The Tom Hanks True Story Thriller On Netflix That Still Packs A Punch

By TeeJay Small | Updated

Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips

Tom Hanks is widely regarded as an American national treasure for his countless contributions to some of the finest pieces of cinema known to mankind. Hanks’ career spans decades and has seen him portray some of the most iconic characters known to both fiction and non-fiction. One such film, 2013’s Captain Phillips, is available to stream on Netflix now.

Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks, is streaming now on Netflix.

Captain Phillips follows the true story of an American merchant mariner who carefully navigated his way through a ship hijacking at the hands of Somali pirates back in 2009. The traumatic experience resulted in an international media fiasco that popularized the identity of Somali pirates as a global threat while also highlighting the plight of the poverty-stricken coast of Africa.

The real Captain Richard Phillips, a Massachusetts native, has also published a book detailing his experience, titled A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea.

Captain Phillips

The film stars Tom Hanks as Captain Phillips, alongside Blade Runner 2049‘s Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, Mahat M. Ali, David Warshofsky, and Corey Johnson, as well as Get Out‘s Catherine Keener and Severance‘s Michael Chernus.

The film was a massive critical and commercial success, receiving half a dozen Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture. Though Captain Phillips ultimately lost the Best Picture nomination to 12 Years a Slave, the film did sweep a number of awards throughout the film festival circuit.

Captain Phillips centers on the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. The vessel, an unarmed shipping container transport vehicle, was set on a course to depart Oman’s Port of Salalah and dock at Mombasa, Kenya, after sailing through the incredibly dangerous Guardafui Channel.

Though many of the dangers of the region were known to the crew at the time, the hostages taken aboard the ship likely had no idea what kind of turmoil they would soon be facing.

Captain Phillips left a massive mark on culture after its premiere, inspiring a host of jokes and memes centered on the iconic quote “Look at me, I am the captain now” to be shared on the internet to this day.

During a routine safety drill, Captain Phillips realizes that the vessel is actually being followed by Somali pirates aboard a pair of small skiffs. After a few brief attempts to prevent the pirates from boarding the Maersk, Phillips stashes the whole crew within the engine room in order to ensure their safety. The pirates then take Phillips at gunpoint and demand that he radio the United States command center in order to ransom the ship.

Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips spends a great deal of time negotiating with the pirates and attempting to stall them until help can arrive, as the crew takes safety measures such as cutting the ship’s electrical power and spreading broken glass through the halls to prevent one of the young pirates, who is barefoot, from locating them.

Eventually, a scuffle breaks out between the crew and the pirates, resulting in a handshake deal that sees Captain Phillips boarding a lifeboat with the hijackers and leaving the main vessel behind to ensure the crew’s safety.

Captain Phillips earned $220 million at the box office and was nominated for multiple awards.

Captain Phillips left a massive mark on culture after its premiere, inspiring a host of jokes and memes centered on the iconic quote “Look at me, I am the captain now,” to be shared on the internet to this day. The 2009 incident itself also inspired a number of homages and parodies throughout popular culture, including the season 13 episode of South Park “Fatbeard” in which the main cast attempt to become Somalian pirates themselves.

The movie, boosted by the star power of Tom Hanks, earned $220 million at the box office against a budget of $50 million. When award season rolled around, the film was nominated for Best Film at the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs, with Barkhadi Abdi (making his debut as leader of the Somalian pirates, winning for Best Supporting Actor.

Though the film is not referenced quite as frequently in the modern day as a number of other popular movies from the time, Captain Phillips left a massive mark on cinema, further cementing Tom Hanks’ decades-long career. In case you haven’t had the pleasure of catching the nonstop thrill ride yet, be sure to stream Captain Phillips on Netflix today.