Johnny Depp’s first performance as Jack Sparrow earned him an Academy Award nomination. Roger Ebert himself reviewed: “There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie.”
The film has received mostly positive reviews, with Depp’s performance being universally praised. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 79% of 206 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it received a rating average of 7.1/10. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 63 based on 40 reviews. Alan Morrison of Empire felt it was “the best blockbuster of the summer,” acclaiming all the comic performances despite his disappointment with the swashbuckling sequences. Roger Ebert acclaimed Depp and Rush’s performances, with “It can be said that [Depp’s] performance is original in its every atom. There has never been a pirate, or for that matter a human being, like this in any other movie… his behavior shows a lifetime of rehearsal.” However, he felt the film went for too long, a criticism shared by Kenneth Turan’s negative review, feeling it “spends far too much time on its huge supporting cast of pirates (nowhere near as entertaining as everyone assumes) and on bloated adventure set pieces,” despite having also enjoyed Depp’s performance.