Captain Blood tells the story of Dr. Peter Blood, a fictional Irish physician. While attending to some of the rebels wounded in battle, he is wrongly arrested for treason against King James II and sentenced to be transported to the Caribbean and sold into slavery. There, he is bought and put to work on a sugar plantation, however, when a Spanish force attacks and raids the area, Blood escapes with a number of other convict-slaves, captures a Spanish ship and sails away to become one of the most successful pirates in the Caribbean. Later he is offered a commission in the English Navy, who are at war with France, in return for a pardon.
The studio took a serious risk in pairing two relatively unknown performers in the lead roles. Flynn’s performance made him a major Hollywood star overnight and established him as the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks Sr., while it also established de Havilland as a major star and was the first of eight films the pair would go on to co-star in.
Most of the film was shot on a sound stage, with some exterior scenes being shot on location at Laguna Beach, California standing in for the Caribbean. The final battle sequence between Blood’s pirate crew and the French used one of the largest technical crews assembled for a film at the time, requiring 2500 extras.
Three movie sequels featuring the Captain Blood character were made later: Fortunes of Captain Blood in 1950 and Captain Blood, Fugitive in 1952, both of which starred Louis Hayward, and most interestingly, The Son of Captain Blood in 1962 which starred Sean Flynn, Errol Flynn’s son.