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Yellowbeard is a 1983 comedy film starring Graham Chapman, along with Peter Cook, Bernard McKenna and David Sherlock. It was directed by Mel Damski, and was Marty Feldman's last film appearance.

In the 17th century, the pirate Yellowbeard was incarcerated for twenty years for tax evasion -- apart from his years terrorizing the high seas. He survives the sentence without disclosing the whereabouts of his vast treasure ("...in spite of twenty years of rehabilitation. And torture."). The Royal Navy hatches a plot to increase his sentence by one hundred and forty years, knowing that he'll escape in a rage to set out for his treasure. This he does, recruiting a motley crew of companions. He left a map of the treasure in the chimney of his wife's pub, but she burned it -- however, she also had it tattooed on their son's head. Things go wrong when his former shipmate-turned-traitor Bosun Moon's press gangs take over their ship. With the head of the Secret Service hot on their trail they eventually find the island, where a group of AWOL Spanish conquistadors have taken residence with their ill-gotten gains, and the battle for the treasure commences...


Yellowbeard contains examples of:

  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The eponymous pirate has committed a long list of heinous crimes, but he was finally convicted for tax evasion.
  • All-Star Cast: Graham Chapman in the title role, and a colorful lineup of comic and character actors supporting him: in alphabetical order, Peter Boyle, Cheech & Chong, John Cleese, Peter Cook, Marty Feldman, Michael Hordern, Eric Idle, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, James Mason, Spike Milligan, Beryl Reid, and Susannah York. And an unbilled cameo by David Bowie! It definitely qualifies.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Betty and Yellowbeard's relationship seems to thrive on this, which is good because Yellowbeard loves rape.

 Betty: Well, it's been awhile since we had a little cuddle.

Yellowbeard: I raped ya, if that's what you mean.

Betty: Okay. It was half-cuddle, half-rape.

  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Betty (Madeline Kahn) tells her son Dan (Martin Hewitt): "The last time I read a book, I was raped -- let that be a lesson to you."
  • Captain Color Beard
  • Cardboard Prison: It's implied that Yellowbeard could have left prison any time he wanted to, but he honorably served his jail time - and was insulted by the arbitrary lengthening of his sentence.
  • Cash Lure
  • Coin on a String Trick
  • Crosscast Role: Queen Anne is played by Peter Bull (whom most viewers would know from Dr. Strangelove, in which he played the Soviet ambassador).
  • Cut Himself Shaving: A bar fight with Blind Pew leaves the entire tavern littered with corpses.

 Clement: What happened?

Betty: Plague!

Clement: Plague?

Betty: All sudden like! Lucky I was out.

Clement: That man's got a sword in him!

Betty: He fell on it.

  • Daddy's Little Villain: Triola, daughter of the greedy religious leader El Nebuloso.
  • The Dung Ages
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Played with when Betty is taken captive by the Royal Navy and pumped for information offscreen. When she's ready to talk, she says, "I think it was that shark that jogged my memory." "The Shark" is the handsome ensign (David Bowie) who brings her into the office, and who has a shark's fin strapped to his back; he "jogged her memory" via sex.
  • Genre Savvy: Yellowbeard.
  • Transgender/Sweet Polly Oliver: Mr. Prostitute jumps on board, and he is seen as an effeminate young man hired to discipline others , but he is biologically a woman wearing a prosthetic mustache.
  • A God Am I: El Nebuloso. He even points to himself when saying everyone must serve God.
  • Gold Digger: Triola, and Dan doesn't seem to care.
  • Human Notepad: Dan, the son of Yellowbeard, has a treasure-map tattooed on his head.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: Yellowbeard, at least when trying to get rid of maps.
  • Justice by Other Legal Means: The narrator at the beginning, after giving a laundry list of the title character's atrocities, including tearing men's hearts out and swallowing them whole, and "Often forcing men to eat their own lips, he was eventually caught and imprisoned...for tax evasion."
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: "Us Yellowbeards are never more dangerous than when we're dead!"
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Dan, and Yellowbeard can't be more pleased when Dan "betrays" him.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:

 Dr. Gilpin: And that's Dr. Anthrax.

Betty: That's Yellowbeard.

Yellowbeard: I'm in disguise, you stupid tart!

 Captain Hughes: What's that?

Mr. Crisp: Oh, that's my box, sir.

Captain Hughes: No, carrying your box.

Mr. Crisp: Oh, Cabin Boy Smith, sir.

Captain Hughes: Smith has tits.

Mr. Crisp: He's been a bit ill, sir.

Captain Hughes: Get her off!

 Betty: You're all going after the treasure!

The men: No!

Lord Lambourn: Uh, botanical...

Yellowbeard: Killing plants!

 Yellowbeard: Oh, been out raping, lad? (sees Troila) Nice work lad.

Dan: No, I haven't raped her!

Yellowbeard: (disappointed) No, you wouldn't have you poncy little git! You're not the prawn of my loins, your mother's a bloody liar! (grins) That's what I liked about her!

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