirates, Najee, catches Phillips writing a goodbye note to his wife. When he tries to take the note away, Phillips attacks Najee, but is quickly restrained. Najee decides to take full control and tries to execute Phillips. As they tie him up and blindfold him, the three SEAL marksmen finally all get three clear shots and simultaneously kill the rest of the pirates. On board the Bainbridge, Muse is taken into custody and arrested for piracy. Phillips is rescued and treated as he goes into shock, but not before continuously thanking the rescue team for saving his life.


  • Tom Hanks as Richard Phillips, captain of the MV Maersk Alabama
  • Barkhad Abdi as Abduwali Muse, pirate leader
  • Catherine Keener as Andrea Phillips
  • Faysal Ahmed as Najee
  • Michael Chernus as Shane Murphy, first officer of MV Maersk Alabama
  • David Warshofsky as Mike Perry, chief engineer, MV Maersk Alabama
  • Corey Johnson as Ken Quinn, helmsman, MV Maersk Alabama
  • Chris Mulkey as John Cronan, senior crew member, MV Maersk Alabama
  • Yul Vazquez as Commander Frank Castellano, commanding officer, USS Bainbridge
  • Max Martini as U.S. Navy SEAL commander
  • Omar Berdouni as Nemo, Somali-language translator working for the US Navy as part of Mission Essential
  • Mohamed Ali as Asad
  • Barkhad Abdirahman as Bilal
  • Mahat M. Ali as Elmi
  • Issak Farah Samatar as Hufan

External links

Tom Hanks films

Forrest Gump (1994)  · Toy Story (1995)  · Saving Private Ryan (1998)  · You've Got Mail (1998)  · Toy Story 2 (1999)  · Toy Story 3 (2010)  · Captain Phillips (2013)  · Saving Mr. Banks (2013)  · Bridge of Spies (2015)  · Sully (2016)  ·

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