Order for Customer

Your shopping basket is empty. Shopping basket

Opening Night Gala

Captain Phillips

The riveting new film from British director Paul Greengrass is a taut, high-stakes thriller.

Image gallery

  • Director Paul Greengrass
  • Producer Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca
  • Screenwriter Billy Ray
  • With Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi
  • USA 2013
  • 134 mins
  • 12A
  • UK distribution Sony Pictures Releasing International (UK)

Audiences around the UK will have the exclusive chance to see Opening Night red carpet footage beamed from Odeon Leicester Square followed by a screening of Captain Phillips for free! See ShowFilmFirst.com to take part.

The riveting new film from British director Paul Greengrass (United 93, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum) is both a taut, high-stakes thriller and a complex dramatisation of the 2009 hijacking of a US container ship by a crew of Somali pirates. Captain Richard Phillips (two-time Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks) is a cautious yet experienced seaman who sets out to navigate the MV Maersk Alabama through treacherous waters to Mombasa, Kenya. Muse (a mesmerising debut from Barkhad Abdi) is a young fisherman-turned-pirate who lives in a small village on the Somali coast under the brutal sway of local gangsters. Set on an irreversible collision course in which the shadowy hand of global economics steers both their ships, the two men pay a very human price for their opposing endeavours. Based on the book A Captain’s Duty, co-authored by the real Captain Phillips, the multi-layered screenplay riffs on the structure of films such as the Howard Hawks western Rio Bravo and Gillo Pontecorvo’s classic The Battle of Algiers, and action thrillers such as Dog Day Afternoon and Z. As the action progresses, the clash between the defenders and the invaders is increasingly given greater depth and higher stakes, first by the escalating parallel actions of the two leaders – in particular, by their need to contain and manage the behaviour of their respective crews – and then by forces far beyond the control of both captains. Barry Ackroyd’s stunning cinematography lingers on the everyday beauty of the shipping yards before sharpening in scope and impact as the high-seas action intensifies and the emotional dimension is heightened by a rousing score from fellow Brit, Henry Jackman.


Clare Stewart

Festival calendar

Digital edition programme
Films A-Z
Countries A-Z
Programme changes

Enjoy a world of benefits with BFI Cinema Membership.

Read more

Follow the BFI London Film Festival live blog.

Read more

Promotional code

If you have a BFI promotion, please enter the Access Code: