This is by no means a list of all swashbucklers, just a comprehensive list of the ones I've seen. For our purposes, we're limiting the list to films that include sword fights, but not medieval sword fights so Braveheart and the many Robin Hood films etc. aren't included. Furthermore, I'm not including sea movies that don't deal w/ pirates like Master and Commander or Moby Dick. There are a few films you, gentle reader, might find fault in, but I'll explain them as we go through.
Captain Blood 1935*: While not the first pirate film, this one set the standard for all to follow. Errol Flynn in his defining role.
The Mark of Zorro 1940*: The first, but not the last, non-pirate movie on the list. It's interesting to watch Tyrone Power try to be Errol Flynn and fail miserably.
The Sea Hawk 1940*: Interestingly, many of the action scenes from Captain Blood were spliced in here to add to the excitement
The Son of Monte Cristo 1941: Not at all a very good movie.
The Black Swan 1942: I saw it a few years ago but I don't remember much.
Captain Kidd 1945*: Charles Laughton as an over the hill Captain Kidd... interesting but not fantastic.
The Three Musketeers 1948: A fantastic Gene Kelly vehicle where he was able to use his dance choreography to orchestrate the fight scenes
The Pirates of Capri 1949 An early spaghetti swashbuckler that isn't worth seeing.
Treasure Island 1950*: Disney's first pirate film which lead to the development of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" attraction at Disney World which in turn lead to the creation of the recent Johnny Depp films which in turn created the recent pirate buzz which in turn makes it important to construct a list like this so you, gentle reader, can get a little background in the swashbuckler genre.
The Crimson Pirate 1952: Burt Lancaster and some circus freak made this as thinly vieled leftist propaganda. It's a fun little movie too w/ some silly fight scenes. Also, the scene where Lancaster and his circus budy overturn a longboat and create an air pocket so they can move around underwater was used in The Curse of the Black Pearl when Jack and Will commandeer the Interceptor.
Against all flags 1952: Not a very good Errol Flynn film.
Peter Pan 1953*: The first animater film on the list.
The Master of Ballantrae 1954*: Errol Flynn's final pirate movie
Long John Silver’s Return 1954*: An atrocious sequal to a great film.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea 1954: Kirk Douglass gets to sing the song "A Whale of a Tale" and they fight a huge octopus... obviously influencial on Dead Man's Chest.
Davy Crockett and the River Pirates 1956*: Admittedly, a bit of a stretch, but Davy and Mike Fink team up to fight pirates on the old Mississippi.
The Swiss Family Robinson 1960: Tree forts and pirates... what else could one ask for?
Pirates of Tortuga 1961*: ehh.
A High Wind From Jamaica 1965*: ehh... again.
Blackbeard’s Ghost 1968: I saw this when I was 6 at the Disney World camp ground and my mom was preggers w/ my brother. I have no recollection at all.
The Three Musketeers 1973: A very close adaptation of the first half of the novel w/ Richard Chamberlain as Aramis, Peter York as D'Artagnan, Christopher Lee as Rochefort, and Charleton Heston as Cardinal Richelieu. It was finished w/ The Four Musketeers a year later.
Zorro 1975*: Another spaghetti swashbuckler. It's interesting, but it's pacing is really slow.
The Count of Monte Cristo 1975: Another Richard Chamberlain Dumas film
Swashbuckler 1976: A fun movie w/ Robert Shaw and James Earl Jones... he made this while also doing the voice for Darth Vader.
The Man in the Iron Mask 1977: The final Richard Chamberlain Dumas film
Star Wars: A New Hope 1977*: The first of the sci/fi films on the list and equal to Captain Blood in terms of influence and importance.
The second half of the list will come tomorrow.