Captain Ron

Captain Ron is a 1992 American comedy film directed by Thom Eberhardt, produced by David Permut, and written by John Dwyer for Touchstone Pictures.[1] It stars Kurt Russell as the title character, a sailor with a quirky personality and a checkered past, and Martin Short as an upper-middle class, suburban family man who hires him to sail a yacht through the Caribbean with him and his family aboard. Mary Kay Place, Meadow Sisto, and Benjamin Salisbury also star as his wife and children.

Captain Ron
Theatrical release poster
Directed byThom Eberhardt
Produced byDavid Permut
Written byJohn Dwyer
Music byNicholas Pike
CinematographyDaryn Okada
Edited byTina Hirsch
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • September 18, 1992 (1992-09-18)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$24 million
Box office$22,518,097


Martin Harvey is a middle-aged office worker who lives in Chicago with his wife, Katherine, 16-year-old daughter, Caroline, and 11-year-old son, Ben. When he learns his recently deceased uncle has bequeathed him a 60' yacht once owned by Clark Gable, he decides to take his family to the island of St. Pomme de Terre ("Saint Potato") to retrieve it so he can sell it. Katherine resists the idea, but agrees after Caroline announces she has just become engaged.

When the Harveys arrive at the island, they discover that the yacht, the Wanderer, is in terrible condition. Upon hearing this, the yacht broker cancels his plan to send an experienced captain to help them sail it to Miami, and instead hires a local sailor, Captain Ron Rico, a one-eyed man with a very laid back attitude, and Navy veteran who claims to have piloted the USS Saratoga. He launches immediately when he sees the car he arrived in roll off the dock and sink. Its owner arrives at the dock and shoots at him.

Captain Ron takes Ben's money in a game of Monopoly, giving him beer to drink and charging him for it later, but shows loyalty to Martin, who he refers to as "Boss". Martin, who doesn't like him, calls him "Moron" in his diary, and believes that he doesn't know what he's doing.

The Harveys decide to stop off in the Caribbean, but learn that Captain Ron doesn't know how to navigate. While on a random island, Martin decides to go on a nature hike, but runs into guerrillas led by General Armando. Captain Ron bargains for Martin's freedom by giving them a lift to the next island, and receiving some firearms in return to fight off pirates. This angers Martin, as he declares there will be no firearms on his yacht and tosses them overboard, before realizing that without them, he is going to have to give the guerrillas a lift.

In the yacht's cabin, Katherine shows Martin the initials of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard marked on the bedpost. They are so excited that they share their feelings and have passionate sex.

When they arrive at their next destination, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Martin and Katherine are arrested for smuggling the guerrillas. Caroline and Ben party with the locals and Captain Ron, which ends with Caroline getting a tattoo, Ben breaking his glasses, and Captain Ron losing his glass eye. Martin and Katherine are released from jail, but forced to leave that night. Martin decides to leave Captain Ron behind and they encounter pirates who steal the yacht, and are stuck floating in a raft.

They land in Cuba and discover the yacht there. The pirates find them, but with the help of Captain Ron, they are able to escape with the yacht. Captain Ron learns that they underrate Martin, and he decides to play hurt, forcing Martin to take control of the escape. Using the skills that Captain Ron taught them, they are able to get the sails up after the engine breaks from lack of oil to distance themselves from the pirates. The United States Coast Guard fires once at the pirates, scaring them away and creates a safe passage to Miami.

They arrive in Miami and part ways with Captain Ron. As they sail to their destination, they decide to turn the yacht around and keep it. In the final scene, Captain Ron appears to have cleaned up his appearance and has quickly taken on a new role as a captain for a wealthy couple and their small motorboat. Notably he is no longer wearing an eye patch.



Box office

The film grossed $22.5 million, against its budget of $24 million.[2]

Critical reception

The film premiered on September 18, 1992 to negative reviews from critics. It was panned for putting Russell in the comedic role and Short in the serious one,[3][4] while others say that Russell's fun performance as the irresponsible and sometimes unsympathetic yacht captain carried it through its flaws.[5][6] It has a score of 23% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 22 reviews with an average rating of 4.17 out of 10.[7] It has long, however, found a niche among sailors.[8]

Salisbury and Sisto were each nominated for a Young Artist Award.

Popularity resurgence

Given the death of nautical comedies, there was resurgence in interest in the film during the mid 2010s.[9]


  1. Canby, Vincent (September 18, 1992). "Review/Film; The Skipper Runs More Than a Boat". The New York Times. The New York Times Company.
  2. "Captain Ron (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  3. Maltin, Leonard (1992). Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide. Signet. ISBN 9780451170682.
  4. Kempley, Rita (September 21, 1992). "'Captain Ron'". The Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  5. Rugaard, Jason (July 26, 1992). "Captain Ron (1992) – Review". Movie Mavericks. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  6. Andresen, Joshua (September 22, 1992). "Weather Report's Joe Zawinul forms diverse new band". The Tech. Retrieved October 2, 2015.
  7. "Captain Ron (1992)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  8. Swanson, Peter (September 29, 2015). "Captain Ron Revisited". Sail. Cruz Bay Publishing. Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  9. Rabin, Nathan (November 22, 2016). "Does Captain Ron Deserve Cult Status?". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
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