The Creation of the Pirate “Arr” in Cinema

‘Tis a rule of health I learned while sailing under the immortal Hawke, arrr!” Spoken by actor Robert Newton in the 1950 Disney film Treasure Island, that line is the ur-arr, the first occurrence of the infamous pirate catchphrase. In Robert Louis Stevenson’s original book, characters used the interjection ah 35 times. As in, “Ah, they was a sweet crew, they was!” The hammy actor Newton delivered his lines for Long John Silver in his Cornwall accent, adding a rolling r sound and thus creating a classic meme.

“Arrrrr,” Wired (March 2012), 58.

Leave a Reply